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Is outside Knowledge helpful for LR?

Not Ralph NaderNot Ralph Nader Alum Member Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
in General 2098 karma
Recently I took some LR sections from PT 18-35 and notice I could predict the answer for some type of questions specially resolve the paradox question type based on my previous knowledge of the subject discussed in stimulus. Have you noticed any such trends? Do you think it is helpful or it is going to end up hurting my score as most of outside knowledge considered assumption on LSAT?

Comments

  • tanes256tanes256 Alum Member
    2573 karma
    You should probably leave everything outside of the LSAT alone while in "LSAT LAND." You might trip yourself up along the way. I've seen people go back and forth for days discussing matters that don't have anything to do with the question presented, but because they're familiar with the subject matter and it could happen or relate they are bending their minds trying to figure out why their interpretation isn't considered, isn't relevant or isn't correct. I use a few other forums if I need another perspective or explanation of a question. Manhattan is good but some of those LR explanations go on and on and on..... Previous knowledge has helped me figure out what certain words mean quite a few times. Whatever you do just make sure that the AC you choose actually answers the question.
  • Cant Get RightCant Get Right Alum Member Sage 🍌
    27328 karma
    For me, too much familiarity with the subject almost always hurts me. It's harder to reduce it to it's purely logical elements because it all means something to me, it's important to me. It shouldn't matter, but it's an additional barrier. This is especially challenging to me when I disagree with the author and I have to draw a conclusion or something that I may disagree with. I think with paradox questions it might be a little different. If traffic accidents go up while new safety features are simultaneously decreasing the risk of being involved in an accident, I'd immediately look for an answer choice that says the number of drivers has significantly increased. I wouldn't necessarily call that outside knowledge though. That's just knowing how to tackle a paradox question.
  • Not Ralph NaderNot Ralph Nader Alum Member Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    2098 karma
    Thanks for commenting, that cleared it for me :)
  • runiggyrunruniggyrun Alum Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    2481 karma
    I think outside knowledge is only helpful insofar as it's helping you understand some terms without having to think about it too much. Like, if they talk about "serotonin" and then in the next line they say "this neurotransmitter" and you know that serotonin is a neurotransmitter it might be easier to recognize that they are talking about the same thing. But it can hurt if it makes you infer things that are not mentioned in the stimulus, or worse, that run contrary to what's mentioned in the stimulus (for instance you assume that an increase in serotonin improves mood, and the argument is talking about it contributing to depression).
    Just be aware of your knowledge biases and double check that what you think you read in the stimulus is actually what you did read.
  • allison.gill.sanfordallison.gill.sanford Legacy Inactive Sage
    1128 karma
    Yes, outside knowledge can increase your confidence (ie familiarity with the subject matter), but can also be a curse... ideally, your first thought on seeing a stim you have familiarity will be "I can do this" - and your second thought will be "suspend whatever background knowledge the LSAT doesn't give me in the stim".
  • stepharizonastepharizona Alum Member
    3197 karma
    @allison.gill.sanford said:
    Yes, outside knowledge can increase your confidence (ie familiarity with the subject matter), but can also be a curse...
    I was just about to say it can be a double edged sword. I often find when its something I know I seem to find unintended errors, or I get caught up in what they are trying to say. So this part is PERFECT...
    @allison.gill.sanford said:
    your first thought on seeing a stim you have familiarity will be "I can do this" - and your second thought will be "suspend whatever background knowledge the LSAT doesn't give me in the stim".
    Pretty sure this will be my new mantra. Its one of those things you "know" but if you dont practice it... ouch!
  • allison.gill.sanfordallison.gill.sanford Legacy Inactive Sage
    1128 karma
    @stepharizona Yes! Make it a mantra, make it a habit. You got this.
  • MrSamIamMrSamIam Legacy Inactive ⭐
    2086 karma
    Like @allison.gill.sanford and @stepharizona said, it could be a double edged sword. On the one hand, you're more confident about the stimulus. On the other, you may end up choosing an answer because you know it to be true - even though the answer you chose, although true, does not answer the question posited on the exam.

    Interest in the subject matter tends to help you a lot more than familiarity with it. That said, I have encountered RC passages with "tough words" plenty of times. For those of us with OCD (not literally), we can't let it go when we don't know what a word means...so we have to go back, and figure it out. Familiarity with the subject helps, since often you will have encountered that word prior, and already know what it means. If anything, familiarity CAN save you time. Just don't let it be the reason you missed a question.
  • Not Ralph NaderNot Ralph Nader Alum Member Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    2098 karma
    I totally got it. this is why I love 7Sage, getting so many helpful responses from many mentors thank you all.
  • allison.gill.sanfordallison.gill.sanford Legacy Inactive Sage
    edited April 2016 1128 karma
    You got it @nader.parham ! Thanks for contributing and posting, your questions help other students too. Best of luck!
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