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Reading ALL the answer choices vs. stopping after you've found the right one

dreamlawschooldreamlawschool Alum Member
in General 139 karma
Would love to hear everyone (especially top scorers) weigh in on this--

Do you ever, in the course of doing an LR/LG section [under timed conditions] find yourselves selecting an answer choice and moving on WITHOUT continuing reading the other remaining answer choices? I know the proper approach in selecting a correct answer is to both identify the correct answer, AND to decisively eliminate every single incorrect answer, but sometimes you come across the correct answer choice that you've already anticipated while assessing the stimulus, and you know it's 100% correct before reading all the other answer choices. The reason I ask about this is because after drilling so many PT's, I still struggle with finishing all the test sections on time, and that amounts to lost points. So, I wonder if it would be the right strategy to pick the right answer and move on without reading all the remaining choices, (in those few cases where I do anticipate and identify the right answer with 100% certainty) in the interest of time?

Comments

  • Cant Get RightCant Get Right Yearly Member Sage 🍌
    25635 karma
    I’ve seen a lot of debate on this topic. There doesn’t seem to be any one right answer. That being said, here’s what I do:

    So I really do feel more comfortable when I eliminate every incorrect answer in addition to selecting the correct one. But, time is a factor and there is a trade off. I can finish an LR section working through every question that way; but if I do finish, it always comes down to the wire and that’s a big if. If I don’t finish, I sure do wish I had that time back from eliminating wrong answers after having confidently selected the right one. So I pick and choose when to work through every answer choice based on how conducive the question is to anticipation. So on a sufficient assumption question, for example, I will know exactly what I need going into the answer choices. If the stim presents an argument that says A —> B, A therefore C; I know I need an answer choice that says B —> C. So in this scenario, how would I eliminate an incorrect answer choice? I would eliminate it because it is not B —> C, it is wrong because it is not right. This is an important distinction. If this is how the process of elimination proceeds for a question, I simply find the right answer and move on. I box the question number, and come back to it at the end if I have time.
  • quinnxzhangquinnxzhang Legacy Member
    edited May 2016 611 karma
    I read all answer choices. Even if you find the answer choice you were anticipating, you could very well have misread the stimulus or made some other kind of error. On the curve-breaker questions, the LSAT writers are banking on you making subtle errors and choosing the attractive wrong answer choice based on those subtle errors.

    Too many times have I thought an answer choice was obvious, only to find another good answer choice after reading every option, which would then prompt me to re-read the stimulus and answer choices more carefully. This has saved me from falling for attractive wrong answers more times than I can count.
  • Cant Get RightCant Get Right Yearly Member Sage 🍌
    25635 karma
    @quinnxzhang said:
    On the curve-breaker questions
    Yeah, definitely don’t want to skip anything on a curve breaker. Once I get past Q15 or so, I start being a lot more careful. My pacing goals start with finishing the first 15 in 15 minutes. If I’m on target I’ll slow down at this point when the questions tend to start getting more difficult.
  • DumbHollywoodActorDumbHollywoodActor Alum Inactive ⭐
    7468 karma
    +1 to everything @"Cant Get Right” said. Also, if you want to see this type of strategy played out in real time, check out the videos accompanying PT 37 in the course syllabus. There’s a video of a high-scoring student working through an LR section. You can see her circle A and bracket the other answers (a note for her to double-check them if she has time.) There’s nothing worse than hearing “you have 5 minutes left” while you’re on question 20.
  • Cant Get RightCant Get Right Yearly Member Sage 🍌
    edited May 2016 25635 karma
    @DumbHollywoodActor said:
    There’s nothing worse than hearing “you have 5 minutes left” while you’re on question 20.
    I just had a traumatic flashback to Oct 2015. Never again.
  • BruiserWoodsBruiserWoods Legacy Member Inactive ⭐
    1706 karma
    @quinnxzhang said:
    Too many times have I thought an answer choice was obvious, only to find another good answer choice after reading every option
    YEP.
    Keep in mind that, even though we are taught that every wrong answer is 100% wrong, the LSAC wants us to find the "best" answer. Sometimes, there's an answer that, with the right amount of mental gymnastics, CAN work. That's why I at least put my eyes on every single AC (unless, of course, I'm just actually out of time, and I need to move on-which almost never happens anymore).
  • dreamlawschooldreamlawschool Alum Member
    139 karma
    Firstly, thanks @"Cant Get Right" for the insight. I've noticed a lot of your posts here are valuable--thanks for taking the time to help!

    Another quick question re:
    @"Cant Get Right" said:
    Yeah, definitely don’t want to skip anything on a curve breaker. Once I get past Q15 or so, I start being a lot more careful. My pacing goals start with finishing the first 15 in 15 minutes. If I’m on target I’ll slow down at this point when the questions tend to start getting more difficult.
    I keep seeing this first 15 questions in 15 minutes/first 10 questions in 10 minutes pacing strategy mentioned throughout the forum. But is it actually true that the first 15 questions are generally easier than the last 10 or so? Is this by design? I've never seen this officially acknowledged anywhere by LSAC, so I'd like to know how/where everyone is getting this impression from.
  • Cant Get RightCant Get Right Yearly Member Sage 🍌
    edited January 12 25635 karma
    @dreamlawschool said:
    is it actually true that the first 15 questions are generally easier than the last 10 or so? Is this by design?
    The key word here is generally. Generally, yes. The progression of the test trends easier to harder, usually peaking around 20 -23 or so. Will #19 be harder than #18? Who knows. But will the average difficulty of questions 15 - 20 be higher than the average difficulty of questions 1 - 5? Yes. If there is an exception to this, I have yet to see it. This does not mean that question #4 will be a lay up, or that question #22 will be a curve breaker; it’s just the way they design the test to trend. Of course, nothing stopping them from pulling a 180 on the next test and totally abandoning or reversing the established trend.

    Also, “pulling a 180” does not mean what it used to mean to me, haha.
  • Not Ralph NaderNot Ralph Nader Alum Member Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    edited May 2016 2098 karma
    @"Cant Get Right" "Also, “pulling a 180” does not mean what it used to mean to me,"
    This was great :))
  • stepharizonastepharizona Alum Member
    3197 karma
    I read all of the answer choices for LR, and usually for RC, however for LG when I have the right answer, I am trying to move on. This is a new strategy for me, I think Allison mentioned doing this on one of the other threads on this topic. The big thing is just to practice how you will take the test. If youre going to be nervous and move back to checking all of the answers under the pressure of the test, vs how you practiced, it will really mess things up!
  • MimilaTorMimilaTor Legacy Member
    15 karma
    @DumbHollywoodActor Can you point out that video of a high scorer working on LR questions? I can't find it!
  • hlsat180hlsat180 Member
    edited January 12 362 karma
    @dreamlawschool said:
    I keep seeing this first 15 questions in 15 minutes/first 10 questions in 10 minutes pacing strategy mentioned throughout the forum. But is it actually true that the first 15 questions are generally easier than the last 10 or so? Is this by design? I've never seen this officially acknowledged anywhere by LSAC, so I'd like to know how/where everyone is getting this impression from.
    One source: https://www.powerscore.com/lsat/help/lr_question-difficulty.cfm

    Three comments and one recommendation:
    1. Note how difficulty jumps considerably beginning in the early teens.
    2. Note how difficulty drops toward the end.
    3. Some of the late teen/early twenties will be time-consuming (not necessarily difficult) questions.
    Whatever strategy used, there is an advantage to at least attempting every question and going back as needed. Hope this helps.
  • DumbHollywoodActorDumbHollywoodActor Alum Inactive ⭐
    7468 karma
    @MimilaTor said:
    @DumbHollywoodActor Can you point out that video of a high scorer working on LR questions? I can't find it!
    https://7sage.com/lesson/preptest-37-preface-to-live-commentary-videos/
  • twssmithtwssmith Alum
    5120 karma
    @DumbHollywoodActor That is so cool! Thanks for letting me know about PT37 Live Commentary:)
  • hlsat180hlsat180 Member
    edited January 12 362 karma
    @dreamlawschool I changed several habits that helped me break the mid-160s plateau and into the 170s. One of those habits was forcing myself to assess EVERY answer choice, no matter how confident I was, before moving on. Ironically(?) I found myself able to pick the correct answer quicker and save time this way. Hope this helps.
  • guitarnaraguitarnara Alum Member
    365 karma
    @DumbHollywoodActor Is skipping 7 questions a normal thing?
  • DumbHollywoodActorDumbHollywoodActor Alum Inactive ⭐
    edited May 2016 7468 karma
    @guitarnara said:
    Is skipping 7 questions a normal thing?
    It all depends how you define “normal”, but if you’re like me, skipping a question (at around the 40 second mark into the question) that you’re not really getting and coming back to it (like 15 minutes later) can do wonders for your comprehension of a tricky stimulus. @nicole.hopkins has had a theory from way back that even though you’ve skipped the question, your subconscious is still processing it while you’re consciously working on other problems. By the time you get back to the question, BOOM! Clarity.

    Furthermore, even though you'd still have 7-8 questions to go back to, to have gotten eyes on all 25 questions in a section by the 25 minute just takes the pressure off the psyche. The shoulders relax. There’s less panic. You can just take in the words, see the forrest for the trees, spot the assumption and work through the answer choices more quickly.

    And while it’s only one example, it clearly worked for the girl in the video. She went -1 on that section.
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