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Having trouble with MSS

kmarie.skmarie.s Legacy Member
edited January 2019 in Logical Reasoning 98 karma

Hi everyone!

I am in the beginning stages of my LSAT prep but am having issues with MSS questions. Any suggestions on how to improve? I have yet to pinpoint one specific reason why I am struggling with this type of question.

Comments

  • ChardiggityChardiggity Alum Member
    336 karma

    I was in the same boat last year when I started! It means you need to hang out in the logic fundamentals for awhile, unfortunately. Go back over the lessons on Intro to Arguments, Main Point & Main Conclusion questions, and MSS questions. You need to be airtight on how to identify context/background info, a premise, and a conclusion. MSS questions give you the premises in the stimulus, and it's your job to find a conclusion among the answer choices. The right answer is the only one that is a logical outcome from the info you've been given, and just the info you've been given. I used to try to use intuition, and what I knew about the actual world would intrude on my thinking.

    You have to use only things that actually appear in the stimulus, or are a logical assumption from the stimulus (like if the premises talk about a bulldozer, the conclusion can use "construction equipment" instead).

    They can also trick you by using words like "most" or "all", when the stimulus only says "some". It has to have the same level of logical certainty or uncertainty.

    Beware mistaken reversals or negations, which use the right terms, but in the wrong way (I got tricked on those a lot initially. Boooo...)

    Hope any of this helps!

  • FlashLSATFlashLSAT Alum Member
    293 karma

    For someone first starting out my advice would be to take your time and move slowly through the curriculum! Theres no rush and no point in blitzing through any of the MSS material. Just like you I struggled alot with MSS question types.
    Here are a few things that really helped me out.
    After reading the stimulus take your time to ponder on how the statements work with each other. The correct answer choice can be supported by one statement alone or a combination of all of the statements together. So if you end up partially understanding the stimulus you can get tripped up by answer choices. When approaching answer choices it was very beneficial for me to eliminate the wrong answer choices first. This process helps me solidify my understanding of the stimulus and gives me more confidence to choose the right answer when I do come in contact with it. When you get down to 2 answer choices often times it will be decided on the subtlety of the answer choice. Watch out for words like ALL NEVER MOST ALWAYS ETC (similar to what chardiggity said). These words alter the whole meaning of an answer choice.

    Lastly I would write out explanations for why answer choices are correct and why they are incorrect BEFORE watching JYs videos. This while help you to grapple with the stimulus and help fixate your brain on what your task is when you come in contact with MSS question types.

  • BlindReviewerBlindReviewer Alum Member
    855 karma

    I read somewhere (maybe 7sage) about how you could approach MSS questions like NA questions, and that kind of approach helped me a lot! What this means is that you approach it with the kind of surgical or otherwise very restrained caution, to make sure that what's being "most supported" doesn't require too many assumptions. From a pure logic standpoint, NA is actually required, and MSS answer choices aren't MBT, but are just a hair off of that. If you provide some questions that are giving you trouble we can work through them together with this approach!

  • SamiSami Alum Member Sage 7Sage Tutor
    edited February 2019 10721 karma

    @"kmarie.s" said:
    Hi everyone!

    I have yet to pinpoint one specific reason why I am struggling with this type of question.

    Answering that question is key to figuring out how to improve. Each person is different and people struggle in LSAT for different reasons.

    Here are a few things to consider: Do you miss MSS questions because you don't understand the stimulus and therefore you don't see how the answer choice is supported? Or do you miss the questions because despite understanding the stimulus you don't know how to evaluate answer choices that are supported by the information above? It could also be a combination of both.

    For the first one you want to focus on figuring out how to read for understanding and practice pushing back after each sentence so you can see if an additional inference is made when the sentences are combined. For example, If the Stimulus reads: All apples are juicy and red. Most juicy things are crispy. All red things are delicious.
    If you were reading for additional inferences after each sentence rather than trying to figure out inferences after you have finished reading the stimulus, you will be much faster, less overwhelmed, and more confident in knowing that from the stimulus you can conclude all apples are delicious and you cannot conclude anything about being crispy from the stimulus. This will increase your speed in eliminating answer choices as well as confidence and speed in picking the right answer.

    Now lets say the answer choice said: some things that are delicious are apples. If despite knowing the above inference you eliminated this answer choice, then here you have to improve your knowledge about valid inferences from all statements.

    It's important to know that MSS answer choices do follow a cookie cutter pattern. They could be inferences from the combination of one of more sentences, a general summary of the stimulus, or a restatement of a particular sentence in the stimulus.

    Also, I think its important to be patient with yourself. You are just starting out and it takes time to really master something.

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