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A Conceptual Framework for finding the right answers for LR question types quickly (1+1=2)

Mike_RossMike_Ross Monthly Member Sage

Hello good people,

I've been receiving lots of PMs here and on reddit asking more details about the things I posted. Now that the shock has worn off, I'm going to take the time to give back and share some of the things I considered 'game-changers' in my prep. Hopefully it will help you too!

Today I'm going to share a conceptual framework for analyzing arguments. I believe this helped me limit LR mistakes and go -1/-2 sometimes -0 consistently. How? it helped me get the question types below correct most of the time, and it saved me time I would have otherwise wasted deliberating between wrong ACs and still got them wrong anyway––time I used to get to the other questions I would've otherwise never got to.

It is particularly useful for STRENGTHEN/WEAKEN/NECESSARY ASSUMPTION/SUFFICIENT ASSUMPTION questions (all the fun ones!)

Here is it:

Traditionally on 7sage, we look at arguments from the 'vertical' model:

A––>B
A
–––
B

As I progressed on my prep journey, I started to also look at arguments as such:

1 + 1 = 2


(Math? what the hell?!?!) stay with me!

As we know, arguments are PREMISES ––> CONCLUSION.

The mistake we commonly make however, is to attack the premises or the conclusion. That's what we do in day to day conversations. These are the type of LSAT errors that are so frustrating because you know they're wrong, but you're stuck between 2 ACs and you decided to go with the one that 'seemed right' but deep down, you knew something was off.

So, let's look at it again.

1 + 1 = 2

When you are asked to analyze an argument, you NEVER attack the 1s or the 2. Those are the premises and conclusion.

Rather, you attack the = sign. That is the support

In LR, i'm constantly telling myself, "BE SENSITIVE TO THE SUPPORT [STRUCTURE]" so I stay disciplined and stick to what the question type demands of me by addressing the = accordingly.

Let's run through the types:


WEAKEN

Task: you pick an AC that weakens the support [the = sign]

Approach: So you look for an AC that adds a -1

1 + 1 (-1) =/= 2

Great! you just weakened the argument!


STRENGTHEN

Task: you pick an AC that strengthens the support [the = sign] In other words, you further affirm the equation-relationship or block premises that undermine the 'equation'

Approach: You look for an AC that blocks a potential weakener, a (-1), or you look for an AC that further affirms the relationship like a (+1)

1 + 1 (+1) = 2 (or more––so it affirms this relationship)

or you see that -1? yeah that's not applicable like -(-1) which is: 1

Great! you just strengthened the argument!


NECESSARY ASSUMPTION

Task: you pick an AC that the equation (=) NEEDS to remain 1 + 1 = 2.

Approach: Find an AC that enables the equation to hold. How? by blocking competing premises that would subtract from your premises (1+1) and destroy equation's ability to = 2

These are similar to how you do STRENGTHEN, and it's something the Ellen's LOOPHOLE really made clear to me

If I made an argument like:

"X washing machines are better than Y washing machines, because X washing machines dissolve soap detergent faster than Y washing machines"

A loophole would be something like: "wait, what if the rate at which washing machines dissolve soap doesn't matter in evaluating the quality of a washing machine?"

a NECESSARY ASSUMPTION blocks this by saying: it's not the case that (the rate at which washing machines dissolve soap doesn't matter in evaluating the quality of a washing machine) OR it matters.

Back to our equation:

"what if -1?"

and you negate it so: -(-1). which is 1. so the equation remains protected.

But hold on! what about the negation test? simple. If you applied a NEGATION to your AC, the -(-1) or just 1, what do you get? a -1

which is: 1 + 1 (-1) =/= 2 which destroys the argument

Great! you just found the NECESSARY ASSUMPTION!


SUFFICIENT ASSUMPTION

Task: you pick an AC that ensures the equation (=) works

Approach: You look for an AC that is sufficient to make the premises = conclusion

Say you are given

1 ____ = 2

You need a: (+ 1) so 1 +1 = 2

Great! you just found the SUFFICIENT ASSUMPTION


Notice how we NEVER consider poking holes in the premises (1s) or the conclusion (2). Rather we ALWAYS address the SUPPORT (=)

Why so abstract? because if you can see pass the details and understand what you are being asked to do on a simple abstract level, you can sift through the often confusingly-worded ACs and find the right AC confidently and quickly.

Also, are you starting to see how all LR questions are really just similar versions of each other? it's how you can easily turn a weakening question into strengthen, into an NA, or flaw, easily.

I hope this was helpful!

Feel free to PM me if needed!

The Real Mike Ross

Comments

  • Leeban.IsaLeeban.Isa Member
    3 karma

    This guy knows what he is talking about! Really helped me focus more on the actual argument and evidence/support that it relies on than focusing on the conclusion in the stimulus. Good tips! I like viewing LR problems more like a mathematical equation gonna start doing that more

  • I Dunt Want ItI Dunt Want It Alum Member
    111 karma

    Brah...nice write up using simple algebra!

  • Mike_RossMike_Ross Monthly Member Sage
    2918 karma

    @"Leeban.Isa" said:
    This guy knows what he is talking about! Really helped me focus more on the actual argument and evidence/support that it relies on than focusing on the conclusion in the stimulus. Good tips! I like viewing LR problems more like a mathematical equation gonna start doing that more

    @"I Dunt Want It" said:
    Brah...nice write up using simple algebra!

    Thanks! Happy to help and clarify more if needed!

  • christinagomez7738christinagomez7738 Alum Member
    120 karma

    Thanks! I like this.

  • jjoushlynjjoushlyn Alum Member
    198 karma

    Hey @Mike_Ross! Thanks for the tips! love the name by the way. Im wondering if you can go into how you studied a little more after the core curriculum? im redoing it now. However, of course my problem is timing. I can only get to around 15 problems. Are you just doing the BR method and got comfortable over time. Im aslo thinking of flash cards to remember how to attack questions. Thanks for this!

  • tami2021tami2021 Alum Member
    49 karma

    It's funny how i understood the 'loophole' yesterday and found this post today. I feel like i just fully realized what I was being asked to do on LR questions. Previously I focused on how to attack premises or conclusions but I now see that assumptions are key. Now I'm much faster in answering questions because I don't consider wrong answer choices for more than a second or two. I now spend most of my time understanding the stimulus and go straight for the right answer. Understanding the stimulus is key! If you don't understand the stimulus before moving on to the answer choices, your likelihood of getting the answer right is already greatly sunk. In JY's words, if you think any LR argument makes sense, you've already been baited into making an unwarranted assumption.

  • re348313re348313 Alum Member
    8 karma

    Thank you this was VERY HELPFUL

  • DeliaaaaDeliaaaa Legacy Member
    64 karma

    One of the clearest and most helpful posts on LR. Thank you for sharing (and congrats on your LSAT score - obviously very well-deserved)!!

  • carlos.raiz23carlos.raiz23 Alum Member
    195 karma

    Holy shit, you have just changed my approach. Thanks for taking the time do this!!!

  • Mike_RossMike_Ross Monthly Member Sage
    2918 karma

    @jjoushlyn said:
    Hey @Mike_Ross! Thanks for the tips! love the name by the way. Im wondering if you can go into how you studied a little more after the core curriculum? im redoing it now. However, of course my problem is timing. I can only get to around 15 problems. Are you just doing the BR method and got comfortable over time. Im aslo thinking of flash cards to remember how to attack questions. Thanks for this!

    Hey! Thanks for commenting

    Sure I can go over how I studied. I took my tome with the CC (twice) and did all the practice problem sets. Afterwards, I started taking times sections and thorough BR from PT 35 onwards. I did this to PT 69

    In this period I took about 7 full PTs. Though I will say that I did not find the PTing very helpful. The most gains came from thorough BR and relentless review.

    I set questions I found difficult aside to come back to every few days till I got them. They were very useful for review later too.

    Another thing that was very helpful was my daily warmups:

    1) quizlet flash cards for practicing the common flaws and strategies for what to do when I encounter them

    2) doing a half a section of LR from previously done sections each day to practice pacing and execution. I would do evens one day and odd the next. So essentially, I saw almost every LR question twice. It gave me the chance to go over several ones that gave me trouble initially. Sometimes i got the same ones wrong, which is great evidence for “yeah you still need to work on this”

    Timing comes with mastery and confidence in a system that empirically works over time

    Finally, I would recommend learning a skipping strategy. Sometimes you gotta learn how to let go. If it doesn’t click in the stimulus, cut bait and move on. Come back later without having the pressure of thinking you still have 10 questions remaining in the section. There were questions I was totally stumped the first time round that I quickly got in the 2nd or even 3rd round

    Happy to share more!

  • Mike_RossMike_Ross Monthly Member Sage
    2918 karma

    @re348313 said:
    Thank you this was VERY HELPFUL

    @"dwu-5125" said:
    One of the clearest and most helpful posts on LR. Thank you for sharing (and congrats on your LSAT score - obviously very well-deserved)!!

    @"carlos.raiz23" said:
    Holy shit, you have just changed my approach. Thanks for taking the time do this!!!

    Thanks everyone! My pleasure! Feel free to message me if you have questions!

  • lakersgirl24lakersgirl24 Alum Member
    edited January 13 66 karma

    These methods are INGENIOUS. Mike Ross, you need to trademark them!

    I tried your WEAKEN method and I'll walk you and whoever else stumbles upon this thread through my application of it to my made-up example:

    Weaken this:
    P (1+1): Dogs are friendlier than cats.
    C (2): Dogs are better than cats.

    I know that we have to take the premise to be true (LSAT's rule, not mine). We CANNOT attack the premise. Nor the conclusion. Okay so, what is it that I am attacking?

    It's the equal sign that I'm attacking. How can we make it that 1+1=2 is 1+1=/=2? In other words, how can I make it uncertain that C follows?

    Well, we need to introduce a -1. For this, I'm going to come up with a random premise of my own. Let's do this!:

    -1: But cats are more independent than dogs!

    Now we have two competing premises: dogs are friendlier than cats AND cats are more independent than dogs. With that, is it still that true dogs are better than cats? Well, we don't know! It's subjective. I guess it depends on what you value more, your pet being friendlier or more independent (you can't make that call for LSAT).

    Now to the A/Cs we go. I look for this -1 if by chance that's LSAT's OR I look for any other A/C that serves the same function (-1). Another equally valid -1, for example, would be cats are cleaner than dogs. finds a -1. Ding! Correct answer because this new piece of information (any -1) makes it uncertain that dogs are better than cats.

    Crystal clear!

    Fun fact: did you know that cats spend 30-50% of the day grooming themselves?! And they like to "groom" each other and their human too.

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