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How do you typically approach an LR question?

Determined_-1Determined_-1 Member
edited January 2022 in Logical Reasoning 919 karma

I'm really curious to know some of y'all's process. Mike Kim talks about prioritizing the right information, not necessarily ALL of the information in an LR stimulus. Do you typically approach the answer choices with the premise and conclusion in your own words?

Would love to know your thoughts!


  • Scott MilamScott Milam Member Administrator Moderator Sage 7Sage Tutor
    1269 karma

    I always keep a short-form of the conclusion in my head. If it’s a question type that lends itself to a prephrase (SA, for instance) then I primarily focus on that. I almost never try to keep the premises in my memory as I’m combing through answer choices. It’s rarely worth it, and plenty of LR questions have numerous or lengthy premises that punish that behavior.

  • edited January 2022 92 karma

    Similarly, I have a mental note of the conclusion in less words than actually stated. In terms of process from start to finish though here's what I do:
    1. Question stem
    2. Read stimulus
    3. Reread, underline, or highlight conclusion depending on how long or convoluted the argument is lol
    4. Based on question, do my best to identify the key info before going to ACs. Most often, its the assumption/flaw AND what the argument hinges upon. At least that's what helps me.
    5. Eliminate ACs
    6. Plug in what I think the AC is to the argument based on question type

    Hope that is helpful. Open to discussion.

  • firstgenlaw-1firstgenlaw-1 Member
    245 karma

    Take my steps with a grain of salt, everyone has their own technique. The only one I really advocate is reading stim first. This was a game-changer for me in LR. It was hard to switch after 10 months of reading questions first but I urge anyone to give it a shot for a few days and see if it helps them.

    1. Read stimulus.
    2. Identify Conclusion.
    3. No conclusion? Summarize in my head what this is saying/inferring
    4. If there IS a conclusion, think of what could support/weaken argument.
    5. Is there gap in logic? Identify the gap and fill it in (in your head) so that conclusion follows logically
    6. Read question stem.
    7. By now you should have already predicted the answer or something really close to it. For tougher questions it won't be what you predicted so this will take a little more analysis.
    8. Cannot identify AC: Eliminate ACs and narrow down your choices. Focus here on subtle changes in ACs e.g. strength of language, some vs. all, etc.
    9. Reread question stem and see what you need: e.g. NA vs SA , match language in AC to what the stem is asking for.

    *For parallel reasoning and parallel flaw: I do steps 1-5 and identify pattern in my head (e.g. confused necessary for sufficient, part to whole flaw, causation/correlation flaw, etc.) before reading ACs

  • @firstgenlaw-1

    Why are you so against reading question first?

  • firstgenlaw-1firstgenlaw-1 Member
    245 karma

    @Publiclydisplayedname-1 Hi, thanks for asking! As I said above, please take my personal techniques with a grain of salt. Everyone has their own techniques that work better for them and ultimately this may not work for everyone. I used to read the question stem first as I learned this through Kaplan, 7Sage, and The LSAT Trainer. I did okay and scored a 163 on my first LSAT take but found I was a bit stuck after scoring the same in Oct 2021.

    I changed my study materials and techniques and one thing that made a big difference for me was to read the stimulus first. I found that by reading the question stem first, I was focusing less on the stimulus content and was doing a "word search" style approach looking for what the stem was asking. I also have pretty bad test anxiety so I'd panic and think I had found the conclusion when I hadn't, but because I was searching for it specifically I would just think it was it (e.g. starting with "thus"). If I had just gone in with a clear head I think it would have made a slight difference.

    I switched to reading the stimulus first since October and I saw a drastic change in my approach and score (scoring in 170s now). By doing this I can quickly discern the conclusion, premises, assumptions, missing logic, etc. and can even anticipate what the question stem will ask.

    There may be some test-takers who struggle with this approach because they NEED to have a goal in mind when tackling the stimulus and that's okay. I just think you'd be silly to not try something different than what you're used to if you are looking for a change :)

    Hope that clarifies!

  • @firstgenlaw-1

    I get it! I did the same thing and exactly for the same reasons, but then i switched back to question first lol. I am still trying to see what works best for me, so I appreciate your feedback!!!=)

  • Samer203Samer203 Member
    13 karma

    @firstgenlaw-1 I agree 100% with everything you said. I went back and forth and was doing the Q stem first for almost a year and then realized I'm the other type of person who would do better with reading stimulus first.

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