I realized while writing this out that I think I actually have more trouble identifying the evidence than the conclusion, but when I have had trouble identifying the conclusion, or am just going WTF? when looking at a stimulus it sticks out more to me. But whether I have trouble identifying the conclusion or the evidence, the effect is the same – I have trouble identifying the correct gap in logic, because I can’t identify the parts of the argument to base the gap on.
Historically, for most questions, I didn’t really even think about the conclusion or evidence while reading the stimulus. I guess I didn’t consciously identify things at all while reading – it was more intuitive, like things would immediately pop out at me as being problematic within the argument. Because of my reliance on intuition, there are so called harder questions that I would have no problems identifying the gaps in logic, and then questions that are generally considered easy that I have gotten incorrect because I can’t figure out what’s being said. Alternatively, if I wasn’t doing that, I think that I was using elimination to get the correct answer, because I could normally get rid of three or so answer choices and then would go with whatever answer “seemed” correct.
Those are still my knee jerk approaches that I’m trying to break. I realized when I doing the flaw drill set that I was having trouble identifying the evidence (and occasionally conclusion) on the medium to harder questions, and that I needed to work on it.
I thought that since I need to retrain my brain to slow down and make sure that I do every step correctly, I would do the Cambridge packet for flaws, untimed, with a checklist of the steps. What I’ve really been trying to do for every question for the past couple of weeks, is to read the stimulus and after I’ve gone through it, figure out the conclusion or main point, and mark it. I’m literally asking myself “Ok, what’s the conclusion?” and “what’s the evidence?” From there, I try to figure out what evidence is being used to support that fact (again marking it in the text). After that I figure out the flaw of the argument – and I write it next to the stimulus, because I am more likely to get off track if I don’t have it in front of my face (I have ADHD). I then use that to predict a possible answer, and then eliminate incorrect answers and double-check my self. Then, after doing a bunch of them, I blind review them.
I still have sometimes have trouble identifying the evidence or separating it from the background information. While I understand that it’s a new skill, I also find it frustrating, and I don’t know how much of my issue with doing it is because I am not understanding things correctly or because it’s still somewhat new (in practice at least, but I was “theoretically” doing it previously).
I’m left with several other questions. What suggestions do you have for identifying evidence (or eliminating background information) in harder questions? Is the writing next to the stimulus thing that I’m doing with the flaw going to be a viable solution for other question types and/or will that likely cause time issues in the future? At what point is it ok to move on to the next section of LR review? Once I am more secure in the process, when should I start thinking about timing issues? Do you have any other suggestions for retraining my brain? Is there anything else that might be useful for me to know or think about?
Thanks for probing more about what I was asking, it forced me to think more about what exactly I had been doing and what I’ve been trying to/what I needed more information. And thanks for making it this far!