Reply To: Flaw Problem

July 1, 2016 at 5:04 pm #2211
Mike Kim

Hey Sumeet —

Hope the studying is going well —

Per the way I teach the test, I believe that your ability to correctly evaluate why reasoning given does not justify a conclusion reached is the single most important skill necessary for LSAT success — so, it’s not a binary situation, and you want to work with a goal of getting better and better at seeing the flaw correctly throughout your study process — here are a few tips related to that —

1) Recognize that seeing the flaw correctly is part of a larger process, and, typically, the most common reason for not being able to see the flaw correctly has to do with mistakes made before one gets to that point —

For Q’s that require you to be critical of the argument, you want to (after reading the q stem) —

1) ID the conclusion
2) ID the support
3) Think of why the support doesn’t guarantee the conclusion
4) Eliminate incorrect answers
5) Confirm the right answer

When you have trouble seeing the flaw correctly, look back on steps 1 and 2 and make sure you performed them carefully — in addition, when your understanding of the flaw isn’t quite what you want it to be, oftentimes the act of evaluating how various answers relate to the argument can help you understand better what is wrong with it.

2) Always think of it in terms of guarantees — the author thinks the support guarantees the conclusion — you know for certain it does not — how come it doesn’t?

3) Keep track of the argument flaws that cause you trouble —

One system I recommend is to use notecards — on one side, write out the argument, and, on the other side, write out, in your own words, what is wrong with the reason. As a bonus, I suggest trying to come up with, and writing out, a simpler argument with the same reasoning flaw.

If you do this for every argument flaw that causes you trouble, over time I believe it can be very helpful for helping you notice patterns and shore up weaknesses.

4) And, if you happen to run into any arguments which you can’t understand even after the fact, make sure to look up solutions and don’t hesitate to reach out and ask for help.

All the above is stuff I say repeatedly in the Trainer and elsewhere, but I hope it was helpful for you to see it here as well — if u have any follow-up q’s just let me know and good luck — MK