Reply To: Diagraming in the LR section

September 9, 2016 at 5:30 pm #2717
Mike Kim
Keymaster

Hey Jelani —

Appreciate the information —

Here are a few thoughts that come to mind — as I always say, you know yourself best, so feel free to use what is helpful and to ignore what you know is not —

In order to get Match the Reasoning questions correct, you need to be able to do three things well —

1) Read stimuli correctly to recognize and focus in on arguments —

The q types we are discussing are relatively rare and so unfortunately we don’t have a great sample size, but considering you missed two ID the Role q’s, I wonder if this might be something holding you back —

The first and most important part of focusing in on arguments is zeroing in on the right conclusion. The next important part, and this is typically more difficult, especially on harder q’s, is separating out the supporting premises from everything else and organizing them.

So keep that in mind, try to do your best to always identify and focus in on arguments, and try to recognize when not having done so as well as you’d like is what is holding you back.

2) Recognize the underlying reasoning structure —

Is the author making a causal argument? Or is his conclusion a conditional one? Or something else? Is he saying one piece of support leads to another which then leads to the conclusion, or is he saying that the two pieces of support add together to lead to the conclusion? And so on.

Flaw q’s are a good indication of how good you are at seeing this underlying reasoning structure, and, again, based on a small sample size, you seem pretty strong at this point, but —

Match the Reasoning q’s are also a good indicator of your ability to see underlying reasoning (more on this in just a sec) — and so you want to, in your review, use the problems to try and learn more about which the different types of arguments that appear on the exam.

3) Utilize good question strategies —

So, I was curious as to why you titled the Q “Diagramming in the LR Section” — just to be clear, I think diagramming is very, very rarely necessary for solving Match the Reasoning q’s, and, the vast majority of time, diagramming will be a waste of your time and energy. Furthermore, I believe that diagramming can actually lower your chances of getting these problems correct.

I could be reading too much into your Q stem, but I just wanted to make sure that was clear — the only time you should diagram is when you have an extremely conditional heavy stimulus and conditional-heavy stimuli you can’t tell apart from one another without diagramming (that is, it should be a secondary method at best) —

In addition, it’s really helpful to keep in mind that these are very hard q’s to solve well without strong elimination skills — that is because it’s tough to get that 100% slam-dunk feeling from the right answer — you’ll only be able to get it by knowing that the 4 wrong answers have obvious differences from the original stimulus.

In terms of that, and in terms of process, what I recommend is that you go one answer choice at a time with a mindset to eliminate —

And know that the most common reason you will be able to eliminate wrong answers is because they will reach a different type of conclusion — the conclusion in an answer will be about a comparison when the one in the original argument was not, etc. —

And for every wrong answer where the conclusion structure isn’t different, the structure of the premises (how they come together and are used to reason us to the conclusion) will be different from the original argument — be hyper-critical of these differences and eliminate based on those grounds —

And if your job well, hopefully you’ll have just one answer choice left, or at most just two or three, and at that point you can get more and more detailed as you need about checking specific parts of the answers against the stimulus —

Hope that helps give you some ideas, and good luck going forward — let me know if you have any follow-up q’s —

Mike