Reply To: What should I study first?

January 25, 2017 at 2:14 pm #2963
Mike Kim

Hi Tristan,

Thanks so much for your comments about the Trainer, and kudos on getting your studies done with so much time still left for practice —

There are a lot of different ways to practice effectively, so (as always) please feel free to ignore me as you’d like, but here are some general suggestions —

1) Especially if you feel like you are struggling with Logic Games, I actually recommend that you prioritize it earlier in your process — this is for a few reasons, namely —

a) if it’s your worst section, it offers the most promise for points gained
b) in general, students are much more easily able to make quicker gains through practice than they are on the other sections (in large part because LR and RC are more reading-skill-based), so, even if you don’t feel good about LG now, have faith that you will get more and more comfortable and you will get better and better.
c) most importantly — the experience of playing logic games becomes totally different once your diagramming methods become habitual (as opposed to when you first start playing, and you need to think about how to diagram each rule, what your diagramming means, etc.) — the analogy I often use is that it’s like the difference between taking a test in your native language vs having to take a test in a foreign language you have to first mentally translate — and the only way to make your diagramming more habitual is by practicing LG again and again —

If you hold off on studying LG, you may not give yourself enough time to practice enough to develop the necessary habits — by prioritizing LG earlier, you can better ensure that you can go through those multiple layers of habit development.

2) I also recommend cycling through q types —

So, instead of drilling just LG for a looong time, then just LR for a loooong time, etc., I think it’s better to focus on one for a little bit (probably a week or two depending on your schedule) then switching off. And also, if you overlap your drilling of LG, LR, etc., I think that’s just fine.

BTW — just a reminder that you can use the Questions by Type tool or booklet (or study schedules) to help make your drill sets if you need to —

3) If you are going to have a marathon study day, it’s generally better to split into smaller chunks (1 hour or so, unless of course PT’ing), and it’s generally better to switch off subjects —

This is a bit (or very) nerdy — but one suggestion is to take the section you happen to “like” or at least “not mind” the most and make that your “reward” section — so, if you don’t like LG but do like RC, maybe you give yourself a “treat” of one RC practice set after two LG ones.

4) Remember that the effectiveness of your practice will largely be determined by how well you review.

Make sure that for every problem that challenges you, you try your best to study and make sure —
(A) you understand the problem — what makes the right answer right and the wrong ones wrong.
(B) you know of effective strategies for handling the situations that caused you trouble
(C) you can recognize when your process messed you up — that is, you understand the problem and know what you should have done, but you didn’t do it — and work to study and correct these issues as best you can.

5) Lastly, one additional suggestion is to make sure you take good notes on all that you consider, learn, and so on from your practice.

I personally like to use giant pieces of paper (11 x 17 or bigger), and, for example, as I’m going through an LG drill and playing a bunch of games, I write down on the notepaper all the various unusual, interesting, or challenging things I noticed, figure I ought to think about more later, and so on — then, when I’m done, I work to organize and address everything that I’ve written down.

You can also use the notebook organizer available on the Trainer site, or anything else you’d like — whatever you choose, again, I think taking notes on what you learn as you practice can be extremely helpful —

That’s it — sorry to ramble beyond the q and sorry for the length, but I hope that helps gives you some ideas — good luck! — MK