April 22, 2016 at 8:47 am #1763Mike KimKeymaster
Here is a simple step-by-step method you can use to review your work after you’ve completed Logical Reasoning problems as part of your drilling or PT work —
1) Review the question stem, and make sure you can name, for yourself, the step-by-step process you want to use for that question type. Take note of any problems where the process is not clear to you, or where you feel that the process you are using may not be the most effective one for helping you arrive at the right answer.
2) Review the stimulus again. Consider again the key parts of the stimulus and the relationship between them — for most problems, this will involve identifying the argument and evaluating its reasoning. Depending on your study preferences, it may be a good idea to write out what you believe to the be central argument, the paradox to be explained, etc.
3) Review the answer choices again and work to verify and learn from wrong answers. Every answer you eliminate, you should be able to do so for absolute and concrete reasons: the answer misrepresents the subject matter from the stimulus, or doesn’t directly impact the reasoning relationship, or doesn’t address the specific task, and so on. In addition, each of these answers represents a key clue as to the wrong ways of thinking during the exam — make sure, even for answers you understood to be obviously incorrect, to review why the answer could have been attractive, and try to consider what skills/habits are required to make sure you don’t fall prey to such temptations on test day.
4) Review the answer choices again and work to verify and learn from the right answer. Review how it matches the stimulus, and review how it matches the task. Check every word to make sure nothing is suspicious, and, when you do find certain parts of answer choices suspicious, take the time to explore them carefully. Even more importantly, make sure to take note of when you feel certain you got the answer correct, and when you aren’t quite as sure, and work to strengthen your own capacity to gauge this as you get more experience with the exam.
5) (optional) Having thoroughly reviewed the problem, now go back through it one more time — picture yourself seeing it for the first time, and do a mental walk-through of the ideal step-by-step process you could have used to solve the problem.
6) Once you’ve finished reviewing the problem on your own, go ahead and look up the correct answer as well as solutions and explanations. Pay particular attention to situations where you felt very confident you were correct when in fact you were not.
7) Repeat as necessary. After utilizing whatever tools you need to in order to understand the problem fully, and in order to be able to see, at least after the fact, a way that you could have effectively approached and solved the q, table the problem for a while. Come back to the q in a little bit and try it again, with the expectation that the next time you solve it you will try your best to be as effective as possible (per your previous review).
A few final notes:
As I mention elsewhere, in terms of building up the right skills and habits, I believe drilling is more effective than practice exams.
In addition, I believe that the strategy of reading question stem first (as opposed to stimulus first) can also help a student get a bit more out of their practice work.
Finally, one last suggestion is to get in the habit of thinking about LR q’s in groups of 5, both during drilling and pt’s, and do your best to —
a) set/plan/think of your timing in terms of groups of five
b) set goals in terms of groups of five
c) try to practice hitting the mental “reset” button after every group of five
d) review in groups of five
HTH – Mike
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