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# General CR approach, taking notes?

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General CR approach, taking notes? [#permalink]

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17 Nov 2012, 13:30
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Hi all,
im trying to figure out whats the best way to increase my success % in CR.
im standing on 75% or so but still sometimes i have a few consecutive mistakes.

right now i am not taking any notes when attacking a question. im not sure whether or not i should do so.
lets say for example that for an assumption questions i dont really write the assumption or predict the answer. i just eliminate the out of scope answers and using the negation technique on the final two.

I have seen a few MGMAT experts that do recommend on taking notes but overall i think it will just cut more seconds out of the clock.

so my question is, how do you guys approach CR? and what about taking notes?

thanks!
Roy
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Re: General CR approach, taking notes? [#permalink]

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30 Nov 2012, 08:30
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Sorry Roy, this is going to be a very long answer, and I'm not sure that it's going to be useful.

Here's the thing: I'm convinced that some people really need to take notes, or else their brain shuts down. My fiance is an attorney, and when she was studying for the LSAT (half of which is critical reasoning questions), she would scribble all sorts of notes all over the page. In her case, the notes are absolutely necessary: she's a kinesthetic learner, which means that her brain only functions if her hands are moving. If she doesn't take notes, she does a pretty lousy job of processing whatever she's reading. That might sound strange, but it's true for a decent percentage of the population, including plenty of GMAT students. If that's how your brain works, then note-taking is an absolutely indispensable tool for improving your verbal scores.

So at one extreme, note-taking can help engage your mind so that you can understand the text. At the other extreme, note-taking can actually make you disengage from the text. Some test-takers find it extremely unnatural to take notes, and they'll write things down only because they feel obligated; in the meantime, they're thinking too hard about what they're "supposed to write," and they lose track of the passage. Again, this doesn't apply to too many people, but I've seen a handful of students who only improved at CR (or RC) when they stopped taking notes.

So the unsatisfying answer is that everybody is different. Notes are a spectacular tool for some people, and a counterproductive tool for others. Every GMAT test-prep company recommends its own methodology for note-taking (and they have to, otherwise nobody would buy their books), but no single method is going to work for absolutely everybody.

Sorry, that was a long, philosophical, and probably useless answer.

Your performance on CR sounds like it’s pretty decent already, and it's impossible for me to guess exactly why you miss questions. I think there’s a chance that you occasionally miss questions because you misread one little word that can change the scope or magnitude of the conclusion, though.

If that’s the case, then you might try writing down the conclusion exactly as it's stated in each CR passage. (With the caveat that a small percentage of CR passages don’t have a conclusion—don’t worry about writing anything down if that’s the case.) Hopefully, the act of writing down the conclusion will help you to be 100% clear about the structure of the argument, and it will help you to catch any little modifiers that might change the scope of the conclusion.

If that doesn’t seem to help, then you might be one of those individuals who doesn’t actually benefit from note-taking. Or you can try one of the many other note-taking formats out there, to see if it helps. (Odds are good that somebody from a large test-prep company will reply to this post, recommending their specific method.) For what it’s worth, the act of taking notes—as long as you’re not taking too many notes—doesn’t necessarily eat all that much time. So if it does improve your accuracy, then it’s worth spending those extra few seconds on each passage.

I hope this helps!
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Re: General CR approach, taking notes? [#permalink]

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30 Nov 2012, 10:21
GMATNinja wrote:
Sorry Roy, this is going to be a very long answer, and I'm not sure that it's going to be useful.

Here's the thing: I'm convinced that some people really need to take notes, or else their brain shuts down. My fiance is an attorney, and when she was studying for the LSAT (half of which is critical reasoning questions), she would scribble all sorts of notes all over the page. In her case, the notes are absolutely necessary: she's a kinesthetic learner, which means that her brain only functions if her hands are moving. If she doesn't take notes, she does a pretty lousy job of processing whatever she's reading. That might sound strange, but it's true for a decent percentage of the population, including plenty of GMAT students. If that's how your brain works, then note-taking is an absolutely indispensable tool for improving your verbal scores.

So at one extreme, note-taking can help engage your mind so that you can understand the text. At the other extreme, note-taking can actually make you disengage from the text. Some test-takers find it extremely unnatural to take notes, and they'll write things down only because they feel obligated; in the meantime, they're thinking too hard about what they're "supposed to write," and they lose track of the passage. Again, this doesn't apply to too many people, but I've seen a handful of students who only improved at CR (or RC) when they stopped taking notes.

So the unsatisfying answer is that everybody is different. Notes are a spectacular tool for some people, and a counterproductive tool for others. Every GMAT test-prep company recommends its own methodology for note-taking (and they have to, otherwise nobody would buy their books), but no single method is going to work for absolutely everybody.

Sorry, that was a long, philosophical, and probably useless answer.

Your performance on CR sounds like it’s pretty decent already, and it's impossible for me to guess exactly why you miss questions. I think there’s a chance that you occasionally miss questions because you misread one little word that can change the scope or magnitude of the conclusion, though.

If that’s the case, then you might try writing down the conclusion exactly as it's stated in each CR passage. (With the caveat that a small percentage of CR passages don’t have a conclusion—don’t worry about writing anything down if that’s the case.) Hopefully, the act of writing down the conclusion will help you to be 100% clear about the structure of the argument, and it will help you to catch any little modifiers that might change the scope of the conclusion.

If that doesn’t seem to help, then you might be one of those individuals who doesn’t actually benefit from note-taking. Or you can try one of the many other note-taking formats out there, to see if it helps. (Odds are good that somebody from a large test-prep company will reply to this post, recommending their specific method.) For what it’s worth, the act of taking notes—as long as you’re not taking too many notes—doesn’t necessarily eat all that much time. So if it does improve your accuracy, then it’s worth spending those extra few seconds on each passage.

I hope this helps!

Hi!
sometimes i do miss a word or two but also i think i miss some questions due to poor time management. it seems i can solve most of the CR questions if i had 3 minutes per question, but i dont.
I guess i just have to keep practicing and work on my stamina.
I will take notes in long and wordy CR's.
thanks again!
Roy
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Re: General CR approach, taking notes? [#permalink]

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02 Dec 2012, 02:05
Quote:
So at one extreme, note-taking can help engage your mind so that you can understand the text. At the other extreme, note-taking can actually make you disengage from the text. Some test-takers find it extremely unnatural to take notes, and they'll write things down only because they feel obligated; in the meantime, they're thinking too hard about what they're "supposed to write," and they lose track of the passage. Again, this doesn't apply to too many people, but I've seen a handful of students who only improved at CR (or RC) when they stopped taking notes.

EXACTLY what I think
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Re: General CR approach, taking notes?   [#permalink] 02 Dec 2012, 02:05
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