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The MGMAT CR guide suggests using a strategy called [#permalink]
05 Jan 2010, 10:16
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The MGMAT CR guide suggests using a strategy called "diagramming" which is the process of taking shorthand notes describing the CR premises and conclusion (when appropriate). This can be a useful strategy when the wording is complicated, but MGMAT suggests always performing this task. I find with a huge majority of the CR questions, diagramming is an unnecessary step to understanding the overall question.
Do you guys use the tactic of diagramming sometimes, always, never? What are your thoughts?
I tend to never use this method. Only with the insanely tough CR problems is this remotely necessary IMO. And even with those, if it's so hard that you find yourself making this huge diagram and wasting time, it's probably best to make an educated guess and move on.
Diagramming may be useful as you are first learning to deal with CR questions, especially challenging ones. If it works for you great, but I would find it real time consuming and quite frankly, a distraction.
When I did the LSAT a few years ago my best technique was intense, teetering on delusional, amounts of practice. You'll begin to see patterns, identify common tricks and traps, and you'll progress as a result - without diagramming. I found even when talking with friends I'd be in autopilot mode thinking "what would strength what he just said, what assumption did he just make", etc. hahaha
If it helps great but I'd think it would slow me down too much. Maybe just save it for the harder ones?
I learned to not diagram CR during my LSAT days. I had to skip the entire diagramming section in the MGMAT CR guide. I found it way too distracting and time consuming. The only potential benefit I see is that since GMAT isn't a paper-based test, you cannot make notes on the question/answer choices. Writing keywords down may help with recall.
I am using the MGMAT CR book and I do find diagramming to be a great strategy but it takes lot of time. So it would be better to reserve this for questions that we find hard. I do jot down a few imp thngs as I read a passage for CR
By week 7 of my class I hope that the bulk of my students are *not* diagramming on most CR questions. Opinions will differ among various instructors (in our company and at others) but especially for those scoring above 650, it's not realistic to diagram on every single CR question.
In order to get to the point where you don't have to diagram on most questions (when I took the real test the first time, I think I ended up diagramming on 2-3 of the hardest questions, and that was it)--you must have some sort of repeatable framework for synthesizing the information you're reading. For most of my students, that means meticulously practicing some form of diagramming early on to build in a mental structure for *how to understand* a CR argument (and answer choices). Eventually, with practice, the need for the external signs of that structure (written notes on paper) melts away-- it's like like ditching training wheels on a bicycle. BUT I notice over and over again, especially for those students who are not strong in CR to begin with, that a lack of a diagramming process early on during study because it "takes too much time" will result in much less improvement in the long run than those who were willing to slog through the diagramming at the beginning of the ordeal and can eventually let it go.
I'm also of the opinion that no one method is right for everyone, so you should adapt your diagramming method to what suits you. For example, some of my students want a more simple bullet-point way of notating, so I encourage them to follow that impulse, making sure to put a box around the conclusion and add "+" or "-" to designate premises for or against the conclusion.
In new-agey terms, there are many doors to the same room Just make sure you *have* a door, and that it's comfortable for you.
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