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# CR "Diagram The Argument" Waste of Time or Helpful Technique

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Manager
Joined: 22 Oct 2012
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26 Feb 2013, 08:43
Hey everyone,

The MGMAT CR book advises the test taker to "diagram the argument" i.e. take notes on an argument. This seems to me like it could be an inefficient use of time, but maybe I haven't given this technique enough practice.

What do you all think? Inefficient use of time Vs. A helpful technique that requires practice.
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Re: CR "Diagram The Argument" Waste of Time or Helpful Technique [#permalink]

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26 Feb 2013, 08:54
I've been studying for a while and have always used this strategy for every CR problem, but I'm not in the 700 club, my best practice CAT was 650 MGMAT.

I'm taking the official exam in three weeks. Also curious if 700 clubbers do this.

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Re: CR "Diagram The Argument" Waste of Time or Helpful Technique [#permalink]

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26 Feb 2013, 09:06
I used the MGMAT books, but I did not use this strategy. I tried it for a few problems and found that I really didn't gain anything from it.

Everyone is different, though. If taking notes on and diagramming the argument help you visualize what things may strengthen or weaken it, then you should stick with the strategy (assuming you can do it in a reasonable amount of time of course).

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Re: CR "Diagram The Argument" Waste of Time or Helpful Technique [#permalink]

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26 Feb 2013, 10:10
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I didn't do it. I was lazy. Worked out fine.

See what works for you. Everyone follows a diff. method. If you think its eating a lot of time, try doing ques. without it. If accuracy is compromised (rarity), go back and try to increase your speed.

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MBA Section Director
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Re: CR "Diagram The Argument" Waste of Time or Helpful Technique [#permalink]

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26 Feb 2013, 10:14
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Expert's post
ngould wrote:
Hey everyone,

The MGMAT CR book advises the test taker to "diagram the argument" i.e. take notes on an argument. This seems to me like it could be an inefficient use of time, but maybe I haven't given this technique enough practice.

What do you all think? Inefficient use of time Vs. A helpful technique that requires practice.

I think its NOT good unless its a REALLY complex argument
Here is my reasoning.
The more you diagram, the more you rely on it for comprehension and that NOT what the test needs really. Diagramming or writing tons of notes completely screws up your comprehension skills. And remember that COMMON SENSE plays a MAJOR part in CR questions such as strengthen/weaken and evaluate.
So I would not recommend it.
There is a reason MGMAT did a complete overhaul of the 4th edition CR.
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Re: CR "Diagram The Argument" Waste of Time or Helpful Technique [#permalink]

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26 Feb 2013, 10:26
CR bible & MGMAT CR both promote "diagram the argument method" and they are very popular. I, too, don't like the diagramming methods. In fact, I don't like taking notes at all in the verbal part. What are the other popular CR guides that don't promote diagramming?

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Senior Manager
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Re: CR "Diagram The Argument" Waste of Time or Helpful Technique [#permalink]

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26 Feb 2013, 10:27
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Expert's post
ngould wrote:
Hey everyone,

The MGMAT CR book advises the test taker to "diagram the argument" i.e. take notes on an argument. This seems to me like it could be an inefficient use of time, but maybe I haven't given this technique enough practice.

What do you all think? Inefficient use of time Vs. A helpful technique that requires practice.

Hi nhould,

I've been there; I was also confused about the note taking approach. I practiced both the approaches and used my judgement to decide which way to approach a CR or an RC question. The whole idea behind note taking is to understand the different structures and the argument as a whole. If you can do so without taking the notes you are good to go. If you have time then practice both the approaches and find out what suits your way of solving questions. The pro of note taking is that it is methodical and less prone to errors so more accurate, but the cons is that it may consume a lot of your time sometimes. On the other hand the read --> prethink --> attack approach is not so methodical and could be prone to errors if you are not able to understand the argument properly. If someone is just starting with CR then note taking will be a good approach to develop a comfort level in identifying the various structures and question types/ approaches. Moreover, for number and percentages one should write down the stuff to come to a conclusion etc.

Bottom-line: Ultimate objective should be to completely understand the argument and what exactly the question stem is asking whatever approach you follow.

Hope this helps,

Vercules
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Re: CR "Diagram The Argument" Waste of Time or Helpful Technique [#permalink]

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27 Feb 2013, 11:33
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This is what I suggest to my students:

1. For assumption based questions such as find the assumption, strengthen and weaken, just try to get the main conclusion written down.

eg. If NO rain -> Inflation UP

Most errors are caused in this question type by not understanding the correct conclusion.

2. For content based questions such as find the conclusion, resolve the paradox, try to summarize the information in your own words.

eg. 5 years ago -> x people saw movies in a multiplex
Now -> x + y people see movies in a multiplex

Hence, either (a) more multiplexes, OR (b) other options such as single-screen theaters have reduced.

Apart from this, its pointless to make detailed maps on the test. Your reptilian brain will never be able to digest all of the information - that too under stress

Arun
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Re: CR "Diagram The Argument" Waste of Time or Helpful Technique [#permalink]

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28 Feb 2013, 09:42
ngould wrote:
Hey everyone,

The MGMAT CR book advises the test taker to "diagram the argument" i.e. take notes on an argument. This seems to me like it could be an inefficient use of time, but maybe I haven't given this technique enough practice.

What do you all think? Inefficient use of time Vs. A helpful technique that requires practice.

I think it's really helpful. I did it on my second GMAt try, both for CR and for RC; i raised my score from 590 to 700

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Re: CR "Diagram The Argument" Waste of Time or Helpful Technique [#permalink]

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28 Feb 2013, 16:18
Vercules wrote:
If someone is just starting with CR then note taking will be a good approach to develop a comfort level in identifying the various structures and question types/ approaches.

This. I think it is extremely helpful to initially practice note taking and diagramming the argument to better familiarize yourself with understanding structure. If you force yourself to do this and then eventually ween yourself off of it, you will be much more proficient and efficient at understanding arguments in your head. In my opinion, those who never force this structure on themselves will find it harder to do well on these questions, especially the more complex ones.

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Re: CR "Diagram The Argument" Waste of Time or Helpful Technique   [#permalink] 28 Feb 2013, 16:18
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# CR "Diagram The Argument" Waste of Time or Helpful Technique

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