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Mod Nightblade's Quick Guide to CR Proficiency

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Mod Nightblade's Quick Guide to CR Proficiency  [#permalink]

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New post 08 May 2019, 07:38
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Hello all,

Many of you ask me each day "Nightblade, how did you get so good at CR?", or "Can you show me how to become as proficient as you", and my favorite "How can I be as handsome as you?". While I can answer the first two, the last one will have to be discussed at a later date. I am, indeed, a tutor, and while I offer these services, I truly believe that they are not needed; this line of thinking right here is the reason why I am probably not going to business school.

CR is not the most fun, but it is, in my opinion, the most learnable verbal section. My personal views on RC and SC are not overly positive when it comes to their learning curves. Regardless, there is a fundamental way to approach CR to learn it effectively and quickly.

Resources needed:

The items I am listing here should be considered inclusive enough to get you to a 700-level proficiency (where you are getting 7/10 on 700+) in CR:

1. Powerscore Summary: https://gmatclub.com/forum/how-to-impro ... l#p2123153
(I used the MGMAT book as well, so this would be fine too)

2. LSAT Question Filter : https://gmatclub.com/forum/search.php?s ... ag_id=1320
(If you google "official LSAT test book", you will get a group of 10 tests per book. Each book has 500+ questions for CR, so this is also an option)

3. Official Guide Book

4. Sufficient Vs. Necessary Conditions: https://7sage.com/lsat-logic-sufficient ... onditions/
*Note, this one is optional and should be used only if you feel proficient. This is for 700+ test takers who want to push their CR skills to the next level.

Steps:

1. Read the Powerscore Summary posted
Why: The goal of this, simply, is to learn the basics. For beginners, read the whole thing (as I say below, know everything in here if you haven't read another book yet). For those who are a little more proficient, memorize the premises, conclusions, and background indicators (they are highlighted in red). This is one of the most important things you can do for the GMAT. If you cannot identify the premises and conclusion(s), you are going to get a lot of questions wrong that you should not get wrong. The GMAT will exploit those who do not have a knowledge of this. You also need to ensure that you know the basics. By this, I mean the types of question types. You need to know how/why to negate assumption questions. You need to know that inference questions want information that is given and nothing else. Reading this summary, or any other for that matter, will build your basics and provide you with the foundation you need to improve. Now, let's get back to why premises vs. conclusions is important.

Let's demonstrate how important this is. Argument: Nightblade354 is going to go to law school, because he is studying for the LSAT. The premise: "because he is studying for the LSAT"; the conclusion: " Nightblade354 is going to go to law school". Very rarely, if ever, will an argument attempt to strengthen or weaken another argument by going after the conclusion. Would it really be a tough question if a weakener answer choice was "Nightblade354 decided he isn't going to law school"? This would be too obvious; it would be a horrible question because everyone would get it correct. This is why answer choices do not attack the conclusion directly. The key to the question is that the argument will attack the premise or the space between the premise and the conclusion. To strengthen the argument above, one might say "Nightblade has already paid his first year's tuition in advance". To weaken the argument, one might say "But, Nightblade hasn't studied for the test in 10 years". Both of these attack the premise and the space between the premises and the conclusion. This is why you need to know the difference.

2. Beginning to Practice
Why: Before moving onto this step, make sure you know your basics and can do them well! Know the information above! With that said, practice is key on both the GMAT and on the LSAT. The more you see something, the more you become comfortable with it. And the more you become comfortable with something, the easier it is to work with and identify. A 700-level CR question is asking you to do the same thing a sub-600 level question is asking you to do, just in a more challenging way. If you can identify certain patterns ahead of time, you will be able to break down questions far faster. For sources, use only OG and LSAT questions. We have over 1200 LSAT questions and numerous other OG questions. These questions will never be of poor quality and the LSAT, being more challenging, will force you to improve and become a better test taker.

What to do:
Overkill on practice is never a good thing. You have to take the resources available to you and utilize them effectively. If you are not getting the most out of each question, you are essentially throwing that question away. The amount you practice shouldn't vary much, and should consist of about 10 questions per day of practice (going every other day won't kill your score). This may seem like a low number, but it might overwhelm you if you follow the steps below. By the way, you can deviate from 10 and decrease or increase your workload depending on your schedule. I would say a minimum of 5 during a session, but no more than 15.

For the 10 question method, I like to break the questions up. I do this by level, not by type. If are specifically weak in one area, then apply the below method to each type you want to practice. Once you have the number that you want to practice, break them up evenly. If you are doing 10, do 5 questions at a level where you can get 8-9 out of 10 (so 4-5 per 5 you attempt). And do 5 questions at the next level above this. For example, let's say you get 85% on 600-700 level questions. Do 5 at this level, and 5 at the 700+ level.

Annotation is a big part of what I do to make the questions speak to me, if you will. When you are reading each question, put "P" next to the premise and a "C" next to the conclusion. I understand that most, if not all, of you are practicing online; and I understand the test is on a computer, but hear me out on this one. When practicing, if you begin to write out each letter, you will begin to do it automatically on the screen in front of you. In order to do this, you will have print out the questions. But, I guarantee that this will enable you to increase your speed and efficiency.

3. Blind Review:
Why: Blind Review is what LSAT test takers utilize. It is where you review the problems without looking at the answers (details below). If you practice a question and just look at the OA once you have answered the question, you are not doing yourself any favors; in fact, you are burning a good question. Blind Review allows you to get everything you can out of each question.

How it works is very simple: Answer your questions under timed conditions (timing will be discussed below). Once you have answered your questions, do not look at the OA. Put down your pencil and focus on a different section entirely. If you do not feel like studying, take a walk or watch a movie. Do something to wipe your mind. Once a few hours have passed and your mind has reset, go back to the questions. Now, untimed, answer the questions again (make sure to cover up and not look at your original answers). Write out an explanation for each answer choice, explaining why it is right or wrong. Also write out any assumptions that would have to be made to make your answer correct. For more fun, change the question to make it work for each answer choice (the question altering portion of this is optional and time consuming). Once you have done this, check your original answers. If your answer changed, mark it. If it didn't, you better be correct. Now, check the OA. If the OA is different from your Blind Review and original answer, come to the forum and ask for help/look for explanations. If your Blind Review answer was correct, you are good. If your original was correct, but you changed it, examine why you made the change and come to the forum.

Learning from the experts:
This step is as important as the Blind Review. How you learn from experts is going to dictate a portion of your progress. Think about the above for a minute. When you Blind Review, you are using your knowledge in an untimed manner; there is no pressure. But if you are still getting the question wrong, or you have any doubts, that means that your thought process and/or approach is probably off. This is why you need to take the time to review experts' posts and learn from them. And why should you do this? Because these posts are usually high-quality and full of helpful tips. They are also a great way to gain some insight into how experts approach questions. Learning how to break down a question, and learning how to approach a question, are key. For example, we all need to learn at some point that when the question talks about city X, but an answer says city Y is similar, we need to know that we do not care about city Y. We could have a cloned city next to the real city, but it could still be a totally different set of circumstances (what if one city is in the U.S. and one is in Canada?). In this instance, would the laws be the same? Nope. After reviewing an expert's post and how they approach the question, if you feel you still don't understand something, ask a question! Tag an expert/the expert! Not knowing will do you no good in the long run. Thinking like an expert and approaching a question like an expert is what we all strive to achieve, and one of the best ways to do so is to learn their approach and their thoughts. If you feel, after reviewing a question, that you cannot do the question like an expert, re-review it over and over again until you feel that you can do the question like an expert. After all, that is the goal, right?

Timing: I always aimed to hit under 2:00, but would guess if I hit 2:30 or 3:00 and still didn't have the answer. Timing is different for everyone, so this is just a general guiding principle.

4. Things to watch out for:
If you are at this point, then you should have read the summary and have begun practicing. Kudos! But, your journey is still not complete. The GMAT is a tricky test; its goal is to make you believe or see something that isn't there. One of the best things you can do for the GMAT is to pretend like the real world doesn't exist. The GMAT and LSAT both play on your natural assumptions of the real world. Do not let this happen to you. Most importantly, DO NOT MAKE ANY ASSUMPTIONS. If a question doesn't say something, do not believe that that information is there.

Also, do not forget to understand what you are reading! This may sound ridiculous, but once people start solving questions using the methods above, they forget to understand what they are reading. Do not let this happen to you! You cannot solve a problem if you do not understand the material within it.

In this explanation, I break down how some people would make assumptions for certain answer choices: https://gmatclub.com/forum/cellular-pho ... 82301.html
By the way, this is what your Blind Review should look like. Maybe not with the color added, but it should go into detail and assure you that the answer is 100% correct.

Summary:

Your first job is to read a book or summary to become familiar with the test. Then your goal is to know the material, and apply it to questions. You should then blind review until you are able to understand everything within the question. If this doesn't work, come to the forum and ask for help. Once you have refined your techniques, you will begin to see the pitfalls that the GMAT wants you to fall into. But this comes only through dedicated practice. Once you have the basics, get into the nitty gritty of the each question. If your basics are flawed, focus on those first. You will not do yourself any favors if you cannot do the basic stuff well!
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Re: Mod Nightblade's Quick Guide to CR Proficiency  [#permalink]

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New post 15 May 2019, 20:18
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Fantastic job! Thanks for putting this together! Really appreciate to have this Guide on GMAT Club, esp from someone with an LSAT background.

Thanks!
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Re: Mod Nightblade's Quick Guide to CR Proficiency  [#permalink]

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New post 15 May 2019, 22:37
Thanks a lot buddy. The post is an eye opener.

Kudos. :)
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Re: Mod Nightblade's Quick Guide to CR Proficiency  [#permalink]

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New post 16 May 2019, 21:30
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Good day nightblade354

I've just started my CR section, so this is tremendous help for me!
Thank you so much for your time and initiative!!!!!!!!
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Re: Mod Nightblade's Quick Guide to CR Proficiency  [#permalink]

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New post 23 May 2019, 00:01
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A very well articulated post for solving CR.KUDOS to you nightblade354

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Re: Mod Nightblade's Quick Guide to CR Proficiency  [#permalink]

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New post 27 May 2019, 11:21
Thanks for the advice.
Dedicated

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Re: Mod Nightblade's Quick Guide to CR Proficiency  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Jun 2019, 09:47
Hi nightblade354 woooow super post . :clap: :ok

Thanks for the detailed explanation and documents . :cool:
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Re: Mod Nightblade's Quick Guide to CR Proficiency  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Jun 2019, 21:43
nightblade354 wrote:
Hello all,

Many of you ask me each day "Nightblade, how did you get so good at CR?", or "Can you show me how to become as proficient as you", and my favorite "How can I be as handsome as you?". While I can answer the first two, the last one will have to be discussed at a later date. I am, indeed, a tutor, and while I offer these services, I truly believe that they are not needed; this line of thinking right here is the reason why I am probably not going to business school.

Summary: [/color]
Your first job is to read a book or summary to become familiar with the test. Then your goal is to know the material, and apply it to questions. You should then blind review until you are able to understand everything within the question. If this doesn't work, come to the forum and ask for help. Once you have refined your techniques, you will begin to see the pitfalls that the GMAT wants you to fall into. But this comes only through dedicated practice. Once you have the basics, get into the nitty gritty of the each question. If your basics are flawed, focus on those first. You will not do yourself any favors if you cannot do the basic stuff well!


A Very Hearty Thanks to you nightblade354 for the comprehensive summary !!

I fared very poorly in CR in GMAT, hope this will help me..
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Re: Mod Nightblade's Quick Guide to CR Proficiency   [#permalink] 21 Jun 2019, 21:43
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