Which one of the following statements most accurately characterizes a difference between the two passages?

Dan-Engel on December 5, 2019

what are we reading first?

Are we told in the video to FIRST Read the passage and ONLY then read the stem (question) and determine the type of question? Would it not make sense to reverse the order? Read the stem first so we can read the passage with the question in mind, knowing what the task is, what we are looking for?

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BenMingov on December 5, 2019

Hi Dan, thanks for the question!

This really just comes down to preference. There are pros and cons to both approaches.

Reading passage first: Good for critically evaluating the passage as a whole and not allowing yourself to overly focus on any one thing or ignore any one thing. Bad for when a question specifically only required something simple to be noted, and you could have saved time if you knew what to look for before.

Reading question first: Good for saving time in certain scenarios as mentioned above, but bad for opening the door to bad habits, such as skimming and reading selectively.

All in all, if you are reading at a reasonable pace and critically evaluating the passage as you go, either approach should work. Do what feels right for you.

In my own study, I started by reading the passage first and then the question because, in my opinion, it solidifies good LSAT habits. But as I improved, I reversed the order because I better trusted my ability to not read selectively, but rather read with a focus on my task.

I hope this helped. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Dan-Engel on December 5, 2019

The intro to LR lesson specifically indicates to read the passage first.
In order to determine if the passage is FACT or ARGUMENT. If argument, we need to 'analyze' it.
But also We should only read it once.
This means that we will be reading the passage and thinking about 2 things at the same time (fact/argument and analyzing the passage).

if we dont follow the method in the video (course), how can we learn and use your approach?

BenMingov on December 6, 2019

Hi Dan,

I understand your concern. I think the point I am trying to make is that regardless which portion you read first (passage or stem), you will still be determining whether the passage is fact or argument while you are reading the passage. There is no need to read it twice unless you notice that you misunderstood it.

Following the course methods is definitely the recommended approach while using the course, however I believe that there are multiple topics in LSAT study that are subjective. E.g. which portion to read first, what to note in RC, how to diagram certain games. Sometimes, there is no right vs wrong answer with regard to these ideas simply because there are multiple viable methods.

I offered my own opinion and experience on the matter to demonstrate that if you do not prefer to read the passage first, the choice is yours, and you will not be at a disadvantage doing otherwise.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.