The Rewards of Rereading
- Jun 07, 2018
- General LSAT Advice, LSAT
Logical Reasoning stimuli are generally quite dense. In deceptively small paragraphs, they contain nuanced propositions that you can expect to be tested on.
In encountering this complex material, even savvy students can struggle to catch all of the relevant content during their first read. Indeed, I’ve seen this happen with countless 160+ scorers.
Mastering Logical Reasoning, however, demands a thorough understanding of the stimulus. It’s not that every piece of minutia is always crucial. But you must be apprised of matters like what sort of claim was made in the conclusion, what flaws were committed, how the argument proceeded structurally, etc. A mere cursory understanding of the stimulus is hardly sufficient.
Opprobrium towards rereading it, then, escapes me.
Concerns about rereading the stimulus emerge from fear of the clock. Given the stringent time constraints on the LSAT, test takers grow anxious that they can only afford to read everything once.
That’s not necessarily the case. When you read the stimulus a second (or even third) time, you’re better able to perceive key subtleties than you were the first time you read. During the first read, you get a general sense of what’s occurring. During the second read, you refine that sense.
The reward of rereading, then, is a deeper processing of an often tricky stimulus — which allows you to gain confidence in an anticipation, and move through the answer choices more swiftly and accurately. Overall, you can save time — and earn points — when you make that extra investment up front.
Also, the second time you read something, you’re already basically acquainted with what’s coming. So, it shouldn’t take you as long as the first read. That means you’re not necessarily doubling the time spent reading the stimulus when you read it a second time.
Admittedly, the danger of rereading is that you may tune out during your first read. So don’t do that. As a test taker, you must always remain alert and engaged. Your second read is not a replacement for a sloppy first; instead, treat it as a supplement or enhancement to your best initial shot.
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