#1
I find it really hard to hear the strumming pattern on rhythm parts I'm trying to imitate. How do you guys go by doing this? Just listening to it over and over and trying it until you get it right?

Just as an example I'm trying to get the rhythm part of this song down: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pM3u-rlTUV4

I've got all the chords down... it's just that I can't really imitate the pattern.
#2
Eh, usually I don't get it exact, but something close. Just listening to it over and over, till it sounds close is what I tend to do.
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#3
Once you learn a song, you're the one playing it, so strum it how you please. If you're trying to get it to sound as close as possible, do just that, but don't worry about getting it exact.