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An efficient method for analyzing the performance of finite-length low-density parity-check (LDPC) codes in the waterfall region, when transmission takes place on a memoryless binary-input output-symmetric channel is proposed. This method is based on studying the variations of the channel quality around its expected value when observed during the transmission of a finite-length codeword. We model these variations with a single parameter. This parameter is then viewed as a random variable and its probability distribution function is obtained. Assuming that a decoding failure is the result of an observed channel worse than the codeiquests decoding threshold, the block error probability of finite-length LDPC codes under different decoding algorithms is estimated. Using an extrinsic information transfer chart analysis, the bit error probability is obtained from the block error probability. Different parameters can be used for modeling the channel variations. In this work, two of such parameters are studied. Through examples, it is shown that this method can closely predict the performance of LDPC codes of a few thousand bits or longer in the waterfall region.