Sherlock1122 wrote:Hey Mike!
Re-reading the final 3 chapters of the trainer today. Took PT 74 yesterday and got a 170. -3 total LR, -1 LG, -8 reading comp. I am shooting for 172-175 on test day and would love to hear if you have any advice for making my reading comp score more consistent. It fluctuates widely from -1/2 all the way to that bummer on Saturday of -8. One week left till Feb and I'd like to put myself in the best position possible.
Also, you mention creating 3 * 5 note cards with tips to remember for each section. I have created some of my own but was wondering if you had any standard ones available in your resource section (if not, might be cool to include!) or if you had any essential tips that in your opinion MUST be included on the notecards. In addition any tips for maximizing study/ avoiding burnout in the final week?
Sorry for the many questions, but thank you again for all your help so far. I really enjoyed your book and it's very apparent how dedicated you are to helping people succeed on this test. If I don't get it done next week-- I'll get it done in June. Either way I'm going to get me my median top 3 LSAT score haha.
Hey Sherlock --
Awesome to hear that you've been doing so well! I love your attitude and I'm excited to see how you do on test day --
I don't have premade note cards (thank you for the suggestion), but I think those final chapters are good summaries of the main points from the book, and I think you can use them to make your own note cards if you'd like. Also, in terms of final week prep/mindset, if you haven't already, you may want to take a look at the discussions on this thread from before I the Dec. exam -- I heard from a few different students that those comments were helpful to them.
This close to the exam, your main focus should be on maximizing your existing skill set and habits, as opposed to trying to see or figure out something new - but having said that, it’s unusual to see someone with such extreme differences in RC and LR scores - your LR performance indicates that you definitely have the skills necessary for greater success on the RC section, and I wonder if there is something you can tweak in your strategies/mindset that might earn you a few more points on test day.
Here are some RC thoughts that come to mind, along with my usual caveat that you know yourself best and ought to take the advice you find useful and ignore the rest. Sorry for the wordiness and typos etc. -- figure this close to the test you don't want to wait for a more properly edited version of a response --1) Make sure you are not rushing to understanding the structure of a passage
Especially for more difficult passages, it is much easier to see the entire reasoning structure of a passage (the reason why the author organized it the way he/she did) after the fact than it is to try and correctly guess at it during your read. Give yourself a few seconds after every passage to think about and organize it in terms of reasoning structure.2) Remember one difference between LR and RC: for LR, you need to focus more on prioritizing key info. For RC, you need to focus more on organizing info in relation to priorities.
For example, in an LR q, you want to focus on and think about the conclusion of an argument much more than you do information given in the background. For RC, you want to try to be roughly even in terms of keeping in mind the role each component plays in relation to the main points being made. During your brief end-of-passage pause, it should be fairly easy (though not always necessary) for you to assign roles to each part of the passage, and, if you found a passage very difficult to read, I think taking that extra time, after the fact, to reevaluate the role each component of the passage played can help firm up your understanding and can help you save a ton of time during the questions.*** Most Important *** 3) Make sure you are fully utilizing the question stem. ***
For the RC section, I would argue that the most important words to pay attention to are the words used to define the question. Specifically, you need to assess correctly
a) whether the question is asking about something directly mentioned, an inference to be made, etc.
b) which part of the passage the question relates to &
c) how much you are expected to know/when you are supposed to go back and get info
For reference, think of the differences between these two q stems:
A. The passage discusses…
B. The author mentions “bi bim bap” in the second paragraph primarily in order to…
For the first q, I know there are no clues I can use to go back to the passage before looking at the answer choices, and I expect that
a) most of the answers will be wrong for obvious reasons - often because they do not match the theme or general subject matter of the passage
b) once I get down to one or two attractive answers, at that point I will need to go back into the text to verify.
For the second q, I am going to go into the text, find the word, read all around it, and come up with a very strong sense of what to expect from the answer before evaluating them.
In between those two extremes are a whole bunch of other q types for which the decision of when to go back to the text/where to look is more subtle -- make sure you are thinking about this decision very carefully. Speaking of which…4. Make sure you are going from general to specific in evaluating answer choices
As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, if you give me a correct three or four sentence summary of the reasoning structure/point of each of the passages, I can get the majority of RC questions correct without using the reference text.
A correct sense of reasoning structure/point makes the right answers far more attractive and the wrong answers far more obvious for a ton of different types of questions, in the same way that focusing on the argument core in LR makes your job a ton easier. Focusing on specific details or subtleties in the opinions presented and whatnot is far more difficult and time-consuming.
A common issue I’ve seen students have is that they don’t pay enough attention to reasoning structure as they read, then as a result they are far more dependent than they need to be on details/matching up when it comes to evaluating answers - this makes questions harder, and it makes questions take more time.
Make sure you are focused on developing as correct an understanding of the overall reasoning structure/point(s) of the passage as you read, and utilize it as much as possible as your first line of evaluation when it comes to answer choices.
I suggest that you focus on the above issues as you review your final RC performances (and you can also go back and review some of your recent RC performances on these terms as well) --
Specifically, think about how you went about solving each problem, and, in retrospect, evaluate the “ideal” process you could have used had you understood the passage perfectly, utilized the q stem perfectly, and found the simplest and most accurate ways to evaluate the answers.
When you study the problems that caused you the most issues, think about them in terms of the above points - did they cause you problems because
a) you didn’t see the structure of the passage during your read as clearly as you should have?
***b) you didn’t fully or correctly utilize the q stem? If so, what should you have done differently?***
c) did you have to work too hard in evaluating the answers? If so, what were some more obvious giveaways of incorrect answers and why didn’t you notice them initially?
I know that all the above is discussed in the book, but I hope that was helpful -- congrats again for getting to such a lofty level, and best of luck on test day --