Useful Answers + Hot Tips From Dave Hall of Velocity

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Dave Hall
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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Dave Hall » Thu Jul 03, 2014 8:16 pm

I think at one point there may have been a question someone had for me, but dear heavens there's been a lot of... other stuff... since then.

So, if you want some help with something (and especially if your question got buried in the avalanche of—what's the word for what went on here?), please let me know; I'm happy to help.

Also, all the explanations are live for PrepTest 72 (except the first half of the 2nd LR section. I knew I wouldn't be able to finish the whole section, so I started with the last half—I figure that's where your questions are most likely).

They're free, and they start here.

Have a cheerful and kindness-filled day,

d
Last edited by Dave Hall on Thu Jul 03, 2014 9:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Dave Hall » Thu Jul 03, 2014 9:04 pm

So, I got this in a PM, and figured that the sender isn't the only one with this question:

Name Redacted wrote:Hi Dave, I had a question. Feel free to post it in your thread, I PM because I want to avoid a shit storm.


I hear you. I've redacted your name.

Name Redacted wrote:So basically, I've been getting 19-21 correct per LR section timed and untimed I get about 22 to perfect score.

I use a PT scorer, and what I've found is I miss primarily assumption / inference questions

So should I just drill them? The reason I ask is because sometimes I think its not necessarily the question type.. maybe its some other type of issue? I'm not sure if its simply "oh, I must just be worse at inference questions!". But maybe that is exactly whats going on?

This information is based off of 6 full sections of LR that I've input into the PT scorer.

Thanks.


Yeah, I think there are at least two different (likely) causes. I think they're roughly equally plausible (not knowing you and your work so far). Both have roughly the same solution.

Here's what I think:

1. Maybe you really are not up to snuff with Necessary Assumption and Inference questions. Here's how you can test that: use your system to try to answer some of those questions.

Now, whether your original answers were right or wrong, when you check those answers against the key, is it clear why the right answers adhere to what your system says they should do?

If your system works, there should be a sort of "a-ha!" moment when you see the right answer. It should fit the outlines dictated by your system.

If you cannot see—pretty much right away—why the right answer is right, then that likely means there's a chink in your system. If that's the case, either get help from someone who has a working system, or do some backsolving (that is, reverse-engineer a systematic approach based on the right answers to the questions).

2. Maybe there's something else (something aside from the type of question being asked) that's making the ones you missed difficult for you. Since those two question types are pretty different from each other, it's hard for me to believe that there's an underlying similarity causing both issues.

This suggests that the problems may be ad hoc. Now, this is probably (in the end) actually good news—it likely means that you simply don't have a solid system for dealing with these two types of question. If that's the case, then your job is to develop such a system.

There are two ways of doing that: either get help from someone who has a working system, or do some backsolving as described above.

Here are some tips for getting Necessary Assumption + Inference questions right:

Inference Questions
For inference questions, remember that the right answer is something that you can prove based on the passage, right?

So, think about it this way: If you have four or five lines' worth of passage, how likely is it that in those few lines you'll be able to prove that "Most successful entrepreneurs have engaged in and enjoyed carnal relations with root vegetables"? Not likely at all, right? I mean, to prove it, you'd have to know how many successful entrepreneurs there are in the world, plus how many of them have engaged in the disgusting relationships indicated here. And if a passage had told you that much information, it would be too easy to answer.

Instead, you're much more likely to prove that "At least some successful entrepreneurs have engaged in and enjoyed carnal relations with root vegetables." To so prove, you don't need to know how many successful entrepreneurs there are in the world, and you don't need to know how many of that aggregate have filthy, filthy habits. You'd only need one example in order to prove that "some" enjoy those relations.

What I'm saying is this:

When you've got it down to two choices in an Inference question, choose the one with smaller, softer language every time. Generally, you'll eschew words like most, usually, all, never, and only, in favor of words like some, sometimes, not all, and not always.

Necessary Assumption Questions

The right answer to the Necessary Assumption is, well... necessary to the conclusion. It's a piece of evidence that the argument needed, but left out.

This means two things for us:

1. The right answer will often be small. Like most other necessary things in the world, the right answer is not likely to be something big and aggressive. Consider the things we need in life. We don't need the $600 bottle of Cristal, we don't need the McMansion - or the McDonald's, for that matter - we need only some food, some shelter, something to drink. In the same way that our physical needs tend most often to be little, the right answer to the Necessary Assumption question will tend to be little. Expect often to see the word "some" or "not all" and the like.

2. The right answer is necessary - meaning essential, required, un-live-without-able, right? In other words, if you take it away, the argument will die without it. So, when you think you've found the right answer, ask yourself this question: "If this answer choice weren't true, would the conclusion still make sense?" If the conclusion can live without the answer choice, it's not the right answer! If the right answer isn't true, then the conclusion of the argument will become stupid. This is because the conclusion depended on the truth of the right answer.

So, when choosing between two answer choices in Necessary Assumption questions, choose the smaller answer, and try the test discussed in point 2 above.

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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Tyr » Sun Sep 28, 2014 10:16 am

Hi Dave,
What is your philosophy on diagramming in the logic reasoning section? It seems some companies advocate doing it a lot while others really try to avoid it.

Thanks!

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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Dave Hall » Sun Sep 28, 2014 9:07 pm

Tyr wrote:Hi Dave,
What is your philosophy on diagramming in the logic reasoning section? It seems some companies advocate doing it a lot while others really try to avoid it.

Thanks!

I guess I'm in the middle—I'd say the best way to think of conditional symbolization is as a tool - really, in pretty much precisely the way you'd think about a hammer.

When you're driving a nail, there's just nothing better for the job than a hammer. I mean, you could do it another way (whacking at it with your tape measure, or with the sharp end of your screwdriver, if you're really precise and awesome with a screwdriver), but for putting a nail in, the hammer is your best bet.

At the same time, however, you don't go running downstairs to your toolbox to fetch your hammer every time you need to push in a thumbtack.

Conditional symbols are like that hammer - you should use them when you find they help you see the relationships, and you should feel fine with not using them if you can decipher the relationship in the passage easily without them.

As to language cues that tell you that you've got a conditional relationship, I'll direct you to this document, which contains all the conditional language in the world*.

(*probably not, really, but I am updating it every time I come across conditional language that isn't already on it. So, you know…)

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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Tyr » Wed Oct 08, 2014 8:02 am

Hey Dave,
I enrolled in the online class and thus far, I have to say I'm really liking it. One thing that I think goes unappreciated is question difficulty for examples. Every other book I've used to prep usually uses easy to moderately difficult questions. It seems in your examples and practice problems (which are many) you're using moderate to difficult questions. I'm basing this on most of the questions being from the end of the LR sections. I really think this is so much more helpful to really learn the material rather than giving us the low-hanging fruit then patting us on the head for getting something easy correct.


Soon, LSAT, Soon...


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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From the Guy Who Got 3 180s

Postby Dave Hall » Wed Oct 08, 2014 10:55 pm

Tyr wrote:Hey Dave,
I enrolled in the online class and thus far, I have to say I'm really liking it. One thing that I think goes unappreciated is question difficulty for examples. Every other book I've used to prep usually uses easy to moderately difficult questions. It seems in your examples and practice problems (which are many) you're using moderate to difficult questions. I'm basing this on most of the questions being from the end of the LR sections. I really think this is so much more helpful to really learn the material rather than giving us the low-hanging fruit then patting us on the head for getting something easy correct.


Soon, LSAT, Soon...


1. Thanks for the visual. This is definitely what you'll be doing to the test.

2. Thanks for noticing that; it's a product of design. My thinking is that if you have a strong system in place, it should work for questions of all difficulty level. Plus, if the question is harder to intuit your way through, then it's more likely that you'll use—and thereby grow accustomed to—my methods. I'm glad it's helping!

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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From Dave Hall of Velocity

Postby Dave Hall » Wed Nov 26, 2014 7:51 pm

We've got new awesome free prep stuff for you. Are you ready for a million links? BECAUSE HERE THEY ARE:

1. Right now, you can time, grade and track any PrepTest published this millennium right here.

2. We have begun releasing my explanations for why the right answers are correct for every single question from this millennium (this is still in progress; if you don't see the question you want, request it and I'll make it my next addition).

3. We've got a new section full of admissions info and tips: check it out starting here.

4. We've got a list of every LR question type and what it's asking you to do. You'll find it here.

5. We've got a rotating video tip of the day section up here.

I think you'll like the new stuff, and we'd love to hear how you're using it, what you're loving, and what we could do to make your life better.

Dave (on behalf of your pals at Velocity)

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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From Dave Hall of Velocity

Postby Dave Hall » Wed Nov 26, 2014 8:00 pm

OH OH OH AND ALSO!

I can't believe I forgot this part! We've introduced the world's best guarantee!

Seriously! If our course doesn't help you, you won't have to pay for it (you just have to actually take the course; full details are here).

And if you see some other guarantee from some other course, and you think it's somehow better than our money-back version, we'll match that guarantee for you instead.

It's just not a risk when the course is this good.

d

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Post removed.

Postby mornincounselor » Sat Nov 29, 2014 6:03 pm

Post removed.
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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From Dave Hall of Velocity

Postby Dave Hall » Mon Dec 01, 2014 9:51 pm

mornincounselor wrote:Dave, I liked your recent guest spot on the Thinking LSAT podcast. It's very reminiscent of those great free explanations you offer for every prep test. Here's a question:

I'm finishing up recent LG sections in between 27-32 minutes. But I feel most of this remainder time is wasted. I don't have a system for tagging difficult/problematic questions for review like I do for the other sections. Most of these mistakes come from carless errors -- like forgetting the question is an EXCEPT when I'm half way through it. Besides the replacement equivalency question I'm unsure how to best use this remaining time.

One solution it to just slow down while I'm doing each game, but sometimes I need every bit of that extra time (like with 73). So I don't want to make a major change like that. I just want some kind of guidance for selecting questions that I could best use that extra time on.

For some baseline I finished PT 65 in 27 minutes missing 3 (4, 19, 21); finished 64 in 31 minutes missing 3 (4, 12, 17) and 63 in 29 minutes missing 3 (14, 17, 19)

Any advice would be great, thanks. 7 DAYS till SHOWTIME.

So, we've got to find a way to cut down careless errors, and we've got some time to spend, but we don't want to bank on having a lot of extra time. I think we can do this. Here's what I suggest (this also happens to be what I do, for the most part):

1. For every question you answer, scan all five answer choices just to make sure the other 4 are wrong.

2. If an eye scan is too difficult or time-consuming, circle that question instead.

3. If you have time when you're done with the section, take another look at the questions where you didn't scan the answer choices.

In this way, we use a very small amount of the extra time you're likely to have, while you're working, with the possibility of using any remaining time in a useful, productive way once you're finished.

Worst case, you don't end up with any extra time, and all your scans showed that you'd picked the right answer, so you haven't gained anything. But best case? Your scans catch your careless errors, and you use your extra time to confirm (or correct) one or two questions you didn't scan.

P.S. Thanks for the kind words!

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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From Dave Hall of Velocity

Postby Dave Hall » Mon Jan 05, 2015 9:27 pm

Hi,

Just letting you guys know that I've uploaded explanations for the right answers to all the LR + Games from PrepTest 74 (I'm headed out of town now, so the RC will sadly have to wait a week).

My intention with all of this is to give you a resource for all the times when you go, "Wait; why is the right answer (B)?! WTF?"

I hope you find it useful in that instance.

See you next week,

d

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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From Dave Hall of Velocity

Postby North » Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:10 pm

Hey Dave. Shoot me a PM if you're interested in offering a prize for this year's rankings prediction contest. Here's this year's thread: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=243939. This is the third year I've put it on, and I'd like to continue the tradition of expanding the available prizes. In return for putting up prizes, you’ll get some pretty good exposure for your company in what is a perennially popular thread on TLS (last year’s thread had more than 25,150 page views – that’s more than almost any thread in the Professional’s forum) and also the goodwill of TLSers (I’ve been on this site for about 5 years, and people here love it when the people they ask for advice do this kind of stuff).

PM me if you're interested or have any questions.

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Dave Hall
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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From Dave Hall of Velocity

Postby Dave Hall » Sat Feb 21, 2015 2:50 am

We're in! I'll PM you early next week.

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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From Dave Hall of Velocity

Postby gailany222 » Sun Feb 22, 2015 4:20 am

that is a good post by you....well done

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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From Dave Hall of Velocity

Postby Deleterious » Sun Feb 22, 2015 5:29 am

just signed up for Velocity, Dave. Glad to be working with you.

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Dave Hall
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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From Dave Hall of Velocity

Postby Dave Hall » Sun Feb 22, 2015 7:31 pm

Deleterious wrote:just signed up for Velocity, Dave. Glad to be working with you.

Awesome. Let me know if you need help or if you ever start to feel stuck.

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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From Dave Hall of Velocity

Postby Dave Hall » Fri Feb 27, 2015 3:14 pm

Hot Tip o' the Day:

Ye Olde Bait + Switch

51.3.25


One of the test writers' favorite pastimes (when not, one assumes, eating the still-beating hearts of children, or developing additional lines of US Federal tax code) is to craft an argument in which the evidence builds a (maybe) convincing case for a position, then to tack on a conclusion that makes a claim about an entirely different position.

This question is an excellent example of the species. The evidence gives us good (ish) reasons to believe that courtroom oratory would tell us something about what was likely to make a good impression on ancient Greeks. Cool cool cool.
But! Then the conclusion claims that this courtroom oratory would therefore tell us something about the morality of ancient Greeks! WTF?

CAN YOU BELIEVE WHAT THEY JUST DID? They baited the hook with all that talk of "making a good impression", then they switched it at the end to a discussion of "morality". This is not cool to do.

What is cool, though, is that this process—this bait and switch—is a common method of flawed reasoning on the test.

When we've been asked—as we have here—to make the argument better, we can thus anticipate what the right answer will do: it will draw a connection between the (up until now) completely unconnected ideas of "making a good impression" and "morality".

With that in mind, check out how easy our assessment of answer choices is! (C) is literally* the only one to make the connection between our bait and our switch.

So, that, ladies and gentlemen, is the Olde Baite + Switche.



*Completely unnecessary use of the word. I miss Parks and Rec already.

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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From Dave Hall of Velocity

Postby alexshort » Mon Mar 02, 2015 4:58 pm

Dave,

First of all, as someone who has taken your course, I want to thank you for the great experience. Your logic games portion especially was quick, easy, as I was completing games of most difficulties with all answers correct in a matter of weeks.

I am still studying for the test, climbing slowly to my goal of 174+ and these free explanations are so valuable for me, as I am in the final leg of my LSAT journey, and a resource as incredibly detailed as the one you posted here is absolutely amazing.

thank you thank you thank you!

-Alex

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Dave Hall
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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From Dave Hall of Velocity

Postby Dave Hall » Mon Mar 02, 2015 7:22 pm

alexshort wrote:Dave,

First of all, as someone who has taken your course, I want to thank you for the great experience. Your logic games portion especially was quick, easy, as I was completing games of most difficulties with all answers correct in a matter of weeks.

I am still studying for the test, climbing slowly to my goal of 174+ and these free explanations are so valuable for me, as I am in the final leg of my LSAT journey, and a resource as incredibly detailed as the one you posted here is absolutely amazing.

thank you thank you thank you!

-Alex

That is an awesome message. Thanks, Alex! Please let me know if you ever get to a point where you're feeling stuck. I can't wait to hear how great you do in June.

Thanks!

d

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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From Dave Hall of Velocity

Postby Dave Hall » Mon Mar 02, 2015 7:33 pm

Today' Hot Tip o' the Day:

Inference Math!

43.3.9


So, here's the deal here: if you tell me that all the parts of a group have a quality, and then you tell me that some of the members of that group have some other quality, then I know absolutely without a doubt indubitably fo' sheezy that there are members of that group who have both those qualities.

For example: Everybody who works in a sex dungeon has had sex. Plus (and this is sort of rare, but there you go), some of the people who work in sex dungeons play Dungeons & Dragons (presumably as the result of a mixup regarding the game's name).

This means that we know—strange as it may seem—that there are definitely some people in the world who play D&D and have also had sex.

So, any time we see this All + Some Number construction, we can predict the right answer to an inference question. If All of the members do A, and also Some Number of them do B, then there are definitely some members who do both A and B.

In this question, All effective teachers are good communicators, and Some Number of them are eccentric, so we know that there have to be some good communicators who are also eccentric. Yay, answer choice (A)!

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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From Dave Hall of Velocity

Postby kcho10 » Sat Sep 26, 2015 9:41 pm

Hey Dave,

Thanks a lot for doing this.

I wasn't able to find the answers to these questions on your website, so I apologize if I'm making you repeat yourself. I have a few questions (some just out of curiosity)...

What was your initial score on the LSAT? and how long did it take you to reach a 180?

Also, what advice do you have for someone like me who is struggling with the reading comprehension section? Is it just a matter of doing a lot of passages? And how long do you think it will take me to make any significant improvement? I am willing to devote as many hours as possible because I am currently investing all my time towards the LSAT. (I currently get about 10 wrong in the RC section, and I would like to get 5 or less wrong)

Thank you in advance!

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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From Dave Hall of Velocity

Postby WillieBeasley » Mon Sep 28, 2015 8:10 am

can you provide me with some info.I want to enquire about the scholarship options.

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Dave Hall
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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From Dave Hall of Velocity

Postby Dave Hall » Mon Sep 28, 2015 2:11 pm

kcho10 wrote:Hey Dave,

Thanks a lot for doing this.

I wasn't able to find the answers to these questions on your website, so I apologize if I'm making you repeat yourself. I have a few questions (some just out of curiosity)...

What was your initial score on the LSAT? and how long did it take you to reach a 180?

Also, what advice do you have for someone like me who is struggling with the reading comprehension section? Is it just a matter of doing a lot of passages? And how long do you think it will take me to make any significant improvement? I am willing to devote as many hours as possible because I am currently investing all my time towards the LSAT. (I currently get about 10 wrong in the RC section, and I would like to get 5 or less wrong)

Thank you in advance!

Hey!

My pleasure.

My first score was a 179, and I got 180 on my second test. My entire scoring record is here.

Here's my general advice for Reading Comp: First, in RC, it's generally the answer choices, not the questions, that make the tasks hard. Answers are written deliberately to seem attractive when they're wrong, and to look ugly when they're right. You can go a long way toward short-circuiting those traps by disciplining yourself to always answer the question based on the passage before you look at any answer choices.

This does two things:

1. Forces you to learn how to properly answer questions (you'll have to learn to stop relying on answer choices, and instead work from the passage itself).
2. Makes you significantly faster over the long run. The place most people waste the most time is weighing answer choices. If you already know what the passage says on the matter, your choice will usually be faster (and more accurate!).

To accomplish these things, get some 3x5 notecards and use them to cover the answer choices. As you work a passage, instead of choosing an answer choice, write down on the card what the passage indicates is the right answer. Only once you've answered each question in the passage this way can you lift the card and choose the answer choice that matches your answer.

I can see a clear straight path from getting good at answering RC questions to being fast at it. It's much harder for me to visualize an avenue for success that doesn't include a disciplined approach to getting questions right.

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Dave Hall
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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From Dave Hall of Velocity

Postby Dave Hall » Mon Sep 28, 2015 2:16 pm

WillieBeasley wrote:can you provide me with some info.I want to enquire about the scholarship options.

Of course!

We do offer Need-Based Aid. It works like this: anyone who qualifies for an LSAC fee waiver is eligible for a 40% discount on our full course. To obtain this discount, please send a copy of your LSAC Fee Waiver letter to us (at Info@VelocityLSAT.com), and we'll hook you up! Please note that this discount is good for the Full Velocity Course only.

We do offer other standing discounts (find them all here), and we've got a 10% discount for TLS users: just enter code HONDARS112 on any course.

kcho10
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Re: Useful Answers + Hot Tips From Dave Hall of Velocity

Postby kcho10 » Mon Sep 28, 2015 8:59 pm

Dave Hall wrote:
kcho10 wrote:Hey Dave,

Thanks a lot for doing this.

I wasn't able to find the answers to these questions on your website, so I apologize if I'm making you repeat yourself. I have a few questions (some just out of curiosity)...

What was your initial score on the LSAT? and how long did it take you to reach a 180?

Also, what advice do you have for someone like me who is struggling with the reading comprehension section? Is it just a matter of doing a lot of passages? And how long do you think it will take me to make any significant improvement? I am willing to devote as many hours as possible because I am currently investing all my time towards the LSAT. (I currently get about 10 wrong in the RC section, and I would like to get 5 or less wrong)

Thank you in advance!

Hey!

My pleasure.

My first score was a 179, and I got 180 on my second test. My entire scoring record is here.

Here's my general advice for Reading Comp: First, in RC, it's generally the answer choices, not the questions, that make the tasks hard. Answers are written deliberately to seem attractive when they're wrong, and to look ugly when they're right. You can go a long way toward short-circuiting those traps by disciplining yourself to always answer the question based on the passage before you look at any answer choices.

This does two things:

1. Forces you to learn how to properly answer questions (you'll have to learn to stop relying on answer choices, and instead work from the passage itself).
2. Makes you significantly faster over the long run. The place most people waste the most time is weighing answer choices. If you already know what the passage says on the matter, your choice will usually be faster (and more accurate!).

To accomplish these things, get some 3x5 notecards and use them to cover the answer choices. As you work a passage, instead of choosing an answer choice, write down on the card what the passage indicates is the right answer. Only once you've answered each question in the passage this way can you lift the card and choose the answer choice that matches your answer.

I can see a clear straight path from getting good at answering RC questions to being fast at it. It's much harder for me to visualize an avenue for success that doesn't include a disciplined approach to getting questions right.


This is awesome advice, thank you! Do you think if I stick to this, I will be able to make a significant improvement within 2 months?


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