Ughhh, help with RC strategies...PLEASE (any and all)

User avatar
PrayingforHYS
Posts: 303
Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 12:37 pm

Ughhh, help with RC strategies...PLEASE (any and all)

Postby PrayingforHYS » Thu Jan 14, 2010 11:38 pm

before i say anything else, i DO have voyager's RC thread bookmarked, so there's no need to give me the hyperlink

SO, alright, i'll be brutally honest -- i hate the RC section. given my usual LG and LR scores on PTs, the RC section may single-handedly prevent me from getting a 170+ on the LSAT this june, so I could REALLY use some fresh ideas/strategies to help

here's how i've studied for the LSAT:

last summer, i did the LG bible and lots of LG PT sections, and at the end of summer i did the LR bible and lots of LR practice sections.

once school started, i had very little time to go through LSAT stuff, but I read the RC bible, did just a few RC sections from the book of 10s, and now I've been doing full PTs and RC's are killing me...sometimes i'll go -3 and then sometimes i'll just implode and go -9

when i consider it, i'm not sure if it's just b/c i haven't done enough RC sections to get completely comfortable with it (like i was able to do with LG and LR), or if i'm just not good at RC in general.

Anyway, I'm a very good reader in general and I have a good memory, but it just seems like the questions I get wrong on RC sections are either way too detail-oriented or they're just tricky in general. I used to think that a LOT of LR questions were tricky before I was comfortable with them (and now only the ones I get wrong seem tricky..), so that lends me to believe that I may just need more practice with RC sections

REGARDLESS (sorry to take so long), i'm just wondering what others have used/are using for RC strategies.

Do you guys write a brief overview of each paragraph after you're done reading it? Do you write a brief summary of the entire passage when you're done it as a whole? How do you deal with reading a passage in a sufficient amount of time (i.e. not literally reading every word) and then occasionally seeing an extremely in-depth question that makes you want to tear out your hair finding it?

I don't know...i just feel overwhelmed by RC occasionally--sometimes b/c the passages are boring (duh) or because the questions I answer incorrectly seem tricky or too time-consuming and in-depth, sooooooooo what do you guys do to remedy these problems?

Thanks for reading through this...essay of crap.

sbarot
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Aug 29, 2009 6:47 pm

Re: Ughhh, help with RC strategies...PLEASE (any and all)

Postby sbarot » Thu Jan 14, 2010 11:54 pm

I would just try your best to get through 3 passages and guess the same letter on the passage you decide to skip (always skip the hardest). The guys that write the LSAT know everyone has their weakness, and RC just so happens to be yours. Do your best on reading a lot and practicing, but realistically you won't improve much IF you've already put in 3+ Months. Just take it in the butt and try to improve more on your other sections if possible. You'll be fine.

User avatar
reebtoor
Posts: 107
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 2:14 pm

Re: Ughhh, help with RC strategies...PLEASE (any and all)

Postby reebtoor » Thu Jan 14, 2010 11:55 pm

I know there is some debate about reading the questions before the passage, but that is what made a big difference for me. Like you, I was kind of all over the place. I needed to try something new, so I decided to do a few sections reading the questions first. Initially, my overall score took a little bit of a hit, but instead of being -3 on one test and -7 on another, I was around -5 consistently. It seemed like a big step backward, but at least wasn't ever scoring -7. Once I got a sense for the pacing of the section, I started to really improve. By the end, I was between -0 (occasionally) and -4. On the September LSAT, I ended up with -4. Hope this helps. Good luck.

cubswin
Posts: 618
Joined: Mon May 25, 2009 4:40 pm

Re: Ughhh, help with RC strategies...PLEASE (any and all)

Postby cubswin » Fri Jan 15, 2010 12:01 am

Something that worked for me, but I realize might not work for a lot of other people, was to read pretty slowly and in depth for the 3 full passages, saving the comparative reading passage for last. Then, I would hardly read the comparative passage at all. I typically just read the topic sentence of each paragraph to get a general idea of the position of Passage A and Passage B, and how they disagreed with one another. The questions on these are actually pretty formulaic, and IMO easier to answer without reading the passage than the full-length ones. This way, you can finish the comparative reading in about 5-6 mintues and have almost 10 for the full-length ones. Try it out on a PT and see if it works for you.

And to answer one of your questions, no, I never made margin notes.

FWIW: -2 on RC in December.

studylaw7
Posts: 99
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:14 am

Re: Ughhh, help with RC strategies...PLEASE (any and all)

Postby studylaw7 » Fri Jan 15, 2010 1:13 am

PrayingforHYS wrote:before i say anything else, i DO have voyager's RC thread bookmarked, so there's no need to give me the hyperlink

SO, alright, i'll be brutally honest -- i hate the RC section. given my usual LG and LR scores on PTs, the RC section may single-handedly prevent me from getting a 170+ on the LSAT this june, so I could REALLY use some fresh ideas/strategies to help

here's how i've studied for the LSAT:

last summer, i did the LG bible and lots of LG PT sections, and at the end of summer i did the LR bible and lots of LR practice sections.

once school started, i had very little time to go through LSAT stuff, but I read the RC bible, did just a few RC sections from the book of 10s, and now I've been doing full PTs and RC's are killing me...sometimes i'll go -3 and then sometimes i'll just implode and go -9

when i consider it, i'm not sure if it's just b/c i haven't done enough RC sections to get completely comfortable with it (like i was able to do with LG and LR), or if i'm just not good at RC in general.

Anyway, I'm a very good reader in general and I have a good memory, but it just seems like the questions I get wrong on RC sections are either way too detail-oriented or they're just tricky in general. I used to think that a LOT of LR questions were tricky before I was comfortable with them (and now only the ones I get wrong seem tricky..), so that lends me to believe that I may just need more practice with RC sections

REGARDLESS (sorry to take so long), i'm just wondering what others have used/are using for RC strategies.

Do you guys write a brief overview of each paragraph after you're done reading it? Do you write a brief summary of the entire passage when you're done it as a whole? How do you deal with reading a passage in a sufficient amount of time (i.e. not literally reading every word) and then occasionally seeing an extremely in-depth question that makes you want to tear out your hair finding it?

I don't know...i just feel overwhelmed by RC occasionally--sometimes b/c the passages are boring (duh) or because the questions I answer incorrectly seem tricky or too time-consuming and in-depth, sooooooooo what do you guys do to remedy these problems?

Thanks for reading through this...essay of crap.



the key for RC is just to focus on what is being said. sounds basic, but that is the key.

do not take more than 3 minutes to do the initial reading of the passage since you will have to go back and read certain parts.

even though it's boring you have to force yourself to think the passages are really interesting. just remember that everything you're reading is important and that might do the trick.

underline! this is very important. underline important facts such as names and important numbers.

Woozy
Posts: 159
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2009 2:29 pm

Re: Ughhh, help with RC strategies...PLEASE (any and all)

Postby Woozy » Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:14 am

I make no marks and simply read through the passage and try to get a big picture understanding. It seems like many people who are good readers can make this approach work.

When it comes to the detail-oriented questions, I do spend plenty of time rereading, but if you read at a decent speed there is plenty of time to do it. You should have an idea of where you are looking for the details if you have a good big picture understanding. You should not be missing detail-oriented questions.

In the score range you are looking at, I really don't think you can afford to do the 3 section strategy that some are suggesting here. Just keep practicing, try different things like reading questions first, and see what works for you.

studylaw7
Posts: 99
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:14 am

Re: Ughhh, help with RC strategies...PLEASE (any and all)

Postby studylaw7 » Fri Jan 15, 2010 1:48 pm

Woozy wrote:I make no marks and simply read through the passage and try to get a big picture understanding. It seems like many people who are good readers can make this approach work.

When it comes to the detail-oriented questions, I do spend plenty of time rereading,


maybe if you did some underlining, you wouldn't have to do so much re-reading. sorry, but not underlining in no way says that you are a good reader. for the lsat, not doing so is just foolish, unless you are a genius who can score 180 with minimal study.

Woozy
Posts: 159
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2009 2:29 pm

Re: Ughhh, help with RC strategies...PLEASE (any and all)

Postby Woozy » Fri Jan 15, 2010 2:14 pm

studylaw7 wrote:
Woozy wrote:I make no marks and simply read through the passage and try to get a big picture understanding. It seems like many people who are good readers can make this approach work.

When it comes to the detail-oriented questions, I do spend plenty of time rereading,


maybe if you did some underlining, you wouldn't have to do so much re-reading. sorry, but not underlining in no way says that you are a good reader. for the lsat, not doing so is just foolish, unless you are a genius who can score 180 with minimal study.


Well, nowhere did I state that not underlining makes you a good reader, that would be ridiculous. I did state that you may be able to do fine without underlining if you are a good reader, and I stand by that. I am of course open to the possibility that underlining works well for some, and that's why I included the fact that I ended up rereading a lot. I just want the OP to be aware that it is an option, but everyone should figure out for himself what works best. For myself I found it unnatural and a waste of time as I had a low probability of underlining anything useful.

studylaw7
Posts: 99
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:14 am

Re: Ughhh, help with RC strategies...PLEASE (any and all)

Postby studylaw7 » Fri Jan 15, 2010 3:33 pm

Woozy wrote:
studylaw7 wrote:
Woozy wrote:I make no marks and simply read through the passage and try to get a big picture understanding. It seems like many people who are good readers can make this approach work.

When it comes to the detail-oriented questions, I do spend plenty of time rereading,


maybe if you did some underlining, you wouldn't have to do so much re-reading. sorry, but not underlining in no way says that you are a good reader. for the lsat, not doing so is just foolish, unless you are a genius who can score 180 with minimal study.


Well, nowhere did I state that not underlining makes you a good reader, that would be ridiculous. I did state that you may be able to do fine without underlining if you are a good reader, and I stand by that. I am of course open to the possibility that underlining works well for some, and that's why I included the fact that I ended up rereading a lot. I just want the OP to be aware that it is an option, but everyone should figure out for himself what works best. For myself I found it unnatural and a waste of time as I had a low probability of underlining anything useful.


you're using a play on words. your original post basically suggests that you're a better reader than those who need to underline.

clearly, underlining every sentence is useless. but if you are a "good reader" as you say, I would think you would be able to determine what is useful information and what is not.

cubswin
Posts: 618
Joined: Mon May 25, 2009 4:40 pm

Re: Ughhh, help with RC strategies...PLEASE (any and all)

Postby cubswin » Fri Jan 15, 2010 3:58 pm

Underlining is tough on LSAT RC, because the passages most of the the fluff cut out of them to begin with. When LSAC adapts a passage from an essay or book, they remove the transitions, etc. and leave in mostly details. I think this is why a lot of students end up underlining nearly everything when they first start doing RC (and why low-scorers probably do it up until test day).

Personally, I like the method of putting a box around significant names. And instead of traditional underlining, I found it kept the passage looking more orderly to draw a line down the margin next to the sentence, and to limit this to main points.

Woozy
Posts: 159
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2009 2:29 pm

Re: Ughhh, help with RC strategies...PLEASE (any and all)

Postby Woozy » Fri Jan 15, 2010 4:53 pm

studylaw7 wrote:you're using a play on words. your original post basically suggests that you're a better reader than those who need to underline.


I didn't mean to single anyone out. I also think I am a better reader than those who do not need to underline :D

studylaw7 wrote:clearly, underlining every sentence is useless. but if you are a "good reader" as you say, I would think you would be able to determine what is useful information and what is not.


Yes, but I also remember generally where it is, so I can find it again anyway.

Look, underline, don't underline, I don't care. To each his own. I just wanted to make sure the OP knew that it is possible to do well without underlining - see this thread for more opinions.

studylaw7
Posts: 99
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:14 am

Re: Ughhh, help with RC strategies...PLEASE (any and all)

Postby studylaw7 » Fri Jan 15, 2010 4:59 pm

Woozy wrote:
I also think I am a better reader than those who do not need to underline :D



That's where you're wrong. You're suffering from excessive pride but I don't think you know it. You think underlining somehow diminishes your intelligence.

Underlining key terms could help prevent you from re-reading.

User avatar
PrayingforHYS
Posts: 303
Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 12:37 pm

Re: Ughhh, help with RC strategies...PLEASE (any and all)

Postby PrayingforHYS » Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:00 pm

thanks for all the advice so far -- i appreciate it.

i don't really think that i'm that weak at RC, it's just that i only finished the RC bible 1 month (not 3 months ago) and I've only done about 10 RC sections from PTs. Part of me thinks that I just need to get more comfortable with the RC section in general, but at the same time, I do like RC the least of the 3 types..

i'd really like to get a 175, but i'll be content with anything 170+ (which i don't think is a stretch for me) -- in light of this, i don't think that going through 3 passages slowly on guessing on the last will work for me, but i appreciate the input

i'm considering fiddling with a few of the suggest strategies here, but I'm not sure which one may be the most effective

This is my current set-up:

On average, it probably takes me about 4 minutes to read each passage, but that's with boxing the different viewpoints, underlining certain phrases, and making notes in the margins after each paragraph

Based on the suggestions, I think that I'm probably a good enough reader to go through the passage and still box viewpoints, keep the underlining to an absolute minimum, and stop making notes in the margins -- that way, it should probably start taking me only 3 minutes to go through each passage, leaving me 23 minutes instead of 19 or less to go through the 25+ questions

By updating my strategy, I should still understand the main point/conclusion/author's tone, but looking at the organization of the passage might take slightly longer (without margin notes) and then in-depth questions will require re-reading anyway

Anyone think that could help + any other suggestions people have would be truly appreciated

geostuck
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 3:39 pm

Re: Ughhh, help with RC strategies...PLEASE (any and all)

Postby geostuck » Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:00 pm

This was my strat, and I don't consider myself a strong reader when it came to RC. Without reading all the responses, the benefit to making very few or no marks is the extra seconds you gain to work the questions. You should spend as much time as possible check the passage and working the passage. It's only a couple of paragraphs; get the main idea of each, and you you'll have a general idea of where to check. Marking it up could make little difference, slow you down, and create it more difficult to find the answer. The passages are obviously dense, underlining and highlighting the important material did not work for me because ALL the information is important.

But, I'd try several methods, and pick the one that works FOR YOU. There is not a definitive method that is better than the other.

Woozy wrote:I make no marks and simply read through the passage and try to get a big picture understanding. It seems like many people who are good readers can make this approach work.

When it comes to the detail-oriented questions, I do spend plenty of time rereading, but if you read at a decent speed there is plenty of time to do it. You should have an idea of where you are looking for the details if you have a good big picture understanding. You should not be missing detail-oriented questions.

In the score range you are looking at, I really don't think you can afford to do the 3 section strategy that some are suggesting here. Just keep practicing, try different things like reading questions first, and see what works for you.

geostuck
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 3:39 pm

Re: Ughhh, help with RC strategies...PLEASE (any and all)

Postby geostuck » Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:03 pm

studylaw7 wrote:Underlining key terms could help prevent you from re-reading.


I don't want to get in the middle of your little internet battle, but rather help the OP. How would underlining something prevent you from rereading it? Is not that the point of underlining it?

studylaw7
Posts: 99
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:14 am

Re: Ughhh, help with RC strategies...PLEASE (any and all)

Postby studylaw7 » Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:08 pm

geostuck wrote:
studylaw7 wrote:Underlining key terms could help prevent you from re-reading.


I don't want to get in the middle of your little internet battle, but rather help the OP. How would underlining something prevent you from rereading it? Is not that the point of underlining it?


It helps you locate things faster, that is the main point. By being able to locate things faster, you don't end up re-reading material you don't need to read. Certainly, you may end up re-reading the underlined portions. For example, what if I underlined a name in the last paragraph? I'd immediately put my focus there if question mentions that name. But what if I didn't underline it, and I started reading the second paragraph for no reason? That is wasted time.

I do think, though, it is important not to underline too much. I was sitting next to someone on test day who kept underlining like crazy and it was so distracting. In my mind I just knew this person did not have good reading skills.

studylaw7
Posts: 99
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:14 am

Re: Ughhh, help with RC strategies...PLEASE (any and all)

Postby studylaw7 » Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:09 pm

PrayingforHYS wrote:thanks for all the advice so far -- i appreciate it.

i don't really think that i'm that weak at RC, it's just that i only finished the RC bible 1 month (not 3 months ago) and I've only done about 10 RC sections from PTs. Part of me thinks that I just need to get more comfortable with the RC section in general, but at the same time, I do like RC the least of the 3 types..

i'd really like to get a 175, but i'll be content with anything 170+ (which i don't think is a stretch for me) -- in light of this, i don't think that going through 3 passages slowly on guessing on the last will work for me, but i appreciate the input

i'm considering fiddling with a few of the suggest strategies here, but I'm not sure which one may be the most effective

This is my current set-up:

On average, it probably takes me about 4 minutes to read each passage, but that's with boxing the different viewpoints, underlining certain phrases, and making notes in the margins after each paragraph

Based on the suggestions, I think that I'm probably a good enough reader to go through the passage and still box viewpoints, keep the underlining to an absolute minimum, and stop making notes in the margins -- that way, it should probably start taking me only 3 minutes to go through each passage, leaving me 23 minutes instead of 19 or less to go through the 25+ questions

By updating my strategy, I should still understand the main point/conclusion/author's tone, but looking at the organization of the passage might take slightly longer (without margin notes) and then in-depth questions will require re-reading anyway

Anyone think that could help + any other suggestions people have would be truly appreciated



try decreasing your 4 minutes to 3 at most. No need to make margin notes..I think that is a big waste of time. Make these two changes and see how you do.

keg411
Posts: 5935
Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:10 pm

Re: Ughhh, help with RC strategies...PLEASE (any and all)

Postby keg411 » Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:10 pm

RC is the type of thing that you just have to do what's best for you and just keep trying different strategies. Mine is, read the passage without doing anything, write down the main point and then for the detailed questions, I just skim back through the passage. I was having a ton of trouble on timing (I was getting to 5 minutes with one passage left) because I was writing way too much. With just writing a sentence I had an idea of both the main point (which is usually the first question) as well as an idea of the viewpoint.

All of the boxing viewpoints and detailed notes just seem like a waste on a quick passage and even when I was writing stuff in much more detail, it wasn't like I was missing fewer questions (in fact I was missing more due to timing).

Woozy
Posts: 159
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2009 2:29 pm

Re: Ughhh, help with RC strategies...PLEASE (any and all)

Postby Woozy » Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:16 pm

studylaw7 wrote:
Woozy wrote:
I also think I am a better reader than those who do not need to underline :D



That's where you're wrong. You're suffering from excessive pride but I don't think you know it. You think underlining somehow diminishes your intelligence.

Underlining key terms could help prevent you from re-reading.


You need to carefully reread what I wrote in the quote above. Perhaps underlining the word "not" will help illuminate the meaning :twisted:

I don't think there is anything wrong with underlining or people who underline - I just wanted the OP to know (for the 4th time) it is possible to do without it.

studylaw7
Posts: 99
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:14 am

Re: Ughhh, help with RC strategies...PLEASE (any and all)

Postby studylaw7 » Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:22 pm

Woozy wrote:
studylaw7 wrote:
Woozy wrote:
I also think I am a better reader than those who do not need to underline :D



That's where you're wrong. You're suffering from excessive pride but I don't think you know it. You think underlining somehow diminishes your intelligence.

Underlining key terms could help prevent you from re-reading.


You need to carefully reread what I wrote in the quote above. Perhaps underlining the word "not" will help illuminate the meaning :twisted:

I don't think there is anything wrong with underlining or people who underline - I just wanted the OP to know (for the 4th time) it is possible to do without it.


then what was with the word "also"

Woozy
Posts: 159
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2009 2:29 pm

Re: Ughhh, help with RC strategies...PLEASE (any and all)

Postby Woozy » Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:31 pm

studylaw7 wrote:then what was with the word "also"


Sigh. Explaining a joke is the surest way to ruin it. I just meant it to show that if I insinuated I was better at reading than people who underline, it wasn't me hating on underlining, I just think I read better than everyone. Get it?

Can we just call a truce now and give OP his thread back?

studylaw7
Posts: 99
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:14 am

Re: Ughhh, help with RC strategies...PLEASE (any and all)

Postby studylaw7 » Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:44 pm

Woozy wrote:
studylaw7 wrote:then what was with the word "also"


Sigh. Explaining a joke is the surest way to ruin it. I just meant it to show that if I insinuated I was better at reading than people who underline, it wasn't me hating on underlining, I just think I read better than everyone. Get it?

Can we just call a truce now and give OP his thread back?


you call that a joke? seriously, now.

geostuck
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 3:39 pm

Re: Ughhh, help with RC strategies...PLEASE (any and all)

Postby geostuck » Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:55 pm

studylaw7 wrote:
geostuck wrote:For example, what if I underlined a name in the last paragraph? I'd immediately put my focus there if question mentions that name. But what if I didn't underline it, and I started reading the second paragraph for no reason? That is wasted time.


I hope you're not taking this the wrong way because it seems, as most discussions on this site, you’re taking it personally.

If you've read the passage without making marks, yet you cannot locate a specific name or piece of information, then you may not be comprehending the passage properly. Like I said, I do not consider myself an RC guru, but I found that translating it into how I would say it and keeping a running summary of the info was a tremendous help.

OP: Like games, repetition is the key. Do them all, and do them at least three times (over 700 passages.) There is a definitive pattern. Again, just like games, it will click.

geostuck
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 3:39 pm

Re: Ughhh, help with RC strategies...PLEASE (any and all)

Postby geostuck » Fri Jan 15, 2010 6:02 pm

studylaw7 wrote:For example, what if I underlined a name in the last paragraph? I'd immediately put my focus there if question mentions that name. But what if I didn't underline it, and I started reading the second paragraph for no reason? That is wasted time.


But this is my point and I think the other guys, you know where to look for the name already. How would you know to go directly to the last sentence of the paragraph to search for the underline word? Why underline it? You know where it is. I hope that make sense.

In the end, you should do what works best for you; although, you guys are arguing something completely different.

studylaw7
Posts: 99
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:14 am

Re: Ughhh, help with RC strategies...PLEASE (any and all)

Postby studylaw7 » Fri Jan 15, 2010 6:03 pm

geostuck wrote:
studylaw7 wrote:
geostuck wrote:For example, what if I underlined a name in the last paragraph? I'd immediately put my focus there if question mentions that name. But what if I didn't underline it, and I started reading the second paragraph for no reason? That is wasted time.


I hope you're not taking this the wrong way because it seems, as most discussions on this site, you’re taking it personally.

If you've read the passage without making marks, yet you cannot locate a specific name or piece of information, then you may not be comprehending the passage properly. Like I said, I do not consider myself an RC guru, but I found that translating it into how I would say it and keeping a running summary of the info was a tremendous help.

OP: Like games, repetition is the key. Do them all, and do them at least three times (over 700 passages.) There is a definitive pattern. Again, just like games, it will click.


I'm not taking it personally, my replies are blunt but I'm perfectly calm. But I do think that my method is correct and that attempts to refute the underlining method are not sound. In a 55-60 lined passage, you think forgetting where you saw a name, date or title, means you didn't comprehend the passage properly? I don't think that's legitimate...




Return to “LSAT Prep and Discussion Forum”