Read this if you suck at RC, how can I be a better/faster?

lawschoolisfun2012
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Read this if you suck at RC, how can I be a better/faster?

Postby lawschoolisfun2012 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 6:15 am

June 2010 LSATers,

Regarding RC, I am really slow and I usually miss a few questions, unless I really slow down and re-read every sentence. There doesn't seem to be a good strategy for reading comp that works. Testmasters, the course I am taking now, just said it is the hardest section to improve on and takes time. Kaplan helped by introducing keywords, scope shifts, and 180 answer choices. But, what really works for reading comp? I am not going to read the economist for 12 months and take the LSAT in 5 years after reading in my spare time. I am an engineer and I suck at reading. Advice?

Thank you!

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tttlllsss
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Re: Read this if you suck at RC, how can I be a better/faster?

Postby tttlllsss » Tue Mar 23, 2010 7:08 pm

RC tests skills that you should have acquired over many years in school. For this reason, it's the most difficult section to improve quickly, and I don't think there's an easy way out; you must invest considerable time/effort. As far as I know, there's no study guide that can make things just 'click' for you.

Read dense, technical material every day and while you read it make sure you're identifying:
- The main idea of the passage
- The author's tone (e.g. pessimistic/wary/optimistic/cautious, etc.)
- The author's attitude toward any arguments in the passage
- What the purpose of each paragraph is (e.g. why does parag 2 follow parag 1, what is the point of parag 2, etc.)
- Unique words that stand out, that are used repeatedly, or that are central to the argument

If you're diligent, your work should payoff

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blhblahblah
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Re: Read this if you suck at RC, how can I be a better/faster?

Postby blhblahblah » Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:45 pm

The title of this thread is puzzling. You want people who suck at RC to offer you advice on how to improve? k.

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DGLitcH
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Re: Read this if you suck at RC, how can I be a better/faster?

Postby DGLitcH » Tue Mar 23, 2010 10:23 pm

blhblahblah wrote:The title of this thread is puzzling. You want people who suck at RC to offer you advice on how to improve? k.


How else do you expect to get better? :P

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FreeGuy
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Re: Read this if you suck at RC, how can I be a better/faster?

Postby FreeGuy » Tue Mar 23, 2010 10:31 pm

You suggested that you wanted to become "harder, better, faster, stronger," etc.

Here's a good starting point:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2cYWfq--Nw

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lebob
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Re: Read this if you suck at RC, how can I be a better/faster?

Postby lebob » Tue Mar 23, 2010 10:36 pm

1) Gather in your mind, everything you've learned from Kaplan's RC strategies.
2) Erase them from your memory.
3) Profit.



Ok, so in seriousness though, Kaplan tells you to make this "roadmap" where you physically mark on the test paper major key words, quotations, definitions, exceptions, circle this, underline that, bracket this, blah blah blahhh. Such advice is LSAT blasphemy. Mark as little as possible. If you must, make small notes or underlines or personal symbols every now and then. Why? Because if timing is an issue for you, you should be spending more time READING/COMPREHENDING not only the passages but also the questions, and less time creating artwork on the reading passages.

It took me forever to unlearn Kaplan's RC time-wasting "tactics."

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mazzini
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Re: Read this if you suck at RC, how can I be a better/faster?

Postby mazzini » Tue Mar 23, 2010 10:38 pm

I know it seems bleak right now. I was in the same position. I, on average, missed anywhere from 9-13 questions per RC section but was able to reduce that to -2 on the real thing.... All I did was read, seriously, read everything you can.

Read the economist, smythsonian articles or anything in the same realm of publication. And just like other sections, when you miss a question spend time reviewing exactly what you did wrong.

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SilverE2
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Re: Read this if you suck at RC, how can I be a better/faster?

Postby SilverE2 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 10:44 pm

I cured all my reading comp woes by skimming through the paragraph quickly (45 secs to a minute), mentally just understanding the general idea of the passage, and mentally noting the location of the details, and them spending more time on the questions. Try it, it works!

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Albatross
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Re: Read this if you suck at RC, how can I be a better/faster?

Postby Albatross » Tue Mar 23, 2010 11:27 pm

SilverE2 wrote:I cured all my reading comp woes by skimming through the paragraph quickly (45 secs to a minute), mentally just understanding the general idea of the passage, and mentally noting the location of the details, and them spending more time on the questions. Try it, it works!



has anyone else done this?

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blhblahblah
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Re: Read this if you suck at RC, how can I be a better/faster?

Postby blhblahblah » Tue Mar 23, 2010 11:59 pm

SilverE2 wrote:I cured all my reading comp woes by skimming through the paragraph quickly (45 secs to a minute), mentally just understanding the general idea of the passage, and mentally noting the location of the details, and them spending more time on the questions. Try it, it works!


This looks like hyperbole to me. The big-picture skim method might work for some (read for structure, and refer back for detail) but 45 seconds for a whole passage is an absurd lie.

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typ3
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Re: Read this if you suck at RC, how can I be a better/faster?

Postby typ3 » Wed Mar 24, 2010 12:42 am

lebob wrote:1) Gather in your mind, everything you've learned from Kaplan's RC strategies.
2) Erase them from your memory.
3) Profit.



Ok, so in seriousness though, Kaplan tells you to make this "roadmap" where you physically mark on the test paper major key words, quotations, definitions, exceptions, circle this, underline that, bracket this, blah blah blahhh. Such advice is LSAT blasphemy. Mark as little as possible. If you must, make small notes or underlines or personal symbols every now and then. Why? Because if timing is an issue for you, you should be spending more time READING/COMPREHENDING not only the passages but also the questions, and less time creating artwork on the reading passages.

It took me forever to unlearn Kaplan's RC time-wasting "tactics."


That's the same suggestion that all the other prep companies suggest. See Reading Comp Bible by Power Score. If you spend about 4 minutes on the passage do quick annotations to note the shifts in the passage and main pieces of evidence you can answer the questions in less than 30 seconds each. Easy. Kaplan suggestions are basically the same as Pscores in my mind. Actually, RC is a very easy section to improve on if you get help. Just improve your vocab if you are noticing that it is lacking and read the Pscore RC bible.

09042014
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Re: Read this if you suck at RC, how can I be a better/faster?

Postby 09042014 » Wed Mar 24, 2010 12:51 am

Do a lot of passages in 8 min 30 seconds. A lot of them. You'll get better with hurrying.

Maybe try the powerscore RC bible. I don't think it worked very well but it set me up to remember what was important.

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juevonate
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Re: Read this if you suck at RC, how can I be a better/faster?

Postby juevonate » Wed Mar 24, 2010 12:54 am

As for the Kaplan method, I went from -2 RC on my first diagnostic to -8 on the real thing after taking the Kaplan course. Not saying I adopted all their methods, and perhaps they were tough passages....but DAMN.

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abbas123
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Re: Read this if you suck at RC, how can I be a better/faster?

Postby abbas123 » Wed Mar 24, 2010 1:13 am

wow sorry to hear that. you got worse at RC and had to pay them $ for the "help"?

do you think it was b/c of the instructor, the methods, or both?

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jonas586
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Re: Read this if you suck at RC, how can I be a better/faster?

Postby jonas586 » Wed Mar 24, 2010 1:22 am

I agree with the advice that you primarily need to focus on doing a lot of practice sections under timed conditions.

Another peripheral technique you can try is memorizing a verse from the bible everyday from now until you take the test; especially if you have a few months of preparation left. This will help exercise your memorization and retention skills, and you will see that as time goes on, it will become easier to recall specific details from the passages during question time. Once again, I don't think this alone will offer any huge improvement to your RC woes, but if you do it in conjunction with other preparation mentioned in this thread, it could offer an additional boost.

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abbas123
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Re: Read this if you suck at RC, how can I be a better/faster?

Postby abbas123 » Wed Mar 24, 2010 1:30 am

jonas586 wrote:I agree with the advice that you primarily need to focus on doing a lot of practice sections under timed conditions.

Another peripheral technique you can try is memorizing a verse from the bible everyday from now until you take the test; especially if you have a few months of preparation left. This will help exercise your memorization and retention skills, and you will see that as time goes on, it will become easier to recall specific details from the passages during question time. Once again, I don't think this alone will offer any huge improvement to your RC woes, but if you do it in conjunction with other preparation mentioned in this thread, it could offer an additional boost.


do you think the Holy Quran would work just as well? :D

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Albatross
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Re: Read this if you suck at RC, how can I be a better/faster?

Postby Albatross » Wed Mar 24, 2010 1:34 am

Desert Fox wrote:Do a lot of passages in 8 min 30 seconds. A lot of them. You'll get better with hurrying.

Maybe try the powerscore RC bible. I don't think it worked very well but it set me up to remember what was important.


Ive heard this but I dont understand how this could work.

09042014
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Re: Read this if you suck at RC, how can I be a better/faster?

Postby 09042014 » Wed Mar 24, 2010 1:59 am

kesexton wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:Do a lot of passages in 8 min 30 seconds. A lot of them. You'll get better with hurrying.

Maybe try the powerscore RC bible. I don't think it worked very well but it set me up to remember what was important.


Ive heard this but I dont understand how this could work.


I think it just teaches the patterns of the RC passage.

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jonas586
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Re: Read this if you suck at RC, how can I be a better/faster?

Postby jonas586 » Wed Mar 24, 2010 3:37 am

abbas123 wrote:
jonas586 wrote:I agree with the advice that you primarily need to focus on doing a lot of practice sections under timed conditions.

Another peripheral technique you can try is memorizing a verse from the bible everyday from now until you take the test; especially if you have a few months of preparation left. This will help exercise your memorization and retention skills, and you will see that as time goes on, it will become easier to recall specific details from the passages during question time. Once again, I don't think this alone will offer any huge improvement to your RC woes, but if you do it in conjunction with other preparation mentioned in this thread, it could offer an additional boost.


do you think the Holy Quran would work just as well? :D

The goal is to improve your retention, so the material won't matter as much as the exercise. I'm sure any type of book (holy or not) will work just fine. I only suggested the bible because it's convoluted, conveniently segmented into verses, and generally boring-- the perfect memorization material.

For what it's worth, I struggled with reading comprehension when I first started prepping, and was consistently scoring between -6 to -10. Along with doing a ton of timed passages, I did this memorization drill five days a week. I prepped for about 3 months and towards the end I was scoring -1 or -2 on the RC sections, and scored a -3 on the real test. I also think this technique helps for the other sections as they also test your ability to retain and remember specific information.

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Mickey Quicknumbers
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Re: Read this if you suck at RC, how can I be a better/faster?

Postby Mickey Quicknumbers » Wed Mar 24, 2010 6:27 am

And may I suggest Leviticus as a fine means of self-imposed torture

rocksolid325
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Re: Read this if you suck at RC, how can I be a better/faster?

Postby rocksolid325 » Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:17 pm

when reading outside material to improve on RC, do you guys suggest reading it like you read LSAT passages for details, viewpoints, tones, etc? or does reading for informational (general knowledge) purposes work as well too?

rocksolid325
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Re: Read this if you suck at RC, how can I be a better/faster?

Postby rocksolid325 » Wed Mar 24, 2010 11:39 pm

also, is the online (free) version of the economist the same as the print version or are the stories online shorter/altered?

jdhonest
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Re: Read this if you suck at RC, how can I be a better/faster?

Postby jdhonest » Wed Mar 24, 2010 11:51 pm

1) read it as objectively as possible. Don't bring any outside knowledge.
2) answer what the question asks, not what you think it asks. As I practiced, I noticed that I missed a few because I always assumed the question asked something that it didn't. It sounds basic, but really focus on what the question asks, and not what the most obvious answer to a question that seems like it was asked.
3) if you're time is limited for preparation, try reading a wider variety of things, especially random shit like (articles on chinese folk story telling), and then see what you grasped. Faster reading is about anticipation, and the more styles of reading you have under your belt, the better you'll anticipate about whatever random as passage is thrown your way.
4). If you have a good friend who is in the liberal arts discipline, read the same thing in a similar amount of time and see what they pick up that you didn't. More concentration of study may have limited what you focus on as important in your reading.


for what it's worth, I've gotten a perfect section at least once of every standardized test I've taken, including the LSAT. I'm by no means a great reader. However, when I'm tested on reading, I read what is there, and answer what is asked. Whenever I, and many others, screw up, it's because I'm including something that's not there, but seems right, or that I've heard before.

Hope this helps.

lawschoolisfun2012
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Re: Read this if you suck at RC, how can I be a better/faster?

Postby lawschoolisfun2012 » Thu Mar 25, 2010 2:02 am

Thank you everyone for help!

Do you think it is important I start reading passages slowly and get them 100% correct? Or should I time myself (maybe +1 or 2 min) and miss one or two. I find, if I spend double the amount of time on a passage, I can get it 100% right, but if I try to do it in 8 min, I miss 3-4. Advice?

Thanks in advance.




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