RC Advice...

Ghenghis Khan
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RC Advice...

Postby Ghenghis Khan » Fri Jul 02, 2010 9:16 am

Just took the June LSAT, scored a 160. I'm really looking to score in the mid 160's to improve my chances. I usually average 2-3 wrong for each section of LR and LG. Obviously my RC is completely awful, I usually get 1 wrong for each passage untimed, but the timing completely throws me off and am absolutely terrible at it, any suggestions?

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balzern
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Re: RC Advice...

Postby balzern » Fri Jul 02, 2010 9:45 am

Hey first off I am a big fan of your pillaging and raping in the East. On a more serious note, RC is a crap shoot on every test. I have heard the more RC you do the better you get like everything else. IMO doing more makes you better so read every RC you can get your hands on. Try not to focus on too much detail - it isn't necessary. However, for more of a concrete response try seraching for Voyager's RC strategy thread - it's a good one.

Ghenghis Khan
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Re: RC Advice...

Postby Ghenghis Khan » Fri Jul 02, 2010 10:00 am

balzern wrote:Hey first off I am a big fan of your pillaging and raping in the East. On a more serious note, RC is a crap shoot on every test. I have heard the more RC you do the better you get like everything else. IMO doing more makes you better so read every RC you can get your hands on. Try not to focus on too much detail - it isn't necessary. However, for more of a concrete response try seraching for Voyager's RC strategy thread - it's a good one.


Ok, thanks for the advice. Will timing just come naturally like everything else, also, do you think it's worth it to read throught the RC bible. It seems as though RC is pretty tought to improve on

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balzern
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Re: RC Advice...

Postby balzern » Fri Jul 02, 2010 10:04 am

Yeah I tried the Bible and it really didn't do much. Take many RC sections even just single passages and slowly cut your time down - 8:45, 8:00, 7:45, 7:00 etc. It sucks but it will help you out come test day. For me I ran out of time during the test - a result of not training myself to complete PT passages in less than the time given. On test day everything happens quicker than on PTs.

Audio Technica Guy
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Re: RC Advice...

Postby Audio Technica Guy » Fri Jul 02, 2010 10:17 am

I think it's folly to just think you can "practice RC to death" and improve. You need to change something about the way you are doing it. The problem lies in the fact that just about any time you change something in RC, you're going to do worse at first. The way that the LSAT gets you is that for RC, the natural way students do something really only works if you have a near photographic memory. However, students are loathe to actually learn a method for RC. This is why it is considered the hardest section to learn how to improve on, not because you actually can't learn to improve it.

I've had plenty of students over the years that went from awful at RC to it being one of their stronger sections. Just last round, I had a girl who went from RC being her weakness to it being her strongest section, she did this in just 3 weeks. RC used to be by far my own personal worst section, now it's the one that I pretty much never miss questions on and I can do with plenty of time to spare (like you, I originally struggled mightily with the timing).

The RC bible is pretty decent, though I prefer taking a course (and I prefer princeton review, obviously). But the main thing is do a method, and then when you struggle with it at first DO NOT abandon it. Most of the methods out there are probably a lot better than what you're doing now, but what you're doing now comes naturally to you (obviously), which gives your "natural method" a built in advantage, but only at first. The natural method is what the test is designed to exploit. The methods that Princeton Review, Testmasters, the RC bible, etc teach will all seem very awkward at first and you'll probably think "this might work for some people, but I was doing better the way I was doing it." This is folly and the SOLE reason why RC is considered harder to improve on than other sections.

Ghenghis Khan
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Re: RC Advice...

Postby Ghenghis Khan » Fri Jul 02, 2010 10:20 am

Obviously it will differ from person to person, because 3 weeks is a really quick turn around to adopt a new method and succeed at it. How long will it usually take for a new method to start showing results?

Audio Technica Guy
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Re: RC Advice...

Postby Audio Technica Guy » Fri Jul 02, 2010 10:39 am

Ghenghis Khan wrote:Obviously it will differ from person to person, because 3 weeks is a really quick turn around to adopt a new method and succeed at it. How long will it usually take for a new method to start showing results?


How long it takes is a very varying question, based on a LOT of factors. the most relevant seem to be (roughly in order of importance)

1) How willing you are to totally submit to the method and make sure you are really doing it every time you do a RC section.
2) How close your natural method is to whatever method you're trying to learn.
3) What your biggest problems in RC are (some problems are easier to fix than others).
4) How thorough you are when practicing and reviewing.

I'd say 6 weeks of dedicated practice will get 90% of students to see pretty significant results in RC. I've never had a student that put in 10 weeks or more of dedicated RC practice that didn't show LARGE improvements.

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jackalope11
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Re: RC Advice...

Postby jackalope11 » Fri Jul 02, 2010 10:54 am

balzern wrote:Yeah I tried the Bible and it really didn't do much. Take many RC sections even just single passages and slowly cut your time down - 8:45, 8:00, 7:45, 7:00 etc. It sucks but it will help you out come test day. For me I ran out of time during the test - a result of not training myself to complete PT passages in less than the time given. On test day everything happens quicker than on PTs.



I have to say that, strictly for me, this was the absolute truth... The problem I had was with the fact that I simply do not read like any of the methods that we are taught for RC sections. Therefore, trying to train myself to follow them was a huge time suck, and I did not stress enough on the "comprehension".

Once I went back to the drawing board, I was able to increase my speeds by lowering my times, as mentioned above.

I'm not advocating this for everyone, I think that the RC may be unique in that it is a section with which everyone has to discern their own best practices. However, it was helpful in my case.

Audio Technica Guy
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Re: RC Advice...

Postby Audio Technica Guy » Fri Jul 02, 2010 10:57 am

jackalope11 wrote:
balzern wrote:Yeah I tried the Bible and it really didn't do much. Take many RC sections even just single passages and slowly cut your time down - 8:45, 8:00, 7:45, 7:00 etc. It sucks but it will help you out come test day. For me I ran out of time during the test - a result of not training myself to complete PT passages in less than the time given. On test day everything happens quicker than on PTs.



I have to say that, strictly for me, this was the absolute truth... The problem I had was with the fact that I simply do not read like any of the methods that we are taught for RC sections. Therefore, trying to train myself to follow them was a huge time suck, and I did not stress enough on the "comprehension".

Once I went back to the drawing board, I was able to increase my speeds by lowering my times, as mentioned above.

I'm not advocating this for everyone, I think that the RC may be unique in that it is a section with which everyone has to discern their own best practices. However, it was helpful in my case.


How much did you end up improving?

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jackalope11
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Re: RC Advice...

Postby jackalope11 » Fri Jul 02, 2010 11:08 am

+7 points... almost all of which was in the area of RC.

However, when I was studying and using the methods being taught, I dipped from a PT average in the mid-160's all the way down to the mid-150's... my lowest was a 153, at which point I "went back to the drawing board"...

I thought the methods DID sound very logical and well-thought for the most part... for some reason, they just did not work with the way that my brain processes information, apparently.

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DGLitcH
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Re: RC Advice...

Postby DGLitcH » Fri Jul 02, 2010 12:36 pm

Audio Technica Guy wrote:I think it's folly to just think you can "practice RC to death" and improve. You need to change something about the way you are doing it. The problem lies in the fact that just about any time you change something in RC, you're going to do worse at first. The way that the LSAT gets you is that for RC, the natural way students do something really only works if you have a near photographic memory. However, students are loathe to actually learn a method for RC. This is why it is considered the hardest section to learn how to improve on, not because you actually can't learn to improve it.

I've had plenty of students over the years that went from awful at RC to it being one of their stronger sections. Just last round, I had a girl who went from RC being her weakness to it being her strongest section, she did this in just 3 weeks. RC used to be by far my own personal worst section, now it's the one that I pretty much never miss questions on and I can do with plenty of time to spare (like you, I originally struggled mightily with the timing).

The RC bible is pretty decent, though I prefer taking a course (and I prefer princeton review, obviously). But the main thing is do a method, and then when you struggle with it at first DO NOT abandon it. Most of the methods out there are probably a lot better than what you're doing now, but what you're doing now comes naturally to you (obviously), which gives your "natural method" a built in advantage, but only at first. The natural method is what the test is designed to exploit. The methods that Princeton Review, Testmasters, the RC bible, etc teach will all seem very awkward at first and you'll probably think "this might work for some people, but I was doing better the way I was doing it." This is folly and the SOLE reason why RC is considered harder to improve on than other sections.


The RC improvement of the girl that you tutored is very inspiring, do you think you could elaborate on some of the things that your method stressed?

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Anaconda
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Re: RC Advice...

Postby Anaconda » Fri Jul 02, 2010 12:39 pm

I'm been trying Voyager's method. Got -7, -5 yesterday, but today I got a dreadful -10, and that took me 45 minutes. I seem to be missing detail and inference questions the most.

Audio Technica Guy
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Re: RC Advice...

Postby Audio Technica Guy » Fri Jul 02, 2010 1:26 pm

Anaconda wrote:I'm been trying Voyager's method. Got -7, -5 yesterday, but today I got a dreadful -10, and that took me 45 minutes. I seem to be missing detail and inference questions the most.


Are you trying to answer detail and inference questions from memory? You have to go back to the passage and find the answer.

Audio Technica Guy
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Re: RC Advice...

Postby Audio Technica Guy » Fri Jul 02, 2010 1:32 pm

DGLitcH wrote:
The RC improvement of the girl that you tutored is very inspiring, do you think you could elaborate on some of the things that your method stressed?


I mean as far as RC goes, I teach the Princeton Review method. It's hard to elaborate much more than that in the format of a discussion board post. I'd say Voyager's method is relatively close (though some parts differ).

The method mostly stresses only reading for the big picture and the main idea of each paragraph, skimming anything that looks like a detail when you read the passage. Then go back to the passage to find proof of all the detail and inference questions. Obviously there is a lot more to be said about it, and that's why it's not particularly easy.
Last edited by Audio Technica Guy on Fri Jul 02, 2010 2:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Anaconda
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Re: RC Advice...

Postby Anaconda » Fri Jul 02, 2010 2:08 pm

Audio Technica Guy wrote:
Anaconda wrote:I'm been trying Voyager's method. Got -7, -5 yesterday, but today I got a dreadful -10, and that took me 45 minutes. I seem to be missing detail and inference questions the most.


Are you trying to answer detail and inference questions from memory? You have to go back to the passage and find the answer.


That may have been a problem, actually I'm pretty sure I didn't do this for several questions that I got wrong.

Here are the ones I got wrong:

"Which of the following is the main idea?" (forgot to skim through the 1st paragraph)
"Which of the following can be inferred?"
"The passage implies..."
"The passage implies..."

"Which of the following best describes the organization of the passage?"
"According to the passage..."
"The information in the passage suggests..."
"According to the passage..."
"The author implies..."

"X might be undermined by the fact..."

Almost all the questions I got wrong were inference/extension questions (I hate how there's a million different classifications out there to describe the same basic question type).

Most of the questions I got wrong were only 1-2 stars according to Kaplan (which means it was I who missed something, rather than an option(s) tripping me up), although I still have some trouble understanding some of the 4 star questions I got wrong.

Also, on the passage I got -0 on, I took just a few, but crucial notes, and had effective boxing. With the other ones, I tended to write unnecessarily long descriptions almost verbatim of what was in the passage. From now on, I'll try to limit notations to 1-3 words, or make comparative lists (which worked great for the -0 passage that was a comparison essay).

I just read Nova's chapter on RC, and they have some helpful tips, especially in regards to avoiding trap answer choices for specific question types. I just ordered the RCB, so hopefully that will help me out too.

My main weakness might be my strategy involving how to approach different question types and the pitfalls in each wrong answer choice.

I'm also VERY concerned about my time - 45 minutes for 4 passages isn't very good...




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