Lsat Reading Comp prep

boogie with stu
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Lsat Reading Comp prep

Postby boogie with stu » Wed Aug 18, 2010 2:34 pm

I have been studying for the Lsat for the past 2 months and i have seen a lot of improvement. My LG scores are good (-1 on average) and my LR scores are pretty decent (-2 or -3 on average). What is holding me back at this point is my RC score. On my last practice test i got -7! I am hoping to get into NYU or Columbia, so i am thinking that i need to bring that up to around -3. The problem is i don't really know how to study for it. My scores on the other sections were much lower than they were before i studied, so hopefully i can improve on this section as well. I have read the other threads on this subject and i haven't really seen many things that seem worthwhile. People don't seem to think that the Powerscore book is very effective and i do not know of any others. So can someone give me some good advice on how to improve on the RC section with the remaining (about)2 months that i have before the October lsat?

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3|ink
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Re: Lsat Reading Comp prep

Postby 3|ink » Wed Aug 18, 2010 2:46 pm

Yeah. Do more sections and go over your wrong answers until you can tell yourself why your answer was not supported by the passage and why the correct answer was. There's really no magic to it. It's just a matter of persistence.

Hedwig
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Re: Lsat Reading Comp prep

Postby Hedwig » Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:11 pm

Read the passage once, slowishly. And by that I mean, if you're a fast reader naturally, do a bit of underlining to slow down. If you're a slow reader naturally, I guess you have to read slow. Circling names/dates is sometimes useful because if the passage discusses two treaties, chances are you'll be asked a question on one of them, circling it can help you refer back to it. Don't bother circling things in italics, though, or things that are going to be repeated throughout the passage (a lawsuit about the Mashpee tribe, you don't need to circle Mashpee every 20 times it appears).

Okay, you've read the passage. Now, move on to the questions. Do NOT be afraid to refer back to the passage. You can't be expected to take everything in one reading. Read a few lines above and below the referenced lines to et a sense of context.

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3|ink
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Re: Lsat Reading Comp prep

Postby 3|ink » Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:15 pm

Good call. There's no problem with having to re-read. The trick is to keep a mental map of the logical layout of the passage so you can quickly find what you're looking for without having to re-read too much.

gerbal
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Re: Lsat Reading Comp prep

Postby gerbal » Thu Aug 19, 2010 12:40 am

I think one thing I'm going to try to do is find something that works best for me. Try one RC section just speeding through it and referring back to the passage later on. Try another RC section going slowly and annotating stuff. See what works best for you. I actually found that slowly reading and annotating was not worth the time I spent doing that (for me). However, I am extremely erratic on RC (scored -1 to -3 usually but recently -4 and then -8, and I'm still on PT43 so RC isn't supposed to have gotten harder) so I'm going to need to be figuring out ways too...

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Anaconda
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Re: Lsat Reading Comp prep

Postby Anaconda » Thu Aug 19, 2010 1:25 am

On a passage that I got a 1/6 on today I re-read the passage afterwards and went over the questions. I kept re-reading the questions and answer-choices over and over again (maybe like 5 times total today) and I think it helped a bit since I was clearly able to tell what traps were set up and how tedious finding some answers really is. Even after I re-read the passage the questions were so much more approachable and the answer-choices popped out (because I understood them, not because I kept redoing them :P ). I think that with the harder RC passages, if you miss one very subtle (but major) point, you're absolutely fucked, and LSAC knows that because the questions are tailored to screw you over if you miss that point. Sometimes that subtle point is a sentence or a couple of words and it's not always an obvious point to take note of while you're reading.

In the last 2 passages I bombed (1/6 and 1/7), I missed a few subtle phrases on both and it absolutely destroyed me. Also be wary of subtle scope shifts, or shifts from one paragraph to another. I felt stupid once I realized what I missed and how glaringly obvious it was. You can kind of tell you fucked up when you pick answer choices that you feel are wrong but can't justify any of the others, kind of like when you fuck up a LG and realize it when your answer choices don't make sense, but it's way more subtle in RC. Not a good feeling at all.

boogie with stu
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Re: Lsat Reading Comp prep

Postby boogie with stu » Thu Aug 19, 2010 1:57 pm

Thank you guys for all of your help. My most recent RC section score was -3! I hope that I can get that score consistently with your tips and maybe even do better.

Kurst
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Re: Lsat Reading Comp prep

Postby Kurst » Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:02 pm

boogie with stu wrote:My LG scores are good (-1 on average) and my LR scores are pretty decent (-2 or -3 on average). What is holding me back at this point is my RC score.... The problem is i don't really know how to study for it.... I have read the other threads on this subject and i haven't really seen many things that seem worthwhile. People don't seem to think that the Powerscore book is very effective and i do not know of any others. So can someone give me some good advice on how to improve on the RC section with the remaining (about)2 months that i have before the October lsat?

The bold statement above is of dubious merit. The frequent admonition to "use the search function" is not only an expression of irritation; it is also sound advice. The five responses that you have garnered here merely echo what has been previously suggested on this forum. Your response betrays ignorance of this fact:

boogie with stu wrote:Thank you guys for all of your help. My most recent RC section score was -3! I hope that I can get that score consistently with your tips and maybe even do better.

Had you indeed consulted the search functionality of this fine forum, you surely would have been frustrated that no-one had offered a new method by which you might improve your performance on the reading comprehension section. Your enthusiastic response is utterly devoid of frustration.

Before you create yet another thread in which you beseech TLS for reading comprehension advice, please consult the following resources:

"Huge breakthrough on RC" -- rkitten was once in your position, struggling with a lackluster (-4, -6) RC score. He created this thread after conquering the section. The resource rkitten himself consulted was Steve Schwartz, author of the LSAT Blog. Here are a few of Schwartz's posts on reading comprehension:

10 Strategies for LSAT Reading Comprehension
Reading Comprehension Tips
Reading Comprehension Tips #2
How to Ace Reading Comprehension: 7 Habits

The following quotes are extracted from the "How I Scored a 180" series of articles on TLS:

How I Scored a 180, article #2 wrote:Critical Reading
Critical reading – also known as “reading comprehension” – is by far my least favorite section of the LSAT, simply because it's just not very much fun. Like many other LSAT takers, I found that the most challenging thing about critical reading was the need to maintain focus and keep my brain engaged while reading those four dense passages. During this process, I would often underline or bracket bits of a passage that I deemed important in some way – a conclusion, a major pivot, a central piece of evidence, etc. Ironically, I would never go back and use these markings when answering questions, but the simple act of making these marks helped keep me aware of what was going on in the passage.
The only other advice I offer on critical reading is to maintain awareness of the fact that this section is not simply testing your reading comprehension; it will also throw questions at you regarding the principles, the reasoning, and the strengths and fallacies which underlie the passages. The LSAT never stops testing your ability to reason.
How I Scored a 180, article #1 wrote:Specific advice for Reading Comprehension (RC)

You will be asked the same types of things about the passages each time. You’ll often need to know the main point, the author’s attitude, statements the author would agree with, understanding a metaphor the author used, and so on. These questions will come up again and again so experience will help you find what to look for in the passage while you’re reading it.

Tip One: The Puzzle Theory
What helped me was realizing that all the answers should match each other. I refer to this as the “puzzle theory” of RC. If you feel confident in your "main point" answer, you can use it to answer other questions that give you difficulty. It works the other way around, too. Maybe the main point is tough but you are confident in some others about "the purpose of the passage" or "statement the author would agree with." Consider this example:

4. The author would be most likely to agree that Billy Mumphrey’s downfall was primarily caused by:
(A) love
(B) deception
(C) his support of the conservative party
(D) his abandonment by key political allies
(E) his unbridled enthusiasm


You very confidently select E. Then later, you encounter this question that you find much more difficult to answer.

7. Which of the following most accurately restates the author’s conclusion:
(A) The main character’s politics were more important than his attitude
(B) The main character’s politics and attitude were equally important
(C) The main character’s politics were less important than his attitude
(D) The main character’s politics and attitude were equally unimportant
(E) The dirty game of world diplomacy and international intrigue is unwinnable regardless of politics or attitude


You know “the main character” refers to Billy Mumphrey, and that this phrasing is simply meant to confuse you. You remember an earlier question where you had to decide between politics and attitude. You look back at number 4 see that unbridled enthusiasm had definitely been the cause of Billy Mumphrey’s downfall, and this helps you to be reasonably confident in selecting C.

Tip Two: Stay Interested
I often lost points on RC in PrepTests because of boredom. You'll be ruined if you get bored. You'll also be ruined if you try to speed up, because if you feel like you’re reading very quickly, you’re probably missing important information. If I get interested in the passage and read to understand everything in it at my own pace, I can do well on it. This may vary from person to person though.

The TLS LSAT forum is quick to recommend The Economist for reading comprehension skills. This likely stems from the perception that The Economist is written using more difficult language than many other magazines. I don’t think any one magazine or book will prepare you for the reading comprehension section. It’s a good idea to read a variety of magazines like The Economist, Scientific American, Foreign Policy, The New Yorker, and others to which it seems graduate-degree holders subscribe.

The RC section can cover, in any one test, topics as disparate as a 1950s German poetry movement, the evolution of birds in a small corner of the Amazon, women’s landholding rights in the Magna Carta, and the origins of Law & Wine Tasting as an academic field. Chances are you’ll find at least one of those hard to get through due to boredom, convoluted language, or unfamiliarity with the topic. Reading more in your spare time can only help. This may also have some benefit for unfamiliar topics in the LR section.

The following threads are discussions of reading comprehension tips and strategies. Voyager's reading comprehension strategy is fairly well known on TLS.

Voyager's reading comprehension strategy
Reading Comp Question
Reading Comprehension & Tutoring
has anyone tried writing out explanations for an RC section?
Reading Comprehension
Reading Comprehension approach
For those who improved on the Reading Comprehension section
Reading Comprehension Techniques
For people who consistently ace reading comprehension
Review of PowerScore Reading Comprehension Bible
reading comprehension section
Reading Comprehension Questions
Reading Comprehension Strategy?
Reading comprehension improvement?

The resources above are only a starting point. None of them offer a panacea to your reading comprehension woes. What they offer instead are nuggets of wisdom that you must learn to recognize, internalize, and apply.

Unshake
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Re: Lsat Reading Comp prep

Postby Unshake » Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:26 pm

I don't have any specific (helpful) tips to offer, but I've been averaging -1 on the 5 practice tests I've taken after my initial diagnostic about 8-9 months ago getting -7-10 can't remember exactly. Basically, I just read through the passages with no underlining or writing and answer the questions. I check back on the passage frequently, for almost every question, but still usually finish with 3-5 minutes to spare. I read as fast as possible without missing words and make detailed mental notes in my head as I'm reading. EG when reading a passage I'll often think "The author is criticizing X and agreeing with Y" or personalizing the passage thinking "I've read so and so on this topic and this author presents a new view more align with X opinion."

To be honest, I decided to take a diagnostic quite a while ago and scored okay on all of the sections except RC and read that it is the most difficult section to improve on. So I decided to read every night for about an hour. I didn't read the economist or anything (which for some reason everybody suggests on here) mostly random novels that I was interested in (Stephen King's dark tower series, David McCullough, Zinn, Chabon, Salinger etc...in 9 or so months) and since I've been taking practice tests I've been scoring much better.

Not sure that there is an easy, precise formula to improving, but this is what I did for all potentially looking to improve on future tests. I improved my reading speed by a considerable amount and by reading discussions or sparknotes of books online improved my comprehension and understanding. After never reading a ton and being a science major I decided this was probably necessary if I really wanted to improve my all around reading skills. Anyways, not sure if this will help you so much, but it sounds like after some minor tweaks you're testing much better. I'd still recommend reading as frequent as possible to improve reading skills in general, it has definitely helped me on LR as well.

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WeX11788
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Re: Lsat Reading Comp prep

Postby WeX11788 » Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:47 pm

Great resource.

Miracle
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Re: Lsat Reading Comp prep

Postby Miracle » Fri Sep 24, 2010 11:16 pm

good tips!

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Blumpbeef
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Re: Lsat Reading Comp prep

Postby Blumpbeef » Fri Sep 24, 2010 11:35 pm

eit wrote:Okay, you've read the passage. Now, move on to the questions. Do NOT be afraid to refer back to the passage. You can't be expected to take everything in one reading. Read a few lines above and below the referenced lines to et a sense of context.


Superprep actually says that you should double check every answer in the passage, never pick one without referring back. This has worked reasonably well for me, at least up until the 50s. I might have to rethink it though because time really is an issue now.

I didn't read the economist or anything (which for some reason everybody suggests on here

The articles are relatively short, very often opinionated, and actually worth reading for their factual/news content.

wontpanic
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Re: Lsat Reading Comp prep

Postby wontpanic » Mon Sep 19, 2011 8:05 pm

May sound like a dumb ass Q, but how do your review your wrong answers?
To elaborate, I've been tagging - circling key words, underling author attitude, labeling roles of paragraph. My reading has sped up... but still I'm getting 1-3 wrong PER passage! I don't get it...
I review each question (right and wrong).
I pay attention to the type of questions I tend to get wrong (usually related to the author's opinion "what would auth agree/disagree?", Main point, or attitude) and therefore make an extra effort to anticipate these as I'm reading.

Is there something essential I'm missing?

bmp
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Re: Lsat Reading Comp prep

Postby bmp » Fri Sep 23, 2011 1:22 pm

I just followed some tips I read on another threat about Reading Comp. This is my worst section but I have noticed that for me marking up the passage wastes a lot of my time and I typically don't refer back to what I have marked up. I do still star definitions and circle years but that's about it. I also have been covering the answer choices to each question and I try to formulate an answer in my own words before looking at the choices. I got -0 on the past couple passages I did using this method. Hope this helps!

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glucose101
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Re: Lsat Reading Comp prep

Postby glucose101 » Fri Sep 23, 2011 2:13 pm

bmp wrote:I also have been covering the answer choices to each question and I try to formulate an answer in my own words before looking at the choices.


This is why you're doing better




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