Reading Comprehension

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oreo3405
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Reading Comprehension

Postby oreo3405 » Sun Oct 31, 2010 10:52 pm

My number one issue with the LSAC is RC. Not so much the content but the timing! What have you done to get through this? The RC is what screwed me on the Oct test because of me barely getting it through the last passage. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

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oreo3405
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Re: Reading Comprehension

Postby oreo3405 » Sun Oct 31, 2010 10:57 pm

oreo3405 wrote:My number one issue with the LSAC is RC. Not so much the content but the timing! What have you done to get through this? The RC is what screwed me on the Oct test because of me barely getting it through the last passage. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!


And by LSAC i mean LSAT of course. Ugh.

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typ3
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Re: Reading Comprehension

Postby typ3 » Sun Oct 31, 2010 11:00 pm

Yea I'll take this one.

RC increases in difficulty often like LG.

Passage 1 is often the easiest. Difficulty 1-3

Passage 2 is easy/medium, but it can be easier than passage 1 sometimes. Difficulty 3-5

Passage 3 is often the most difficult. Difficulty 7-10

Passage 4 is the 2nd most difficult but generally has the most questions. Difficulty 6-9



But what does that mean to you?

It means to get more questions right on passage 3 and 4, you need to floor it through passage 1 and 2 to bank time for the harder passages. You need to work on nailing the first two passages in about 6 minutes for passage 1 and 7 minutes for passage 2.

This will give you about 2 minutes each to work on passages 3 and 4. Allocate the banked time as needed. Just remember to move on to passage 4 with 9 minutes left. It usually has the most questions and it doesn't make sense to get a hard question right on passage 3 at the expense of 2 on passage 4.


Passage 1/2 are often very straight forward. Don't worry as much about notation on these, you should be able to retain a lot of the information due to the straightforward writing approach. Notate more on passage 3 and 4 so you can refer from the questions back to the text quickly.


EDIT: If you don't have a lot of time between now and December. I cut up old PT readings, and read them on the bus, walking between class etc. If you can't practice the passages like a real test, you can at least read them daily so the language and structure become second nature.
Last edited by typ3 on Sun Oct 31, 2010 11:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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gmenfan
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Re: Reading Comprehension

Postby gmenfan » Sun Oct 31, 2010 11:03 pm

Are you doing the passages in order? Did you a general goal-wise for each one (say 7/7/10/11)?

Everyone's different when it comes to their own personal strategy. I used to do Nat. Sci/Soc. Sci passages first, but I was topping out around at around -3/-4 because I couldn't gauge passage difficulty. I did this on the 10/10 LSAT and have since realized that I could do better by doing a combination of pass 1 or 2 first (then the other, depending on which I find "easier"). Then 3 & 4.

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gmenfan
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Re: Reading Comprehension

Postby gmenfan » Sun Oct 31, 2010 11:05 pm

typ3 wrote:Yea I'll take this one.

RC increases in difficulty often like LG.

Passage 1 is often the easiest. Difficulty 1-3

Passage 2 is easy/medium, but it can be easier than passage 1 sometimes. Difficulty 3-5

Passage 3 is often the most difficult. Difficulty 7-10

Passage 4 is the 2nd most difficult but generally has the most questions. Difficulty 6-9



But what does that mean to you?

It means to get more questions right on passage 3 and 4, you need to floor it through passage 1 and 2 to bank time for the harder passages. You need to work on nailing the first two passages in about 6 minutes for passage 1 and 7 minutes for passage 2.

This will give you about 2 minutes each to work on passages 3 and 4. Allocate the banked time as needed. Just remember to move on to passage 4 with 9 minutes left. It usually has the most questions and it doesn't make sense to get a hard question right on passage 3 at the expense of 2 on passage 4.


Passage 1/2 are often very straight forward. Don't worry as much about notation on these, you should be able to retain a lot of the information due to the straightforward writing approach. Notate more on passage 3 and 4 so you can refer from the questions back to the text quickly.


EDIT: If you don't have a lot of time between now and December. I cut up old PT readings, and read them on the bus, walking between class etc. If you can't practice the passages like a real test, you can at least read them daily so the language and structure become second nature.


Alas! I wish i knew this before taking it in October >.<. Did pas 4 first on the real thing (which was atypical of me), and only got a -3. :(

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typ3
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Re: Reading Comprehension

Postby typ3 » Sun Oct 31, 2010 11:07 pm

gmenfan wrote:Are you doing the passages in order? Did you a general goal-wise for each one (say 7/7/10/11)?

Everyone's different when it comes to their own personal strategy. I used to do Nat. Sci/Soc. Sci passages first, but I was topping out around at around -3/-4 because I couldn't gauge passage difficulty. I did this on the 10/10 LSAT and have since realized that I could do better by doing a combination of pass 1 or 2 first (then the other, depending on which I find "easier"). Then 3 & 4.



This would waste more time for the OP. He is already struggling on time taking a minute off the test to skim the passages for difficulty wouldn't be worthwhile. Not to mention there's a huge assumption in your argument that question difficulty is the same per passage. You can get a very straightforward non wordy passage with very many nuances that the LSAT will ask questions about (ultimately resulting in considerably tougher and time sucking questions) just as you can get a wordy convoluted passage with straightforward (big picture easy ID questions).


EDIT: Here's another tip that helped me nail the 50's RC. Review them structurally like a Logic Game. You'll all the passages follow one of 5-6 structures, similar to how LSAT uses 5-6 different game methods. Overall, I think the suggestion to focus your prep on the hardest passages is wasting your time. Even if someone were an avid and adept reader I doubt they could finish passages 3 & 4 under both 8 minutes consistently. Conversely, it doesn't take a lot of prep to finish passages 1 & 2 under 6 minutes consistently. More time is critically important on the harder passages. That's probably the largest mistake people make in prep and PTing.

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minnbills
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Re: Reading Comprehension

Postby minnbills » Sun Oct 31, 2010 11:14 pm

Read read read and read some more.

work on cencentration, try and absorb everything. Stop at the end of every paragraph and try to paraphrase what you just read.

Improving on reading comp is laborious but I don't think there are any shortcuts. You've got to learn to absorb most everything.

HeavenWood
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Re: Reading Comprehension

Postby HeavenWood » Sun Oct 31, 2010 11:17 pm

oreo3405 wrote:My number one issue with the LSAC is RC. Not so much the content but the timing! What have you done to get through this? The RC is what screwed me on the Oct test because of me barely getting it through the last passage. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!


RC takes repetition and practice. As for ordering, I would order the passages by the number of questions, then passage length. Long passages with lots of questions went first, short passages with few questions went last.

Unlike the other sections, RC "rights" and "wrongs" are very subjective. Just keep studying, and you'll find what works for you.

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typ3
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Re: Reading Comprehension

Postby typ3 » Sun Oct 31, 2010 11:18 pm

minnbills wrote:Read read read and read some more.

work on cencentration, try and absorb everything. Stop at the end of every paragraph and try to paraphrase what you just read.

Improving on reading comp is laborious but I don't think there are any shortcuts. You've got to learn to absorb most everything.



You don't need to absorb most everything. You need to absorb the structure more so than every detail.

Granted having a memory where you could regurgitate every line helps, but being able to know the structure and know what questions the test makers will ask is more important. For instance, if the author throws in a word in quotes, 9 out of 10 times you know LSAC is going to test the meaning of that word.

doing_it_in_a_car
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Re: Reading Comprehension

Postby doing_it_in_a_car » Mon Nov 01, 2010 12:22 am

minnbills wrote:Read read read and read some more.

work on cencentration, try and absorb everything. Stop at the end of every paragraph and try to paraphrase what you just read.

Improving on reading comp is laborious but I don't think there are any shortcuts. You've got to learn to absorb most everything.


This. Over the course of taking 12+ practice tests, I began to spend more time on the first read through of RC passages and less time on going back to check. By test day, I could usually get an answer in my head after reading the stimulus and would only need to briefly confirm with the passage.


Specific tips:
In the margins, I write POV next to sentences where the author's point of view is most apparent. I underline topic sentences and note supporting examples with a big EX next to the line. I circle/box key words that seem to be candidates for "In line X, the word ____ most nearly means" questions. I would also suggest using a highlighter (sparingly).

To improve mental stamina, I recommend running 6-10 RC sections back to back with no break. Buy more books if you need the materials, it's worth it.

One last thought, you should dedicate some study sessions to accuracy instead of speed. Take all the time you need on the section and try your best to get every question right (goes for LR and LG too). Balance that with study sessions devoted to improving your speed and pacing, and you should be set!

Best of luck!

Hedwig
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Re: Reading Comprehension

Postby Hedwig » Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:39 am

Read a lot a lot a lot of books. Good ones, so that you actually want to read. Some dense stuff as well.

Keeper1125
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Re: Reading Comprehension

Postby Keeper1125 » Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:46 am

It's the one section where most "tips" are only marginally useful, IMO. Your best bet is just to read dense material and practice as much as you can.

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DieAntwoord
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Re: Reading Comprehension

Postby DieAntwoord » Mon Nov 01, 2010 2:33 am

what the people above said.

This is what you will be doing in law school, so put in the time to become a better reader now.

Also you can watch a lot of anime/foreign movies with a lot of dialogue; that will make you read fast. :)

Also there are just a lot of great writers out there that are kind of difficult conceptually and style wise. So maybe you can read some without having to revert to classics or the Russians (not including Nabokov). Example: Jorge Luis Borges, Eco, Proust. I would recommend reading some authors like these for about 2 hours none stop just to build up endurance. And it is enjoyable. Be sure to read a little faster than you normally do to build up your speed. Also, Borges and Proust use a lot of Spanish and French respectively so you have to rely on context which is important. Of course there are also philosophy collections you can read through but they are less fun. And Borges is just the best write in the world.
Borges’s Collected Fictions
Nabokov’s Ada or Ardor
Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum
If you work through all of these authors the RC section on the lsat will seem like “see spot run.”
If you are serious about this stop watching tv unless it has subtitles and read two hours a day none stop. Consider this your free time. And then for studying do every RC section that is out there and look for patterns in the questions. You can also do a reading comp section, go over the questions, and then pick up the wsj or something and read it through thinking about the types of questions the lsat asks. You could even have a blank sheet of paper next to you and after you finish each section write down the MP, some facts, and some perspectives and arguments in the section. Then do another RC section.

Edit: Knowing the questions well will help you a lot with speed. and perhaps paraphrase.

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TommyK
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Re: Reading Comprehension

Postby TommyK » Mon Nov 01, 2010 2:41 am

I disagree with the general wisdom of "read a lot of books" or "order a subscription of the economist"

First, I find The Economist articles to be very well-written and written in a way to keep the reader's interest. Often with the LSAT RC passages, they're chosen because they're hard to follow. Also, reading books is a good idea, but not sure it's the most efficient use of your time. I'd rather suggest you spend an hour reading RC passages than an hour reading books. This is largely because of HUGE structural differences between books and the passages you're reading for the LSAT.

I battled with this a lot at first. I was/still am a slower reader and I was consistently missing 10+ questions on my RC sections. It was by far my weakest section. I would only get all the way through three sections and then have to scan the fourth one, which would only give me time to quickly answer or guess on the last 1/4 of the test.

The best piece of advice I got was to just continue reading as many as I could get my hands on. I didn't buy it at first, but I kept working on it and it eventually clicked (pretty much all at the same time). I'm not a rockstar on RC now, but my Oct LSAT was -3 on RC, so it was passable and certainly a marked improvement.

Some people benefit from making quick notes in the margin about the structure of the passage. Other people underline transitional words like "but", "however", "moreover", or "therefore". Some people do both. I think this is really the piece of the LSAT that you just have to figure out what works best for you. Try a bunch of strategies.

I eventually became an underliner, as the noting strategy ate too much time. Not because it helped show the direction of the author's argument, but because it forced me to pay attention during really dense and dry material.

The nice part is that I don't think RC has changed that much on the LSAT over the years, so your materials from years ago will be roughly as useful as recent LSAT's (with the exception that there are usually 26 - 28 questions now for RC). The same is not as easy to say about LG or LR.

Good luck.

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DieAntwoord
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Re: Reading Comprehension

Postby DieAntwoord » Mon Nov 01, 2010 2:52 am

TommyK wrote:I disagree with the general wisdom of "read a lot of books" or "order a subscription of the economist"

First, I find The Economist articles to be very well-written and written in a way to keep the reader's interest. Often with the LSAT RC passages, they're chosen because they're hard to follow. Also, reading books is a good idea, but not sure it's the most efficient use of your time. I'd rather suggest you spend an hour reading RC passages than an hour reading books. This is largely because of HUGE structural differences between books and the passages you're reading for the LSAT.

I battled with this a lot at first. I was/still am a slower reader and I was consistently missing 10+ questions on my RC sections. It was by far my weakest section. I would only get all the way through three sections and then have to scan the fourth one, which would only give me time to quickly answer or guess on the last 1/4 of the test.

The best piece of advice I got was to just continue reading as many as I could get my hands on. I didn't buy it at first, but I kept working on it and it eventually clicked (pretty much all at the same time). I'm not a rockstar on RC now, but my Oct LSAT was -3 on RC, so it was passable and certainly a marked improvement.

Some people benefit from making quick notes in the margin about the structure of the passage. Other people underline transitional words like "but", "however", "moreover", or "therefore". Some people do both. I think this is really the piece of the LSAT that you just have to figure out what works best for you. Try a bunch of strategies.

I eventually became an underliner, as the noting strategy ate too much time. Not because it helped show the direction of the author's argument, but because it forced me to pay attention during really dense and dry material.

The nice part is that I don't think RC has changed that much on the LSAT over the years, so your materials from years ago will be roughly as useful as recent LSAT's (with the exception that there are usually 26 - 28 questions now for RC). The same is not as easy to say about LG or LR.

Good luck.



This. What I wrote was with the understanding that you will do every RC section out there by the time you take the test.

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minnbills
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Re: Reading Comprehension

Postby minnbills » Mon Nov 01, 2010 5:09 pm

typ3 wrote:
minnbills wrote:Read read read and read some more.

work on cencentration, try and absorb everything. Stop at the end of every paragraph and try to paraphrase what you just read.

Improving on reading comp is laborious but I don't think there are any shortcuts. You've got to learn to absorb most everything.



You don't need to absorb most everything. You need to absorb the structure more so than every detail.

Granted having a memory where you could regurgitate every line helps, but being able to know the structure and know what questions the test makers will ask is more important. For instance, if the author throws in a word in quotes, 9 out of 10 times you know LSAC is going to test the meaning of that word.


Learning to absorb everything isn't something you need for the test.

But I firmly believe it's the way to improve comprehension.

vodkashot
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Re: Reading Comprehension

Postby vodkashot » Mon Nov 01, 2010 5:19 pm

TommyK wrote:
The nice part is that I don't think RC has changed that much on the LSAT over the years, so your materials from years ago will be roughly as useful as recent LSAT's (with the exception that there are usually 26 - 28 questions now for RC). The same is not as easy to say about LG or LR.



Really? From all the talk here, it seems that it's the other way around--hasn't RC gotten more difficult in the recent exams, while LG and LR from the past are basically about the same?

Caveat lector--I haven't done any of the PTs in the 50s yet.

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TommyK
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Re: Reading Comprehension

Postby TommyK » Mon Nov 01, 2010 5:36 pm

vodkashot wrote:Really? From all the talk here, it seems that it's the other way around--hasn't RC gotten more difficult in the recent exams, while LG and LR from the past are basically about the same?

Caveat lector--I haven't done any of the PTs in the 50s yet.


*shrug* I haven't noticed any substantial difference. The LSAT has emphasized the RC section over the last several years, by changing it from 25 questions to usually more like 28 questions. I guess this could be interpreted as it being harder, since you have marginally less time to answer each question. That being said, the bulk of the time is reading the passages and I don't think the passages have become more cryptic/harder to read nor do they contain more esoteric language. But I'll defer to the wisdom of the crowds.

I believe in the old tests there used to be 25 LG questions on average, but they've been paring them down and adding a couple questions on RC and LG.




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