"Speed Reading" as best prep for Reading Comp?

utopian_grrl
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"Speed Reading" as best prep for Reading Comp?

Postby utopian_grrl » Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:18 pm

So, the general consensus on the board is that the Powerscore LR and LG bibles are great primary study materials for those sections. I agree. However, many of you say that the RC bibles aren't that useful and instead recommend reading relatively dense material in our everyday lives (ie: Scientific American, Economist, etc).

While I think this is good advice, there seems to be a lack of a universal game plan - a general method that can tell you what you're doing and find ways to help you do it better.

Speed reading seems like it would be the single most beneficial tool (in conjunction with aforementioned relevant readings) that - if actually effective- can help with the reading comprehensive section.

I don't think I'm a slow reader, but I can always be faster and my retention is sometimes nonexistent when dealing with some of the boring topics featured in the LSAT RC section. So, since Breakthrough Rapid Reading by Kump has gotten some good reviews, I'm going to add this as my primary reference book for the RC section.

Has anyone had experience with using speed reading in relation to the LSAT (or academically)?

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lbeezy
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Re: "Speed Reading" as best prep for Reading Comp?

Postby lbeezy » Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:21 pm

I speed read naturally, it helps me greatly in my everyday life. I'm not sure some book or course would help you though.

ack
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Re: "Speed Reading" as best prep for Reading Comp?

Postby ack » Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:28 pm

I wasted $60 on a one day speed-reading workshop once. I found it to be complete BS.

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thecilent
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Re: "Speed Reading" as best prep for Reading Comp?

Postby thecilent » Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:28 pm

The best practice for reading comp is to get every old lsat and do every RC passage in those. Do them at 8 min each or 33 min for a full section. Re-read and -do every one you get wrong.

Experiment with different underlining and circling of key words. I try and underline one sentence per paragraph to get the main point of each paragraph.

This is the best prep

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greenchair
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Re: "Speed Reading" as best prep for Reading Comp?

Postby greenchair » Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:46 pm

thecilent wrote:The best practice for reading comp is to get every old lsat and do every RC passage in those. Do them at 8 min each or 33 min for a full section. Re-read and -do every one you get wrong.

Experiment with different underlining and circling of key words. I try and underline one sentence per paragraph to get the main point of each paragraph.

This is the best prep


+1. There is no "best way." If you do enough passages, you will naturally start to develop your own rhythm and markings that will help.

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ScottRiqui
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Re: "Speed Reading" as best prep for Reading Comp?

Postby ScottRiqui » Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:51 pm

"Speed reading" is a very general term and encompasses a variety of different techniques & methods. If you go that route, I would caution you to find a method that's designed for 100% comprehension, rather than just "getting the gist" of whatever it is you're reading, even if your raw "words-per-minute" ends up being lower. Some of the methods actually involve skipping over significant portions of the material (just reading the first and last sentences of a paragraph, for instance.)

Just about any speed reading method will work fine for books, articles and things like that, but on the LSAT and similar tests, you'll live and die by the "key words and tricky phrases", and it would be a shame to lose all the time you saved by having to go back to the passage too often to either get something you missed the first time through or to clarify a particularly involved/convoluted part of the passage.

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fastforward
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Re: "Speed Reading" as best prep for Reading Comp?

Postby fastforward » Tue Jan 04, 2011 12:11 am

Greenchair and theclient have it right. RC is not amenable to a cookie-cutter solutions for improvement. The two keys are to get inside the heads of the test authors and to master pacing. Keep at it and you'll find what works for you. All the best.

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TLSanders
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Re: "Speed Reading" as best prep for Reading Comp?

Postby TLSanders » Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:16 am

Actual speed reading probably isn't going to help you much, since it will give everything that you read equal weight rather than helping you focus in on the things that are necessary to answer the questions. The key to doing well on reading comprehension passages (and in the hundreds of pages of reading you'll have to do as a first year law student) is learning to quickly separate what you need to know from what you can look back at if you need it and what's pure diversion.

That's where reading dense materials comes in, but it's not just about reading them. It's about reading them in a way that cultivates an ability to pick out key points and mentally or in brief notes "outline" what you've read without getting bogged down in the tough language or details.

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rinkrat19
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Re: "Speed Reading" as best prep for Reading Comp?

Postby rinkrat19 » Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:40 am

What would be considered 'speed-reading' on an RC reading selection, I wonder?

I read them in 30-40 seconds and retain enough to be able to go directly back to the general physical area (within 3 lines or so on the page) of the bit I'm looking for. I'm a fast reader, but I've never considered myself an actual 'speed-reader'. (I can't get through the Bible in 10 minutes or whatever those crazy ads say.) I'm only skimming the reading selection. But I do have a very specific kind of visual recall that allows me to visualize where in a block of text I read a key phrase or sentence so I can go back to it and read that bit more carefully. I don't have nearly the same accuracy of visual recall with other things: faces, rooms, objects on a desk, etc. It only seems to work for text.

I think generally improving your reading speed and comprehension is a good idea for RC to be able to complete the section in 35 minutes, but there's a point at which just getting faster won't help if you're still getting RC questions wrong, not just leaving them incomplete. I regularly finished RC sections in 20-25 minutes, but was still usually getting at least 2 wrong toward the end of my prep (-3 on the real thing, meh). Clearly, speed is not the only issue.

Baruch Hume
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Re: "Speed Reading" as best prep for Reading Comp?

Postby Baruch Hume » Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:20 am

I actually dabbled with a speed reading program called infinite mind's eye q while studying for the lsat. I found that my reading speed increased by a good amount without sacrificing reading comprehension. However I was lucky in that my father had purchased it for my family years ago and did not have to shell out the money for this program.

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TLSanders
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Re: "Speed Reading" as best prep for Reading Comp?

Postby TLSanders » Tue Jan 04, 2011 3:13 am

ScottRiqui wrote:... it would be a shame to lose all the time you saved by having to go back to the passage too often to either get something you missed the first time through or to clarify a particularly involved/convoluted part of the passage.


No, it wouldn't. That's exactly how it's supposed to work--take a quick minute or two to get the gist and structure and learn where the pertinent information is and then look it back up as needed. If you've marked up the passage with a few brief and easily scannable flags, that's not time-consuming at all. And it saves you the trouble of "learning" the many details that aren't covered in any question and will never again matter in your life when those 8-9 minutes are up.

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ScottRiqui
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Re: "Speed Reading" as best prep for Reading Comp?

Postby ScottRiqui » Tue Jan 04, 2011 9:16 am

TLSanders wrote:
ScottRiqui wrote:... it would be a shame to lose all the time you saved by having to go back to the passage too often to either get something you missed the first time through or to clarify a particularly involved/convoluted part of the passage.


No, it wouldn't. That's exactly how it's supposed to work--take a quick minute or two to get the gist and structure and learn where the pertinent information is and then look it back up as needed. If you've marked up the passage with a few brief and easily scannable flags, that's not time-consuming at all. And it saves you the trouble of "learning" the many details that aren't covered in any question and will never again matter in your life when those 8-9 minutes are up.


That's fine - it sounds like the method you're using was designed for comprehension, since you're at least reading everything during the first pass (however briefly). As I said in my earlier post, not all methods do that. Some advocate skipping passages completely, and consider 50-60% retention to be "good". Think about that for a second and you'll see why I said that not all speed reading methods are suitable for dense material that you're going to be tested on.

Also, most of the formal speed reading methods out there aren't like your method, because they're not designed for you to go back and re-read passages for additional clarification after you're done.

My personal take on it is that most people need to worry more about the "reading" part of it (comprehension, recognizing "key words and tricky phrases", etcetera) rather than the "speed" part of it. There's simply no need (on the LSAT, at least) for 1,000+ WPM reading speeds if it comes at the cost of even an iota of comprehension.

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TLSanders
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Re: "Speed Reading" as best prep for Reading Comp?

Postby TLSanders » Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:02 am

ScottRiqui wrote:That's fine - it sounds like the method you're using was designed for comprehension, since you're at least reading everything during the first pass (however briefly). As I said in my earlier post, not all methods do that. Some advocate skipping passages completely, and consider 50-60% retention to be "good". Think about that for a second and you'll see why I said that not all speed reading methods are suitable for dense material that you're going to be tested on.

Also, most of the formal speed reading methods out there aren't like your method, because they're not designed for you to go back and re-read passages for additional clarification after you're done.

My personal take on it is that most people need to worry more about the "reading" part of it (comprehension, recognizing "key words and tricky phrases", etcetera) rather than the "speed" part of it. There's simply no need (on the LSAT, at least) for 1,000+ WPM reading speeds if it comes at the cost of even an iota of comprehension.


I agree with you that speed reading isn't the answer for the LSAT, but definitely NOT that first-pass reading should involve reading every word or concerning oneself with "tricky phrases". The LSAT simply isn't testing for maximum comprehension--it's testing your ability to quickly pick out what is and isn't important and use the resource in front of you to answer specific questions (just like you'll have to do with case law in law school and beyond).

My approach involves dedicating 60-90 seconds to hitting the highlights of the passage, making a very light, structural mark-up, and then referring back to answer questions. This has consistently yielded -1 in 20-25 minutes for years.

utopian_grrl
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Re: "Speed Reading" as best prep for Reading Comp?

Postby utopian_grrl » Tue Jan 04, 2011 5:14 pm

Right now, I'm at about 5+ minutes over the time limit and about 3 missed questions. But, it's still early, so I'm optimistic.

I label important parts of the paragraphs. And read various dense material for school and via online journals. I actually took an entire philosophy course in college which was dedicated to identifying the fallacies and main point of arguments.

So, speed and maintaining focus is my biggest problem. Working on the concentration via meditation, yoga and a decrease in caffeine. Hoping to find the speed in "speed reading" techniques.

Yes, I've heard that many speed reading how-to books advocate for skipping over some reading portions, but not all of them do this.

The book costs $7 and has minimal commitment - so it will be easily dropped if proven ineffective.




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