RC Practice, Sorted by Passage Topic?

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tmon
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RC Practice, Sorted by Passage Topic?

Postby tmon » Fri May 20, 2011 3:54 pm

I brought this up in the October study group thread, but I'd like to get a range of opinions, especially from anyone who feels they've improved on the reading comp section through practice.

I've seen scores ranging from -9 to -2, with little to no consistency, and an average around -5/6 almost from the beginning of my studying in February.. My plan is to treat RC practice similar to LG practice in that I'll be taking passages and their questions and doing them three days in a row. This will hopefully ingrain the test's tendencies and be lots of practice in my problem section.

In order to accomplish this, I have all RC passages from test 1-38, which comes sorted into four topics (Natural Science, Social Science, Law, and Humanities) as well as by difficulty. I think that it being sorted by difficulty is useful. However, I'm interested in others' opinions on doing RC practice by passage topic.

I would like to go from easy to hard, but maybe not strictly though. Would doing like the first 1/4 of one topic, then 1/4th of another, etc etc, and moving by both difficulty AND topic be a good idea? Or should I mix things up? Some people have pointed out that it wouldn't be good to start worrying about encountering certain types of passages. But on the other hand, if there are similarities between same-topic passages, it'd make sense to try to recognize them. What do you think?

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Eichörnchen
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Re: RC Practice, Sorted by Passage Topic?

Postby Eichörnchen » Fri May 20, 2011 4:44 pm

tmon wrote:I brought this up in the October study group thread, but I'd like to get a range of opinions, especially from anyone who feels they've improved on the reading comp section through practice.

I've seen scores ranging from -9 to -2, with little to no consistency, and an average around -5/6 almost from the beginning of my studying in February.. My plan is to treat RC practice similar to LG practice in that I'll be taking passages and their questions and doing them three days in a row. This will hopefully ingrain the test's tendencies and be lots of practice in my problem section.

In order to accomplish this, I have all RC passages from test 1-38, which comes sorted into four topics (Natural Science, Social Science, Law, and Humanities) as well as by difficulty. I think that it being sorted by difficulty is useful. However, I'm interested in others' opinions on doing RC practice by passage topic.

I would like to go from easy to hard, but maybe not strictly though. Would doing like the first 1/4 of one topic, then 1/4th of another, etc etc, and moving by both difficulty AND topic be a good idea? Or should I mix things up? Some people have pointed out that it wouldn't be good to start worrying about encountering certain types of passages. But on the other hand, if there are similarities between same-topic passages, it'd make sense to try to recognize them. What do you think?

I'm really not sure (helpful, right?) which approach is best, but I do think that being afraid that you'll start to worry about a certain passage type isn't really a valid reason not to do it by type. If you do happen to suck at a certain passage type, don't you want to figure that pattern out and remedy it?

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Strange
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Re: RC Practice, Sorted by Passage Topic?

Postby Strange » Fri May 20, 2011 4:48 pm

I never worried about passage type when I was practicing RC. Basically I ran through the Manhattan guide, then did a timed RC section just about every night to practice techniques and timing. Have gone from a -4 to -2/-1 avg since then. Really depends on what's best for you

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tmon
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Re: RC Practice, Sorted by Passage Topic?

Postby tmon » Fri May 20, 2011 4:51 pm

Eichörnchen wrote:I'm really not sure (helpful, right?) which approach is best, but I do think that being afraid that you'll start to worry about a certain passage type isn't really a valid reason not to do it by type. If you do happen to suck at a certain passage type, don't you want to figure that pattern out and remedy it?



Yeah, that's a fair point. It's hard to work on a weakness if you don't confront it.

I've never noticed one type of passage to be worse for me than another. But then again, that's because I'm apt to randomly miss 2 or 3 without knowing I'm having a hard time with a passage. So maybe with improvement on general RC stuff I'll also find specific passage type issues that I could work on.

bhan87
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Re: RC Practice, Sorted by Passage Topic?

Postby bhan87 » Fri May 20, 2011 4:54 pm

tmon wrote:I brought this up in the October study group thread, but I'd like to get a range of opinions, especially from anyone who feels they've improved on the reading comp section through practice.

I've seen scores ranging from -9 to -2, with little to no consistency, and an average around -5/6 almost from the beginning of my studying in February.. My plan is to treat RC practice similar to LG practice in that I'll be taking passages and their questions and doing them three days in a row. This will hopefully ingrain the test's tendencies and be lots of practice in my problem section.

In order to accomplish this, I have all RC passages from test 1-38, which comes sorted into four topics (Natural Science, Social Science, Law, and Humanities) as well as by difficulty. I think that it being sorted by difficulty is useful. However, I'm interested in others' opinions on doing RC practice by passage topic.

I would like to go from easy to hard, but maybe not strictly though. Would doing like the first 1/4 of one topic, then 1/4th of another, etc etc, and moving by both difficulty AND topic be a good idea? Or should I mix things up? Some people have pointed out that it wouldn't be good to start worrying about encountering certain types of passages. But on the other hand, if there are similarities between same-topic passages, it'd make sense to try to recognize them. What do you think?


Certain topics have 1-2 questions that always seem to pop up for that topic-type. For instance, there are many many literature / arts passages that discusses a writer / artist that does something different from the norm and is criticized for it, followed by a defense by the author of that passage. 90% of the time, there will be a main point or author's opinion question where the right answer will be "X person shouldn't be criticized for not doing Y, because it isn't Y, it's supposed to be Z".

Another example would be science topics where you need to pay closer attention to differentiating between hypotheses, theories, experiments, etc. This is particularly the case for questions that ask the "purpose" of certain areas of the passage. The answer in a lot of science topics will often be something like "To present a hypothesis" or "To describe an experiment in support of the author's conclusion".

I think it's worthwhile to explore passage types separately, but keep in mind that you will encounter a MIX on the real exam, so you need to train your mind to switch back and forth as well.

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tmon
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Re: RC Practice, Sorted by Passage Topic?

Postby tmon » Fri May 20, 2011 5:40 pm

Thanks bhan. I've definitely noticed those templates, and if they're similar characteristics that are tested on in multiple tests it makes sense to see them that way.




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