Found a pattern on my RC but don't know how to fix it...

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greenchair
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Found a pattern on my RC but don't know how to fix it...

Postby greenchair » Sun May 29, 2011 2:26 am

I've noticed that I get about -1/-2 for the first three passages, and I completely bomb the last passage.

In particular, the last test I took, I got, per passage, -1, -2, -1, -6. If I can continue my -1/-2 trend, I can finish RC with a -5 and I am fine with that...

Clearly I am just running out of time toward the end and rushing through the answers. But I don't know how to not run out of time! Should I start with the last section first? Should I start with the passage with more questions first?

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Jack Smirks
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Re: Found a pattern on my RC but don't know how to fix it...

Postby Jack Smirks » Sun May 29, 2011 2:37 am

Just try picking up the pace and see what your accuracy does.

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greenchair
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Re: Found a pattern on my RC but don't know how to fix it...

Postby greenchair » Sun May 29, 2011 2:38 am

naterj wrote:Just try picking up the pace and see what your accuracy does.


It goes down the pooper. lol

But I have caught myself dwelling on one or two questions in previous passages for 2 minutes, only to get it wrong. Maybe I should start skipping questions I have no clue how to answer...

totaltest.milan
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Re: Found a pattern on my RC but don't know how to fix it...

Postby totaltest.milan » Sun May 29, 2011 8:14 am

You're right, time is obviously an issue here. The short answer is that as you do more passages you'll develop endurance and intuition and that should help cut down on time. However, an overlooked component of practice is that it has to be effective practice; reinforcing sub-optimal techniques won't be terribly helpful. Do you have any particular strategy when doing the passages (I'm referring to analyzing and evaluating the passages themselves) or are you just reading them carefully and doing the questions as best as you can? Give me a bit more detail and I'll see if I've got any helpful advice.

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incompetentia
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Re: Found a pattern on my RC but don't know how to fix it...

Postby incompetentia » Sun May 29, 2011 9:29 am

How much time are you spending reading per passage and how much time are you spending answering questions? You'll have to take different tacks for each issue, if it's one or the other.

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greenchair
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Re: Found a pattern on my RC but don't know how to fix it...

Postby greenchair » Sun May 29, 2011 9:45 am

Here are strategies I've tried and eventually abandoned:

-Finding the longest passages and reading them first (I end up getting many wrong on all passages -- probably -3/-4 on the harder sections and sometimes -2 or more on the easy passages that I have to rush through)

-Starting with passage detail questions (i.e. "On line 3 the author meant..." and "According to the passage...") and moving toward "main point" questions

-Reading the questions first

----

I've read the ManhattanLSAT guide and incorporate the PEAR strategy.

What I've been seeing:

I can finish some passages as quickly as 5 or 6 minutes (if it's an easy passage with 5 or 6 questions). I usually take anywhere from 2.5 minutes to sometimes even 4 minutes to read a passage, depending on difficulty. I have done enough RC passages to KNOW when I will run out of time. For example, I KNEW during this passage #2 I am not gonna have time to finish the last passage because I was already on minute 20 by the end I finished. That has happened to me a lot the past few exams. I might finish the first passage in 8 minutes, but I'll be wrapping up the third passage around minute 26 or 27. I am usually left with anywhere from 7-9 minutes to finish my last passage -- which often happens to be the passage with 8 questions.

In the past few tests where I've absolutely bombed the last passage, I would have finished reading the last passage (albeit very quickly and probably carelessly) at the 5-minute warning. That gives me 5 minutes to do 7 or 8 questions, which I know is impossible for me. When I realize I am not going to finish, I ask myself: How well did I understand the passage? If the answer is "well", I go for the inference and main point questions to answer, starting with the shortest-looking question. If the answer is "meh", I go for the line-specific question hoping to get lucky points out of that.

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incompetentia
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Re: Found a pattern on my RC but don't know how to fix it...

Postby incompetentia » Sun May 29, 2011 12:01 pm

2.5-4 seems on the high side.


Are you taking a lot of notes or making lots of marks while reading the passage? How many times might you reread something (either the entire passage, or section/sentence at a time)?

If you can try reading a bit less deliberately and can get that reading down to about 2 minutes (even if you have to take some extra time referring back), this should give you at least a little breathing room on the last passage.


Don't forget (although it seems like you know this already) that you don't have to go in order. Start with the easiest questions and then see how much time you have remaining for the difficult ones.

totaltest.milan
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Re: Found a pattern on my RC but don't know how to fix it...

Postby totaltest.milan » Sun May 29, 2011 1:41 pm

Good advice from incompetentia; you seem to be spending a bit more time reading the passages than you need to. With my students I generally find that this is a consequence of not reading enough for structure (the basic perspectives, support for them, and their relationship to one another) and reading too much for content (a more detailed approach that doesn't incorporate the overall context). There's no quick fix, you have to train yourself to read for structure.

Basically think of each passage as a kind of dialogue, each one is going to have multiple perspectives. Train yourself to identify them and the places in the text where the perspective shifts, you'll locate them by finding 'opposition' indicators - words like 'but', 'however', 'on the other hand', etc. Once my students develop their abilities to identify the overall structure to the passage it becomes much easier to absorb the information since they'll have a framework onto which they can hang all the info coming at them. You'll also develop an intuition for what's important and needs to be paid attention to and what's less important.

I also don't recommend making too many annotations, you might want to make note of the places where the perspective shifts and identify who's perspective is being articulated, and maybe the main points. But it's also an individual thing.

Hope that helps.

bp shinners
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Re: Found a pattern on my RC but don't know how to fix it...

Postby bp shinners » Sun May 29, 2011 3:25 pm

As far as gaining an intuition into what is important, there are some things that will almost always be asked about. For instance, an example used to prove a point, a list of characteristics, or different classifications and how they're different. On top of viewpoints, I would highly recommend ensuring that you understand these while going through the passage.

gator89
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Re: Found a pattern on my RC but don't know how to fix it...

Postby gator89 » Sun May 29, 2011 4:52 pm

For me timing is an issue so I rearrange the passaged into the order that allows me to answer the questions from the passages I understand the best. My order goes: sociology, science, comparative, law because if I end up guessing I would rather guess on the passage I usually do worst on.

For you, you might want to create an order of passages that allows you to do the passages you enjoy least first so that when you get to the last passage you will have an easier time.

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greenchair
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Re: Found a pattern on my RC but don't know how to fix it...

Postby greenchair » Sun May 29, 2011 8:30 pm

I *think* I am doing what you are telling me to do -- reading for structure. I am assuming you aren't saying to skim the passage and read for structure. Once I start reading quickly I start losing comprehension. I don't read for minute details, but I do tend to read enough for details that I can answer some questions without referring to the passage... especially questions like "The passage answers the following questions EXCEPT..." (because reading through each answer choice and looking at the passage would take FOREVER.)

totaltest.milan
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Re: Found a pattern on my RC but don't know how to fix it...

Postby totaltest.milan » Sun May 29, 2011 9:16 pm

That's right, I don't mean skim. What I mean is to pay attention to the logical backbone of the passage in your mind as you're going through it.

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