Should RC questions be done out of order

wanderlust
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Should RC questions be done out of order

Postby wanderlust » Wed Jun 08, 2011 6:20 am

I have major time issue with RC section (usually have only 5-6 minutes to do the last passage).
The bible recommends doing the passage that has more attractive topic or written style first.
But frankly, I find many passages are uninteresting in terms of both style and topic.
Is it then possible/useful for me to pick and choose which passage to attack first?
Thanks in advance for any input!

Audio Technica Guy
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Re: Should RC questions be done out of order

Postby Audio Technica Guy » Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:40 am

just to be clear, you're asking if the passages can be done out of order, not the questions within the passage.

Here is my method:

1) start with number of questions. Reading the passage is just a time drain, so you might as well get the most points per passage you read as possible. You get the most points per second on passages with a lot of questions. RC passages can vary all the way from 8 questions to 5 questions. If you run out of time, you'd much rather not get done with a 5 question passage than an 8 question passage.

2) If subject matter is a big deal to you, then if # of Qs are roughly equal, then base it on subject matter

3) People usually hate passages with two long paragraphs. Passages that have several short paragraphs are usually much easier to wrap your head around

4) Any time you feel that you are totally not getting a passage by the time you have read halfway through it, abandon ship. Yes, that wastes the minute or so it took you to read the first half of the passage, but usually when people don't understand the first half of the passage, they don't understand the passage very well as a whole, and when a student doesn't understand the passage as a whole, they tend to take a TON of time to do the questions and still do poorly on them. This is where nightmare RC sections happen. A lot of times if the person had just moved on, and maybe even came back to the passage later, they would find they do much better.

How you weight these things is a personal issue. RC is the one section where there are a lot of approaches you have to try and and see what works best for you. I've usually found that the one week, 16 passages test works well. Give a strategy one week, doing at least 16 passages (four sections) over that stretch. If the strategy felt good on the last few you did, keep it and refine. If it didn't feel good, try something else.

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avamango
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Re: Should RC questions be done out of order

Postby avamango » Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:28 pm

Something else that may be useful:

When attempting the questions for a given passage, often you'll find that conceptualizing the passage becomes easier if you seek to answer the questions in the order of most global to most specific. Generally the first question after any reading passage is a global question but not always.

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kingjones59
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Re: Should RC questions be done out of order

Postby kingjones59 » Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:41 pm

YES. Honestly doing the passages out of order is what saved me from bombing the RC section for this June test like a lot of people did. Go in with a game plan. Know the types, what type is generally more interesting to you. My game plan was 1) law passage 2) comparative reading (doesn't matter what it is about, how short these passages are makes them easy to digest) and then do the other 2. On the June test, the hardest section was the first one, and a lot of people got hung up on it, spent like 12 minutes on it and even if they did finish it, they were not confident and screwed them for the rest of the test and did not get to the easier passages (the law and comparative reading were very easy). So, moral of the story, if you went in with a game plan you did a hard passage like that last and it did not kill your confidence for the rest of the passages or eat up all your time, but if you did not go in with a game plan you did the passages in order and the first passage ruined the whole section for you.

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gggrra
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Re: Should RC questions be done out of order

Postby gggrra » Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:47 pm

kingjones59 wrote:YES. Honestly doing the passages out of order is what saved me from bombing the RC section for this June test like a lot of people did. Go in with a game plan. Know the types, what type is generally more interesting to you. My game plan was 1) law passage 2) comparative reading (doesn't matter what it is about, how short these passages are makes them easy to digest) and then do the other 2. On the June test, the hardest section was the first one, and a lot of people got hung up on it, spent like 12 minutes on it and even if they did finish it, they were not confident and screwed them for the rest of the test and did not get to the easier passages (the law and comparative reading were very easy). So, moral of the story, if you went in with a game plan you did a hard passage like that last and it did not kill your confidence for the rest of the passages or eat up all your time, but if you did not go in with a game plan you did the passages in order and the first passage ruined the whole section for you.


Wasn't the law passage the first passage?

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kingjones59
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Re: Should RC questions be done out of order

Postby kingjones59 » Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:56 pm

I didnt think so, but if it was, then the one about the women writer or whatever was second, so it still applies.

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gggrra
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Re: Should RC questions be done out of order

Postby gggrra » Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:40 am

Yea I always feel that the time spent assessing the passages is not justified for me because it negates any gains in confidence/momentum. Usually, the topic is less of a problem than the style, and style is harder to assess quickly imo. I actually thought the science section was easiest, but that's probably because I have a background in science/engineering (I actually work on magnetic materials).

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tehrocstar
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Re: Should RC questions be done out of order

Postby tehrocstar » Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:34 pm

Audio Technica Guy wrote:just to be clear, you're asking if the passages can be done out of order, not the questions within the passage.

Here is my method:

1) start with number of questions. Reading the passage is just a time drain, so you might as well get the most points per passage you read as possible. You get the most points per second on passages with a lot of questions. RC passages can vary all the way from 8 questions to 5 questions. If you run out of time, you'd much rather not get done with a 5 question passage than an 8 question passage.

2) If subject matter is a big deal to you, then if # of Qs are roughly equal, then base it on subject matter

3) People usually hate passages with two long paragraphs. Passages that have several short paragraphs are usually much easier to wrap your head around

4) Any time you feel that you are totally not getting a passage by the time you have read halfway through it, abandon ship. Yes, that wastes the minute or so it took you to read the first half of the passage, but usually when people don't understand the first half of the passage, they don't understand the passage very well as a whole, and when a student doesn't understand the passage as a whole, they tend to take a TON of time to do the questions and still do poorly on them. This is where nightmare RC sections happen. A lot of times if the person had just moved on, and maybe even came back to the passage later, they would find they do much better.

How you weight these things is a personal issue. RC is the one section where there are a lot of approaches you have to try and and see what works best for you. I've usually found that the one week, 16 passages test works well. Give a strategy one week, doing at least 16 passages (four sections) over that stretch. If the strategy felt good on the last few you did, keep it and refine. If it didn't feel good, try something else.



I've never heard of the suggestion to do the passage with the greater # of questions first. Makes sense. I think it's a good idea.

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john1990
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Re: Should RC questions be done out of order

Postby john1990 » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:26 pm

Frankly i think that the first reading comprehension passage is commonly easier than the rest. If you google for the hardest RC passages ever, you will find that none of the top 10 or honerable mentions are listed as being the first passage on the test. Personally, through my own prepping i also came to this conclusion independently. Im not 100% sure, but i myself take the first one first and then might jump around after that, i havent noticed a pattern of difficulty between passages 2 and 4

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FantasticMrFox
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Re: Should RC questions be done out of order

Postby FantasticMrFox » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:27 pm

I always do them in order but doing it out of order to cover the ones with more follow-up questions sounds like a good idea! I'll have to try this and see if it bugs me to skip around (weird OCD)

bhan87
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Re: Should RC questions be done out of order

Postby bhan87 » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:41 pm

wanderlust wrote:I have major time issue with RC section (usually have only 5-6 minutes to do the last passage).
The bible recommends doing the passage that has more attractive topic or written style first.
But frankly, I find many passages are uninteresting in terms of both style and topic.
Is it then possible/useful for me to pick and choose which passage to attack first?
Thanks in advance for any input!


When you start breaking 170, this strategy becomes less relevant because you want to get all or almost all the questions right on RC. If your eventual goal in the section is to finish all the passages, then trying to figure out which passage to do first actually wastes time. However, if you're not aiming for a 170+ and can afford to miss a few questions, then it's all a matter of preference. I personally would start with:

1. Comparative reading passages (these seem to always be fairly basic)
2. Passages that have a lot of questions




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