Way Too Slow of a Reader

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Momentum
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Way Too Slow of a Reader

Postby Momentum » Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:13 pm

Hey guys,

I know it's still all hot and bothered in here so soon after the LSAT, but I wanted to catch the lot of you who will likely never visit this forum again after receiving your score. I've just begun my prep and am noticing a trend in my LR practice sections. I take way, WAY too long to read each problem. It's a combination of a general lack of speed and concentration - I tend to get distracted by, well, everything. It's not a discipline thing (well, of course it it, I suppose, but I mean that I don't have Facebook up or my cell phone out when I have this trouble). I'm getting the sense that this will be the major obstacle between me and my 17X, so I wanted to tap the institutional wisdom in here before I try, and likely waste time, to come up with my own treatment plan. Have any of you dealt with molasses-fast, distracted reading? Overcame it? How? Any suggestions in general?

Thanks!

mrwarre85
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Re: Way Too Slow of a Reader

Postby mrwarre85 » Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:17 pm

Momentum wrote:Hey guys,

I know it's still all hot and bothered in here so soon after the LSAT, but I wanted to catch the lot of you who will likely never visit this forum again after receiving your score. I've just begun my prep and am noticing a trend in my LR practice sections. I take way, WAY too long to read each problem. It's a combination of a general lack of speed and concentration - I tend to get distracted by, well, everything. It's not a discipline thing (well, of course it it, I suppose, but I mean that I don't have Facebook up or my cell phone out when I have this trouble). I'm getting the sense that this will be the major obstacle between me and my 17X, so I wanted to tap the institutional wisdom in here before I try, and likely waste time, to come up with my own treatment plan. Have any of you dealt with molasses-fast, distracted reading? Overcame it? How? Any suggestions in general?

Thanks!


I suffered this like times a million when I started. I dunno how I fixed it (or, actually, if I did entirely). Maybe it was just repetition. I think though, it was in part that I made the test a big game in my mind and forced myself to be competitive. I wanted to see if I could do a 35 section and only miss one. When I started doing that, it was fun, and doing something fun helps you to focus and not day dream.

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SgtL
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Re: Way Too Slow of a Reader

Postby SgtL » Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:17 pm

I had this problem with RC and LR. What improved my speed was the practice. Especially with RC, ironically that section still effed me on this test, I think.

But yeah, I don't have a score yet, but I noticed my ability to read for detail, structure, and not overlook key words improved the more I did. As for getting distracted, only think I can recommend is to try and become actively interested in the topic. Pretend like you have a stake in the outcome, i.e. you really think that "some critics" are wrong. etc..

I'm sure there is better advice on this forum from high scoring LSATers but if this helps any I'm glad.

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TheFutureLawyer
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Re: Way Too Slow of a Reader

Postby TheFutureLawyer » Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:21 pm

You might wanna try typing 'slow reader', 'read faster' and the like into the search box at the bottom, or in google. Anyway, how slow we talking here? Is it just LR that you read slow in, or RC as well?

I think most people would say to just get a lot of practice in reading news stories from places like the economist (though the economist is great, I think you'd get pretty much as much improvement from reading from any (respectable) news site).

Audio Technica Guy
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Re: Way Too Slow of a Reader

Postby Audio Technica Guy » Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:28 pm

In general the only cure I've found for this is lots and lots of practice. After a while you get so used to the way that LSAT args work that you naturally get a lot faster.

Also, do several sections without letting yourself reread a single word. Most slow readers don't actually read slowly, they just reread a lot unnecessarily.

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Momentum
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Re: Way Too Slow of a Reader

Postby Momentum » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:07 pm

TheFutureLawyer wrote:You might wanna try typing 'slow reader', 'read faster' and the like into the search box at the bottom, or in google.
Surprisingly, there wasn't much in the archive on TLS. I Googled it a while back and came up with a book recommendation. It was "How To Read A Book" by Mortimer J. Alder, which I have since (ironically) listened to in audio-book format. Sadly, it didn't address speed, instead it set guidelines for optimal comprehension and retention - skills which are useful, but only increased the amount of time it took to finish sections when applied to the LSAT.
TheFutureLawyer wrote:Anyway, how slow we talking here? Is it just LR that you read slow in, or RC as well?
I've only been working on LR so far, but I figure that if it's already a problem then it certainly will be when I get to the blocks of text in RC. Regarding exactly how slow we're talking, in the LR section I did yesterday I got to 14/25 (I rushed on the last three). It took me a full 59 minutes to complete it after I continued past the allotted time.
Audio Technica Guy wrote:Most slow readers don't actually read slowly, they just reread a lot unnecessarily.
This is certainly part of the problem. I also find myself looking around, hand-drumming on the table, and plain old daydreaming. That's more the distracted part, though.
Audio Technica Guy wrote:In general the only cure I've found for this is lots and lots of practice.
SgtL wrote:I had this problem with RC and LR. What improved my speed was the practice.
That's what I'm hoping.
SgtL wrote:try and become actively interested in the topic. Pretend like you have a stake in the outcome, i.e. you really think that "some critics" are wrong. etc..
mrwarre85 wrote:I think though, it was in part that I made the test a big game in my mind and forced myself to be competitive. I wanted to see if I could do a 35 section and only miss one. When I started doing that, it was fun, and doing something fun helps you to focus and not day dream.
Trying these today. To the three of you who said you had had to work through this problem, were you able to work far enough through it to got into the 170's (assuming that was your goal and you had ample time to prepare)?

LockBox
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Re: Way Too Slow of a Reader

Postby LockBox » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:42 pm

I'm going to agree with the above posters, SgtL & Audio Technica Guy. After doing not-so-well in oct '10 I made RC a priority and included drilling it everytime I sat down to study. After what seemed like several months, it felt like whenever I read anything non-lsat (newspaper, magazine etc.) I was inherently scanning for points of view, structure, causal reasoning etc. This was after a great deal of practice but I felt like RC was coming together well.

This is, of course, until I took the june exam a few days ago. :evil:

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incompetentia
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Re: Way Too Slow of a Reader

Postby incompetentia » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:51 pm

How accurate are you at that 59-minute rate? If you're getting close to 100%, the work gets pretty simple. It boils down to a matter of drilling down the time (start with 120, then 110, then 100 sec per question, as well as 50-, 45-, then 40-minute sections).

Since this is a fair gap, I would recommend using the earliest PTs for working the speed up.


If you're still missing with that amount of time, then you have to look at other solutions.

Audio Technica Guy
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Re: Way Too Slow of a Reader

Postby Audio Technica Guy » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:57 pm

incompetentia wrote:How accurate are you at that 59-minute rate? If you're getting close to 100%, the work gets pretty simple. It boils down to a matter of drilling down the time (start with 120, then 110, then 100 sec per question, as well as 50-, 45-, then 40-minute sections).

Since this is a fair gap, I would recommend using the earliest PTs for working the speed up.


If you're still missing with that amount of time, then you have to look at other solutions.


Only problem is that really good LSAT takers will vary wildly from question to question on how much time they take. Like I might spend 3-4 minutes on a particularly complicated parallel question, but I'll also rip off a string of 10 questions in 5 minutes if they're straight forward recurring flaw type questions.

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incompetentia
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Re: Way Too Slow of a Reader

Postby incompetentia » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:59 pm

Audio Technica Guy wrote:
incompetentia wrote:How accurate are you at that 59-minute rate? If you're getting close to 100%, the work gets pretty simple. It boils down to a matter of drilling down the time (start with 120, then 110, then 100 sec per question, as well as 50-, 45-, then 40-minute sections).

Since this is a fair gap, I would recommend using the earliest PTs for working the speed up.


If you're still missing with that amount of time, then you have to look at other solutions.


Only problem is that really good LSAT takers will vary wildly from question to question on how much time they take. Like I might spend 3-4 minutes on a particularly complicated parallel question, but I'll also rip off a string of 10 questions in 5 minutes if they're straight forward recurring flaw type questions.

Oh, yeah, that was worded really badly.

By the per-question times, I meant that those drills shouldn't be full sections - more like 10 questions at 20 minutes, then 18, then 16

Audio Technica Guy
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Re: Way Too Slow of a Reader

Postby Audio Technica Guy » Wed Jun 08, 2011 6:01 pm

incompetentia wrote:Oh, yeah, that was worded really badly.

By the per-question times, I meant that those drills shouldn't be full sections - more like 10 questions at 20 minutes, then 18, then 16


Oh ok, yeah, agreed. I just see a lot of students who prepare on args by timing out the precise number of seconds they should have on every question and then trying to do them that way, which is an AWFUL idea.

bp shinners
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Re: Way Too Slow of a Reader

Postby bp shinners » Wed Jun 08, 2011 6:20 pm

LockBox wrote:After what seemed like several months, it felt like whenever I read anything non-lsat (newspaper, magazine etc.) I was inherently scanning for points of view, structure, causal reasoning etc. This was after a great deal of practice but I felt like RC was coming together well.


I think this is a very good point, and it's something that comes from practice but can be laid out as well. You become a much more active reader when you have a plan and know what you're looking for (which will develop subconsciously with practice). If, instead of just reading over the stimulus (non-question part of the question), you read the prompt/question first and know what to look for going in/have a method for attacking the stimulus, it's usually a lot easier to focus on aesthetic philosophy than what's going on around you.

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FantasticMrFox
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Re: Way Too Slow of a Reader

Postby FantasticMrFox » Wed Jun 08, 2011 7:00 pm

Practice makes perfect!
I have problems with rereading it as well (since the LR passages are short; I never subconsciously start rereading RC) but it only happens when I am doing the problems half-heartedly. Focus.

joefow91
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Re: Way Too Slow of a Reader

Postby joefow91 » Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:02 pm


splbagel
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Re: Way Too Slow of a Reader

Postby splbagel » Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:01 pm

For LR: read the question first! Jump straight down before you read the little paragraph, to make sure you understand what you're being asked BEFORE you dig in. For example, say the question is asking you to find a flaw in the argument. Go into reading the little paragraph knowing that you're looking for a flaw. On the easier ones, the flaw should jump out at you as you read, and then you can go into the answer choices knowing what you're looking for. If the answer choices themselves are long, it really helps going into them to know what you're looking for -- you can often start crossing off obviously-wrong choices before you even read the whole sentence. The more of these you do, the more you'll recognize common flaws (correlation / causation, ad hominem attacks, necessity / sufficiency, etc), so this will get faster for you as well.

If, after a lot of practice, you still have trouble finishing the sections in 35 minutes, keep in mind how the questions are usually ordered in terms of difficulty. Usually the first 10-12 questions are easier, and then there's a string of increasingly difficult ones from around 13-22. You'll sometimes find that LSAC tucks moderate or easy questions at the very end of the section, #25-26. Use this to your advantage -- do the easy ones more quickly, skip to the end to make sure you've gotten those easy points, and then tackle the tough section once you've saved yourself some time and are feeling confident.

Once you get into RC, remember that you do NOT have to understand the entire passage to jump into the questions. You really truly can skim it, if you're good at marking the passage to get your bearings when you go back to it. Make sure once you've read it that you have a good handle on what the main point is, what the author's perspective is, and how the passage is structured, and you're good to go. Say it's a science passage and you just don't understand every detail -- that's fine. Don't read it deeply like a textbook for class, just skim it so you understand the general idea and know where to go back if you get a specific question.

Hope that helps you get started.

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FantasticMrFox
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Re: Way Too Slow of a Reader

Postby FantasticMrFox » Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:12 pm

splbagel wrote:For LR: read the question first!

LR Bible tells you the opposite and I agree with the LRB; you tend to not absorb all the information when you try to select relevant information based on the question and miss the details.

splbagel
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Re: Way Too Slow of a Reader

Postby splbagel » Fri Jun 10, 2011 1:52 pm

FantasticMrFox wrote:
splbagel wrote:For LR: read the question first!

LR Bible tells you the opposite and I agree with the LRB; you tend to not absorb all the information when you try to select relevant information based on the question and miss the details.


Different things work for different people... it's worth a shot.

imjustjoking22
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Re: Way Too Slow of a Reader

Postby imjustjoking22 » Sat Jun 11, 2011 5:18 pm

This may be totally "out there," but I've been noticing my focus and reading speed increasing lately and the thing I've been doing differently is reading in another language (one that I am not fluent in). After reading in a language I only semi-know, *anything* in English seems easy and straightforward. Like I said, weird, but I figured no one else would mention that, and it might be that using a completely random strategy like that helps you as well :)

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EarlCat
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Re: Way Too Slow of a Reader

Postby EarlCat » Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:28 am

I'm not a fast reader to start with, but I find myself reading slower when I'm either bored with, overwhelmed with, or confused by the material. It took me hours to read just 30 pages of my corporations law outline yesterday. Like bar prep, the stuff you have to read for the LSAT likely hits that triple whammy of bored, overwhelmed, and confused too.

A lot of people have suggested that practice helps, which is probably true. I have a slightly different take. I think as you get better at the test you're going to start to realize (at a subconscious level) that you're not responsible for the content of what you're reading. You don't have to understand anything about economics, dinosaurs, Native American poetry, or 10-dimensional super string theory. That should relieve some of the overwhelm and confusion. Boredom is harder to cure, but as you get better at the test, you will also start to look at what you're reading more actively. At a very general level, the LSAT asks you to take the pieces of a passage or a stimulus or a game and organize them in your head conceptually. Some questions make you move pieces around or figure out how one piece relates to another or find a missing piece or determine the effect of a hypothetical new piece. It's a big mind game, which is certainly less boring than having to regurgitate what you just learned about the influence of jazz on the mixed-media collage works of Romare Bearden. I think that once you start to look at the test more mechanically, and not as just a bunch of sh*t you have to read and understand, you'll become more interested in and more engaged with the test--that is, less distracted and faster.

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EarlCat
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Re: Way Too Slow of a Reader

Postby EarlCat » Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:36 am

FantasticMrFox wrote:
splbagel wrote:For LR: read the question first!

LR Bible tells you the opposite and I agree with the LRB; you tend to not absorb all the information when you try to select relevant information based on the question and miss the details.

I've always disagreed with the LRB on this. Half the time you're going to have to go back through the stimulus once you find out what you should have been looking for. It's like inventorying the whole supermarket before peeking at your grocery list.

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glucose101
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Re: Way Too Slow of a Reader

Postby glucose101 » Tue Jun 14, 2011 1:30 pm

I usually quickly read the question first for what I should be looking for and who I should be paying attention to. It makes it easier to understand the function of the question.




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