Reading comp study methods

wishyfishy
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Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2011 7:05 pm

Reading comp study methods

Postby wishyfishy » Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:07 am

Does anyone have any good tips for improving on the RC section? I've heard/read a lot of different advice, from reading the Economist to annotating to reading the questions first but it all just seems like such a hit or miss. I've been doing pretty consistently on the rest of the test with an average of 1 or 2 wrong each section. But RC is the huge unknown for me. My second ptest I had a perfect on RC. But after a month of studying, I just took a test and ended up with 5 unanswered at the end which I guessed on. But I've also experienced finishing RC with 7 minutes to spare. There is absolutely no consistency in how I do in terms of time or accuracy.

Also, I think my reading comprehension level is generally pretty high. I'm an anthropology student, so I read a lot of Levi-Strauss and Hegel and Foucault. I've never had difficulty reading quickly and grasping the material. So I'm looking for suggestions other than "reading the Washington Post."

caminante
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Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2011 12:59 pm

Re: Reading comp study methods

Postby caminante » Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:15 am

Sounds like you already have a pretty good grasp on this. I think the only thing to do it practice, practice, practice.

Also, anytime you read anything try to answer certain questions in your head: What is the main point? What are the various arguments? What is the tone? What is the general structure? What different viewpoints are included?

If you get in the habit of noticing these things while reading, you won't have to go back to the passage as much when answering the questions.

RC Bible calls this the VIEW STAMP method-

view- viewpoints
s- Structure
t- tone
a- arguments/ attitude?
mp- main point

wishyfishy
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Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2011 7:05 pm

Re: Reading comp study methods

Postby wishyfishy » Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:23 am

caminante wrote:Sounds like you already have a pretty good grasp on this. I think the only thing to do it practice, practice, practice.

Also, anytime you read anything try to answer certain questions in your head: What is the main point? What are the various arguments? What is the tone? What is the general structure? What different viewpoints are included?

If you get in the habit of noticing these things while reading, you won't have to go back to the passage as much when answering the questions.

RC Bible calls this the VIEW STAMP method-

view- viewpoints
s- Structure
t- tone
a- arguments/ attitude?
mp- main point


I will definitely try that. I think part of the problem may be that I don't necessarily take note of those elements automatically when I read through the first time. Do you think the RC Bible is helpful and worth getting? I've gone through the LG Bible (which actually wasn't that big of a help for me since I was already doing very well on LG) and I'm currently reading the LR Bible, which I think is pretty helpful so far.

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TommyK
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Re: Reading comp study methods

Postby TommyK » Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:31 am

RC for me was tricky and discouraging. I was getting -8 to - 11 on each one, absolutely killing my score. I didn't see any improvement regardless of study time, which made me want to practice it less. I think it's a natural response to avoid things that aren't rewarding, but it's the wrong approach. At some point, it just clicked. It wasn't a gradual improvement like LR and LG. I just started going from missing a third of the questions to -3 to -1.

Some people find taking notes in the section to be useful. I found this a massive waste of time. I ended up just circling main words and phrases that signaled scope shifts, thrusts of arguments, etc. Others do both. Others do neither. Play around with what seems to work for you. I'm naturally a slower reader so I ended up just doing circling/underlining since it wouldn't take my eyes off the passage by writing in the margins. Experiment, and stick with whatever works the best.

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incompetentia
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Re: Reading comp study methods

Postby incompetentia » Wed Jul 13, 2011 1:24 pm

How much do you mark up the passage when you read? Although you should be careful of overzealous notes, marking places where the tone of the article may shift or circling phrases that appear to be indicative of main points could be useful.

bhan87
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Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2007 8:08 pm

Re: Reading comp study methods

Postby bhan87 » Wed Jul 13, 2011 1:35 pm

The key to time management on RC is marking up your passage properly.

You need to strike a balance between markups and looking back. Of course you don't want to look back to the passage all the time, but it is strategic time-wise to look back for certain types of questions. This is especially true for detail-oriented questions because it's very inefficient to try to memorize all the finer points of the passage when the questions may only ask specifically about one or two. Thus, the goal is to mark your passage in a fashion that will:

1. Give you a big overall picture of each section
- What was that section about? (presenting a hypothesis? describing a critic's viewpoint? explaining the procedure for an experiment in support of the author's conclusion?)
- How does it relate to other parts? (Is it one part of a series of viewpoints? Is it an extension to a previous argument?)

2. Give you a label to guide your eyes to the right section for more detail-oriented questions.
- I.e. writing down "X experiment", "Y experiment", "Z experiment" so that if a questions asks specifically about one, then you know where you can do a quick recap of that part.

After reading the passage you should have a clear idea of what the function of every part of the passage was, but not necessarily all the details about that section.

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Sloth Hero
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Re: Reading comp study methods

Postby Sloth Hero » Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:30 pm

Just hope you get a passage on analytic discourse analysis or biopolitics. ;)

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sandwiches5000
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Re: Reading comp study methods

Postby sandwiches5000 » Fri Jul 15, 2011 11:41 pm

Practice reading dense academic material on topics you are least familiar with/hate the most.

totaltest.milan
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Re: Reading comp study methods

Postby totaltest.milan » Sat Jul 16, 2011 12:15 pm

If you've got the reading part of reading comprehension down then I recommend you pick up one of the methods that will help you properly understand the passages and the questions. As with the other parts of the test, there are techniques that will help you with the material. The powerscore RC is pretty good, and I've heard good things about the Manhattan stuff as well. I teach my students from my own material that is similar to the powerscore stuff but emphasizes understanding the oppositions within the passages as well; you can check it out on my site in the resources section. Also, it helps to have a solid understanding of arguments, you should see additional improvement when you finish the LR bible.




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