Answering RC questions without first reading the passage

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glassman
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Answering RC questions without first reading the passage

Postby glassman » Sun Jul 17, 2011 1:36 pm

Hey guys,
I have been studying for about a month now and RC is definitely my weakest section. Over the first 7 RC sections I did, I averaged -6 (with a low of -2 and high of -8) untimed and was generally only finishing the first 3 sections by the end of the time. My cousin recommended I try answering the questions without reading the passage but I avoided trying this method as the RC bible advised against it. But for the sake of experimentation, I tried it just now and scored a -4 and finished comfortably within the time. I was pleased with this result but am concerned that this method will yield less future improvement especially since there is still a significant amount of time left before the October LSAT. What are your views on this method of answering RC?

Further details of my new method: I would read the first paragraph to get a feel for the passage and then look for specific reference and section reference questions and answer them, then tackle global questions reading other parts of the passage that I felt would help.

Let me know what you think? Should I continue this new method? Why or why not?

MCockerill08
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Re: Answering RC questions without first reading the passage

Postby MCockerill08 » Sun Jul 17, 2011 1:47 pm

RC is really highly individuated so it's hard to prescribe a strategy for everyone. That said, I personally prefer to read the questions before the passage, so I can mark down the "key" excerpts of the passage (i.e. I mark line 33 when a question says: "What does the use of the term 'fidelity', as used in line 33, most likely indicate) to which I must pay special attention. That tends to save time while not reducing accuracy for me.

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glassman
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Re: Answering RC questions without first reading the passage

Postby glassman » Sun Jul 17, 2011 1:56 pm

I know that it's very personal but it's still nice to be reminded. Do you think that one method would facilitate improvement more than another inherently, or would it also depend on the person?

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glucose101
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Re: Answering RC questions without first reading the passage

Postby glucose101 » Sun Jul 17, 2011 4:26 pm

Try it on a couple PTs, and see if it's luck or not when you don't read the passage. If you consistent get them right, ya, sure, go for it; if it works, it works. For me, it doesn't work consistently enough for me to switch.

bhan87
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Re: Answering RC questions without first reading the passage

Postby bhan87 » Sun Jul 17, 2011 4:32 pm

I agree that RC strategies vary from person to person, but I feel that the read the questions approach is a bit inefficient. This is especially the case for LSAT RC because by the time you finish prepping, you should be able to accurately predict just about every question they ask (the same few pop up on every single passage). The only exception are the detail-oriented questions, but that's remedied by having an efficient passage marking method that'll let you glance back to answer those 1-2 quickly.

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glucose101
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Re: Answering RC questions without first reading the passage

Postby glucose101 » Sun Jul 17, 2011 4:45 pm

Again everyone's different: Well, I think reading the questions beforehand is a waste of time, especially if you're going to have to refer back to them anyhow. I'd rather just read the passage. Read the question. Search for the answer. Get in and out of there.

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PDaddy
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Re: Answering RC questions without first reading the passage

Postby PDaddy » Sun Jul 17, 2011 5:06 pm

Let me preface this by saying that I prefer the recommended method of doing a full scholarly reading of the text before attacking the questions.

The method OP is talking about actually skips the reading step; it doesn't delay it. In that event, the reader is NOT "referring 'back' to the questions". The reader is simply already on the questions.

And, fwiw, many people have had success doing it. Much of it depends on how well you do in the other sections. Some people are so good at LR and LG that they can afford to lose 10 points in RC and still get their 170 (or other desired score). If OP is one of those people, the skip-the-read method might be appropriate.

Essentially they are going straight to the questions, attacking the syntax questions (i.e., definitions of special words/terms) first. Those are quick, easy points that don't require a lot.

The caveat when answering the other questions is that the test makers are good at misplacing the correct answer so that it appears to be in one place when it is actually in another.

If one can consistently finish at least three passages in 25 minutes with good accuracy, I'd say it is a decent way to go.

A better method might be to at least read the first and last paragraphs and the first and last lines of each paragraph before going to the questions. Most readers can generally do this in 1.5 minutes; so, at least some reading gets done. That can help on the back end.

Attacking the questions with absolutely no orientation to the flow and organization of the text seems risky to me, because the test makers would theoretically have planned for that.

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glucose101
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Re: Answering RC questions without first reading the passage

Postby glucose101 » Sun Jul 17, 2011 5:31 pm

When I read the OP's post, I understood that he was not reading and going straight to the question. I was critiquing another poster's comment.

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incompetentia
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Re: Answering RC questions without first reading the passage

Postby incompetentia » Sun Jul 17, 2011 6:27 pm

You need to do what works for you, as long as it works consistently. This applies probably more for RC than the other two, if you can make a distinction.

I read very sparingly to start, as my problem was primarily main-point questions, and reading too much for detail at first was throwing me off. One test score does not mean that this way is going to definitely be better, though. You need to try at least a few more PTs or sections with this method to make a judgment.




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