Improve Reading Comprehension

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aliceydu
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Improve Reading Comprehension

Postby aliceydu » Tue Sep 06, 2011 6:18 pm

Hi guys,

I've been stuck at 161-162 for the longest time, but for the past 3 or 4 PT's, I scored around 165-168. I guess I finally broke out of that plateau! I hope I never have go back down again. :(

Anyway, I'm still about -5 for the RC section. I usually get the main point/structure/attitude/definition questions right, but can't seem to remember all of the finer points about the passage. If I read super carefully and try to remember everything, then I run out of time.

Another thing is, I usually miss the bunch of questions from a single passage. I know some passages just happen to be harder than others, but what can I do to get better at the details?

Thank you :]

SanDiegoJake
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Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2011 3:17 pm

Re: Improve Reading Comprehension

Postby SanDiegoJake » Wed Sep 07, 2011 3:39 pm

You're spending your time doing the wrong thing. In my class, I call it "hunting the unicorn" because it's an impossible dream to spend your time trying to achieve perfect comprehension. Plus, you're not earning points that way. You should be spending your time earning points instead, that is, proving answers to the detail questions.

Read passage one time fast, 2 mins tops.
Then, start attacking the detail questions by carefully reading FOR THE ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS. It's much more efficient to read for answers to specific questions than it is to read for the mythical "comprehension".

After carefully reading/proving/answering each specific question, finish the passage by now knocking out the general "main point" type questions.

Every correct answer is supported by the passage. It's your job to find that support. If you are answering questions from memory, you're falling for the most common trap the LSAT makers set.

Good luck aliceydu!

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JamMasterJ
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Re: Improve Reading Comprehension

Postby JamMasterJ » Wed Sep 07, 2011 3:48 pm

SanDiegoJake wrote:You're spending your time doing the wrong thing. In my class, I call it "hunting the unicorn" because it's an impossible dream to spend your time trying to achieve perfect comprehension. Plus, you're not earning points that way. You should be spending your time earning points instead, that is, proving answers to the detail questions.

Read passage one time fast, 2 mins tops.
Then, start attacking the detail questions by carefully reading FOR THE ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS. It's much more efficient to read for answers to specific questions than it is to read for the mythical "comprehension".

After carefully reading/proving/answering each specific question, finish the passage by now knocking out the general "main point" type questions.

Every correct answer is supported by the passage. It's your job to find that support. If you are answering questions from memory, you're falling for the most common trap the LSAT makers set.

Good luck aliceydu!

Are you saying that you advocate reading the entire passage twice, or reading once quickly, then reading specific parts of the passage more slowly to find validation for ACs?

SanDiegoJake
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Re: Improve Reading Comprehension

Postby SanDiegoJake » Wed Sep 07, 2011 3:55 pm

Read once quickly, then read specific parts of the passage more slowly to find validation for ACs.

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JamMasterJ
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Re: Improve Reading Comprehension

Postby JamMasterJ » Wed Sep 07, 2011 3:57 pm

SanDiegoJake wrote:Read once quickly, then read specific parts of the passage more slowly to find validation for ACs.

gotcha. Do you advocate marking a lot, a little, or none?

bp shinners
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Re: Improve Reading Comprehension

Postby bp shinners » Wed Sep 07, 2011 4:09 pm

aliceydu wrote:Anyway, I'm still about -5 for the RC section. I usually get the main point/structure/attitude/definition questions right, but can't seem to remember all of the finer points about the passage. If I read super carefully and try to remember everything, then I run out of time.


Three things will help here:
1) Start to notice what parts of the passages are being asked about in those specific reference questions. The sentences that serve similar purposes are repeated as topics for the questions. For example, if you've got a strong comparative statement, that's a good thing to ask about. Lists of characteristics is another. A specific cause and effect relationship. The minutiae of a study. If you focus on these while reading, you should have a good idea going into a specific reference question.
2) Notations. Get the subject and viewpoint of each paragraph written down. That way, even if you do have to go back, you can find, quickly, where that topic is being discussed and quickly scan for the answer.
3) Realize that the author's attitude and other viewpoints are still important in a specific reference question. A lot of times, you can eliminate an answer choice because it doesn't jive with the overall feel of the passage, or the argument being presented. For instance, if the author is arguing that technology has a democratizing effect, the question asks about specific technologies, and one of the answers is a technology that definitely doesn't have a democratizing effect, you can eliminate it. When you only have to quickly look back to find one of two possible answers, you'll get a lot faster.

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FantasticMrFox
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Re: Improve Reading Comprehension

Postby FantasticMrFox » Wed Sep 07, 2011 5:11 pm

SanDiegoJake wrote:Read once quickly, then read specific parts of the passage more slowly to find validation for ACs.

This is what I've always done with RCs but quickly doesn't mean cursorily. As you read, you still want to be able to identify the usual important points of the passage.

As for the degree of marking, I personally don't mark at all since they tend to distract me when I am referring back to certain key phrases to answer a specific question. But, I guess it depends on the person. I've never marked before (I've always disliked highlighting/underlining; if the highlight was not perfectly rectangular and the underline was not parallel to the ends of the page, it would drive me nuts--which is why I never do it)

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glucose101
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Re: Improve Reading Comprehension

Postby glucose101 » Wed Sep 07, 2011 6:50 pm

following

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aliceydu
Posts: 105
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Re: Improve Reading Comprehension

Postby aliceydu » Fri Sep 09, 2011 6:54 pm

SanDiegoJake wrote:You're spending your time doing the wrong thing. In my class, I call it "hunting the unicorn" because it's an impossible dream to spend your time trying to achieve perfect comprehension. Plus, you're not earning points that way. You should be spending your time earning points instead, that is, proving answers to the detail questions.

Read passage one time fast, 2 mins tops.
Then, start attacking the detail questions by carefully reading FOR THE ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS. It's much more efficient to read for answers to specific questions than it is to read for the mythical "comprehension".

After carefully reading/proving/answering each specific question, finish the passage by now knocking out the general "main point" type questions.

Every correct answer is supported by the passage. It's your job to find that support. If you are answering questions from memory, you're falling for the most common trap the LSAT makers set.

Good luck aliceydu!


Thanks! Why do you recommend answering the general questions last?

SanDiegoJake
Posts: 149
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2011 3:17 pm

Re: Improve Reading Comprehension

Postby SanDiegoJake » Mon Sep 12, 2011 1:14 pm

Well, I recommend answering the general questions last because I feel that you have the best chance of getting them right after you've done all the careful reading required to answer the specific questions. After a fast initial read, sometimes the overall theme/purpose is still a bit murky. Of course, some people do find that they're best prepared to answer the general questions first. Try it both ways several times and see which one you feel most comfortable with and which one you have the most success with.

SanDiegoJake
Posts: 149
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2011 3:17 pm

Re: Improve Reading Comprehension

Postby SanDiegoJake » Mon Sep 12, 2011 1:28 pm

JamMasterJ wrote:
SanDiegoJake wrote:Read once quickly, then read specific parts of the passage more slowly to find validation for ACs.

gotcha. Do you advocate marking a lot, a little, or none?


I'm a big marker. Here's what I mark and why - I do all this in the initial readthrough.

1) Author's tone - I mark author's tone with a + or a - whenever I see it. Why? It's difficult to skim the passage and find proof of tone, and as you know, I like to have passage support for every answer I choose. What I mark are "opinion words" such as "Fortunately", "Chiefly", "Primarily" etc...

2) Signpost words - Words that indicate a change in direction, an example or a list, such as "However", "But", "For example" etc... I circle these to draw my eye to them when I'm answering specific questions. For instance, when I'm answering a specific question in line 12, and I see a circled "However" in line 14, my eye is drawn there and I make sure to read the entire relevant portion. It greatly helps me avoid the trap of reading too narrowly (the most common trap on the test). Examples and lists help me for purpose questions and general passage structure.

3) Main ideas of each paragraph - I stop and pause after each paragraph to bracket the main point of each one. This helps me "chunk" the passage into parts, so I am sure to understand how each paragraph functions in the passage as a whole. I also re-read everything I've bracketed before answering any general question, as the right answer can't be too narrow or too broad - it has to encompass the whole passage.

Bottom line: Not only does marking the parts of the passage that get asked about help me in answering questions, but it also puts me in control. I often get bored and my mind wanders if I just read the whole thing without "looking" for anything. So by annotating the passage in this way, I am able to keep my pencil moving, focus, and rest assured that I am helping myself earn points (as opposed to merely trying to "comprehend").

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Maye
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Re: Improve Reading Comprehension

Postby Maye » Mon Sep 12, 2011 4:00 pm

SanDiegoJake wrote:Bottom line: Not only does marking the parts of the passage that get asked about help me in answering questions, but it also puts me in control. I often get bored and my mind wanders if I just read the whole thing without "looking" for anything. So by annotating the passage in this way, I am able to keep my pencil moving, focus, and rest assured that I am helping myself earn points (as opposed to merely trying to "comprehend").

This! My mind wanders as well, and marking the passage helps me stay on top of it. Also, if something in a later paragraph references something I've read previously, I'll go ahead and connect the two with a line/arrow/whatever from the start. I don't like going back and reading for the answers as someone else mentioned. I think that wastes time. After many RC sections it's kind of predictable what they'll ask about and I look for that from the start.




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