Prepare for the LSAT or discuss it with others in this forum.
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- Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2011 9:12 am
Hi guys, Im taking the october LSAT in a little over a week. I am currently scoring good on LR and LG but I cant seem to improve on RC. Basically my strategy is I read the passage pretty carefully, identify viewpoints, changes in tone and conclusions, but even so i have extreme uncertainty when i go to answer the questions. I am getting around -5 on each RC section and I want to get that down to at least -2/3. Are there any tips out there, im desperate like I said the big day is in a week!!! Thanks.
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- Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2011 4:54 pm
In my my personal opinion I think it's all in your head. I think a lot of people freak out over RC and make it out worse than it really is. Take a second and step back, review your strategy and know concisely what needs to be done. And finally, always always go into each passage reading to understand/comprehend. However you notate that is part of your "strategy" should just happen and be second to your deep conceptualization of what is being said and done in the passage. I am not saying, on those tough science passages for example, that you should know exactly whether blood pressure raises when x is released into the bloodstream or lowers but that there is a relationship occurring here in the passage and how it relates to the rest of the paragraph, the passage as a whole and the main idea etc. If there happens to be a question on it you can quickly go back to that spot to double check your answers. For me, being in the right mindset helps too. I go into RC as if a professor I highly respected passed out a passage to me and each of my classmates and asked us to read it once and then we will have an intense discussion on it. Also, check out Dave Hall's thread and search the forums for RC help. Good luck.
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- Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2011 9:35 pm
I've had some of these same issues. Recently my score improved drastically following some of the tips Dave Hall put up in the 180 thread. Since I've got them all in PDF form I'll just post what's relevant, you can find the rest of his posts if you need.
Hope it helps.
We've been like ships passing at night. How poignant.
A two-part answer to your question about timing:
1. Speed comes on this test from the same place it comes in every other thing we do in
the world - by getting better at it.
2. For Reading Comp, generally, it's the answer choices, not the questions, that make
the tasks hard. Answers are written deliberately to seem attractive when they're wrong,
and to look ugly when they're right. You can go a long way toward short-circuiting those
traps by disciplining yourself to always answer the question based on the passage
before you look at any answer choices.
This does two things:
Forces you to learn how to properly answer questions (you'll have to learn to stop
relying on answer choices, and instead work from the passage itself).
Makes you significantly faster over the long run. The place most people waste the most
time is weighing answer choices. If you already know what the passage says on the
matter, your choice will usually be faster (and more accurate!).
To accomplish these things, get some Post-It notes and use them to cover the answer
choices. As you work a passage, instead of choosing an answer choice, write down on
the Post-It what the passage indicates is the right answer. Once you've answered every
question in a passage that way, lift the notes and choose the answer choices that match
I can see a clear straight path from getting good at answering RC questions to being
fast at it. It's much harder for me to visualize an avenue for success that doesn't include
a disciplined approach to getting questions right.
I wouldn't worry too much about the indicativeness of your scores on practice tests.
Maybe it's meaningful, maybe it's not perfect, but what really matters is how wellprepared
you are for what's ahead of you.
So, spend your energy making yourself fully, completely, totally, absolutely (and
redundantly!) certain that you understand these 7 things for every question in LR + RC:
1. The precise demand made by the question.
2. The purpose of the argument/RC passage.
3. The main conclusion/main point of the argument/RC passage.
4. The flaw (or assumption) of the argument.
5. The precise reason the correct answer choice is correct.
6. The precise reason each of the other 4 choices is wrong.
7. At least one thing that the problem has in common with another argument you've
seen (could be a flaw type, or a language cue from the right (or wrong) answer -
anything that you can recognize in future questions).
I'm assuming that with your scores you're already perfect at Games. You'd better be!
Answer Part 3
In which we switch gears, to talk Reading Comprehension.
In the RC, every question asks you what is supported "according to the passage," right?
That means, of course, that the right answer to every question in the RC can be found
within the passage that's on the page next to you. It tells us that the answer is available
in print. That's something - it means that if we look efficiently enough, we can be
guaranteed of finding the correct answer. I love RC because it's like an Easter-egg hunt
in this way. The answers are all right there, just waiting to be uncovered. It's so great!
So, that's one thing.
What it also says for us, that we may overlook, is that all RC questions are Inference
questions. Every one asks us - explicitly or in essence - what we can prove on the basis
of the passage. This means that the answers to all RC questions are Inference answers
- the right answer choice, then, will tend very strongly to be small.
So, for all RC questions, when choosing between two answer choices, choose the
smaller of the two. Exactly the way we talked about Inference questions in Part 1.
One other thing:
Imagine two answer choices, when you've been asked for the author's attitude. (A) says
"scornful" and (D) says "critical." I can tell you right now, without any passage to
reference, that the correct answer between those two has to be (D). I don't need any
evidence at all in order to be positive in my choice.
Here's why: if an author is "scornful," then she must also be "critical." It isn't possible to
express scorn without the element of criticism. So it isn't possible for "scornful" to be
correct in this instance - if (A) were true, then (D) would also have to be true. And it's not
possible to have two correct answers. On the other hand, it's entirely possible to be
critical of someone without being scornful of her. There's no reason that (D) can't be true
without needing (A).
In RC, when in doubt, choose the smaller answer.
You'll be right most of the time.
Hope it helps.
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