Can you summarize the RC passage by one read?

roranoa
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Can you summarize the RC passage by one read?

Postby roranoa » Tue Mar 13, 2012 4:29 am

I once read somewhere on this forum that you have to be able to have that level of comprehension where you can verbally summarize each paragraph after one read.

I don't think this is impossible or anything but it is proving to be quite difficult for me. Can someone share some advice on how I would practice to do this? Some people say that if I just focus on the main points of each paragraph while reading I'll naturally get it. But For some reason that doesn't work for me. I mostly forget what happened in one of the paragraphs above by the time I'm at the last paragraph or when I'm struggling to comprehend some convoluted sentence(s).

Any advice?

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broadstreet11
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Re: Can you summarize the RC passage by one read?

Postby broadstreet11 » Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:09 pm

Not at all. You have to have a good enough grasp of the setup of the RC passage. I've done about 10 preptests so far and I'm averaging -1 on RC now. My key is not to understand everything, but it's to get through with enough understanding that I can immediately know where to look once I get to the question. So many of the questions are just simple rephrasing of the passage that all it takes is to find it.

bp shinners
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Re: Can you summarize the RC passage by one read?

Postby bp shinners » Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:55 pm

broadstreet11 wrote:My key is not to understand everything, but it's to get through with enough understanding that I can immediately know where to look once I get to the question.


This is great advice for anyone struggling through RC. You should have key points tagged in the passage, and each paragraph should have a little note at the end telling you which Viewpoint is being analyzed and what role in that Viewpoint's argument the information in that paragraph serves. Doing this will not only help you find what you need faster, but it should also help each paragraph 'stick' in your head a little bit better.

That being said, you shouldn't move on in the passage if you don't understand what you've just read, and you should have, at the very least, a general recollection of everything in the passage before you move on.

I know that most people don't start with the ability to do that. When we start RC in my class, I'll have my students read a passage and close their books when they're done. Then, I ask them all questions about what they've just read. If I'm lucky, 1 student out of 10 will have a solid grasp without having to look at the passage. Most of the time, over half have the entire passage WILDLY wrong.

So, a few tips to get to the point where you have a general recollection after reading it:
1) Tag the passage, highlighting important elements and viewpoints
2) Summarize each paragraph before you move on - nothing big; literally, just label the viewpoint and the role of the paragraph in that argument
For instance, one of my tags might be "Scientists - rebuttal of creationists arguments"; doing this also lets you see the ebb and flow of the arguments in the RC passages. There's a pattern to this that shows up again and again in the passages. You'll start to recognize (before you read through the paragraph) if it's a rebuttal paragraph, an introduction to an argument, and even whether a second viewpoint is likely to show up in that paragraph to rebut the one you started with.
3) Before moving onto the questions, review the tags for each paragraph to refresh yourself on what went on in the passage
4) Answer these questions about the paragraph"
a) What was the main point of the passage?
b) What was the author's primary purpose in writing this passage?
c) How strongly does the author feel about his position?
d) Were there any recurring structural/other elements (many studies, several lists, many cause and effect relationships, etc...)?

Doing these things should hopefully leave you with an annotated passage that is easy to navigate when you're answering questions and a better overall comprehension/recollection of the passage.

TunnelVision
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Re: Can you summarize the RC passage by one read?

Postby TunnelVision » Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:27 pm

BP, I've been following the precise method you just described and it has helped me quite a bit. But one problem I have encountered is that even when I feel like I have a firm grasp of the passage (sometimes I don't have to look back for most questions), I still take too long. I just did a few passages and averaged somewhere around 9 minutes for each one, and I felt like I was kind of rushing myself even. Any tips on how to speed up? My accuracy is much better now, although still not perfect by any means.

bp shinners
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Re: Can you summarize the RC passage by one read?

Postby bp shinners » Tue Mar 13, 2012 4:42 pm

TunnelVision wrote:BP, I've been following the precise method you just described and it has helped me quite a bit. But one problem I have encountered is that even when I feel like I have a firm grasp of the passage (sometimes I don't have to look back for most questions), I still take too long. I just did a few passages and averaged somewhere around 9 minutes for each one, and I felt like I was kind of rushing myself even. Any tips on how to speed up? My accuracy is much better now, although still not perfect by any means.


How long have you been working on it? Honestly, if you're taking June and you're at 9 minutes right now/passage with an upward trend on accuracy, you're in good shape. You need to take less than half a minute off each passage to be at the right pace.

Keep practicing what you're doing, and you should get faster at it (and, hopefully, more accurate as well). When you plateau, don't just keep beating your head against the wall of RC until your times come down. Spend some diagnostic time figure out where you spend most of your time on. Do you spend more time on the passage? Questions? Individual answer choices? When you figure that out, I can give you more specific advice.

As I've said many times, most people with timing issues spend a lot of their time 'spinning their wheels.' This is time that feels productive but in reality isn't. When you break down how much time you spend on each task of RC (which include reading the passage, tagging the passage, thinking about the questions, checking the passage, eliminating an answer choice, convincing yourself of the answer choice you believe is credited), you can see what's productive time and what's not. If you ever spend more than 10 second eliminating an incorrect answer, that's way too long, and you must have been spinning your wheels at some point there. If you notice that a disproportionate amount of your time is being spent on eliminating incorrect answer choices, you can start focusing on moving past an answer choice you're ambivalent towards to see if there's one that you actually like. This will stop that wheel spinning that, at 5-10 seconds at a time, quickly adds up.

TunnelVision
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Re: Can you summarize the RC passage by one read?

Postby TunnelVision » Tue Mar 13, 2012 5:55 pm

I've been working on the test for several months now, but only about a month for RC in particular. When I started I could only do about 3 passages in the time alloted and was consistently getting -8 to -13 wrong. Lately I've been doing some timed and a lot of untimed passages. I usually spend around 3 minutes, sometimes a little less, reading and marking the passage. Eliminating answer choices on global questions eats up a lot of time for me. On "According to the passage" questions I am very quick because I know where to go and can prove my answer with the text. But on global questions I tend to narrow it down to 2 choices after spending (wasting?) probably a minute on eliminating the other 3. And even though I usually get these correct, I am hesitant and unconfident in my final choice. Like you said, this adds up. Also, I REALLY struggle with questions that ask about an analogous scenario. Assumption questions tend to throw me off as well because I have discovered that often times the piece of text they refer you to is actually not where the assumption is being made. I was looking through another thread and I like your idea about figuring out where in the text the right answer can be found. Once I started doing this I was making fewer notes and am better able to recall the important points. But anticipating assumptions hasn't clicked for me at all yet. Any ideas on how I can improve with these question types? Thanks!

bp shinners
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Re: Can you summarize the RC passage by one read?

Postby bp shinners » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:09 pm

If by assumption questions, you mean the ones where it asks you to pick an answer choice that points out an assumption made by one of the viewpoints, then that's something that you should have highlighted while initially marking up the passage. It's never going to say, 'Scientists, in drawing this conclusion, make the following assumptions:...', so you have to read between the lines.

'This can only be true if...'
'Their argument depends on...'
'If ______ isn't true, then their argument falls apart.'
'Scientists claim that _________, and therefore they conclude that...'

All of these are ways of pointing out assumptions without actually saying them. Look for similar stuff, and always make a note of it; if someone is making an assumption in their argument, the test will ask you about it in some way.

TunnelVision
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Re: Can you summarize the RC passage by one read?

Postby TunnelVision » Thu Mar 15, 2012 3:38 pm

Thanks for the tip! I've been on the look out for those phrases on the past few passages and it has definitely helped.

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Easy-E
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Re: Can you summarize the RC passage by one read?

Postby Easy-E » Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:00 am

broadstreet11 wrote:Not at all. You have to have a good enough grasp of the setup of the RC passage. I've done about 10 preptests so far and I'm averaging -1 on RC now. My key is not to understand everything, but it's to get through with enough understanding that I can immediately know where to look once I get to the question. So many of the questions are just simple rephrasing of the passage that all it takes is to find it.


+1

You simply don't have time to have a complete understanding of every detail of the passage, and honestly, it's not necessary. When I do RC, I get an idea of the main purpose of the passage, and I write notes next to each paragraph outlining the structure. I probably won't do this on timed tests, but it's good practice IMO and gets you focused on noting mentally where information is in the passage. After I read a passage (when practicing), I'll make sure I can verbalize what the passage was about in one or two sentences, how the author feels about the topic (supportive, critical, unbiased, skeptical, etc), and how the author went about presenting the topic (structure).

That's just me though, HTH.

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Clearly
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Re: Can you summarize the RC passage by one read?

Postby Clearly » Mon Mar 19, 2012 3:56 am

As you know, we need to be noting relevant placeholders during the passage. I tend to have two approaches to reading comp, and both are about equal in ability. I either read for content deeply and am usually able to answer "The passage includes mention of each of these except..." type questions, but have to refer back to "Structure of the passage questions"... Or I read taking more note of passage structure and tone, and am able to answer structure questions, and have to refer back to the passage for detail questions. In either case, my place holders reinforce the things I've picked up both in my memory, and on paper for reference.
Personally, I'm on the watch for these words in the passage and I circle them and note the relevance with an abv on the side:
But
However
For Example
Wrong
Correct
In support of...
Importantly
Most Importantly
Believed/Thought/Considered (They ascribe either the authors opinion, or the opinions of others s/he's arguing against)
Study/Studies/Survey/Poll/etc. (Provide evidence)
Problem/Issue/Overlooked/Difficulty etc

I roughly layout the structure as I go, if the second paragraph provides a list of reasons in support I write (Evi 1, Evi2, Evi3) in the margin, If it says the problems (Prob 1 Prob 2) etc. Regardless I always reference the passage for structure questions to be sure unless there obvious blanket structure questions. I also write "Def" next to any defined term.

I also tend to underline things that form there own coherent sentences in a way for instance

Some claim the people from the first era had an easier life style then the people of a second era. The people of the second era were hunter gatherers and had no records of art. The people from the earlier era were also gatherers yet evidence has been discovered that shows they had art. Some claim that the art means they had an easier life style and could focus on art. The art was good yada yada

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Sloth Hero
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Re: Can you summarize the RC passage by one read?

Postby Sloth Hero » Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:46 am

of course I can. ;)




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