RC Passage markings

ilovethelaw
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RC Passage markings

Postby ilovethelaw » Tue Mar 13, 2012 4:09 pm

RC is a section i'm struggling with. I like to write in the margins after each paragraph (either main point or its purpose in the passage, etc). However, i'm struggling with what to underline/circle on the actual text. i find that sometimes i mark way too much, and afterwards my passage has a ton of crap marked.

I saw a couple markings from prep course books, but those are just done so perfectly (i.e. it's as if on their initial read they somehow marked everything they needed for the questions, and nothing extraneous whatsoever).


*edit: the original thread requested people to scan their marked-up passages, but i have found out this is against policy.
Last edited by ilovethelaw on Tue Mar 13, 2012 5:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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fashiongirl
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Re: RC Passage markings: Scan and share yours?

Postby fashiongirl » Tue Mar 13, 2012 4:49 pm

here's what i do:

note author's attitude...reactions, even the SLIGHTEST note of author's opinion helps
note any experiments, results, studies
note what the critics, proponents, or opponents are thinking
note any change in view - words like "however"
note definitions

bp shinners
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Re: RC Passage markings: Scan and share yours?

Postby bp shinners » Tue Mar 13, 2012 4:52 pm

Or is uploading official preptest material against TLS policy?


It's against TLS policy and will get you in trouble - that stuff is copyrighted, and protected heavily (rightfully so) by LSAC.

ilovethelaw wrote:RC is a section i'm struggling with. I like to write in the margins after each paragraph (either main point or its purpose in the passage, etc).


Perfect so far - this is exactly what you want to do.

However, i'm struggling with what to underline/circle on the actual text. i find that sometimes i mark way too much, and afterwards my passage has a ton of crap marked.

I saw a couple markings from prep course books, but those are just done so perfectly (i.e. it's as if on their initial read they somehow marked everything they needed for the questions, and nothing extraneous whatsoever).


It's extremely common to mark up way too much when you're first learning RC. You're used to reading for content, and you feel that a lot of the content that's just incidental to the arguments is actually important.

A good drill to eliminate this is to do a passage with a full markup and answer the questions. Review the questions. Then, after you understand the correct (and incorrect answers), spend some time checking your markup against what was used for the questions. I promise you that there is a pattern to what they ask about. For instance, if there's a traditional belief in the passage, even if mentioned briefly, it's very likely to end up in a question. If two things are compared (especially if they're beliefs), there will be a question. If they list a bunch of stuff, question. If they spend the time to explain a series of events that transpired in a scientific experiment, and you have no clue what any of it means (5th cranial nerve, for instance), expect a question that just requires you to read that sentence again.

Which brings me to another point - it's quite possible to do a markup that hits all the relevant points without highlighting extraneous information when you see a passage for the first time. I don't know which prep book you're using, so I can't say for sure that they didn't 'cheat'; however, after doing this for awhile, you get a feel for the elements of a passage that are going to be asked about. It's something that those of us who work in the prep industry sometimes forget when we're teaching this/creating material - we tell you we didn't highlight something because it's not likely to be asked about, without explaining why. That's because a) we forget that you don't have the same sense that we do from practicing the LSAT an ungodly amount of time and b) sometimes it's hard to explain this sense. If I read a passage, I can usually guess what 3-4 of the questions are going to be, almost word for word (same with the answer choices).

And that last paragraph is just to reassure you that there is a pattern to it, and if you spend enough time seeing which elements of passages show up in questions, you'll start to tap into that pattern. You'll waste less time on extraneous information and hit all the important points of the paragraph. But it won't happen if you just focus on right and wrong answers; you have to also check the questions against the passage itself to see from whence they came.

ilovethelaw
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Re: RC Passage markings: Scan and share yours?

Postby ilovethelaw » Tue Mar 13, 2012 5:57 pm

thanks so much for the suggestions. i think a problem i have is that i mark too many specific details, and not just viewpoints (although i keep track of those too). for example, i'll circle or underline specific words here and there that i think might come up in an identification question. both to possibly "stand out" when i go back to look for stuff, but mostly to help me encode the information during my read (highlighting the word makes me remember it). i'm not sure if this is good or not.

i'm really trying to develop a more minimalist method of marking things, but i'm not sure if its necessary. I find that my markings don’t mean anything in terms of helping me locate things later. I notice things while I am reading and try to predict things and it helps me understand, but then I don’t even refer back to them or look for my markings when answering questions.

d0rklord
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Re: RC Passage markings

Postby d0rklord » Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:14 pm

politely butting in...

does anyone find it helpful to skim the questions prior to reading the RC passage? I know some people teach this method, but a lot of people advise against it...

jw what people have found works for them :)

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princeR
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Re: RC Passage markings

Postby princeR » Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:51 pm

d0rklord wrote:politely butting in...

does anyone find it helpful to skim the questions prior to reading the RC passage? I know some people teach this method, but a lot of people advise against it...

jw what people have found works for them :)


It should be pretty obvious from reading the passage what you are going to be asked so honestly, I don't think its worth it. You will probably get asked something about the main point, authors attitude towards something or someone, if there's something explicitly important in the passage like a list of things or experiments/research, critics viewpoints, the purpose of one of the paragraphs, and possibly an organizational question. I would highly advise against reading the questions first. This is useful for LR because it puts the scope on what to look at in the stimulus, but I think it is definitely a bad strategy in RC. Furthermore, it might hinder a general understanding of the passage because you are seeking out the answers which, if you would have just read the passage correctly and actively the first time you could just refer back to when you hit a question that you are unsure of.

d0rklord
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Re: RC Passage markings

Postby d0rklord » Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:51 pm

princeR wrote:
d0rklord wrote:politely butting in...

does anyone find it helpful to skim the questions prior to reading the RC passage? I know some people teach this method, but a lot of people advise against it...

jw what people have found works for them :)


It should be pretty obvious from reading the passage what you are going to be asked so honestly, I don't think its worth it. You will probably get asked something about the main point, authors attitude towards something or someone, if there's something explicitly important in the passage like a list of things or experiments/research, critics viewpoints, the purpose of one of the paragraphs, and possibly an organizational question. I would highly advise against reading the questions first. This is useful for LR because it puts the scope on what to look at in the stimulus, but I think it is definitely a bad strategy in RC. Furthermore, it might hinder a general understanding of the passage because you are seeking out the answers which, if you would have just read the passage correctly and actively the first time you could just refer back to when you hit a question that you are unsure of.



ty ;)

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pizzabrosauce
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Re: RC Passage markings: Scan and share yours?

Postby pizzabrosauce » Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:22 pm

ilovethelaw wrote:thanks so much for the suggestions. i think a problem i have is that i mark too many specific details, and not just viewpoints (although i keep track of those too). for example, i'll circle or underline specific words here and there that i think might come up in an identification question. both to possibly "stand out" when i go back to look for stuff, but mostly to help me encode the information during my read (highlighting the word makes me remember it). i'm not sure if this is good or not.

i'm really trying to develop a more minimalist method of marking things, but i'm not sure if its necessary. I find that my markings don’t mean anything in terms of helping me locate things later. I notice things while I am reading and try to predict things and it helps me understand, but then I don’t even refer back to them or look for my markings when answering questions.


I personally find that specifics aren't that important, its more about how they fit in and support what the author is saying. If a detail question arises, it usually points me to the lines, or contains some unique words I can scan for.

I really focus on logical indicators: "all, only, because, first, never, etc" because these are used to draw some nasty-subtle inferences.

I also focus on words that direct the flow: "also, therefore, nevertheless, but, however, etc."
This helps me break the passage into manageable segments and also forces me to encode their relation to the main thesis.

My markings look very similar to Kaplan's...I'm not if they backtrack and mark stuff thats important, but I try to use that as a model for what to mark the 1st time around.

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Clearly
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Re: RC Passage markings

Postby Clearly » Mon Mar 19, 2012 4:05 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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