Advice on Honing RC?

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tarfer
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Advice on Honing RC?

Postby tarfer » Mon May 14, 2012 12:32 am

I'd just like to thank everyone here for assisting a -1L Lurker over the past year...

I'll be taking the LSAT in June and just wanted to ask if there was any big advice to give on the RC section.

I'm working through the RC Powerscore Bible but I've read that its not as learnable as the rest...

Again, I <3 TLS for everything you guys do!

Tarfer

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princeR
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Re: Advice on Honing RC?

Postby princeR » Mon May 14, 2012 12:56 am

I spent about 2 months of my prep time heavily reworking my RC approach. During this time I came to see RC as more or less like a game. The present you with this dense passage with tons of tidbits of information, and your job is to find out what parts are going to be asked about. You can't, nor should you try to memorize the entire passage. The key is to understand the BIG PICTURE and the differing voices throughout the passage. With that being said, I spent a long time heavily underlining, boxing, and sometimes even writing in the margins things that I thought were important. Over time you really begin to see the patterns and what things are going to be asked about. With that being said, I have now gotten to the point where notating seemed to be a waste of time, I now no longer underline anything, BUT, at the end of each paragraph I do tend to pause for a quick 5 seconds or so to run over the important part of the paragraph I just read.

I think my breakthrough came when I really internalized the fact that this isn't just some piece of writing in the LSAT. Every passage is a REAL piece of writing that has been chopped and adapted to fit in 55-65 lines. Thus, each of the passages was written by a real author, with a real purpose, and with some sort or argument/point to be made. I can not stress the importance of this, seriously, this is where I made my real breakthroughs in RC.

So, now that we know how the passage is an actual piece of writing, how should you approach the passage? Well, there are definitely some things that are more important to pay attention to than others, however, I don't want to stress that you should pay anymore attention to one over another because than you might lose sight of the passage as whole. This is the key. You need to read the passage as a coherent whole and follow the flow of the authors argument/point and the structure/system that is being employed. So, not only does the author have a genuine purpose in writing the passage, but they also have a purpose for every single damn thing she does. Think about it. If the author is making a point about something, or advocating something, why would she use an example, or an illustration? It wouldn't just be for the sake of the example, it is either to help bolster her argument or to potentially weaken some other viewpoint. So, we must be aware that every single thing within the passage has a purpose. Every single word, example, quote, definition. When you really begin to internalize this you can better hone in on the importance of key things within a passage. For instance, if the author defines something, well, than it is probably important. If the author calls your attention to some other viewpoint, well, than it is probably important. The thing is, not everything within the passage is important, you need to weed through all the bs to get to the important stuff. If I had to make a list I would say that the things you need to focus on are this.

1. Main Point
2. Purpose of the passage
These two play into one another.
3. Authors attitude
4. The structure of the passage
How was the argument/point made, what viewpoints were used, did she qualify her argument by voicing alternatives, did she use examples, did she itemize it, did she offer an alternative, what/how was the purpose (point 2) made.

I probably wrote way too much to make such a simple point. You need to get engaged in these passages, learn to love them and be happy when you see its the RC section. Truthfully, you can learn some pretty interesting things. I loved the passages about Anarchism and the one about heavy bombardment theory. Get engaged in the passages, seek out the purpose of the passage and what the author wants you to know. WHAT is the point? When you see that as you are reading everything else makes sense. If you can sort of see what the authors point of the passage is than when you see other viewpoints you wont get lost because you can see why she would put those in the passage. Remember, the things in the passage have a purpose, that purpose will have something to do with the main point.

I am by no means an RC expert. However, I have drastically improved my score from probably around -12 to an average of around -3/-2 currently. Good luck!

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jigglebottom
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Re: Advice on Honing RC?

Postby jigglebottom » Mon May 14, 2012 1:22 am

good shit homes ^

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tarfer
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Re: Advice on Honing RC?

Postby tarfer » Mon May 14, 2012 9:46 am

I appreciate the help PrinceR! I'll keep this in mind and focus on those things.

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Hjones33
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Re: Advice on Honing RC?

Postby Hjones33 » Mon May 14, 2012 12:34 pm

What have people heard about Manhattan RC book? I too struggle a lot with RC and have heard some people say to get Manhattan's RC book and not Powerscore. I have Powerscore's book and have not gone through it yet, but does anyone have any knowledge of the two books? Is Manhattan's really that much better?

BTW, I am taking the October test.

rbkl
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Re: Advice on Honing RC?

Postby rbkl » Mon May 14, 2012 1:11 pm

I went through the powerscore one already, now im going over the Manhattan one.. I'll let you know my review when I'm done, but I saw little improvement in my RC skills after using the Powerscore book.

lilhugsy24
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Re: Advice on Honing RC?

Postby lilhugsy24 » Wed May 16, 2012 3:36 pm

I haven't used any RC books yet and I was curious as to whether or not it would be worth it to buy the manhattan RC book because I usually go like -4 on RC, + or -1. Can the book help me or am I just better off saving money and continuing to work RC sections.

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rabbitrun
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Re: Advice on Honing RC?

Postby rabbitrun » Wed May 16, 2012 4:21 pm

I did the RCbible and found that it helped, but I felt that I started to underline and note WAY too much [and I constantly had to remember whether, according to RCBible, I should box or underline or circle]. Instead, I took the main point/purpose/attitude/structure approach and underlined and circled the way I usually did when I used to read for classes in college: I just underlined and circled things that seemed to pop out and seemed important or something that changed the direction of the argument. When I took enough of them, the things that were popping out seemed to be the same things that the questions asked about. Go back after you take an RC and map where the answers where and what kind of things they were in the passage. It helps to show you what they care about.
The only thing I really kept from powerscore was noting the viewpoints off to the side and maybe bracketing the main point if it becomes obvious while I'm reading it. Both are extremely helpful.

Final thought: consider taking 5 RC sections in a row. My problem is that they wear me out. I think its a good way to build endurance for RC.
Last edited by rabbitrun on Thu May 17, 2012 3:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Advice on Honing RC?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Wed May 16, 2012 9:55 pm

princeR gives good advice. I'd also recommend focusing on any distinctions the author makes. These will often show up in test questions.

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Br3v
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Re: Advice on Honing RC?

Postby Br3v » Wed May 16, 2012 9:57 pm

Whatever Prince says about RC, listen. Even if he says to wear your underwear inside out and tinfoil on your head, the man know RC and helped me break into the 170's

dkb17xzx
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Re: Advice on Honing RC?

Postby dkb17xzx » Wed May 16, 2012 10:03 pm

jigglebottom wrote:good shit homes ^


+1

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thestalkmore
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Re: Advice on Honing RC?

Postby thestalkmore » Wed May 16, 2012 10:23 pm

Br3v wrote:Whatever Prince says about RC, listen. Even if he says to wear your underwear inside out and tinfoil on your head, the man know RC and helped me break into the 170's

Prince has become the resident RC guru? Whoda thunk it.

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Br3v
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Re: Advice on Honing RC?

Postby Br3v » Wed May 16, 2012 10:27 pm

thestalkmore wrote:
Br3v wrote:Whatever Prince says about RC, listen. Even if he says to wear your underwear inside out and tinfoil on your head, the man know RC and helped me break into the 170's

Prince has become the resident RC guru? Whoda thunk it.


You too Thestalkmore I just didn't think you would grace this thread with your presence lol

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princeR
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Re: Advice on Honing RC?

Postby princeR » Wed May 16, 2012 10:39 pm

thestalkmore wrote:
Br3v wrote:Whatever Prince says about RC, listen. Even if he says to wear your underwear inside out and tinfoil on your head, the man know RC and helped me break into the 170's

Prince has become the resident RC guru? Whoda thunk it.

Definitely not this guy lol. I basically repeat what TheStalkMore says but with more words lol. And while I am definitely not a champion of RC, I can explain the concepts and the best approaches really well hahaha.

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2014
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Re: Advice on Honing RC?

Postby 2014 » Thu May 17, 2012 12:27 am

The only thing I found that helped me was repetition. After doing RC sections in the 15 odd full PTs I did plus another maybe 20 isolated sections, I got to where it became at least somewhat predictable what they were going to ask about. I went through the RC Bible and it didn't do a whole lot for me and ultimately it remained my weakest section :(

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Br3v
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Re: Advice on Honing RC?

Postby Br3v » Thu May 17, 2012 1:28 am

2014 wrote:The only thing I found that helped me was repetition. After doing RC sections in the 15 odd full PTs I did plus another maybe 20 isolated sections, I got to where it became at least somewhat predictable what they were going to ask about. I went through the RC Bible and it didn't do a whole lot for me and ultimately it remained my weakest section :(


weakest section out of a 175 mind you lol

bp shinners
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Re: Advice on Honing RC?

Postby bp shinners » Thu May 17, 2012 2:00 pm

princeR wrote:Good advice


prince had some great advice, and that's definitely the way to approach the passage.

This is something else that I've been teaching my class, and it seems to help a lot of people.

With few exceptions, every single passage that has appeared on the LSAT can be described as follows:
1) We used to believe something/There used to be a trend
2) Something happened
3) We now believe something else/There's a new trend

This doesn't seem helpful in the abstract, but it can be if you learn how to use it. So let's do that.

First, let's see how it applies to different passage types:

HISTORY
1) This is the way the world used to be
2) Some event happened
3) This is the way the world is now

ART
1) This used to be the artistic style
2) Some event happened, or some artist did some cool stuff
3) This is the new artistic style

SOCIAL SCIENCES
1) This is what we thought drove people's actions
2) We did this crazy study
3) This is now what we think about how people act

HARD SCIENCE
1) We used to think this about the universe/planet/species/etc...
2) We did some experiments
3) This is now what we think is true

So the first thing this can help you do is to solidify, in your mind, those passages that are difficult. For most people, the science passages are the hardest. So for science passages, if you get lost, just try to figure out the three things listed above - the old belief, the new belief, and ID the experiments.

The LSAT isn't going to require you to understand the science, just the concepts. So when it starts talking about electron volts or oscillation, you should be able to define it, but you don't need to really understand what it means in the real world. What is important is that you understand the starting theory and the ending theory (and if the author buys it).

For the experiments (or any of the 2)s mentioned above), realize that every single piece of information in that passage is going to help the transition between 1) and 3), especially in the science passages (or it's going to resist the transition, if there's an antithetical view that doesn't want to change). So stop trying to understand the science, and instead try to understand how it detracts from the old theory and adds to the new one. Dealing with those ideas is usually a lot easier to do than trying to understand all the details of the experiment. And you're going to understand the important parts of the passage (i.e. the ones that they're going to ask about) if you can explain how each experiment moved us from the old theory to the new.

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Paraflam
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Re: Advice on Honing RC?

Postby Paraflam » Thu May 17, 2012 2:03 pm

Prince and Shinners, thanks a lot for your help in this thread. I'm definitely going to try to implement your strategies.

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dowu
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Re: Advice on Honing RC?

Postby dowu » Thu May 17, 2012 11:17 pm

:shock: :shock:
Last edited by dowu on Sun Apr 17, 2016 9:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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2014
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Re: Advice on Honing RC?

Postby 2014 » Thu May 17, 2012 11:24 pm

Br3v wrote:
2014 wrote:The only thing I found that helped me was repetition. After doing RC sections in the 15 odd full PTs I did plus another maybe 20 isolated sections, I got to where it became at least somewhat predictable what they were going to ask about. I went through the RC Bible and it didn't do a whole lot for me and ultimately it remained my weakest section :(


weakest section out of a 175 mind you lol

I still missed like 5 or 6 on it :(




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