Should I change RC strategy this late?

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Micdiddy
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Should I change RC strategy this late?

Postby Micdiddy » Sun May 27, 2012 4:41 pm

I was just wondering what people's opinions were on the subject. After trying many different methods I seem to be unable to consistently have a -0 or -1 RC section. I started off with a method of just reading for understanding (with little check marks made solely for mental engagement and never look back at for any annotating abilities), then moved on to many variations of underlining and bracketing with sometimes even writing short (very short) Main Points of each paragraph in the margin, to no annotations or marks on the passage at all, and then finally back to very minimal annotations (again basically checkmarks to say "I get this and I am moving on" to my brain).

For each one of these strategies I have had good scores (I have only gotten -0 on RC once using no annotation at all) and I have had bad scores (which I consider -3+). The average for all my RC-ing ever is prob around -2.75, and I would really like a consistent -1 or -0 so that I don't have to rely on good variance come test day.

With all that said, I plan to buy my first RC strategy book, Manhattan, and tear through it either to just learn their method and go with it, or at least learn more varying viewpoints on the section to put in my reservoir.

Anyone think this is a bad idea so late in the game? A very good idea (that I prob should have done weeks ago, obv)? Or will it likely not affect my score much...just looking for thoughts on it, thanks.

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princeR
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Re: Should I change RC strategy this late?

Postby princeR » Sun May 27, 2012 5:23 pm

I wouldn't do it. First, ask yourself, how are you making your mistakes? Are they simple mistakes due to misreading, a certain question type, etc. I am going to assume since you miss so few that there isn't one question in particular, and because of how well you do in general it is probably the much more difficult questions with two seemingly correct answers. With that being said, I can't see how trying to cram in Manhattan's method would be beneficial. Just like the potential 180 scorers that are can end up with a 170, it just depends on how you are "feeling". I would emphasize to think more about the secondary concerns and not the actual strategy. Maybe thinking about when you take your PTs and the score you get, what you eat for breakfast/lunch, how much sleep you get, amount of caffeine, etc. Honestly, a guide wont help you now. You have it in you to get that -0. Just don't take any question for granted and move effectively and efficiently throughout the questions.

Mal Reynolds
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Re: Should I change RC strategy this late?

Postby Mal Reynolds » Sun May 27, 2012 5:25 pm

I don't think there is much a guide can teach you if you are averaging less than 3 misses a section. I think reviewing your missed answers and even the whole passage will be more helpful. When you're done with a passage, go back through it and find what information was useful to answering questions, what information you actually notated, what information you missed etc. For the question answers, make sure you understand exactly why each incorrect answer is wrong and why each correct answer is right.

In terms of strategy, there are people that don't notate at all and go -0 or -1. I still notate a little but only because it increases my comprehension. I rarely ever look at my notes and they are generally very minimal. I went -1 on RC in Oct. 2011 if it matters.

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Micdiddy
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Re: Should I change RC strategy this late?

Postby Micdiddy » Sun May 27, 2012 5:29 pm

princeR wrote:I wouldn't do it. First, ask yourself, how are you making your mistakes? Are they simple mistakes due to misreading, a certain question type, etc. I am going to assume since you miss so few that there isn't one question in particular, and because of how well you do in general it is probably the much more difficult questions with two seemingly correct answers. With that being said, I can't see how trying to cram in Manhattan's method would be beneficial. Just like the potential 180 scorers that are can end up with a 170, it just depends on how you are "feeling". I would emphasize to think more about the secondary concerns and not the actual strategy. Maybe thinking about when you take your PTs and the score you get, what you eat for breakfast/lunch, how much sleep you get, amount of caffeine, etc. Honestly, a guide wont help you now. You have it in you to get that -0. Just don't take any question for granted and move effectively and efficiently throughout the questions.


Thanks for the advice, this was this type of thinking that I used to decide not to get the book about 2 weeks ago. I think mostly the fact that my scores have gone 179,178,177,176,175 in the last 5 pt's is convincing me there is something fundamentally wrong and I'm moving backward, when more likely it is natural variance (and much better than before when my scores would go 172, 178, 167, 174....).

I think I will spend the day compiling the ten most recent RC sections I have taken and looking over the answers I get wrong and the passages I get them wrong in. Usually I think it comes down to finding a sentence in the passage that almost justifies something but falls just short, whereas a small, inconsequential sentence towards the beginning or end technically proves and answer choice but I just never found it when looking back at the passage.

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Micdiddy
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Re: Should I change RC strategy this late?

Postby Micdiddy » Sun May 27, 2012 5:31 pm

Mal Reynolds wrote:I don't think there is much a guide can teach you if you are averaging less than 3 misses a section. I think reviewing your missed answers and even the whole passage will be more helpful. When you're done with a passage, go back through it and find what information was useful to answering questions, what information you actually notated, what information you missed etc. For the question answers, make sure you understand exactly why each incorrect answer is wrong and why each correct answer is right.

In terms of strategy, there are people that don't notate at all and go -0 or -1. I still notate a little but only because it increases my comprehension. I rarely ever look at my notes and they are generally very minimal. I went -1 on RC in Oct. 2011 if it matters.


Yeah def. I think I am firmly in the camp of reading for understanding, as opposed to reading for proper notating/deconstructing. Although, again I am not sure why I am in this camp because I feel I do just as well no matter what strategy I use.

I think I will continue using minimal or no notations and work on reading the passage quicker first time around, so that I can have those precious seconds to scan the passage again on the really difficult questions for those 1 or 2 lines that prove one choice over another.

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bdeebs
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Re: Should I change RC strategy this late?

Postby bdeebs » Mon May 28, 2012 1:46 am

What was the most noticeable difference for you when you switched from 172, 178, 167, 174 to 179, 178, etc? I've gone 173, 175, 171, 177 and this variance is freaking me out a little. I feel like I'm right on the cusp of something because I'm still making silly errors on LR that I can tell what the correct answer is within 5 seconds of returning to the problems after the test. I think I'll be able to remove those eventually, but for now I just don't have the complete confidence that I want when I finish those sections like I do when I finish the games.

rbkl
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Re: Should I change RC strategy this late?

Postby rbkl » Mon May 28, 2012 2:08 am

bdeebs wrote:What was the most noticeable difference for you when you switched from 172, 178, 167, 174 to 179, 178, etc? I've gone 173, 175, 171, 177 and this variance is freaking me out a little. I feel like I'm right on the cusp of something because I'm still making silly errors on LR that I can tell what the correct answer is within 5 seconds of returning to the problems after the test. I think I'll be able to remove those eventually, but for now I just don't have the complete confidence that I want when I finish those sections like I do when I finish the games.


This. I am in the exact same situation =[ -- really frustrating because I know I can score high, but my standard deviation is so high.

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DaRascal
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Re: Should I change RC strategy this late?

Postby DaRascal » Mon May 28, 2012 2:12 am

I think you should. I changed my RC strategy the other day. I used to follow the PowerScore method, now I just read slower, try to process everything, and then go right* through to the questions. I still make notations but a lot less frequently than I used to.

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Micdiddy
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Re: Should I change RC strategy this late?

Postby Micdiddy » Mon May 28, 2012 2:34 am

bdeebs wrote:What was the most noticeable difference for you when you switched from 172, 178, 167, 174 to 179, 178, etc? I've gone 173, 175, 171, 177 and this variance is freaking me out a little. I feel like I'm right on the cusp of something because I'm still making silly errors on LR that I can tell what the correct answer is within 5 seconds of returning to the problems after the test. I think I'll be able to remove those eventually, but for now I just don't have the complete confidence that I want when I finish those sections like I do when I finish the games.


Great question! When I was consistently scoring 172-174 and only occasionally hitting 176-178, I felt like the jump to consistently getting 175+ was impossible. No matter how hard I tried, I missed 1 or 2 every LR section, RC was unpredictable, and I would even occasionally miss an LG question due to a reading mistake or misapplication of a rule.

Lately I have been consistently scoring 175+ for weeks, and I can say without a doubt the biggest difference is LR pattern recognition improvement. I can consistently go -0 on LR sections (though not always and I have not gone -0 on both sections in the same test) because I basically know every question type like the back of my hand. I can usually answer assumption questions before I even know it's an assumption question, and I have learned the specific intricacies of underlying principle questions which use to give me fits. Furthermore, I know that there will be 1 or 2 tough questions on each section, but by recognizing which ones they are I can effectively use what I know about old tough questions I have seen. For example, often times the right answer seems out of scope at first, but after a few logical inferences makes perfect sense. Though I still occasionally miss those types, it's less frequent and they are the only kind I miss consistently. Sometimes a really tough parallel question still gives me problems, but there are lots of tactics to employ to tackle those (is the relative strength of language the same? Is the conclusion the same? Are the number involved comparable? Etc. etc.).

Anyway, if either of you are still missing LG questions, that's the first thing you need to definitively fix. Every top scorer should expect -0 on every LG section they encounter. Then, it's all about trying to master LR as best you can and improving efficiency on RC. Some top scorers are better at RC than LR, but I think they are the exception. Whatever improvement you make on RC is icing, but consistent 175+ scores come from -0 on LG and -1 to 3 combined on LR, then RC accounts for whether it's a 175 or 180 (HUGE difference).

Obviously, I wouldn't recommend ignoring RC, as the creation of this very thread shows otherwise, but LR does account for twice as many questions and I believe can be more effectively managed. If I felt weak on LR I would be focusing more on that, but where I am at right now I feel 75% of my drilling time or more should be on RC.

03152016
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Re: Should I change RC strategy this late?

Postby 03152016 » Mon May 28, 2012 11:03 am

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Last edited by 03152016 on Tue Mar 15, 2016 2:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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bdeebs
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Re: Should I change RC strategy this late?

Postby bdeebs » Mon May 28, 2012 1:25 pm

Thanks for the response Diddy! It sounds like you're a little bit further along the exact path I hope to continue down. I do get -0 on nearly every games section, and my LR is usually (-1)-(-3). Recognition is just a little slow for certain types of questions, or I'll get bogged down by useless information instead of realizing immediately that it is unimportant. I don't know if you ever took organic chemistry, but it reminds me of needing to think about the mechanism behind a reaction instead of just seeing two reactants and instantly knowing what products will form. I feel like the switch over will happen within the next week, but it's still just so nerve-wracking!

You may already do this, because you seem to be more clever than I am, but one thing I am about to start experimenting with is altering my RC strategy based on which type of passage I'm reading. This may be particularly good for you since you seem to be adept at multiple strategies.
This came about because yesterday I was forced to finish 2 passages in 10 minutes due to a blunder early on in the section. Luckily one was a science passage and one was a very easily followed law passage. The science passage I read as quickly as possible and answered the questions with occasional reference to the passage. The law passage, I read in about a minute (which is way too fast for me), and semi recklessly made my best guess on all the questions without looking at the passage again. When time was called, I ended up missing only 1/12 questions for those two passages. Naturally, I was like, "W....T....F just happened?" For some reason, until now, I've never thought about significantly altering my approach based on RC passage type. I've read the same general speed and used the same general amount of notations for each section. In hindsight, this seems ridiculous, since I can track everything I need to know about the science passages while half asleep, but those damn history and literature passages talk about concepts with which I am much less familiar. So just for fun I'm going to try reading as fast as I can possibly read through the science passage and any other passage that warrants it, while making minimal notations. On the other passages, I'm going to allow myself the time for certain new concepts to sink in before reading on, instead of trying to let them sink in as I continue reading and hoping that by the time I finish the passage I'll have a halfway decent understanding of what is going on.

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Micdiddy
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Re: Should I change RC strategy this late?

Postby Micdiddy » Mon May 28, 2012 4:54 pm

I think that rc approach can definitely work, the Only kink is that the lsat is pretty smart about alternating the difficulty of passages regardless f topic. Usually, if I find A passage easy or hard it has little to do with subject and all to do with density and question difficulty.

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jbates14
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Re: Should I change RC strategy this late?

Postby jbates14 » Mon May 28, 2012 5:44 pm

Max324 wrote:The Manhattan RC guide is very short, and very cheap ($10 on Kindle Store; you can read it on your computer or smartphone with the Kindle app if you don't have a Kindle). I picked it up and read it over a long lunch and coffee at a Starbucks. The absolute worst case scenario is that you read it, and decide that the strategies aren't for you.

You don't need to make drastic changes to your RC strategy to profit from the book. I read it and decided which parts were relevant to me and which parts weren't. I decided that annotating wasn't the way I wanted to work, but I still profited from their advice about pacing, ways of thinking about passage structure, cues about the arguments presented, etc. I came away accepting 10% of the advice in the book, but it was well worth 10 bucks and two hours of my time.


Stupid question, but where do I find it if I do not have a kindle?

03152016
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Re: Should I change RC strategy this late?

Postby 03152016 » Mon May 28, 2012 9:58 pm

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