RC Main Point Questions

JohnV
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RC Main Point Questions

Postby JohnV » Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:05 pm

These questions are just destroying me. I seem to miss 3 out of every 4 of them... which is bad considering there's 3 or 4 per RC section. I've recently read that MP questions are more or less asking what the conclusion is, or what the author is trying to convince you of/arguing for, not so much a summarization of the passage. I'm hoping this is the case because that would give me a reason as to why I keep missing them. I've read "what is the main point?" as "what is the summary?", but should I be reading it as "what is the conclusion/argument?" or something completely different?

Any other tips for this questions would be appreciated, my last few PTs I've averaged -2 on the LRs and I bomb the LGs (Run out of time and frequently read a rule backwards or different from what it is, wondering if I might have some kind of mental problem considering the amount of times I've confused W for V and put the rules in reverse) and RCs (just not good at them). My latest PT was a 164 but that's with a -9 LG and a -9 RC. If not for LR I'd be out of luck :( .

Oscar85
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Re: RC Main Point Questions

Postby Oscar85 » Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:21 pm

Are you annotating every paragraph? I find that annotating the paragraphs and then bringing it together works. Usually people get these questions wrong because of the subtleties in the answer choices. Just make sure you know what they are talking about -- don't narrow the scope and don't broaden it to something else. So yes, the conclusion is important, but you shouldn't focus just on that.

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flem
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Re: RC Main Point Questions

Postby flem » Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:21 pm

Are you prephrasing?

JohnV
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Re: RC Main Point Questions

Postby JohnV » Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:32 pm

Oscar85 wrote:Are you annotating every paragraph? I find that annotating the paragraphs and then bringing it together works. Usually people get these questions wrong because of the subtleties in the answer choices. Just make sure you know what they are talking about -- don't narrow the scope and don't broaden it to something else. So yes, the conclusion is important, but you shouldn't focus just on that.


I've been developing a system of symbols to help organize the passages which has helped speed up answering the "how is the passage organized" questions, but if I take the time to write a summary or something of the sort on the side of each paragraph I run into time issues. I finish reading a passage somewhere between 3 - 4 minutes.

flem wrote:Are you prephrasing?


What do you mean by this?

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flem
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Re: RC Main Point Questions

Postby flem » Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:36 pm

JohnV wrote:
flem wrote:Are you prephrasing?


What do you mean by this?


Oh, OK, I found your problem.

Before you start looking at the answer choices, formulate a guess as to what the answer might be from what you've read. So if the passage was about how copyright infringement is bad, you would say "copyright infringement is fucked" and then compare answer choices. Obviously your guess won't match the correct answer word for word but it helps you keep your eye on the ball and quickly eliminate wrong answer choices.

These questions are SUPER conducive to this strategy.

Oscar85
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Re: RC Main Point Questions

Postby Oscar85 » Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:42 pm

JohnV wrote:
Oscar85 wrote:Are you annotating every paragraph? I find that annotating the paragraphs and then bringing it together works. Usually people get these questions wrong because of the subtleties in the answer choices. Just make sure you know what they are talking about -- don't narrow the scope and don't broaden it to something else. So yes, the conclusion is important, but you shouldn't focus just on that.


I've been developing a system of symbols to help organize the passages which has helped speed up answering the "how is the passage organized" questions, but if I take the time to write a summary or something of the sort on the side of each paragraph I run into time issues. I finish reading a passage somewhere between 3 - 4 minutes.

flem wrote:Are you prephrasing?


What do you mean by this?

Sorry, I didn't mean to write down summaries on the paragraph. I meant to pause after you read each paragraph and assess it. The reading passages are basically very long stimuli and a MP question is like a MBT question. Thus, what the user above said about prephrasing is correct. Before you read the answer choices, think to yourself: what was the point of tihs passage? What did they describe and what did they place emphasis on (sometimes they will mention something as background info, and the AC will try to trick you by overemphasizing it or underemphasizing the main point)... This is the best approach to them, I think.

JohnV
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Re: RC Main Point Questions

Postby JohnV » Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:59 pm

flem wrote:
JohnV wrote:
flem wrote:Are you prephrasing?


What do you mean by this?


Oh, OK, I found your problem.

Before you start looking at the answer choices, formulate a guess as to what the answer might be from what you've read. So if the passage was about how copyright infringement is bad, you would say "copyright infringement is fucked" and then compare answer choices. Obviously your guess won't match the correct answer word for word but it helps you keep your eye on the ball and quickly eliminate wrong answer choices.

These questions are SUPER conducive to this strategy.


I'll try to make sure I do that next time around (later today, been trying to take an RC section every other day). Thanks for the advice, I'll update later after a few sections and see what effect it has.

Oscar85 wrote:Sorry, I didn't mean to write down summaries on the paragraph. I meant to pause after you read each paragraph and assess it. The reading passages are basically very long stimuli and a MP question is like a MBT question. Thus, what the user above said about prephrasing is correct. Before you read the answer choices, think to yourself: what was the point of tihs passage? What did they describe and what did they place emphasis on (sometimes they will mention something as background info, and the AC will try to trick you by overemphasizing it or underemphasizing the main point)... This is the best approach to them, I think.


I probably should try slowing down the reading a few seconds to get a grasp on the passage. And that comparison to LR may help. I was looking over my last RC section and I noticed I must not have been looking for blatant inaccuracies in the answers because 2 of the ones I missed would have been correct if not for a certain word that made it wrong in some way. I think this is something I looked for in LRs specifically but didn't expect it to be something to pay special attention on for MP questions as well. Anyways, I'll try to implement all of this advice and see how it works, would be great if I could start getting all of these questions right and take off -3 from each RC section.

coldweather
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Re: RC Main Point Questions

Postby coldweather » Mon Jul 09, 2012 4:22 pm

I agree with the posters above. Make sure you prephrase your answers to global questions. Also look out for the trap answer (mentioning something very specific to one of the paragraphs but does not encapsulate the main point of the passage). After enough practice global questions on test day should be some of the easiest points for rc.

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cc.celina
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Re: RC Main Point Questions

Postby cc.celina » Mon Jul 09, 2012 4:42 pm

coldweather wrote:After enough practice global questions on test day should be some of the easiest points for rc.

This is pretty credited. I kept getting slammed by main point questions and I had no idea why, but I would regularly miss 2/4 on the section. I kept meaning to get around to them but it's hard to drill individual question types in RC so I never did. Eventually I just started getting them all right and RC was my only -0 on test day.

You seem to have the right idea with your last post - read a little more slowly. It's really tempting to skim and go directly onto the questions, especially with a lot of prep books telling you to "read for structure and not for content." But they're not telling you to read quickly for a vague understanding of the passage. You still have to read and understand every sentence. You just don't have to bother to commit details to memory. If you are reading and find that you've lost your sense of what the paragraph is saying, refocus and skim it again before moving on. Time invested in the passage will be time saved on the questions, especially main point ones.

That said, don't take forever either. It's hard to know exactly how quickly to try to get through the passages and you'll only get a sense of it with a lot of practice.

Mik Ekim
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Re: RC Main Point Questions

Postby Mik Ekim » Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:06 pm

Just wanted to add another tip to the pile -- work on your elimination skills (from one of your posts, sounds like you're already coming to that conclusion yourself). The right answers for main point questions are often phrased in unexpected or awkward ways, and, because they are so general, they are very hard to "definitively" prove, especially under pressure. If you start off the problem looking for that perfect answer, you can commonly end up with a feeling that no answer sounds good.

However, every wrong answer is definitely wrong -- the test writers need to build into these answers absolute flaws. The wrong answer will misrepresent the passage, or contain information that the passage clearly doesn't. In my opinion, for main point questions, it's easier and more efficient to see why four answers are wrong than it is to search for one right answer. This is true even if you have a great understanding of the passage and a great prephrase. If you are not used to solving problems by first focusing on wrong answers, the elimination strategy can sometimes take a bit of time to get used to, but I think it's worth it to try it out. For main point questions, it's possible to get to a point where you can consistently eliminate three to four answers very quickly and confidently every time. That will make the process of finding the right answer much easier.

Hope that helps and good luck!

JohnV
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Re: RC Main Point Questions

Postby JohnV » Tue Jul 10, 2012 1:07 am

Been doing RC sections for hours now and it's pretty discouraging. I think I'm actually getting worse at it. It sucks that this section seems to be what is going to keep me from getting a good score but I've done dozens of these and I am struggling to even get a below -6 average :\. Any motivation out there? I don't know what else to do.

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cc.celina
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Re: RC Main Point Questions

Postby cc.celina » Tue Jul 10, 2012 2:04 am

JohnV wrote:Been doing RC sections for hours now and it's pretty discouraging. I think I'm actually getting worse at it. It sucks that this section seems to be what is going to keep me from getting a good score but I've done dozens of these and I am struggling to even get a below -6 average :\. Any motivation out there? I don't know what else to do.

I got a lot worse before I got better. If you're really frustrated, move on to another section. Sometimes I think we just freak ourselves out (you know, "omg, why can't i get strengthen questions right?! i'm going to fail the lsat and go to cooley and die alone!!!") and the only thing to do is move on and come back when you feel more confident.

You got a while till October.

JohnV
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Re: RC Main Point Questions

Postby JohnV » Wed Jul 11, 2012 3:41 pm

cc.celina wrote:
JohnV wrote:Been doing RC sections for hours now and it's pretty discouraging. I think I'm actually getting worse at it. It sucks that this section seems to be what is going to keep me from getting a good score but I've done dozens of these and I am struggling to even get a below -6 average :\. Any motivation out there? I don't know what else to do.

I got a lot worse before I got better. If you're really frustrated, move on to another section. Sometimes I think we just freak ourselves out (you know, "omg, why can't i get strengthen questions right?! i'm going to fail the lsat and go to cooley and die alone!!!") and the only thing to do is move on and come back when you feel more confident.

You got a while till October.


I think that's about right... I should probably mix in some LR sections as confidence boosters/wrong-answer combo breakers so I can stop pulling my hair out everytime I get -2 on a single passage :(.

JohnV
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Re: RC Main Point Questions

Postby JohnV » Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:20 pm

Little update for those that helped: Took a little break from doing them (and studying in general) and the last few attempts have gone much better. I think I was burning myself out on them but the questions are starting become a lot easier as I progressively am able to identify wrong answer choices. Today was probably my best RC so far (-2, ~32 minutes), not great, but much better than the 3 or 4 sections that came before it. Thanks for the help, I hope I can start scoring this more consistently soon.




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