Need help with reading comp strategy

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Need help with reading comp strategy

Postby nosleeptillsuccess » Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:56 am

Ok, I've tried everything!! I'm consistently inconsistent on the reading comp section.. my last 6 scores are 5/7, 5/7, 2/6, 2/5,7/8,3/8... It's killing me and IDK why I'm doing so terrible.

Things I have tried:
Boxing new people or organizations introduced and underlining their "view"
Circling key words
Paying attention to authors tone
Writing little notes such as "examples" or, for example, "Reasons why Native Americans love basket weaving" in the margin
Pausing after reading the passage to review what I have just read

... I'm running out of ideas here!!

Someone told me to underline distinctions, but I'm not entirely sure what that means...I know it means differences, but I feel like I would be underlining everything!!

Someone please help!!

How often do you refer back to the passage when determining an answer??/ Is there really time to do that?? I'm just lost ... lol


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Re: Need help with reading comp strategy

Postby JohnV » Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:30 pm

Welcome to the club. A lot of people have this problem, myself included. A lot of people come here asking for advice on how to fix it, myself included. The answers for RC usually boil down to "get better", because there isn't a whole bunch you can do other than spend time drilling and getting familiar with the types of questions they will ask which in turn helps you spot the answers in the passage in advance.

EDIT: Although I haven't gotten great at RC yet (definitely the section that worries me the most at this point) I can at least finish a passage within time allotted consistently and that just comes from practice. I've cut off 5 - 7 minutes of reading time so far without sacrificing accuracy (but making very little gains on accuracy also).

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Re: Need help with reading comp strategy

Postby CorkBoard » Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:34 pm

Pretend like it's the best thing you've ever read. Get engaged with the material.

Once I did this and changed my diagramming strategy I went from -5 per RC section to -1/-0. I found that the passages became pretty predictable after reading so many.


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Re: Need help with reading comp strategy

Postby thecynic69 » Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:35 pm

RC seems to be the section that is hardest to improve on. You've actually hit on a large number of the strats--I'm surprised you haven't at least seen a modest and sustained increase. I won't pretend this is an exhaustive treatise on RC strategy, but here are some pointers:

1) Q1 is frequently a main point/conclusion question. Always know the main point/conclusion of the article. You should not be running back to the article on this question. If you find you need to re-read parts of the article to answer a main point/conclusion question, read economist articles/nytimes articles 8 hours a day for a week, and write/say the main point after each article, or something like this.

2) Many question types re-appear. Questions frequently test differences between view points discussed in the prompt, the type of reasoning used, and LR type questions (strengthen, weaken, etc.). Answers to these questions should occur to you while you read the text; if they aren't, re-take some of your old RC sections and actively try to come up with potential questions and their answers until it becomes natural.

3) Pay attention to the type of article you are reading. Is it persuasive, informative, specific, general, etc. This will affect what sorts of questions you are going to see. If you get one of those science type prompts that is not persuasive, expect detailed question types.

4) RC prompts are notoriously poorly written. If you are the type of person who likes to mark things up, make sure to mark the topic sentence of each paragraph; if you don't mark them up, just note them as you read. Unlike in good academic writing, the topic sentence in RC prompt paragraphs are not always easy to find. Properly identifying the topic sentences will make it easier to go back and find information (which you will inevitably need to do on some, if not all RC questions). Note: do not underline, it wastes time--if you do mark up the prompts, come up with a more time efficient system using symbols, letters or what have you.

5) Do not answer the questions in order, for the love of god. The questions sometimes appear in an order that makes the section maximally hard. I liked to answer Q1 first, followed by global questions, followed by easy specific questions, followed by the hard ones. Don't stick to that order or any order religiously. If you read a question and have a "medium" impression of it, you may as well answer it then, as you will be able to make good on your time investment. But if Q3 is the hardest question you can imagine, do yourself a favor and skip it. Note: one of my friends liked to do the questions in the opposite order I did. He argued going back through to find the specific questions solidified the global questions in his mind (I think this is stupid beyond stupid, but the moral of the story is, do what works for you).

6) I doubt you are actually as inconsistent as you think you are. I'm sure your scores seem erratic, but there is some logic to your spread, I am sure. Find it. Do certain prompts throw off your game? Certain questions? Certain subjects? Are you reading the prompt too slowly? Figure out where you're weak, and report back--then people can give you even more specific advice.


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Re: Need help with reading comp strategy

Postby nosleeptillsuccess » Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:49 pm

Thanks for the help guys...

Also, I'm realizing that I need to further expand my vocabulary so I can start getting a total grasp on these passages...
I just hope I can start scoring where I want to before October... the fact that the test is right around the corner is stressing me out the most .. Might need to postpone :X


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Re: Need help with reading comp strategy

Postby meyersa15 » Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:16 pm

I am in the same boat! One technique I've been trying (as suggested on this site) is to treat the RC as it is LR. In doing so, I can see which questions I am consistenly getting incorrect for RC and I drill that question type in LR (in addition to drilling RC sections every day.) I just began this study method and scored higher on my PT RC section than normal this past weekend. Hoping it wasn't a fluke and it is actually helping....... Here's for hoping! Good luck!


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Re: Need help with reading comp strategy

Postby nosleeptillsuccess » Mon Aug 27, 2012 2:04 pm

I'm beginning to have success in this section by writing little notes next to the paragraphs.. I read like 4 sentences then make a note about 4-5 words long. I only refer back to them maybe twice at the most because when I write something out I just remember it.. try that approach .. I went from an inconsistent 2/8 3/7 5/7 6/7 2/8 to 7/8 5/7 6/7 7/7 6/7 8/8 ... I haven't mastered it yet, but just read and pay attention to tone, structure and the small parts parts where it seems very confusing (these parts of the passage you want to make some good notes because the LSAT makers KNOW it confuses you).

I know I originally made this post b/c I was struggling ... so I figured I'd just share a proven effective and experimented method to you all. Never give up, and you'll begin to find that light at the end of the tunnel.

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