Manhattan RC Guide worth it?

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Manhattan RC Guide worth it?

Postby lilhugsy24 » Tue Aug 28, 2012 9:47 pm

So I have been missing around 4-6 questions per section on average in RC and I was just wondering if it would be worth it to buy the RC guide. Will it help me bring my score down to like -0 to -3 or am I just better off drilling more passages and reviewing thoroughly.

What is actually in the Manhattan RC guide? Is there specific strategies that are actually useful or does it just say stuff like underline this and make notes about this...etc. Thanks in advance for any help.

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Re: Manhattan RC Guide worth it?

Postby Cerebro » Tue Aug 28, 2012 10:41 pm

Many people on here will probably say the Manhattan RC Guide is really good, and I'm not going to disagree with that, because I haven't read it yet. I have, however, read PowerScore's RCB, and I thought it was very good in several respects. Many people on TLS will say the RCB is not as good as the Manhattan RC Guide. Again, I'm not going to disagree with that.

I bought both the Manhattan RC Guide and the Powerscore RCB. If you review the table of contents of both books, I believe you will find that the RCB is somewhat more comprehensive, and there are several aspects about it that I like. So here are my pros and cons for RCB:

1. I really like the VIEWSTAMP method, which covers techniques for identifying the viewpoint, argument, mainpoint, and structure of the passage.
2. I like the fact that they tie the question stem types to similar question stems from LRB, and make the connections about principles (like the Fact Test) that can be used in common with the two sections.
3. I like the way they lay out a methodology for marking up the passage, emphasizing consistency across different markings and symbols. For example, underlining means x, circling means y, boxing means z, etc. If you are going to do any sort of diagramming of the passages, they have some good advice/tips, and leave it open as to whether you use their methodology or develop your own.
4. I like the way they describe the different types of narrative structure and some of the things to look for within each type.

1. The sample passage diagrams do not appear to me to be consistent with their own advice. In fact, each example passage diagram that they present seems to have been constructed by a different person who uses a slightly different methodology.
2. They don't provide a comprehensive list RC passages and categorizations.
3. It's a little longer than the Manhattan RC book.

Probably much of the diagramming material is common between Manhattan and RCB. If I end up taking the December test, which is looking fairly likely, then I will be reading all of the Manhattan guides over the next month, including their RC guide.

I think many people will tell you that it is probably more important to take lots of timed RC sections and just get more familiar with the ins and outs of the test and some of the common pitfalls that appear frequently through that direct first hand experience. I don't disagree with this, and in fact, this element is necessary.

I'm a competent reader, and I was scoring decently on RC prior to reading the RCB, but I wanted to get some insight into the test and I thought the RCB provided some value for me. Having said that, I think whatever value I got from reading the book could have been gotten from just doing more tests. If you have time to read books and do all the sections, then it doesn't hurt to do both, I think. If you're pressed for time, you probably would do well to focus primarily on doing as many RC sections as you possibly can.

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Re: Manhattan RC Guide worth it?

Postby LionelHutzJD » Tue Aug 28, 2012 10:45 pm

It certainly helped me improve about 10 points. However I dont think it would be much benefit to you is you're already scoring that high. If i were you, I would just keep drilling them. You have 90% of it down already so the book wont do much.

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Re: Manhattan RC Guide worth it?

Postby lilhugsy24 » Tue Aug 28, 2012 11:40 pm

Ok thanks for the advice. I guess I'll just use this last month to drill and take practice tests then. I don't think the guides will help me much from what you said is in them, seeing as I can usually limit my mistakes to like 2 wrong in a section when I review before looking at the answer key. Sigh...I would never have thought RC would be the section holding me back from consistently scoring 170's, seeing as it started out as my best (-4 on diagnostic). So hard to make gains. Thanks for the help guys and good luck with prepping for October/December.

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