## consistency problems with RC

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hukchobo

Posts: 60
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 3:47 am

### consistency problems with RC

Im having trouble getting consistent scores on the RC section and was wondering if anyone had any tips.

Half of the time ill be at -2~-3 and other times -6 ~ -9

On older tests i was consistently at -2 ~ -4 but its the newer tests where im having huge fluctuations.

Is this common? And how could i fix this?

Im doing and redoing entire PTs and individual passages by subject matter (via cambridge packs) as well as doing GRE and GMAT passages. Ive also read the Manhattan RC book a couple times.

Goal is -0~-2 on the real thing. Any help is appreciated!

Posts: 147
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 1:56 pm

### Re: consistency problems with RC

man... i have this same problem, so i don't know the answer, but typically i get a lot wrong in passages i found boring from the beginning.
terrible excuse, i know.

mehiguess

Posts: 121
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 9:23 am

### Re: consistency problems with RC

Would it help to use strategies used in LR? How are you scoring there? Just spitballing.

drawstring

Posts: 1933
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2013 4:52 pm

### Re: consistency problems with RC

I previously fluctuated from -3 to -10, but now I'm consistently down to -3 or -4 just by changing my approach, and with more drilling I think I can shave a point or two off that. The main difference for me was engaging the text; when I was inconsistently scoring I tried to answer questions solely based on memory of the text, instead of going back to it and looking for support; this often led to me losing several points on passages with unfamilar content (e.g. science-based). I also found that marking up less and quickly skimming each paragraph once I read it helped my memory of the passage.

Not sure what your issues are, but altering my approach as I've described helped me.

lsatyolo

Posts: 2403
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2013 3:17 pm

### Re: consistency problems with RC

Just finished June 08, absolutely bombed RC. Normally it's my strongest section but I've been experienced inconsistency lately as well. I didn't even have enough time to read the final passage. I'm not sure whether its just the subject matter in the passages or the fact that I've started to circle or underline things I think are important (I'm starting to think it's the latter). It's annoying as fugg.

NoWorries

Posts: 100
Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2013 9:05 pm

### Re: consistency problems with RC

Yep same problem here. I fluctuate between -2 and -7 routinely. I'd be thrilled to just take a -4 on test day. LG is a breeze and LR is getting pretty damn sharp but RC is random.

Clearly

Posts: 4163
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:09 pm

### Re: consistency problems with RC

A couple of points on RC from my experience. I can identify, when I first started getting good at the LSAT I was still struggling with RC consistency, but I changed my approach and generally feel like I just better understood where they were going with this section, I almost never went more then -1 by the end.

For starters get the Manhattan LSAT RC book, it's a quality piece of instruction, at least in terms of how to approach reading the passages and anticipating whats going to matter.

Try varying your levels of involvement in reading and see where you end up; I found I did better if I just read the lightly as a whole, and detached from reading it in such a detailed way...It's kind of a missing the forest for the trees thing. I also realized that I couldn't consistently answer simple questions about a 3 paragraph passage I just read, yet I could remember details from random news articles I read a year ago...clearly passively reading the details as if I was interested is better for me than pouring over every sentence and subconsciously trying to commit it to memory.

Drill like crazy. I know its boring, and I know you already know how to read, but it shocks me how little attention people pay to this section. It's at least as repetitive the other sections, has 27 questions on average, and IS learn-able. So many people find -3 on games unacceptable, but -3 on RC to be "it happens". A point is a point.

Monitor your time distribution...Some people read too long, some people spend too much time on the questions, I tend to be a quick read through guy and I'd rather have the time to knock off answer choices without being rushed. At the end I almost always finished with 5-10 minutes to spare after checking my answers. Keep practicing.

Realize that the majority of the questions have little to do with the content of the passage, but rather on inferring things from the tone and viewpoints of the passage. As you read, notice when the author says ANYTHING to show support to one side or the other, and you will get a point for it guaranteed. Again with the forest for the trees thing, the details are important, but not as important as the authors viewpoint, the structure of the argument, etc. As I was reading, I analyzed these things. I'd think to myself "Ok so it looks like hes stating a problem, then some shit about critics, and here's a few paragraphs of why he thinks they're wrong." With this attitude I know the structure of the argument, I know the authors viewpoint, and I know where to find specifics when they ask me which of the following did he use to support his claim...Plus you can knock off at least 2-3 of the main point answer choices because you will have a better understanding of the scope of the authors argument, which is huge for the MP.

Try different notation strategies, including my favorite..Nothing. Personally, if I'm spending time underlining this part, bracketing that part, I end up with a bunch of markings and a weaker understanding of what I read; whereas if I read it like some informative news article, I can usually recall from memory almost all of the questions, and if I have to refer back, I have a close enough understanding of where something is in the passage anyway...Plus the time saved for me makes up for what little searching back I'd have to do.

Get faster at passages that you DO understand well. If you found the first passage to be a breeze, move the hell on with it, don't review answers or look to see if their was a catch, for all you know you could turn the page and find a riddled basins of attraction passage. Having an extra 4 minutes to spend on a passage you didn't get right away is only possible if you can shave that time from passages you do understand right away, and that's only possible if you have the confidence to turn the page.

These are some of the things that I've found helped me in the past, but everyone has their own approach to this section, and the best advice out there is try a few different strategies with regards to how you notate, how you read, what you're looking for etc, and see what works for you.

lsatyolo

Posts: 2403
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2013 3:17 pm

### Re: consistency problems with RC

How do y'all go about reviewing RC after a PT? I don't think I've ever even done that.

hukchobo

Posts: 60
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 3:47 am

### Re: consistency problems with RC

OP here,

MUCH appreciation for all those who gave input. i think my problem is the "looking at trees instead of the forest" aspect.

i will definitely try to read with a more structure focused mindset and try to focus less on details during my initial read. (although it seems easier said than done)

but quick question.. i find myself VERY reluctant to not notate and i get so worried that i might miss something.. is this normal??

eta: special thanks to stefan for the extremely detailed advice
Last edited by hukchobo on Tue May 14, 2013 4:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

hukchobo

Posts: 60
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 3:47 am

### Re: consistency problems with RC

mehiguess wrote:Would it help to use strategies used in LR? How are you scoring there? Just spitballing.

not having too much trouble with LR.. -0~-4 total

i actually read RC passages like LR stimuluses... maybe thats the problem??

Clearly

Posts: 4163
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:09 pm

### Re: consistency problems with RC

hukchobo wrote:
mehiguess wrote:Would it help to use strategies used in LR? How are you scoring there? Just spitballing.

not having too much trouble with LR.. -0~-4 total

i actually read RC passages like LR stimuluses... maybe thats the problem??

Yeah don't do that.
I'm not saying not to notate. I'm saying TRY not notating haha, I'm sure it helps many people, but its not for everyone, and I get more out of the passage personally by not doing it. Try a sample passage and focus almost entirely on the authors position, the strength of his position, the critics viewpoint and the evidence for each of them, also in your head just have a quick thought about the structure. Is it a critic says something, provides evidence, author says something, provides evidence, etc? You'll see you'll find more questions about the forest than the trees to stick with the metaphor. That's not to say the details aren't important, but I personally see the details better when I'm looking for the broad stuff anyway, it's just a more passive (and for me) in depth way of reading that's more natural.

bp shinners

Posts: 3086
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:05 pm

### Re: consistency problems with RC

hukchobo wrote:
mehiguess wrote:Would it help to use strategies used in LR? How are you scoring there? Just spitballing.

not having too much trouble with LR.. -0~-4 total

i actually read RC passages like LR stimuluses... maybe thats the problem??

Don't approach the passage like an LR stimulus - you'll take forever to get through it.

However, absolutely approach the questions like LR questions. The recent shift in RC has been towards making the questions/answers as logically certain as LR. Treat most questions as "most strongly supported" questions, and approach the parallel/strengthen/weaken questions as you would in LR.

mvonh001

Posts: 581
Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:49 pm

### Re: consistency problems with RC

lsatyolo wrote:How do y'all go about reviewing RC after a PT? I don't think I've ever even done that.

I'd like to know this as well. Should i just approach the review process like LR?