RC question-scientific passages

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RobertGolddust
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RC question-scientific passages

Postby RobertGolddust » Wed May 22, 2013 11:08 am

Anyone find that RC is cake except for these passages? If so, any remedy to improve one's reading skill for scientific passages?

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SteelPenguin
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Re: RC question-scientific passages

Postby SteelPenguin » Wed May 22, 2013 11:35 am

RobertGolddust wrote:Anyone find that RC is cake except for these passages? If so, any remedy to improve one's reading skill for scientific passages?


Have you tried drilling science passages from Cambridge? I would try and identify whether or not you are getting certain types of RC questions wrong on these passages. Do you understand the main point questions but mess up with questions about details?

I also find that when reading the science passages, I tend to get too caught up in the definitions and details. Sometimes I read a couple of definitions and relationships between objects and spend too much time trying to analyze them, and they either turn out to be unimportant or the question only asks a simple question about them.

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RobertGolddust
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Re: RC question-scientific passages

Postby RobertGolddust » Wed May 22, 2013 11:48 am

I think I might order the Cambridge scientific passages.

bp shinners
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Re: RC question-scientific passages

Postby bp shinners » Wed May 22, 2013 11:58 am

SteelPenguin wrote:I also find that when reading the science passages, I tend to get too caught up in the definitions and details. Sometimes I read a couple of definitions and relationships between objects and spend too much time trying to analyze them, and they either turn out to be unimportant or the question only asks a simple question about them.


This is the problem most people have. They want to memorize the details and understand the science and how it makes sense. Don't be a hero.

Instead, focus on the different theories/explanations. Those are important. The details you'll mess up anyway and need to check back on, so memorizing them/analyzing them is unhelpful.

Almost all science passage break down into this formula:
1) We used to believe X
2) Some scientist(s) did some studies
3) We now believe Y

If you can tell me how the studies got us from X to Y in general terms, you should be golden.

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RobertGolddust
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Re: RC question-scientific passages

Postby RobertGolddust » Wed May 22, 2013 1:07 pm

Great stuff BP

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TheMostDangerousLG
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Re: RC question-scientific passages

Postby TheMostDangerousLG » Wed May 22, 2013 7:25 pm

bp shinners wrote:
SteelPenguin wrote:I also find that when reading the science passages, I tend to get too caught up in the definitions and details. Sometimes I read a couple of definitions and relationships between objects and spend too much time trying to analyze them, and they either turn out to be unimportant or the question only asks a simple question about them.


This is the problem most people have. They want to memorize the details and understand the science and how it makes sense. Don't be a hero.

Instead, focus on the different theories/explanations. Those are important. The details you'll mess up anyway and need to check back on, so memorizing them/analyzing them is unhelpful.



Fully agree. Even if you're great at science, you'll probably need to make a few references back to the details.

I think that the writers of the science passages are fully aware that most people taking the LSAT do not have familiarity with the hard sciences or scientific terminology, and know that they can trap people by overwhelming them with details. If you have any familiarity with the sciences, you can see that the science passages are actually often one of the easiest passages in any given section, because the material is far less complex than it initially appears, and depends far less on making inferences or understanding the complex interaction of arguments (as is the case with the "softer" passages), and more on testing your ability to focus on and analyze the reasoning structure, and to not get caught up in details (/refer to details only when necessary).

Next time you're doing a science passage, try to do what bp shinners has recommended, and focus on the theories. As far as details go, this is basically my approach: make sure you understand them and how they function in relation to the preceding material (/ the overall theory/concept currently being explained, usually), but don't try to memorize it. For example, as I'm reading, I might process what bundle sheath cells are, and that they're important because they are the key to C4 photosynthesis (which I know is what the current paragraph is trying to explain), while keeping in mind that C4 photosynthesis is important because it's how maize is so productive (which is what the whole passage seems to be explaining). What I don't do is try to remember what exactly bundle sheath cells are, or how they function, or where exactly they are. As I'm reading, I should have a general idea of where they were referenced (somewhere in the second paragraph?), so that I know where to jump back to if a specific question references them without giving me a line number (circling exact scientific terms can also make it easier to zoom in on them when I need to go back; just make sure circling doesn't substitute for keeping a general idea of where you read about them in mind, as you should always be keeping track of the structure and organization of the passage). When I come across a question that asks about bundle sheath cells, I then remember that they were key in C4 photosynthesis, which is key to maize productivity, and can eliminate any information that conflicts with this (usually this will be at least a couple of answer choices). But I don't remember exactly how they do so, or even exactly what they are, so I refer back to the passage (second paragraph, was it? oh yeah, it's circled), and re-read the sentence explaining them. Like all references I make to an RC passage, I'll likely also make a quick skim of a couple surrounding sentences, to make sure I'm not missing any context that helped explain them. I should then have all of the information I need to kill the question at hand, and I did it without having to memorize 80 details and definitions, and without spending an exorbitant amount of time reading the passage.

Wow, that was long. But I hope that helps. It seems like a lot of people struggle with the same issue when it comes to science passages, and the key is really just knowing how to not let detail overwhelm you.

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Dr. Dre
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Re: RC question-scientific passages

Postby Dr. Dre » Wed May 22, 2013 7:31 pm

^

tl; dr

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rinkrat19
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Re: RC question-scientific passages

Postby rinkrat19 » Wed May 22, 2013 7:37 pm

I enjoyed the science passages a hell of a lot more than reading anything about poetry or literature. The scientific topics were really not all that esoteric (or at least they were written in a fairly accessible way), and a lot of it was pretty cool stuff.

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RobertGolddust
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Re: RC question-scientific passages

Postby RobertGolddust » Wed May 22, 2013 10:25 pm

No need to knock poetry and literature

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SteelPenguin
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Re: RC question-scientific passages

Postby SteelPenguin » Thu May 23, 2013 1:23 am

TheMostDangerousLG wrote:
bp shinners wrote:
SteelPenguin wrote:I also find that when reading the science passages, I tend to get too caught up in the definitions and details. Sometimes I read a couple of definitions and relationships between objects and spend too much time trying to analyze them, and they either turn out to be unimportant or the question only asks a simple question about them.


This is the problem most people have. They want to memorize the details and understand the science and how it makes sense. Don't be a hero.

Instead, focus on the different theories/explanations. Those are important. The details you'll mess up anyway and need to check back on, so memorizing them/analyzing them is unhelpful.



Fully agree. Even if you're great at science, you'll probably need to make a few references back to the details.

I think that the writers of the science passages are fully aware that most people taking the LSAT do not have familiarity with the hard sciences or scientific terminology, and know that they can trap people by overwhelming them with details. If you have any familiarity with the sciences, you can see that the science passages are actually often one of the easiest passages in any given section, because the material is far less complex than it initially appears, and depends far less on making inferences or understanding the complex interaction of arguments (as is the case with the "softer" passages), and more on testing your ability to focus on and analyze the reasoning structure, and to not get caught up in details (/refer to details only when necessary).

Next time you're doing a science passage, try to do what bp shinners has recommended, and focus on the theories. As far as details go, this is basically my approach: make sure you understand them and how they function in relation to the preceding material (/ the overall theory/concept currently being explained, usually), but don't try to memorize it. For example, as I'm reading, I might process what bundle sheath cells are, and that they're important because they are the key to C4 photosynthesis (which I know is what the current paragraph is trying to explain), while keeping in mind that C4 photosynthesis is important because it's how maize is so productive (which is what the whole passage seems to be explaining). What I don't do is try to remember what exactly bundle sheath cells are, or how they function, or where exactly they are. As I'm reading, I should have a general idea of where they were referenced (somewhere in the second paragraph?), so that I know where to jump back to if a specific question references them without giving me a line number (circling exact scientific terms can also make it easier to zoom in on them when I need to go back; just make sure circling doesn't substitute for keeping a general idea of where you read about them in mind, as you should always be keeping track of the structure and organization of the passage). When I come across a question that asks about bundle sheath cells, I then remember that they were key in C4 photosynthesis, which is key to maize productivity, and can eliminate any information that conflicts with this (usually this will be at least a couple of answer choices). But I don't remember exactly how they do so, or even exactly what they are, so I refer back to the passage (second paragraph, was it? oh yeah, it's circled), and re-read the sentence explaining them. Like all references I make to an RC passage, I'll likely also make a quick skim of a couple surrounding sentences, to make sure I'm not missing any context that helped explain them. I should then have all of the information I need to kill the question at hand, and I did it without having to memorize 80 details and definitions, and without spending an exorbitant amount of time reading the passage.

Wow, that was long. But I hope that helps. It seems like a lot of people struggle with the same issue when it comes to science passages, and the key is really just knowing how to not let detail overwhelm you.


Thanks a lot for the feedback bp and shiner. I'll be drilling RC Thursday or Friday, and I will definitely keep this in mind. I have had a bit of a setback in rc recently, so this is valuable info. Thanks for taking the time to reply!

NoWorries
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Re: RC question-scientific passages

Postby NoWorries » Thu May 23, 2013 1:28 am

I feel like the RC in recent tests has been more interesting and generally easier.

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sublime
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Re: RC question-scientific passages

Postby sublime » Thu May 23, 2013 2:15 am

..

bp shinners
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Re: RC question-scientific passages

Postby bp shinners » Thu May 23, 2013 1:56 pm

sublime wrote:I have heard that reading Scientific American helps. No idea if it is true though.


It's less helpful in a "now you know science!" way and more useful in a "now you're not so afraid of science!" way. But it definitely doesn't hurt. And you might just learn something.

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wtrc
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Re: RC question-scientific passages

Postby wtrc » Thu May 23, 2013 2:31 pm

bp shinners wrote:
SteelPenguin wrote:I also find that when reading the science passages, I tend to get too caught up in the definitions and details. Sometimes I read a couple of definitions and relationships between objects and spend too much time trying to analyze them, and they either turn out to be unimportant or the question only asks a simple question about them.


This is the problem most people have. They want to memorize the details and understand the science and how it makes sense. Don't be a hero.

Instead, focus on the different theories/explanations. Those are important. The details you'll mess up anyway and need to check back on, so memorizing them/analyzing them is unhelpful.

Almost all science passage break down into this formula:
1) We used to believe X
2) Some scientist(s) did some studies
3) We now believe Y

If you can tell me how the studies got us from X to Y in general terms, you should be golden.


This. This this this.

062914123
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Re: RC question-scientific passages

Postby 062914123 » Thu May 23, 2013 2:36 pm

.
Last edited by 062914123 on Mon Jun 30, 2014 3:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

bp shinners
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Re: RC question-scientific passages

Postby bp shinners » Fri May 24, 2013 11:17 am

bee wrote: I find the questions on scientific passages to be softballs in general once you get comfortable with the technical language. They almost never ask obscure author's intent questions or anything like that; instead, they seem to be trying to throw you off with long, confusing words.


The biggest trick in science passage questions is the language switch. They'll introduce similar, technical terms (mechanoreceptors and electroreceptors; pathogens and parasites) and then write an AC that's correct except it uses the wrong one of the similar words. Once you're aware of this trick, you can almost universally avoid it.




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