Increasing Speed for RC

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Squintz805
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Increasing Speed for RC

Postby Squintz805 » Thu Jun 20, 2013 5:48 pm

Alrighty, so I've been working strenuously drilling RC for the past month. Right now, I'm doing pretty well consistently missing 2-4 per section usually due to the problem being very tricky/difficult and careless mistakes. I'm not so worried about missing problems as I am on time.

It takes me 42:00-46:00 to complete a RC passage normally and I'm curious what tricks, tips or suggestions TLSers have for reducing my time.

I tend to mark the passage a decent amount, and I'm trying to cut 15-30sec per passage by reducing this. I also am not the fastest reader, but I've come to terms that it is important to understand the main idea of the passage instead of rushing through it and missing a big piece of detail. I'm hoping repitition and drilling will aid here. I've also just purchased a subscription to the Economist to get my brain trained for reading passages in my non-LSAT study time.

What else can I do?!

Thanks in advance for the suggestions and advice everyone

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Otunga
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Re: Increasing Speed for RC

Postby Otunga » Thu Jun 20, 2013 6:09 pm

To clarify:

Are you taking over 40 mins per section (4 passages) or over 40 mins per individual passage?

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TheMostDangerousLG
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Re: Increasing Speed for RC

Postby TheMostDangerousLG » Thu Jun 20, 2013 6:28 pm

Squintz805 wrote:Alrighty, so I've been working strenuously drilling RC for the past month. Right now, I'm doing pretty well consistently missing 2-4 per section usually due to the problem being very tricky/difficult and careless mistakes. I'm not so worried about missing problems as I am on time.

It takes me 42:00-46:00 to complete a RC passage normally and I'm curious what tricks, tips or suggestions TLSers have for reducing my time.

I tend to mark the passage a decent amount, and I'm trying to cut 15-30sec per passage by reducing this. I also am not the fastest reader, but I've come to terms that it is important to understand the main idea of the passage instead of rushing through it and missing a big piece of detail. I'm hoping repitition and drilling will aid here. I've also just purchased a subscription to the Economist to get my brain trained for reading passages in my non-LSAT study time.

What else can I do?!

Thanks in advance for the suggestions and advice everyone


It really helped me speed up my RC time when I realized that you do not have as much time per question as you do in LR, which is how I was previously approaching it. In LR, you realistically have ~1:20 per Q, but in RC, you're looking at closer to 35 to 50 seconds per Q, which is a significant difference. Start timing not only how long it takes you to read each passage, but how much time you're spending on each individual question. It's important not only to cut down on read time, but to make sure you're cutting down on question time, and remaining conscious of how long you spend on each part of the passage definitely helps with this. Also make sure you aren't lingering; you need to move at a brisk pace, and it's particularly easy in RC to get stuck thinking about a question or answer after you've completed it. Make sure you're always moving, just like in LR and LG.

Good luck.

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fips tedora
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Re: Increasing Speed for RC

Postby fips tedora » Thu Jun 20, 2013 7:07 pm

Not only reading more books during leisure time, but also reading the passages for structure, not necessarily for content.

bp shinners
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Re: Increasing Speed for RC

Postby bp shinners » Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:13 pm

Squintz805 wrote:I also am not the fastest reader, but I've come to terms that it is important to understand the main idea of the passage instead of rushing through it and missing a big piece of detail.


The only students I've worked with who were slow enough readers for that to be a factor were ESL students who weren't yet fluent. That doesn't seem to be the case here, so stop using that as a crutch! I even recommend most people slow their reading down for RC, as that usually results in higher levels of comprehension than what most people get with their "natural" reading speed.

I really like the advice to stop approaching the questions like LR as far as time goes - you have less time per question here, so you need to adapt to that. However, you should definitely approach the questions themselves as if they were LR questions - the types of questions overlap, and the recent trend has been to make the logic and answer choices of the RC questions very similar to that of LR.

To get faster, you need to cut down on the amount of time it takes to find the answer. For the big-picture questions (Main Point, Author's Attitude, Primary Purpose, Viewpoint), you should have a pretty solid idea going into the answers. For the specific questions ("Which of the following does the passage mention...", "In line 37, the author states X because..."), you should have generic "table of contents" tags so that you can quickly navigate and find the answer. Focusing on the elements the LSAC is likely to ask about will also shave time off here (to see what I mean by this, check out our sample RC markup - http://www.scribd.com/doc/147673587/PT3 ... xplanation).

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Squintz805
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Re: Increasing Speed for RC

Postby Squintz805 » Sat Jun 22, 2013 3:37 pm

Otunga wrote:To clarify:

Are you taking over 40 mins per section (4 passages) or over 40 mins per individual passage?


I understand I made a grammatical error in my original post, but if its taking me 40 minutes per individual passage, I shouldn't have even finished my undergrad

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Squintz805
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Re: Increasing Speed for RC

Postby Squintz805 » Sat Jun 22, 2013 3:41 pm

Thanks for the pointers regarding time spent and approaching the questions.

Just out of curiosity, your saying slow down on RC passages (which is great news to hear imo) -- so what should be the average time i spend on the reading passage portion?

The LSAT Trainer
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Re: Increasing Speed for RC

Postby The LSAT Trainer » Sat Jun 22, 2013 8:56 pm

Hi -- this is Mike Kim -- I am the author of the Manhattan RC guide, and I've written a new LSAT study guide -- The LSAT Trainer --

When I was at Manhattan, I had a chance to work with a lot of teachers who were top scorers in the RC section (most of whom had come from other companies, and utilized different types of strategies) and I also worked with a significant number of students who ended up with top scores in the section --

Cumulatively speaking --

There was a clear range of reading times, even among top scorers -- this had to do both with natural reading pace, and with strategy -- some people choose to retain more during the initial read, and others choose to do a bit more work during the questions --

In my experience, the slowest high scorer I saw read at about 4 min per passage. If you are close to this mark, you should expect to know A LOT about the passage, so that questions go much faster.

Typically, top scorers read passages at 2:00 - 3:00 per (and of course their times would vary depending on the difficulty of the passage itself).

Certain top scores are able to consistently read passages in well less than 2:00, but these are the same people who have no trouble finishing the section well before the 35 minute marker.

Again, very broad gauges, but I thought they might be helpful --

Additionally, I wrote a post about reviewing RC work that you might find useful -- viewtopic.php?f=6&t=209759&p=6768135&hilit=review+reading+comprehension#p6768135

Finally, in terms of cutting down on your reading time/note taking -- one thing I suggest is that after each passage and set of questions, you think about the "ideal" process for each question, and you think about the information that was relevant to the total set of questions. After going through the questions -- here's the key -- take note of the things in the passage that you realize you over-invested in -- either through marking up or rereading over and over or thinking it was important when it wasn't -- just making yourself conscious of this with each passage you practice should help you get sharper and sharper in terms of instinctually marking and paying attention to the things that are most relevant to the types of questions that are asked.

HTH -- good luck -- MK

bp shinners
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Re: Increasing Speed for RC

Postby bp shinners » Mon Jun 24, 2013 11:20 am

Squintz805 wrote:Thanks for the pointers regarding time spent and approaching the questions.

Just out of curiosity, your saying slow down on RC passages (which is great news to hear imo) -- so what should be the average time i spend on the reading passage portion?


Huge amount of divergence on this, as Mike (The LSAT Trainer) said. I'd agree with everything in that post, in fact!

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patfeeney
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Re: Increasing Speed for RC

Postby patfeeney » Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:30 pm

bp shinners wrote:The only students I've worked with who were slow enough readers for that to be a factor were ESL students who weren't yet fluent. That doesn't seem to be the case here, so stop using that as a crutch! I even recommend most people slow their reading down for RC, as that usually results in higher levels of comprehension than what most people get with their "natural" reading speed.


I agree 100%. My average reading speed when going through, say, a novel is a page and a half per minute. For a textbook or a book for a course, not much slower.

I forced myself to read the passage as if I'm reading it out loud when starting out. It takes me almost three minutes to read a passage, sans underlining. This helps tremendously at the beginning. Once you get used to the structure/styles of the passage, as well as looking for the info you need, then you can speed up.

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Squintz805
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Re: Increasing Speed for RC

Postby Squintz805 » Mon Jun 24, 2013 7:41 pm

Thanks for the help, comments, and suggestions!!!

I love this forum

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LSAT Hacks (Graeme)
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Re: Increasing Speed for RC

Postby LSAT Hacks (Graeme) » Tue Jun 25, 2013 7:31 pm

Good post, Mike.

I've found that most students have room for a 10-20% increase in reading speed, without loss of comprehension. I agree with Shinners that one should slow down and read careful. But I think it's worthwhile to increase your baseline reading rate.

I had one student jump from 220 to 300 WPM in about 8 days. He used Spreeder, and took a weekend speed reading class. Spreeder is a free tool that lets you read texts 1 word at a time. (I recommend setting it to 3)

This lets you see a passage faster than you would read it in real life. You can train your brain to see the words without pronouncing them in your head (as much), which is the big roadblock for most people. You could understand faster, but you're slowing yourself down by pronouncing words one at a time.

This also lets you skim much more effectively. I read a passage once, slowly. Then I skim it quickly, in 10-15 seconds. This confirms my understanding of the passages organization, and I remember many more details because I've seen everything twice. So I go faster through the questions.

Most questions can be answered by finding a specific line in the passage. If you have a clear grasp of passage organization, you can find just about any line in 2-3 seconds. So if you can be 100% certain about a question by finding a line, and you can find lines quickly, you're set.

sighsigh
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Re: Increasing Speed for RC

Postby sighsigh » Tue Jun 25, 2013 9:19 pm

I read a passage once, slowly. Then I skim it quickly, in 10-15 seconds. This confirms my understanding of the passages organization, and I remember many more details because I've seen everything twice.


Good advice.

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mornincounselor
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Clearly
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Re: Increasing Speed for RC

Postby Clearly » Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:17 am

RC isn't that bad once you get more familiar with it. Practice will take you far with this section, unfortunately most students under-prepare for it. There are tried and true ways of dealing with RC passages, and once you are see enough of them they turn out to be very predictable. I'd pick-up a copy of Manhattan LSATS RC guide, its quality instruction. Unfortunately I don't believe (shinners?) that BP has a book outside of the class, but the blueprints way of approaching RC is absolutely the best out there, so if you're looking for a class, do that.

Basically, once you've seen enough passages you'll realize that the overwhelming majority of questions remain the same, and there are only so many tricks LSAC uses over and over again with this section. I find at first students have a hard time seeing the difference between some of the answer choices, but once you adjust to the subtlety of the section, that gets better.

Also, experiment with varying levels of notation. Personally, I hate the stuff. I don't mark a damn thing on passages, but I don't recommend it for everyone...experiment and see what works for you. In fact, I find I do best on RC when I read the passage like it was an interesting article, instead of like I'm hunting for answers to questions I don't know yet. I think of it like this, I read a yahoo news article about the new pope. I don't care about religion, and I don't care about the pope, yet 6 months later, I remember 5 or 6 things from that article. There is no reason I can't remember the details of dodo birds, or a Mexican-American autobiographer for 30 seconds after I read it, if I can read it correctly

Along those lines there are some questions you should be asking yourself as you read; and as you take in the passage, you'll find yourself building evidence to solve these questions. They will be worth points.


Think to yourself:
Authors viewpoint
Why is he writing this
What does he believe
How strongly does he believe it
How does he respond to the critics (if they exist)
When you understand the above, a question like "Which of the following would the author be most likely to agree with" is a walk in the park!

PTII coming tomorrow, I'm too tired to do this right now haha.




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