Inconsistency in RC

Mr.Esquire
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Joined: Sun Sep 22, 2013 8:01 pm

Inconsistency in RC

Postby Mr.Esquire » Wed Dec 18, 2013 4:00 pm

So I want to know if their is an explanation for this, or if this is common. But I mainly want to know what I can do to become more consistent.

I will have sections where I go -10 to -12, but I will also have some sections, though less then the latter, where I will go -3 or -4.

I have yet to read a book entirely devoted to RC, but I just bought Atlas and plan to as I finish the TRAINER.

But I wanted to know if this sounds like more of a not focusing kind of thing, because I will admit sometimes I lose focus mid passage, or I will have other things going on while I am trying to drill RC passages.


If anyone has this issue when they were preparing and found ways to overcome it please let me know.

ame13
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Re: Inconsistency in RC

Postby ame13 » Wed Dec 18, 2013 4:55 pm

I had the same exact trouble when I was preparing. Sometimes it would be 3 or 4 wrong or sometimes 10 like you said. For me, it was because I wasn't actively reading the passage.

I have no idea if you already do this, but I found that when I read the passage actively by asking myself questions as I was reading (what does this information mean for the rest of the passage? what is this suggesting/implying? etc.) almost as if I was reading one big LR question stem, my accuracy improved and got much more consistent. Asking myself questions helped me focus a lot better. I barely needed to look back at the passage once I started doing this and I started consistently getting 4 wrong rather than an unpredictable amount wrong.

I also stopped taking margin notes. A lot of prep material tells you to do this but this honestly was more of a hinderance to me. Just focusing on reading rather than "is this important for me to write down/underline/circle?" helped me get a lot more consistent. I often felt like I was looking for things that were margin-note worthy rather than focusing on what the passage actually meant.


I hope this helped!

Mr.Esquire
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Re: Inconsistency in RC

Postby Mr.Esquire » Wed Dec 18, 2013 5:02 pm

Thanks for the suggestions!

meegee
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Re: Inconsistency in RC

Postby meegee » Wed Dec 18, 2013 11:26 pm

My RC score was pretty inconsistent too when I first started studying for RC. Find a system that works for you (even if that means making your own). Drill. Review (check out Mike from the Trainer and his post about reviewing for RC). And then drill some more.

Try drilling 2 RC passages back-to-back, perhaps it is a stamina issue.

Finally, I'm not trying to discourage you from making these threads asking for help, but you should join one of the active study groups and post there. You'll probably get more feedback (and quicker). You can learn a lot from your peers, I know I did.

ETA: Actually my RC score was shit. But what I'm trying to say was it was more shitty before I started getting a hang of it.

bp shinners
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Re: Inconsistency in RC

Postby bp shinners » Thu Dec 19, 2013 12:43 pm

RC is probably the swing-iest section (followed by LG, and then LR as a distant third). RC especially, though, because most people let the subject matter trip them up when they first start studying (well, a lot do when they're done studying, but that's not good).

For the sections where you're -3/-4, there are probably topics with which you feel comfortable, and the author's main point probably aligns with a presentation of facts. Those are the passages most people inherently feel comfortable with, and the viewpoint aligns with what you're used to reading for (facts).

For the -12 sections, there are probably topics with which you're uncomfortable, coupled with passages that have a strong focus on argument structure instead of facts. This is the framework of the passage, and it's what most people don't pay attention to.

To deal with the first part, you need to:
1) Read a lot of stuff outside your comfort zone so your brain doesn't shut down when you read "protozoa";
2) Realize that you never need to know the background of the material to answer the questions.

To deal with the second, you need to shift from caring about the details to caring about the structure.

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usernotfound
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Re: Inconsistency in RC

Postby usernotfound » Thu Dec 19, 2013 1:30 pm

I have a somewhat similar issue. When taking practice PT's, I feel like I'm not a focused as I should be in engaging the material because of I either know it doesn't "count" or the subject matter is unfamiliar or not of interest to me. When I sat for Dec13 I felt like I was much more engaged in the readings because it counted and I actually liked 2-3 of the passages. I felt like that was one of the best RC sections I did, but I won't really know until I get my scores.

What is working somewhat for me is to try and convince myself that I am interested in the reading more than I really am, or think about it in a way that will personally motivate you to imerse yourself and be able to recall facts/main points.

Mr.Esquire
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Re: Inconsistency in RC

Postby Mr.Esquire » Thu Dec 19, 2013 7:26 pm

Thanks BP your response is almost spot on with the way in which I was reading. I will focus on your suggestions.


Another thing is I am considering slowing down a little bit, because on average i finish RC with 3-5 minutes left.

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withoutapaddle
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Re: Inconsistency in RC

Postby withoutapaddle » Fri Dec 20, 2013 12:51 am

Read the Economist. When you're reading, stop at each paragraph and ask yourself what is the authors main point of that paragraph.

The Economist is extremely dense to read. It'll help you learn to read dense material you're not familiar with. It will also save RC sections, so you're not burning up practice test material.

Also I found/find it helpful to read a couple pages of a book then dive into the passages. Think of your brain as a car on a cold day. It's better to warm up the engine by starting out slow, instead of trying to go 0-100

KDLMaj
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Re: Inconsistency in RC

Postby KDLMaj » Fri Dec 20, 2013 1:01 am

Honestly I've never agreed with the whole "Go read the Economist" approach. LSAT passages are distinct and follow very specific patterns. It's not about general reading comprehension- it's a test of issue spotting. Spend that time studying LSAT passages- it'll get you further.

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withoutapaddle
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Re: Inconsistency in RC

Postby withoutapaddle » Fri Dec 20, 2013 9:36 pm

Well you can't study 24/7, and I'd hope the OP is staying up to date with current events :)

OP practice the RC passages, and also just read a lot of stuff.

I think the biggest issue people have with RC is that it requires you to read every detail. It's very different than how we read in our everyday lives. Hell, even GMAT prep material tells you to skim through and find the main points of GMAT RC.

Unfortunately, that technique doesn't work with LSAT RC.

*** Also the critical reasoning on the GMAT is elementary compared to the LSAT. The math on the other hand is a beast.

KDLMaj
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Re: Inconsistency in RC

Postby KDLMaj » Fri Dec 20, 2013 9:47 pm

Ooof, have to disagree with you there.

RC does NOT require you to read every little thing. In fact, most people are punished for trying to do so. The whole point of RC is to train you to spot certain key points in a passage. There are only 6-8 questions per passage, and they only test 5-6 sentences on average. Realistically, you could close your eyes and point to a random chunk of any given passage, delete it, and it wouldn't affect your ability to answer the questions.

The people who are the absolute best at RC skim the passage once in 2-3 minutes looking for the main idea and the gist of each paragraph and then spend the rest of the time letting the questions direct them to a few key points in a passage that are actually being tested.

Train yourself just to read for the main idea and the function of each paragraph, to differentiate between opinions and facts (and to highlight the former while glossing over the latter), and you'll be good to go.

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Trojan18940
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Re: Inconsistency in RC

Postby Trojan18940 » Sat Dec 21, 2013 1:49 am

withoutapaddle wrote:Read the Economist. When you're reading, stop at each paragraph and ask yourself what is the authors main point of that paragraph.

The Economist is extremely dense to read. It'll help you learn to read dense material you're not familiar with. It will also save RC sections, so you're not burning up practice test material.

Also I found/find it helpful to read a couple pages of a book then dive into the passages. Think of your brain as a car on a cold day. It's better to warm up the engine by starting out slow, instead of trying to go 0-100


Agreed. The Economist does a great job at paralleling the difficulty level / content topics of LSAT reading passages. Other sources, e.g. WSJ, Financial Times, Foreign Policy, etc. are poor substitutes.

I would strongly suggest buying the Manhattan RC guide. It gives you a solid methodology for approaching passages, and makes the process of answering RC questions mechanical.

To improve on RC, try the following strategy for Prep-Test review.
-Reprint copies of passages in which you lost points
-Actively read new copies (first time) without annotating them (focus on role of each paragraph in relation to main point of passage)
-Next answer questions, this time underline / highlight specific lines in passage that support correct answers
-For questions you got wrong, underline portions of texts that disprove the answer choice.

A lot of tempting wrong answer choices will be multifaceted and will contain certain portions that may be correct, but one portion will be incorrect. Underline specific wording of the Answer choice that makes it wrong, if applicable, to uncover patterns.

If RC is your weakest section, I would make it the last section in a practice test in order to improve endurance.

To reach a more consistent level, I would strongly suggest dedicating chunks of time (e.g. 20 hours a week) solely to reading comp. It's more challenging to internalize its patterns when you're focusing on LG and LR.




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