2nd half of RC easier than the 1st?

Budfox55
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2nd half of RC easier than the 1st?

Postby Budfox55 » Thu May 21, 2015 10:38 pm

So whenever I do RC I find that I'll get 0-2 wrong on the 2nd half but then 4-6 wrong on the first two passages even though I do think that the last two passages on average tend to be the more difficult. I'm also typically rushed during the last two, skim the passage more during my initial read, and reread parts of the passage less often during questions for these final two. I'm trying to figure out if maybe I'm just overdoing it on the first two passages by thinking and rereading too much or if the questions are just easier during the last two. Anyone have any thoughts?

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appind
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Re: 2nd half of RC easier than the 1st?

Postby appind » Fri May 22, 2015 2:45 am

Budfox55 wrote:So whenever I do RC I find that I'll get 0-2 wrong on the 2nd half but then 4-6 wrong on the first two passages even though I do think that the last two passages on average tend to be the more difficult. I'm also typically rushed during the last two, skim the passage more during my initial read, and reread parts of the passage less often during questions for these final two. I'm trying to figure out if maybe I'm just overdoing it on the first two passages by thinking and rereading too much or if the questions are just easier during the last two. Anyone have any thoughts?


how many RC sections you have done where you observed this trend? how many total rc sections? what PT range these sections belong to?

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wonka
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Postby wonka » Fri May 22, 2015 10:34 am

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Last edited by wonka on Tue Sep 29, 2015 1:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Budfox55
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Re: 2nd half of RC easier than the 1st?

Postby Budfox55 » Fri May 22, 2015 1:35 pm

appind wrote:
Budfox55 wrote:So whenever I do RC I find that I'll get 0-2 wrong on the 2nd half but then 4-6 wrong on the first two passages even though I do think that the last two passages on average tend to be the more difficult. I'm also typically rushed during the last two, skim the passage more during my initial read, and reread parts of the passage less often during questions for these final two. I'm trying to figure out if maybe I'm just overdoing it on the first two passages by thinking and rereading too much or if the questions are just easier during the last two. Anyone have any thoughts?


how many RC sections you have done where you observed this trend? how many total rc sections? what PT range these sections belong to?


Ive done most from 52-71 excluding 70, 61, and one in the 50s range. I've also done 50, 48, and 46. Its been in a trend for me in almost all of them.

Budfox55
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Re: 2nd half of RC easier than the 1st?

Postby Budfox55 » Fri May 22, 2015 1:44 pm

wonka wrote:
Budfox55 wrote:So whenever I do RC I find that I'll get 0-2 wrong on the 2nd half but then 4-6 wrong on the first two passages even though I do think that the last two passages on average tend to be the more difficult. I'm also typically rushed during the last two, skim the passage more during my initial read, and reread parts of the passage less often during questions for these final two. I'm trying to figure out if maybe I'm just overdoing it on the first two passages by thinking and rereading too much or if the questions are just easier during the last two. Anyone have any thoughts?


So the same thing was happening to me and I decided that it was probably the way I tackled RC passages when pressed for time more than the difficulty level of the passages themselves. I don't think there's any real indication that the "easier" passages tend to consistently go at the end of the section. I found that it took me a while to get into the swing of RC when I started a section, and I had a tendency to overthink the passages and over-read/over-interpret. I found that the urgency of being short on time forced me to distill the passages and read them at surface level, which is what the RC section really requires. I quit seeing the point differences between the front and back end of the section after I realized all this and made an effort to apply it to the first half of the test.



I think the final passages on average actually tend to be more difficult, but the questions (at least for me) seem to be easier. I haven't had time to check, but it seems to me like the final passages have more questions reference specific parts of the passage whereas the first parts have more questions in the line of "The author would most likely agree that" where you'll have to check for each answer in the passage if you aren't able to cross it out right away. But who know, I could just be imagining all of this and it could just be due to time pressure.

I just tried a different approach on a PT. Kind of what you just said, with me reading much more quickly, rereading, etc, but I also tackled the passages in a diff sequence - started off with comparative first (I typically get 0-1x on it), then moved on to the final passage and went backwards. Ended up finishing in 32 min, 3x. Think I might just keep on trying this approach and see how it goes.

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Jeffort
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Re: 2nd half of RC easier than the 1st?

Postby Jeffort » Fri May 22, 2015 7:23 pm

Budfox55 wrote:
wonka wrote:
Budfox55 wrote:So whenever I do RC I find that I'll get 0-2 wrong on the 2nd half but then 4-6 wrong on the first two passages even though I do think that the last two passages on average tend to be the more difficult. I'm also typically rushed during the last two, skim the passage more during my initial read, and reread parts of the passage less often during questions for these final two. I'm trying to figure out if maybe I'm just overdoing it on the first two passages by thinking and rereading too much or if the questions are just easier during the last two. Anyone have any thoughts?


So the same thing was happening to me and I decided that it was probably the way I tackled RC passages when pressed for time more than the difficulty level of the passages themselves. I don't think there's any real indication that the "easier" passages tend to consistently go at the end of the section. I found that it took me a while to get into the swing of RC when I started a section, and I had a tendency to overthink the passages and over-read/over-interpret. I found that the urgency of being short on time forced me to distill the passages and read them at surface level, which is what the RC section really requires. I quit seeing the point differences between the front and back end of the section after I realized all this and made an effort to apply it to the first half of the test.



I think the final passages on average actually tend to be more difficult, but the questions (at least for me) seem to be easier. I haven't had time to check, but it seems to me like the final passages have more questions reference specific parts of the passage whereas the first parts have more questions in the line of "The author would most likely agree that" where you'll have to check for each answer in the passage if you aren't able to cross it out right away. But who know, I could just be imagining all of this and it could just be due to time pressure.

I just tried a different approach on a PT. Kind of what you just said, with me reading much more quickly, rereading, etc, but I also tackled the passages in a diff sequence - started off with comparative first (I typically get 0-1x on it), then moved on to the final passage and went backwards. Ended up finishing in 32 min, 3x. Think I might just keep on trying this approach and see how it goes.


Regarding the difficulty level distribution of the four passages per section, it varies from test to test.

In some RC sections the first two passages (including the questions) are lower difficulty level than the 3rd and 4th ones, whereas in other RC sections the 2nd passage is of a higher difficulty level than the 3rd and 4th, while in others the harder passages are placed with one of them in the first two and the other in the second two.

For context, I'm speaking about the overall difficulty level of the passages holistically including how hard the questions are to answer accurately. Many passages that seem pretty straightforward, easy to read and understand before you head into the questions turn out to have brutally hard questions asked about it while conversely many passages that seem harder/more confusing to read and understand upfront turn out to have fairly easy to answer questions asked about it. So, regarding passage difficulty level I'm talking about it holistically in terms of how hard it is overall to read and process the passage itself on first read as well as how hard it is to answer the corresponding questions quickly/efficiently with accuracy and a high level of confidence in your answer choice selections.

The only pretty consistent thing about the difficulty arrangement of passages in RC sections is that the hardest passage in each section has rarely ever been the first passage. More often than not the hardest passage of the section is either the second or third one, but also has been the fourth passage on a fair amount of previous LSATs. In many past RC sections the fourth passage has been one of the easier ones (sometimes with 7 or 8 questions too!) with a much harder one placed right before it as passage three (or sometimes as passage two) in order to punish people that managed their time poorly by getting sucked into the hard questions time traps.

When the hardest passage is placed third (or second), it's easy to get sucked into the time trap by spending too much time chasing ghosts referring back to and re-reading the passage a lot when you get stuck between two or more contender answer choices on a few of the hard questions for the hardest passage, thus leaving you with not enough time for the fourth easier passage that contains more points that are easier to get if you have enough time to go through it properly rather than rushing and skipping steps to beat the clock.

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TL;DR version: the difficulty level arrangement of the four passages per section varies randomly/unpredictably from test to test and is made that way on purpose by the test writers so that there isn't a single 'one size fits all' RC section time management strategy that's guaranteed to be effective for every LSAT RC section.

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Budfox55, regarding what you described in your OP, it sounds like your lackluster performance on the first two passages compared to the third and fourth ones might be in part due to being overly cautious with them when reading the passages by letting yourself get bogged down too much in the supporting details/minutia and possibly putting too much focus and attention on trying to memorize everything that's explicitly stated rather than focusing more on distilling out the main ideas/main points, passage structure and overall 'big picture' the passage as a whole paints.

I think that's a likely explanation of the results you described since when you have to rush through the third and fourth passages due to having spent too much time on the first two, your mind is probably mainly just focusing on distilling out/identifying the main ideas/points of the passages and not paying much attention to the minor supporting details whereas on the first two you might be 'overlooking the forest for the individual trees' by possibly over analyzing and/or putting too much mental focus, attention and analysis on the details rather than on the main ideas and overall big picture structure and relationships between the main ideas that are the more important 'meat' of the passage for answering most RC question types.

What do you think?

HarvardHopeful93
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Re: 2nd half of RC easier than the 1st?

Postby HarvardHopeful93 » Sat May 23, 2015 6:33 pm

It means you need to read more. Your brain has to switch to reading mode when doing RC and by the time it's sufficiently warmed up, you're already halfway through the section. Try to read more complex materials in your spare time and get used to switching your brain back and forth between RC and the other sections. The key here is focus and concentration.




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