How to Tackle RC

User avatar
RamTitan
Posts: 1092
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2015 7:45 pm

How to Tackle RC

Postby RamTitan » Mon May 02, 2016 12:30 pm

I've been stuck in the 166-171 range for 8 months or so now, and do retakes in the 174-176 range.

I typically miss 2-4 in LR, and 0-3 in games.

However, my RC is all over the place. There have been times where I've gone -0, and others (like most recently) where I've missed as many as 8 or 9.

I started doing the Puzzle Theory (piecing all of the answers together), and writing a brief statement summarizing each paragraph. These helped initially, but not as much anymore.

I also understand that all of the answers are in the passage, but I'm finding the answer choices so convoluted that I can't find them. With that said, I typically finish RC with a few minutes of extra time.

How do I properly review RC? What can I do to get better?

User avatar
RamTitan
Posts: 1092
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2015 7:45 pm

Re: How to Tackle RC

Postby RamTitan » Mon May 02, 2016 6:42 pm

I notice that I typically get inference and author's attitude/most likely to agree with questions incorrect. Also, that if I can't identify the main point of the passage correctly, I get a ton of questions wrong (seems obvious haha).

Something else I've noticed is that the next day when BRing the test, I make the questions I missed correct without even reading the passage again. What gives?

Also, it's the more recent RCs that I've been bombing. From 2011 on I've had struggles, but before then I've been missing 4 at the most.

User avatar
RamTitan
Posts: 1092
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2015 7:45 pm

Re: How to Tackle RC

Postby RamTitan » Mon May 09, 2016 11:06 am

An example of my frustrations:

June 2015 Test - missed 2 LR, 0 AR, and 8 RC! That's a 170, but if I could whittle those RC errors down I'd be killing it!

User avatar
Mikey
Posts: 7556
Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2015 5:24 pm

Re: How to Tackle RC

Postby Mikey » Mon May 09, 2016 3:23 pm

So you write a brief sentence or 2 on the side of each paragraph of what it's about? That's good to know, but you should have that in your memory. Do you annotate view points? Author's attitude? and so on?

Also, when are you taking the LSAT? June or September?

Edit: sorry if it wasn't clear but when I said "you should have that in your memory", I mean knowing the general structure of the passage, for example:
P1: The definition and background info about the LSAT
P2: View 1- why the LSAT sucks
P3: View 2- why the LSAT doesn't suck :roll:
P4: Author's view on the two opinions and whether he/she sides with one or not, etc.

Something general like that is what I meant :)

TLSDookie
Posts: 70
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2016 3:48 pm

Re: How to Tackle RC

Postby TLSDookie » Mon May 09, 2016 4:09 pm

Got a 173 and most of the points I lost were RC, so take this with a generous grain of salt, but I was struggling a lot with author's view/most likely to agree with. What I found was I was implicitly adding a lot of my own background knowledge/biases to the article as I read through it (too quickly) the first time, and then assuming I could answer those types of questions from what I remembered reading. In fact even glancing back at the passage I could find a sentence that had generally similar language to one of the answers and that seemed to be a pretty solid choice, I usually had even underlined it/included notation etc. These are trap answers.

Most likely to agree with shouldn't require you to make logical assumptions, nor is it as simple as matching the language/vocab used in an answer choice with something from the passage. Read the context in which the sentence is used! Reading 5 lines before and after the topic raised in the prompt is a good rule, but sometimes you'll have to adjust that depending on the passage. Usually they'll try to trip you up by including it as one of the "expert viewpoints" but then including a word/sentence several lines before/after indicating author skepticism of this viewpoint.

Another way they try to trick you with these questions is with the "must be false/could be false/could be true/must be true" distinctions. I often got down to two good choices in these types of questions, and had trouble deciding between them, especially under time pressure. Overly broad (could be true) choices are bad, as they infer the author would agree with more than is explicitly clear from the passage. It can be tough to tell what is overly broad in passages with extremely technical language, but try not to allow the scope of the answer to exceed the scope of the passage.

Hope this helps! RC is definitely the trickiest to identify where you're going wrong in, stay optimistic!

User avatar
RamTitan
Posts: 1092
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2015 7:45 pm

Re: How to Tackle RC

Postby RamTitan » Mon May 09, 2016 5:16 pm

TheMikey wrote:So you write a brief sentence or 2 on the side of each paragraph of what it's about? That's good to know, but you should have that in your memory. Do you annotate view points? Author's attitude? and so on?

Also, when are you taking the LSAT? June or September?

Edit: sorry if it wasn't clear but when I said "you should have that in your memory", I mean knowing the general structure of the passage, for example:
P1: The definition and background info about the LSAT
P2: View 1- why the LSAT sucks
P3: View 2- why the LSAT doesn't suck :roll:
P4: Author's view on the two opinions and whether he/she sides with one or not, etc.

Something general like that is what I meant :)

It's more like a couple of words; for example, I'll write Viewpoint A, context, example, etc.

Though overall I do very little annotating. Should I refrain from annotating at all and just keep the structure engaged in my mind? I used to underline, then I started paragraph mapping and saw a slight increase, and now that I'm doing the most recent tests I've fallen back down the slope.

User avatar
RamTitan
Posts: 1092
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2015 7:45 pm

Re: How to Tackle RC

Postby RamTitan » Mon May 09, 2016 5:18 pm

TLSDookie wrote:Got a 173 and most of the points I lost were RC, so take this with a generous grain of salt, but I was struggling a lot with author's view/most likely to agree with. What I found was I was implicitly adding a lot of my own background knowledge/biases to the article as I read through it (too quickly) the first time, and then assuming I could answer those types of questions from what I remembered reading. In fact even glancing back at the passage I could find a sentence that had generally similar language to one of the answers and that seemed to be a pretty solid choice, I usually had even underlined it/included notation etc. These are trap answers.

Most likely to agree with shouldn't require you to make logical assumptions, nor is it as simple as matching the language/vocab used in an answer choice with something from the passage. Read the context in which the sentence is used! Reading 5 lines before and after the topic raised in the prompt is a good rule, but sometimes you'll have to adjust that depending on the passage. Usually they'll try to trip you up by including it as one of the "expert viewpoints" but then including a word/sentence several lines before/after indicating author skepticism of this viewpoint.

Another way they try to trick you with these questions is with the "must be false/could be false/could be true/must be true" distinctions. I often got down to two good choices in these types of questions, and had trouble deciding between them, especially under time pressure. Overly broad (could be true) choices are bad, as they infer the author would agree with more than is explicitly clear from the passage. It can be tough to tell what is overly broad in passages with extremely technical language, but try not to allow the scope of the answer to exceed the scope of the passage.

Hope this helps! RC is definitely the trickiest to identify where you're going wrong in, stay optimistic!


I struggle with the use of a phrase and what the passage suggests; I'll often get a main point or what would the author agree with question wrong too.

Tell me if I'm wrong, but I'm sensing that it's important to read the passage as much as possible? Read it once generally, then reread significant portions (a relevant paragraph or two) for each question? I'm a champion speed reader (usually finish with 5 minutes to spare).

User avatar
Mikey
Posts: 7556
Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2015 5:24 pm

Re: How to Tackle RC

Postby Mikey » Mon May 09, 2016 6:58 pm

RamTitan wrote:
TheMikey wrote:So you write a brief sentence or 2 on the side of each paragraph of what it's about? That's good to know, but you should have that in your memory. Do you annotate view points? Author's attitude? and so on?

Also, when are you taking the LSAT? June or September?

Edit: sorry if it wasn't clear but when I said "you should have that in your memory", I mean knowing the general structure of the passage, for example:
P1: The definition and background info about the LSAT
P2: View 1- why the LSAT sucks
P3: View 2- why the LSAT doesn't suck :roll:
P4: Author's view on the two opinions and whether he/she sides with one or not, etc.

Something general like that is what I meant :)

It's more like a couple of words; for example, I'll write Viewpoint A, context, example, etc.

Though overall I do very little annotating. Should I refrain from annotating at all and just keep the structure engaged in my mind? I used to underline, then I started paragraph mapping and saw a slight increase, and now that I'm doing the most recent tests I've fallen back down the slope.

Well it depends, everyone is different. I know some high scorers lightly annotate, while some literally don't make a mark throughout the passage.

User avatar
RamTitan
Posts: 1092
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2015 7:45 pm

Re: How to Tackle RC

Postby RamTitan » Mon May 09, 2016 10:05 pm

Am I blind reviewing RC properly? Typically with any passage where I miss 2 or more questions I redo it, and try to determine what my thought process was that lead me to the incorrect answer.

TLSDookie
Posts: 70
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2016 3:48 pm

Re: How to Tackle RC

Postby TLSDookie » Tue May 10, 2016 10:11 am

RamTitan wrote:Tell me if I'm wrong, but I'm sensing that it's important to read the passage as much as possible? Read it once generally, then reread significant portions (a relevant paragraph or two) for each question? I'm a champion speed reader (usually finish with 5 minutes to spare).


I would definitely do this, as well as annotating in the margins things like "viewpoint, disagree, agree" and circling technical language you suspect is likely to reappear in questions so you can easily find it again. You already mentioned you tried annotating and it didn't seem very useful to you, make sure you are identifying the right things to note. A good way to identify what things are important to note is to look at the answer explanations, there are key ways the author reveals viewpoints, skepticism etc. which you will improve at identifying as you learn to spot it. Just like LR has certain patterns indicated by the question stem, RC has certain patterns as well, although they are much more nuanced and difficult to pick out. It's difficult to provide examples of this without a sample set of questions, since it varies widely, both in vocabulary and passage context/spot (sometimes an author will reveal a skepticism of a view point in the first paragraph, although some of the answers refer to topics raised much later in the passage.)

If you're finishing all 4 passages with so much time left to spare, I suspect you aren't reading the full passage quite closely enough on your first read through. While some people prefer to glance at all the different question prompts before reading (especially ones that indicate specific lines of the passage, so they can note those lines on their initial read-through), it's perfectly valid to agnostically read the full passage before approaching the questions at all.

However, slow down and make sure you pay careful attention to all the language the author uses, otherwise when you revisit the passage you will just be getting confirmation bias towards things you thought you read, but that you had too quickly skimmed previously. Especially if you are getting certain types of questions wrong, try some untimed sections and reviewing explanations, until you get better at spotting certain phrasings, then you can revert back to nearly your original pace.

User avatar
poptart123
Posts: 1115
Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2015 5:31 pm

Re: How to Tackle RC

Postby poptart123 » Tue May 10, 2016 10:40 am

TLSDookie wrote:
RamTitan wrote:Tell me if I'm wrong, but I'm sensing that it's important to read the passage as much as possible? Read it once generally, then reread significant portions (a relevant paragraph or two) for each question? I'm a champion speed reader (usually finish with 5 minutes to spare).


I would definitely do this, as well as annotating in the margins things like "viewpoint, disagree, agree" and circling technical language you suspect is likely to reappear in questions so you can easily find it again. You already mentioned you tried annotating and it didn't seem very useful to you, make sure you are identifying the right things to note. A good way to identify what things are important to note is to look at the answer explanations, there are key ways the author reveals viewpoints, skepticism etc. which you will improve at identifying as you learn to spot it. Just like LR has certain patterns indicated by the question stem, RC has certain patterns as well, although they are much more nuanced and difficult to pick out. It's difficult to provide examples of this without a sample set of questions, since it varies widely, both in vocabulary and passage context/spot (sometimes an author will reveal a skepticism of a view point in the first paragraph, although some of the answers refer to topics raised much later in the passage.)

If you're finishing all 4 passages with so much time left to spare, I suspect you aren't reading the full passage quite closely enough on your first read through. While some people prefer to glance at all the different question prompts before reading (especially ones that indicate specific lines of the passage, so they can note those lines on their initial read-through), it's perfectly valid to agnostically read the full passage before approaching the questions at all.

However, slow down and make sure you pay careful attention to all the language the author uses, otherwise when you revisit the passage you will just be getting confirmation bias towards things you thought you read, but that you had too quickly skimmed previously. Especially if you are getting certain types of questions wrong, try some untimed sections and reviewing explanations, until you get better at spotting certain phrasings, then you can revert back to nearly your original pace.


I think this is good advice. I used to read faster and would miss a lot in RC, but since I've slowed down I generally miss -1 to -4. I don't think I was fully absorbing the passage before. Slowing down has helped me understand it better up front, before even getting to the questions.

I think of it kind of as similar to a good sketch in LG. If you are able to understand the game up front then the answers fall into place. Likewise, having a good understanding of the passage does the same. If you have five minutes left to spare I would try dedicating a minute more (maybe more, maybe less depending on the passage) to each passage to see if it helps. Personally, each passage takes me 3.5 to 4 minutes to thoroughly comprehend the passages..




Return to “LSAT Prep and Discussion Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests