Rare-ish RC question strategy

Prepare for the LSAT or discuss it with others in this forum.
User avatar
maybeman

Bronze
Posts: 417
Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2016 1:55 am

Rare-ish RC question strategy

Postby maybeman » Tue Oct 18, 2016 2:32 pm

What are people's strategies, if any, for the somewhat rare RC question that asks you this: "Which of the following best illustrates the author's attitude towards _____ ?" The choices are typically out-of-context quotations from the passage.

I've been answering these by taking the quotations' meanings at face value and matching them to what the author's attitude is relative to what the question specifies. But I feel like I'm missing something. Many of the answer choices seem totally void of content. The quotations often don't even having subjects or verbs in them. Do people try to find and understand the quotations in their contexts within the passage? All thoughts are appreciated

User avatar
Law2020hopeful

New
Posts: 85
Joined: Sun Oct 02, 2016 10:36 pm

Re: Rare-ish RC question strategy

Postby Law2020hopeful » Tue Oct 18, 2016 6:35 pm

I may not be the "best" person to answer this since RC is my best section (naturally/cold it was my best and as I study I've improved most in RC and am now consistently -0 on RC sections) but for me, it's a matter of understanding what the author's purpose/goal is.

Generally, RC passages have a structure similar to this:

Set up
Argument
Argument
Argument
Author rebuts argument by other scholars OR furthers the arguments by including their own facts/opinions/inferences OR adds on to argument OR makes a claim about arguments based on the effects of the arguments that the author has witnessed.

If you know what the author is trying to accomplish within the entire passage (not necessarily what the main point of the passage i) you have a jumping off point for these questions.

If the author agrees with whatever stances they lay out in the first few paragraphs, the attitude will most likely be a positive one (unless there's one thing the author disagrees with).

If the author is setting out to counter the arguments it will probably be a more negative attitude.

I would be careful in overgeneralizing positive and negative attitudes. Something like "casual indifference" would be under positive in my column because the author isn't trying to refute it.

In the RC passages I've seen, the attitude questions that have correct responses that are neutral (indifference etc), it's a passage in which the author ultimately favors the arguments he or she lays out.

So my advice would be to pinpoint the author's purpose in writing the passage and go from there because you'll at least have an idea of the type of response you're looking for. Generally at least two can be discounted because they'll be opposite of the author's intent. I think, ultimately, it comes down to understanding why the author is writing the passage and how he or she relates to whatever arguments or facts are being presented in the passage- so yes, understand the quote in relation to the entire passage.

theboringest

Bronze
Posts: 314
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2016 6:19 am

Re: Rare-ish RC question strategy

Postby theboringest » Tue Oct 18, 2016 7:56 pm

These questions are actually something of a blessing because there is usually a clear textual indicator of author opinion. The question asks you to identify how the author feels towards 1 of 2 things: an idea/theory being discussed, or evidence supporting this theory.

Look for things like "fails to consider" "correctly believes" etc, as well as verbs like "should" "must" etc. These help tell you how the author feels about the ideas presented in the passage or the evidence.

User avatar
Blueprint Mithun

Bronze
Posts: 456
Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2015 1:54 pm

Re: Rare-ish RC question strategy

Postby Blueprint Mithun » Wed Oct 19, 2016 9:35 pm

maybeman wrote:What are people's strategies, if any, for the somewhat rare RC question that asks you this: "Which of the following best illustrates the author's attitude towards _____ ?" The choices are typically out-of-context quotations from the passage.

I've been answering these by taking the quotations' meanings at face value and matching them to what the author's attitude is relative to what the question specifies. But I feel like I'm missing something. Many of the answer choices seem totally void of content. The quotations often don't even having subjects or verbs in them. Do people try to find and understand the quotations in their contexts within the passage? All thoughts are appreciated



I think you're on the right track. Your main consideration should be what the author's attitude is relative to the quote. If you're not sure what the context of the quote is, go back in the passage and read a few lines surrounding it. That's generally the go-to strategy whenever a question quotes a line that seems unfamiliar or confusing out of context.



Return to “LSAT Prep and Discussion Forum�

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 11 guests