Trouble with Reading Comprehension?

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rosieposie12

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Trouble with Reading Comprehension?

Postby rosieposie12 » Fri Aug 18, 2017 4:14 pm

Does anyone have any tips for improving performance in the reading comp section? I've tried some of the guides posted on here, but the technique doesn't seem to be helping much. I've been doing full length PTs (realistic testing conditions and strictly timed) and consistently get -1/-2 on both LG (usually stupid mistakes) and LR, but can't seem to crack that on RC. Is it just an issue of I haven't put enough work in? I haven't noticed any pattern to the questions I get wrong either. This is really throwing me for a loop because I'm usually very good with reading comprehension. For those who really improved, what worked for you???

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OakBrook2021

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Re: Trouble with Reading Comprehension?

Postby OakBrook2021 » Fri Aug 18, 2017 5:19 pm

I got -3 test day so I'm no expert, but the biggest tip I can give is to read for the forest and not the trees. Really try to understand the main point and don't get hung up and vague jargon or terms you've never heard before. Use the structure and main point of the passage to understand those terms in context if you need to. For me, I took very minimal notes, as that usually wastes my time and makes me read slow. It also helps to know the different passage types so you can understand what they're going to tell you by the structure of the passage. If all else fails, just really try to understand what you're reading; it's the main point of the LSAT.

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Platopus

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Re: Trouble with Reading Comprehension?

Postby Platopus » Fri Aug 18, 2017 6:52 pm

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Last edited by Platopus on Sun Dec 17, 2017 8:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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LesPaul1995

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Re: Trouble with Reading Comprehension?

Postby LesPaul1995 » Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:02 pm

Platopus wrote:I went -2 RC on the June test, so take this advice for whatever it's worth.

I recommend radically changing up your approach to RC through drilling over the next week and see what works. Obviously, you don't really want to shake things up too dramatically a month before the test, but if it doesn't work, you can always go back to what you're doing now.

Seriously though, experiment. Try a section taking copious notes, try another taking no notes, read slow, read fast, find what works for you. I personally saw success after I stopped trying to take notes and "read for structure", to me it was just distracting. I got from -4/-5 to -1/-2 consistently by reading at a slow, comfortable pace and taking NO notes. Once I slowed down, I stopped panicking about time, and paradoxically, I had more time and needed to go back to the passage very little. I also got better at RC, when I realized reading the passage closely wasn't enough. Approach each question with the same intensity as you would LR. Methodically go through each answer and eliminate as you would with LR. I found I was a little too careless/loose with AC's and once I cleaned that up, my score improved. I think I was able to be more discerning with the AC's because I was slowing down and not panicking, which was a consequence of taking my time on the passage.


OP; This, too a tee. I would add a psychological aid that aids me sometimes, and that is that the testmakers deconstruct passages, i.e. paraphrase and add keywords so they can objectively ask questions. Thinking about it this way helps you pay extra attention to what emphasis the keywords are conveying and less of the importance regarding something like examples or illustrations. See for yourself: look at the bibliography of an LSAT so you can cross check against the passage and the actual article and notice the difference. Just a cool qwerk that most don't do, and since its available it can't hurt.

dan9257

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Re: Trouble with Reading Comprehension?

Postby dan9257 » Sat Aug 19, 2017 11:24 am

Platopus wrote:I went -2 RC on the June test, so take this advice for whatever it's worth.

I recommend radically changing up your approach to RC through drilling over the next week and see what works. Obviously, you don't really want to shake things up too dramatically a month before the test, but if it doesn't work, you can always go back to what you're doing now.

Seriously though, experiment. Try a section taking copious notes, try another taking no notes, read slow, read fast, find what works for you. I personally saw success after I stopped trying to take notes and "read for structure", to me it was just distracting. I got from -4/-5 to -1/-2 consistently by reading at a slow, comfortable pace and taking NO notes. Once I slowed down, I stopped panicking about time, and paradoxically, I had more time and needed to go back to the passage very little. I also got better at RC, when I realized reading the passage closely wasn't enough. Approach each question with the same intensity as you would LR. Methodically go through each answer and eliminate as you would with LR. I found I was a little too careless/loose with AC's and once I cleaned that up, my score improved. I think I was able to be more discerning with the AC's because I was slowing down and not panicking, which was a consequence of taking my time on the passage.


Could you share your time management strategy? How much do you spend on reading the passage vs solving the questions?
Also, I tend to pick the very attractive incorrect answer choice over the correct, unattractive right answer choice. Do you have any effective method to eliminate the most tempting incorrect answer when you vacillate between the two contenders?

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Platopus

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Re: Trouble with Reading Comprehension?

Postby Platopus » Sat Aug 19, 2017 5:35 pm

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Last edited by Platopus on Sun Dec 17, 2017 8:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

patrick248

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Re: Trouble with Reading Comprehension?

Postby patrick248 » Sun Aug 20, 2017 10:15 am

This is not my own but from another website
The whole trick is NOT to have to reread the whole passage each time you tackle a question. You want easy references that allow you to find critical pieces of information quickly. The trick is that the approach I use will save me between 10-20 seconds per question. If you multiply that over 26 questions, suddenly I am saving myself ALOT of time. And frankly, time is the whole trick to the passages.

You will find that each passage will cover 4-6 main points. This may occur in 5 paragraphs or 2, but as long as you identify AND HAVE A REFERENCE TAB/MARKs for certain key pieces of information it will not matter how dense the passage is.

You will use 2 main techniques to create references for yourself: (1) actually writing out the main idea of each paragraph and of the passage itself in the margin. This should consist of just shorthand notation. You will be surprised how many questions are quickly and easily answered by these notes ("what is the author saying in paragraph 2?"). It will also help you immediately zero in on specific paragraphs for detail questions. If you noted that paragraph 3 gives 2 examples disproving "certian critics" then if you get a question asking about types of examples used by the author you immediately know where to go.

In dense passages (with 2 or 3 paragraphs) look for natural topic shifts within the paragraphs. I guarantee they are there. Once you find them CREATE YOUR OWN NEW PARAGRAPH by just writing the point of the next section of the paragraph in the margin and putting a bracket in the text. Suddenly that rough 2 paragraph passage is now a much more manageable 4 paragraphs. And, since the dense ones turn out to often have easier content, it is now cake.

(2) Underlining and boxing. I put BOXES around all terms which have definitions and all names. That way, when a term or a certian person's view/background comes up in a question I do not have to hunt the paragraph for the definition. My eye goes to the boxes. I UNDERLINE all phrases that I think might be relevant later on. This includes paragraph and passage thesis statements as well as the author's viewpoint, among others. What I underline is based on my experience taking practice tests and figuring out what I will most likely be asked later.

One danger with both of the above is doing too much marking. If you do too much, the markings become worthless, so you will need to practice balancing having the right amount of reference notes/marks.

By doing the above I not only have handy references for myself, but I also find that I flat out RETAIN the knowledge in the passage much more easily. You become an active reader and suddenly you are able to answer questions without even looking at the passage (sometimes... and be careful with that). Most people have the attention span of 3rd graders. Yes, this includes you. By forcing yourself to be an active participant in the passage, you end up actually reading and comprehending the text instead of just letting your eyes wander over the words.

Practice making notes/marks for each of the following you will be fine:

1) Main point of the passage (usually covered in the first paragraph). I actually write out a 3-5 word/symbol summary next to the text. For example, "16th legal reform=bad for women" or something along those lines. Practice identifying the thesis statement.

2) Main point of each paragraph. Same as 1. If you split a paragraph up into smaller paragraphs, you should summarize the points of both of these little paragraphs ("formalists' view" and "pro-RTT view" to take an example from one of the old tests)

3) Boxing all names and terms. There is almost ALWAYS an explanation of the person/term right after it. Now you can just find your boxed name and read the explanation that follows for certian questions.

4) Underlining key points/evidence. This just takes practice. Over time you will figure out what is key and what is not. In the beginning, if it seems important underline it. As you take practice tests you will refine your approach and underline less.

5) If, at any time, the passage tells you what the author thinks (sometimes it will do it in a sneaky manner) WRITE IT IN THE MARGIN. Most passages will have a question asking about the author's opinion. You just gained yourself a free point.

6) Look for keywords and cues. When the passage says "some critics argue..." you KNOW the passage will post evidence against them 2 sentences later. Watch for it. UNDERLINE the "some". There are tons of these key words and I do not have the space to delve into them in detail.

Finally, in addition to the above, you have to be a fast and competent reader who can read for content. The above will help, but nothing is better than just doing tons of reading passages over and over (use the above techniques when you practice... you will need the above skills anyway as an attorney so you might as well learn them now). You need to learn to read quickly and to understand the stuff quickly. If you were in the brown reading group in 2nd grade, thought reading books and writing papers was for "dorks" in high school, graduated from some shit-hole college (anything with the word "state" in the title, for example) or any combination of the previous, you will have a difficult time with the LSAT. All I can say is work on it.

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Impressionist

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Re: Trouble with Reading Comprehension?

Postby Impressionist » Mon Aug 21, 2017 3:30 pm

I'll second trying different strategies. I tried taking a lot of notes. I tried speed reading for minimal understanding so I have time for the questions. I tried a toolbox approach with a lot of different underlines, boxes, and squares. I found that reading slowly and for 100% understanding with maybe a few underlines per passage is best for me. I haven't missed more than 3 in a section in a long time and -0/-1 come test day is in play.

Give different types a real chance and see what works. One passage, or even section, is not enough to fully test a method.



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