Huge breakthrough on RC; will update this list with tips

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rkitten
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Huge breakthrough on RC; will update this list with tips

Postby rkitten » Tue May 05, 2009 11:18 pm

I posted the other day about my lackluster -4's and -6's in reading comprehension preventing me from breaking out of my 169/170 rut. Well today I took the day off from work, read this: http://lsatblog.blogspot.com/2008/12/ls ... egies.html and subjected myself to 10 reading comp sections in a row. The result was dramatic; after parroting back the same information repeatedly, I started reading through the passages and marking up exactly what I was going to be tested on.

My practice culminated with me sitting casually on the couch and missing -3 on the Dec 2002 RC, and -2 on the October 2002 RC, with 5 minutes left over at the end. Neither were easy, but when approached correctly, they were totally demystified and manageable. For Dec 2002 (prep test 39) all 3 of my errors came out of a science passage that I bungled, and my two mistakes on Oct 2002 (prep test 38) were "except" questions, where I stupidly relied on my memory instead of checking the answer choices against the passages.

I will try to add as much as I can to this list, because I know that many of you are being held back by RC as well:

Do NOT go crazy underlining. You do not have to understand every piece of information in the passage nor should you try to!

Things to underline:

Sentences that capture the main point of a paragraph.

The author using descriptive words that reveal his tone.

Key terms, but not their definitions; read about what they entail but don't worry about committing it to memory.

Analogies, and what main point they relate to (usually the MP of their paragraph)

Briefly making a little mark near lists of evidence (ex: steps, aspects of a theory, parts of an experiment) and perhaps draw an arrow to or remember what main point they are supporting. Do not bother learning what these parts are; if you are asked to know something specific from here, you can return easily to find it.

Any logical relationship "if x happens, then" and what point they are supporting.

Any cause and effects, especially when you see "this results in," or "this creates." Make sure you recall what the "this" refers to as you are more likely to be asked about that then what the effect was!

Any statements that begin with "although," or "but," or "contrary to, " or "like/similarly." Again here your job is not to understand the nuances of the view points on a sophisticated level, but just understand that two or more viewpoints are being compared and what evidence is being use for both-- or how they function as a set up for future paragraphs to advocate for or against them.

Evidence. Again, don't go crazy trying to understand the evidence, just have a general idea what it is, remember where it is with a little star, and most importantly, keep track of what it's supporting. If you must understand it in depth a question will ask you to return to think about it.

All these passages, especially the ones that seem unusually dense or worded confusingly, are relatively simple arguments that elaborate evidence/counter points/support within their paragraphs. Some are more descriptive, some are neutral, some are criticisms, some are laudatory. Your task is to look for the clues above in each paragraph, know who's saying what, and what they are using to support what they are saying, and where to locate the info in the passage. You should let everything else you read wash over you. Don't get sucked into trying to understand what it's saying, but HOW it's saying it. Always dissect paragraphs and spend a few seconds thinking about how they function in the passage as a whole.

There is hope! I have been struggling since late March to "get" RC; and now I get it. You can too.

PetitBonaparte
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Re: Huge breakthrough on RC; will update this list with tips

Postby PetitBonaparte » Tue May 05, 2009 11:59 pm

Wow, thanks! Very generous of you to share your tips.

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UCantHandleTheTruth
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Re: Huge breakthrough on RC; will update this list with tips

Postby UCantHandleTheTruth » Wed May 06, 2009 10:15 am

When you did the 10 passages in a row, did you time yourself or it was pretty casual?

lz06
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Re: Huge breakthrough on RC; will update this list with tips

Postby lz06 » Wed May 06, 2009 10:18 am

10 sections in a row, as in over 5 hours of RC? That's serious dedication, I usually don't want to see anymore RC after just one section. But thanks for the tips, this inspired me to spend all weekend working on this. woooo.

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iwakeboard
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Re: Huge breakthrough on RC; will update this list with tips

Postby iwakeboard » Wed May 06, 2009 10:24 am

Valuable information, thank you.

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JazzOne
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Re: Huge breakthrough on RC; will update this list with tips

Postby JazzOne » Wed May 06, 2009 10:35 am

Solid post. I need to start studying for June. Damn.

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youpiiz
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Re: Huge breakthrough on RC; will update this list with tips

Postby youpiiz » Wed May 06, 2009 10:36 am

why jazzone why?

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JazzOne
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Re: Huge breakthrough on RC; will update this list with tips

Postby JazzOne » Wed May 06, 2009 10:40 am

youpiiz wrote:why jazzone why?


Actually, I just noticed that I missed the registration deadline by one day. I might back out now that I have to pay a late fee as well.

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youpiiz
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Re: Huge breakthrough on RC; will update this list with tips

Postby youpiiz » Wed May 06, 2009 10:49 am

.
Last edited by youpiiz on Thu Jun 17, 2010 10:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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doinmybest
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Re: Huge breakthrough on RC; will update this list with tips

Postby doinmybest » Wed May 06, 2009 12:18 pm

Nice post, I have slowly been moving away from the powerscore diagraming method towards a method more like this. I have gone from -6 to -7 to an acceptable -2 to -4.

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rkitten
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Re: Huge breakthrough on RC; will update this list with tips

Postby rkitten » Wed May 06, 2009 12:53 pm

@UCantHandleTheTruth

I started timing myself in the AM, realized I was still getting 4 to 5 (and sometimes 7) wrong, understanding nothing, and then stopped the timer. I did about 3 sections untimed, getting a bunch wrong in the beginning; I realized the issue was not that the questions were "hard" or that the passages were "hard," but that I wasn't absorbing the right things out of the passage before arriving at the questions.

So for the next three sections I tried to come up with a way to extract the salient details from the passage, while not taking too long or missing anything crucial. I used the link above as a starting point, but found I had to adapt it to something effective for me. By the third section, I was getting every single question right (well almost; once in a while I'd make a silly error). I timed myself on one, got a -1 and finished in 33 minutes. I asked someone what the hardest RC sections they'd ever seen were, and did all of them sitting on the couch, missing -3, -1, -2 respectively. The TV was on and everything; and I finished with 5 minutes left over on all of them.

In my ride to work this morning I knocked out a section with a -1, and although I didn't time myself I know I finished way before 35 minutes. You never know if you might bungle a game or get a couple more LR's wrong then you usually do. Putting these 4 points into my score already puts me at a 174. It is absolutely worth it to master this section-- you get asked the same crap every time!

Chessiesmile
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Re: Huge breakthrough on RC; will update this list with tips

Postby Chessiesmile » Wed May 06, 2009 1:09 pm

Def. thanks for this. It seems as if there's fairly little offered in the way of a plan of attack for RC; I'll make sure to try this when the time comes.

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Bikeflip
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Re: Huge breakthrough on RC; will update this list with tips

Postby Bikeflip » Wed May 06, 2009 1:26 pm

Sweet.

Sesame_Jesus
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Re: Huge breakthrough on RC; will update this list with tips

Postby Sesame_Jesus » Wed May 06, 2009 3:37 pm

It'd be extremely helpful if OP (or someone else who's applying similar methods with a lot of success) could scan in an RC passage that they worked on so we could see exactly what your notations look like. PLEASE!! This would be amazing.

Even if not, thanks for this post

JJim1919
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Re: Huge breakthrough on RC; will update this list with tips

Postby JJim1919 » Wed May 06, 2009 3:41 pm

I got a -1 on a real LSAT test RC section, and this guy hits it spot on. This is almost exactly what I do when I read a passage. After a while, you can kind of figure out the questions they will ask you. When you see things with LSAT logic such as cause and effect, sufficient and necessary, differences between two proposals, things they can agree on...etc, mark this stuff. The LSAT will usually test it.

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iwakeboard
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Re: Huge breakthrough on RC; will update this list with tips

Postby iwakeboard » Wed May 06, 2009 3:44 pm

Sesame_Jesus wrote:It'd be extremely helpful if OP (or someone else who's applying similar methods with a lot of success) could scan in an RC passage that they worked on so we could see exactly what your notations look like. PLEASE!! This would be amazing.

Even if not, thanks for this post


Very good idea.

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frotteur
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Re: Huge breakthrough on RC; will update this list with tips

Postby frotteur » Wed May 06, 2009 3:46 pm

iwakeboard wrote:
Sesame_Jesus wrote:It'd be extremely helpful if OP (or someone else who's applying similar methods with a lot of success) could scan in an RC passage that they worked on so we could see exactly what your notations look like. PLEASE!! This would be amazing.

Even if not, thanks for this post


Very good idea.


But you'll get banned if you post LSAT material.

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iwakeboard
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Re: Huge breakthrough on RC; will update this list with tips

Postby iwakeboard » Wed May 06, 2009 4:14 pm

frotteur wrote:
iwakeboard wrote:
Sesame_Jesus wrote:It'd be extremely helpful if OP (or someone else who's applying similar methods with a lot of success) could scan in an RC passage that they worked on so we could see exactly what your notations look like. PLEASE!! This would be amazing.

Even if not, thanks for this post


Very good idea.


But you'll get banned if you post LSAT material.


Withdrawn!

jaydizzle
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Re: Huge breakthrough on RC; will update this list with tips

Postby jaydizzle » Wed May 06, 2009 5:00 pm

Change the wording slightly, and it will not be an official passage. :wink: I really am interested in it. Someone do it!!

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MlhopeTC
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Re: Huge breakthrough on RC; will update this list with tips

Postby MlhopeTC » Wed May 06, 2009 5:43 pm

If anyone had something scanned then people could simply PM them their email addresses and it could be sent that way instead of posted here.

jaydizzle
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Re: Huge breakthrough on RC; will update this list with tips

Postby jaydizzle » Wed May 06, 2009 6:12 pm

MlhopeTC wrote:If anyone had something scanned then people could simply PM them their email addresses and it could be sent that way instead of posted here.



you just beat me. :( or if for some reason we can't do that just change the passage around like i mentioned.

Fiction
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Re: Huge breakthrough on RC; will update this list with tips

Postby Fiction » Wed May 06, 2009 6:17 pm

Historically Reading Comp has been my best section--I rarely miss more than 4, typically 1 or 2. I accomplish this by not marking the passage at all and simply reading carefully and quickly, remembering as much as I can, and having a general idea of the structure of the passage so I can refer back to it when specific questions are asked. Usually if I miss a question either I misread it and answered incorrectly or I just had trouble with some of the answer choices (I would narrow it down to two choices that made a lot of sense to me and just pick the wrong one).

Of course, if I could I would gladly spend the time to make this a done deal, but I am nervous about breaking my system so close to the actual LSAT and ending up missing more than if I had just gone my natural route. What do you think?

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rkitten
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Re: Huge breakthrough on RC; will update this list with tips

Postby rkitten » Wed May 06, 2009 6:21 pm

Fiction wrote:Historically Reading Comp has been my best section--I rarely miss more than 4. I accomplish this by not marking the passage at all and simply reading carefully and quickly, remembering as much as I can, and having a general idea of the structure of the passage so I can refer back to it when specific questions are asked. Usually if I miss a question either I misread it and answered incorrectly or I just had trouble with some of the answer choices (I would narrow it down to two choices that made a lot of sense to me and just pick the wrong one).

Of course, if I could I would gladly spend the time to make this a done deal, but I am nervous about breaking my system so close to the actual LSAT and ending up missing more than if I had just gone my natural route. What do you think?


Hey Fiction,

If you looked back through my passages, you would see VERY little marking up. Maybe a word here and there in paragraphs or a little star or an arrow connecting a piece of evidence to the main point. This is purely for me to have a fast way to refer back to the passages and know exactly where something is; also the things I mark I pay special attention to and remember by the time I get to the questions, which usually ask me about it.

Relying on memory alone is a sure fire way to miss 4 or more questions, because the test makers punish you for using your memory instead of refering back to the line of text which directly supports it; they give you tempting wrong answer choices that play off a mistakenly thinking, "oh, I remember reading that."

JJim1919
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Re: Huge breakthrough on RC; will update this list with tips

Postby JJim1919 » Wed May 06, 2009 6:26 pm

rkitten wrote:
Fiction wrote:Historically Reading Comp has been my best section--I rarely miss more than 4. I accomplish this by not marking the passage at all and simply reading carefully and quickly, remembering as much as I can, and having a general idea of the structure of the passage so I can refer back to it when specific questions are asked. Usually if I miss a question either I misread it and answered incorrectly or I just had trouble with some of the answer choices (I would narrow it down to two choices that made a lot of sense to me and just pick the wrong one).

Of course, if I could I would gladly spend the time to make this a done deal, but I am nervous about breaking my system so close to the actual LSAT and ending up missing more than if I had just gone my natural route. What do you think?


Hey Fiction,

If you looked back through my passages, you would see VERY little marking up. Maybe a word here and there in paragraphs or a little star or an arrow connecting a piece of evidence to the main point. This is purely for me to have a fast way to refer back to the passages and know exactly where something is; also the things I mark I pay special attention to and remember by the time I get to the questions, which usually ask me about it.

Relying on memory alone is a sure fire way to miss 4 or more questions, because the test makers punish you for using your memory instead of refering back to the line of text which directly supports it; they give you tempting wrong answer choices that play off a mistakenly thinking, "oh, I remember reading that."


Exactly. Unless the questions says "implied" they want what is explicitly stated. They will usually tempt you with something VERY similar, but not exactly the same.

Fiction
Posts: 76
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Re: Huge breakthrough on RC; will update this list with tips

Postby Fiction » Wed May 06, 2009 6:34 pm

rkitten wrote:Hey Fiction,

If you looked back through my passages, you would see VERY little marking up. Maybe a word here and there in paragraphs or a little star or an arrow connecting a piece of evidence to the main point. This is purely for me to have a fast way to refer back to the passages and know exactly where something is; also the things I mark I pay special attention to and remember by the time I get to the questions, which usually ask me about it.

Relying on memory alone is a sure fire way to miss 4 or more questions, because the test makers punish you for using your memory instead of refering back to the line of text which directly supports it; they give you tempting wrong answer choices that play off a mistakenly thinking, "oh, I remember reading that."


Thanks. I guess my real concern is that I don't want to get too much in my own head and really thinking a lot about what to look out for for fear it will slow me down too much. If my scores were atrocious I would be looking for anything to help it, but since my scores are decent so far, I don't want to mess up a good thing.




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