RC improvement - what's worked for you?

lsathopefullsathopeful Alum Member
edited August 2014 in General 263 karma
What do you guys think?


  • Allison MAllison M Alum Member Inactive Sage
    810 karma
    The habit that's helped me the most: when I reach the end of a paragraph, I pause, look away from the page, and come up with a quick summary of the main point of the paragraph and it's relationship to the rest of the passage. This means that I spend a bit longer reading the passage than I otherwise might, but sometimes that's a good thing; better to take an extra 30 seconds and make sure that you fully understand the passage than to fly through it and feel less sure about what it says.
  • miguel6zavalamiguel6zavala Alum Member
    71 karma
    Something that works for me is to make yourself believe that whatever the passage is about is YOUR passion in life. I don't know if that makes sense...let's say that the passage is about some weird insect in south america. You have to tell yourself by the first sentence that your life is not complete without understanding that passage about that particular insect. Read the passage as if its what will lead you to meet the love of your life, will help you get a job, will allow you to live forever.

    Once you put that level of engagement in a passage every question will be easy. Sure question will come up that are hard, but the fact that you are answering easy question quickly, will allow you to spend a little more time on harder questions.

    That is what works for me and maybe it won't work for you, but try it. Just try your hardest to show interest in the passage and questions will be easier.
  • blah170blahblah170blah Alum Inactive ⭐
    3545 karma
    I'm glad Miguel that making the passage your passion is what works for you! For me, I had to distance myself from my RC passages. What I realized happened to me if I became engaged with every single line of the passage is that I started to get caught up in the content of the passage, rather than the argument itself.

    My approach to RC has since been to treat the passages like a very long LR question. In the first paragraph, I'm thinking about what conclusion the author is trying to make me come to by the end of the article (sometimes author attitude is given, sometimes not), while I treat the body paragraphs as premises leading up to that conclusion. Echoing what Allison said, I actually stop at the end of every paragraph and think about what role that paragraph plays in the structure of the argument.

    For me, if I don't understand something, I do not get caught up in the details. Instead, I think about a sentence in the context of the surrounding sentences, in the paragraph, and in the entire passage. I note that this detail is something I don't understand so if it becomes relevant in the questions later on, I know to spend more time parsing this out. This has been especially helpful for me in plowing through the science passages, because I no longer get frustrated when I don't understand something immediately.

    Understandably, this method doesn't work for everyone but it has remarkably improved my own RC score.
  • polsckenpolscken Alum Member
    199 karma
    You've got to LOVE what you are reading...I don't care what it is about. It is the most important thing in the world to you.
  • Nilesh SNilesh S Alum Inactive ⭐
    3438 karma
    For me it is creating a structural framework of the piece... what are they trying to say? What is the first argument presented, what is the second argument presented, what is the evidence in support of each of the arguments... what is the authors opinion... and this basic structure feeds into my responses to questions... but that is just my style and may not be suited to everyone...
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