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Advices for RC: POE, reading for structure, notation

sjiang666sjiang666 Legacy Member
edited July 2017 in Reading Comprehension 157 karma

Hi all,

I just finished the first reading section "introduction on reading comprehension" in CC. I also watched @"nicole.hopkins" video about her RC notation strategy. Both inspire me a lot about how to approach RC.

Right now I finish reading a passage in 3.5-4 min, but I spend way too much time on answering questions. I can spend between 8-12min on questions! Passages about art review are especially hard for me. And the timing is a big issue. With in 35min I can only finish 3 passages, with average -1 per passage.

I realize that I spend time trying to prove a wrong choice is wrong from the passage, while it is never mentioned. I also find myself spend a lot of time on comparing the rest of the answers after eliminating. I look at one choice, feeling that there is a tiny part I don't like, but I can give reasons for why I can stand it, and repeatedly do the same thing to another choice. I am trying to switch my method/mindset, and I would love to know how you approach the questions and choose the answer confidently.

A lot of high scorers suggest that we should read for reasoning structure. It sounds like making a lot of sense to me, but I am not very clear about how to apply it. And I don't feel that simply asking "what's the main idea of the paragraph" can't ensure me catch the structure. Actually, sometimes I feel interrupted by these questions. I mechanically ask myself about MP simply because I am trying to follow JY's method. Also, I find that not all "transaction/switch" of the meaning happen between the paragraphs. There can be more than one level of meaning within a single paragraph. How does the reading process look like when you are reading for structure? I am so curious.

I am also trying Nicole's notation strategy, and I think it can be very helpful in locating details asked in questions. But I also find that I am not very used to the strategy, and by taking notes I am slowing down my reading speed. I keep on asking "should I circle/box this?" And I don't find that making notation helps in reading for structure. I suppose it should, is it? I will keep on practicing, maybe modify some of the notation strategy, and I would love to know if anyone also take note while you read, and any suggestions would be helpful.

Thanks a lot in advance! :)

Comments

  • SamiSami Yearly Member Sage 7Sage Tutor
    edited July 2017 10700 karma

    @sjiang666 said:

    >

    but I spend way too much time on answering questions. I can spend between 8-12min on questions! Passages about art review are especially hard for me.

    Yeah that's a lot of time you are spending on questions! Especially since you have already spent 4 min on the passage. We need to cut down the question time to 40 sec per question or less.

    The art passages can be a bit sucky. Coincidentally, I am doing an Art passage for the next free RC tutoring on this upcoming Saturday. Feel free to join and participate. Another way is to go to the Oldies but Goodies RC tutoring Thursday nights with Sage Daniel.

    I look at one choice, feeling that there is a tiny part I don't like, but I can give reasons for why I can stand it.

    You just do not have the time to do that. The first time I went -0 on RC I had forgotten to reset my watch so I rushed through the question by not lingering and just going with my instinct. I seriously felt sick to my stomach. But the section ended up being -0. You need to trust yourself that you have read the passage the right way and answer any questions. If you want to compare answers tell yourself that you can circle the questions and come back at the end of section when you have time. But do not put time upfront on them when you still have a passage to go. Think of it like this - maybe you are 70% confidence and comparing answer choices at that moment will get you 25% more confidence but at the cost of 2-3 min. That's the time it should take you to do 3 questions. Is it worth to gain 25% more confidence on a question you are already 70% confident and miss 3 questions?

    You need to trust your instinct, and just circle if the confidence is really low. Force yourself to finish the section first and have a second round to gain the other missing confidence. I think if 20 questions can be done with 70% confidence and 7 with 50% confidence and you have 5 min left at the end, you can use that to increase you confidence for those 7 questions you were low on and maybe you won't get done with all of them but it would still be better than not doing 7 questions with 0% confidence/blind guess because you ran out of time.

    A lot of high scorers suggest that we should read for reasoning structure. It sounds like making a lot of sense to me, but I am not very clear about how to apply it. And I don't feel that simply asking "what's the main idea of the paragraph" can't ensure me catch the structure. Actually, sometimes I feel interrupted by these questions. I mechanically ask myself about MP simply because I am trying to follow JY's method. Also, I find that not all "transaction/switch" of the meaning happen between the paragraphs. There can be more than one level of meaning within a single paragraph. How does the reading process look like when you are reading for structure? I am so curious.

    I do that by having a dialog with myself in my head. A big paragraph can be split in two paragraphs if for example within a paragraph they talk about two ways the author supports his viewpoint. But a lot of the paragraphs really do have one really low summary and they can have multiple details. So you want to do low resolution summary first and then you can add details in the high resolution summary.

    I am also trying Nicole's notation strategy, and I think it can be very helpful in locating details asked in questions. But I also find that I am not very used to the strategy, and by taking notes I am slowing down my reading speed.

    Taking notes will slow you down and I don't recommend it. So will a detailed notating strategy like Nicole's. You want to tweak any strategy to your needs. Maybe have a very simple notating strategy like JY's. In my opinion you really want to get good at the memory method of retaining the structure of the passage in your head.

  • NotMyNameNotMyName Alum Member Sage
    5320 karma

    @sjiang666 it sounds like you are trying to do several difficult things at once: learn how to read for structure, remain disciplined in the questions, and implement a notation strategy. Woah. That is a lot of moving parts!!

    I would first suggest training yourself to read for structure because that is the most fundamental aspect of RC. "Why did anyone bother to write this passage?". This is a cumbersome task to learn if it doesn't come naturally to you. I think using the memory method process (read, write 1 sentence mp for each paragraph, and a mp for the entire passage, etc) and taking untimed sections could be helpful here. The key is to reach a "low-resolution" understanding of the passsage. @"Cant Get Right" sums it up better than I can here https://7sage.com/discussion/#/discussion/11675/living-in-rc-hell

    A notation strategy seems like a bear to implement. I have really tried to avoid using one but I think I may need it in order to reach my goals. The notations need to be second-nature. You just do it without thinking, because if your thinking about which notation to use when then you are not thinking about the passage's meaning. Once you feel confident in your ability to read the passage with a low-resolution understanding, if you still feel that it is not enough, then I would recommend implementing the notation strategy.

    Discipline in the questions should come last in my opinion. Although it is very important, it is not as important as confidently reading the passage and synthesizing it's points. This discipline should also come easier at that point because, assuming the previous 2 steps have gone well, you'll know why wrong answer choices are wrong. And this is my last point: get familiar with the patterns in wrong ACs for RC. They are more difficult to ascertain but the patterns exist none the less. One key to discipline for me is not necessarily confidence in the correct AC, but confidence in all the wrong answer choices.

  • sjiang666sjiang666 Legacy Member
    157 karma

    Thanks a lot @Sami @jkatz1488 for giving me advices!
    I will work first on reading for structure by keep asking "why author is writing it". But I still feel that Nichol's notation might be great. I remember Nicole mentioned in her that she once solved a passage which she did not really understand the topic. It sounds magical, and might be particularly useful for ESL like me. Sometimes, although not often, I am just so unfamiliar with a topic and the related vocabs. I am so afraid that this kind of passage will occur on the test day! So Nicole's story really attracts me...

  • NotMyNameNotMyName Alum Member Sage
    5320 karma

    Nicole is brilliant. I like that story too!

    But she is careful to say that while she didn't understand the content of the passage, she did understand the structure. She had an abstract understanding like "OK this group of scientists believe in this theory but there is this new group of scientists who say they are wrong. They provide support by pointing to the Klingon-Halstrepper theory (whatever that is) that took place in 1957)". We don't actually have to understand the passage to understand how its pieces interact with one another. By the way, I just made up that piece is quotes I don't actually remember the subject of the passage Nicole mentions.

    The notation strategy is great for giving us landmarks for this interaction, but it doesn't replace the the foundational understanding of that passage's structure. If it did, we wouldn't even need to read the passage, we could just skim for nouns, dates, etc.

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