Reading Comp - read questions first or no?

AJ LAJ L Member
edited July 2013 in Reading Comprehension 24 karma
Hi all! I'm new to the forum although I have been using the LG videos which I've found very helpful - thank you for providing this free resource!

I'm curious, does anyone read the questions first before reading the passage? I used to do this on the SAT (baaack in the day) and found it helpful.

Any other good RC prep tips? I haven't really concentrated on this section in my studying.



  • Username 7865Username 7865 Member
    24 karma
    Admittedly, I am bad at RC relative to my other sections. In fact I missed out on the mid 170s on my two previous PTs because of bad RC scores. I say this not so that you will ignore my input on this matter, but so that know this is coming from a person who is striving to improve his own RC scores as well.

    It is probably a mistake to read the questions first. I don't think you will find any value in doing this with the exception of questions that ask for something explicitly stated (the ones that say something like "each of the following was given as a reason that A is better than B EXCEPT...). Once you do a good number of PTs or RC drills, you will be able to predict what most of the questions will ask anyway. You will probably be asked about the main point, the author's purpose/view, and what someone would most likely agree/disagree with, on the vast majority of passages. The thing is, knowing that you will be asked these questions doesn't really benefit you because you need to understand all of these aspects anyway. Other than that, you will see questions that reference a particular word or phrase, but those questions give you a line number to find the word easily. It might be helpful to know which key words to look for during your first reading, but I still think that you will come out of that with the same answer and less time.
  • CJ ShinCJ Shin Member
    302 karma
    I am also struggling with RC and it is preventing me from residing in the 170s..
    But yea I do agree with Kevin that reading the questions before doesn't really help that much..
    What I do before reading the passage is just quickly check how many questions are being asked so that I can gauge how long I should be spending on reading it.
  • AJ LAJ L Member
    24 karma
    Thank you!!
  • KK Member
    edited August 2013 345 karma
    I improved a lot at RC and went from getting like 5-6 wrong to getting 0-1 wrong.

    Do not read the questions first.

    I took the time to drill the method JY taught about understanding each paragraph of a RC stimulus.

    After reading each paragraph write in one sentence the main point of that paragraph. You do this for each one, and then write down the main point of the entire passage. Of course, you don't have time to do this on the actual test, so you have to prep in such a way that you can do this mentally. That, however, takes time and practice.

    I also suggest that you mark up the passages. Mark modifier words like "some" or "almost" and take stock of shifts that occur like "however, ....... " and make a note where it happens.

    If you can practice until you can mentally note where the "action" happens in the passage, you can answer many of the questions without having to waste precious time going back. For example, if a question asks "What did the author mean by ___________ in paragraph 2?" you should have a good enough idea of what happened in paragraph 2 to answer it. Lets pretend that the question is "What did the author mean by "vocal" in paragraph 2?" If paragraph 2 was about cat behavior and the author said that cats are very vocal when they are hungry, we can assume that it means cats are noisy or something like that. THe only time you should go back is if it says "in line 5-10 .......... " in the question stem.

    typing on touchpad excuse any mistakes :D
  • Eric FuEric Fu Member
    73 karma
    I second K's advice. It's worked for me as well.
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