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About to spend a lot of time (months) on RC

edited February 2018 in Reading Comprehension 399 karma

So I'm about to embark on the journey of improving RC. Just for some background, I started studying in June of 2017. The bulk of my studies has gone to LG and LR. My diagnostic was just flat out bad in all sections. It's been a battle; but, I am fully committed to earning a 170, or at least extremely close. I worked my ass off for 4 years to earn a stellar GPA; I'm not about to waste those efforts because I wasn't patient enough to master this test. I started out with Powerscore, but in September I FINALLY went with 7Sage. Since then I have improved with RC slightly. I'm currently sitting at a -10 in RC (yes, that is improvement). I'm only able to do 3 out of the 4 passages right now, and that is something that will change; I refuse to only do 3 out of the 4. I'm realizing that this is simply just going to take a long time, which I'm fine with. I want to make sure I'm not making huge mistakes in terms of how I invest my time, which is why I've decided to confer with some of you who might have some wise words to share. So, I'll give you an idea as to what I plan on doing for the next month (2, 3, maybe 4 months?), or however long it takes to figure RC out.

(I only have about 3 hours per weekday to do this, and 5-6 hours per day on weekends. On the easier to medium difficulty passages I can get anywhere from zero to three wrong, but it will take me 10 minutes to do this. I would say I average getting one wrong on easy and medium passages.)

First, I plan to do all the passages and questions from 1-36. If I'm already wrong on this front, please let me know. I've read just about everywhere that RC changes quite a bit in later tests. I don't want to dedicate countless hours to something if it will actually hurt me in the long run. I think that is a reasonable concern. But, I've also read that RC for the most part is similar, and doing earlier tests would be beneficial. So, basically, is doing RC 1-36 valuable for someone in my situation? Or, would my time be better spent focusing on newer tests? My guess, because I am missing so many questions, is that I need as many RC sections as I can get my hands on.

As far as my methods, I plan on doing each passage three times. The first time will be timed, and in the beginning of my studies I will use the memory method, although I've already experienced with this quite a bit and haven't seen too much improvement, but I haven't ruled it out yet. The second attempt will be traditional BR - no worries with time, just accuracy. Then I will look to see which ones I got wrong, then watch video explanations for the passage and the questions. I also will be writing out explanations for questions that I got wrong on the first attempt and/or during BR. The third attempt will be similar to fool proofing. I just feel that I need to be training my brain how fast it will have to be processing the information from the passage and the questions. At the end of the week, I will review and maybe even redo any passages and questions that tripped me up substantially. I'm also considering having a "redo date" for each one, similar to one of the LG fool proofing methods that I've seen floating around the forums here. I'm aware that RC cannot be fool proofed in a sense that is analogous to that of LG. If RC could be fool proofed to the extent that LG can, RC wouldn't be as hard as it is.

In doing all of this, I feel that I would be getting the most out of each passage and its questions. But, I'm not totally positive. I could very well be wrong in using this method. Of course, I'll be looking for patterns in passages, questions, and things I get tripped up on. I will also be keeping track of my performance on each passage and its questions.

Do you think this method has potential to help? Or, is it overkill or maybe not enough?



  • westcoastbestcoastwestcoastbestcoast Alum Member
    3788 karma

    Even though the newer exams for Reading Comprehension are a bit different, the section still follows the same basic principles. You need to able to keep track of major views, especially the author's. Keep track of author's attitude, pay attention to sentences that indicate a contrast and be able to keep track of the main idea of each paragraph as well as the entire passage so that you can answer inference questions and detailed oriented questions. I personally think that RC isn't drilled enough and people are left wondering why their RC scores haven't been improving. Just realize that how you perform in the earlier RC may not necessarily be reflective of how you will perform in the newer exams. Just be sure to focus on the process.

  • Cant Get RightCant Get Right Yearly + Live Member Sage 🍌 7Sage Tutor
    27725 karma

    I think that, with a few tweaks, this is a solid approach. Here's my notes on the plan:

    1. Yes to RC 1 - 36. Absolutely. With the major exception of the introduction of the Comparative Passage at PT 52, I think RC has changed the least of any other section. Those old passages are golden.

    2. Don't wait to write out explanations for only the ones you miss. Write out explanations as a part of your BR. This will help you delve more deeply into the subtlety of the ACs which is a really vital component.

    3. I like the three attempt approach, and I like the "redo date," maybe after a couple months have passed. I found that repeating passages allowed me to look past the subject matter and really focus on the underlying structural mechanics because my mental capacity is free from having to absorb content.

    4. If you stop improving, it may be because you need to change something to move further. At about -4 I had to completely overhaul my RC strategy. It sucked, it was incredibly time consuming, and I got worse before I got better; but it ultimately helped me to go -0 on the real thing. Different strategies end in different places, and I've often found that the strategies that help us get to one level frequently hold us back from getting to the next. So as you move forward, don't be afraid to reevaluate and make changes in order to push higher.

    RC is a tough section, but it can be mastered the same as the others. It's notoriously difficult, but hang in there, study smart, and you can do it. Good luck!

  • lsatplaylistlsatplaylist Member
    5244 karma

    Also, don't believe the rumors about it being near-impossible to improve or whatnot. It's so not the case. And don't let one bad section be too upsetting. Use it as a way to gain experience.

  • jurisprudentjurisprudent Alum Member
    edited February 2018 326 karma

    If you haven't heard of JY's low resolution/high resolution summary method (it's relatively new and it has superseded the memory method), I suggest that you look into it and apply it to your studies.

    1) The low res summary is literally one word or a phrase that helps you remember the gist of the paragraph. Do this for each paragraph, so that you have a mental roadmap in your head. The low res should get at the main point.

    2) The high res summary is a more detailed version of your low res summary, which is helpful to do during BR. During live time, I don't think there's enough time (for me personally, anyway) to do high res, but it's a useful tool to fully grasp the meaning of the paragraph during BR.

    General Tips:

    1) Don't read for details in the sense of retaining them; read to remember where they're located. I used to struggle finishing on time because I forced myself to remember every single detail. Why do so when you're only going to be tested on 1/10 you remember? I just remember where they're located (generally speaking - e.g. towards beginning of second paragraph) so that if I'm tested on it, I can quickly refer back to it and save time.

    2) Read for structure. How is the passage set up? Where are the shifting viewpoints? Is there a comparison or contrast of different opinions? What is each paragraph DOING (e.g., introduction, presenting an argument, presenting other people's argument) - in other words, understand the function of each paragraph.

    3) Don't compare answers against each other; compare them against the passage. The worst time sinks happen when you're vacillating between two answers that sound the same to you, or you have no idea how to differentiate them. If you're stuck in this pickle, circle it and move on.

    4) Grab the lowest hanging fruit. This is in line with the skipping strategy mentioned above. The main point, the author's tone, the author's purpose/paragraph's purpose are the easiest ones to snag. Analogy, remember the details, and other miscellaneous stems with super long prompts (very common on recent tests) are the hardest ones. If you sniff one coming by reading a few words into the question, skip it. There's no rule that you need to do all the questions in order.

    Hope this helps!

    399 karma

    This is all great advice... Thank you so much!!!

  • Do the right wayDo the right way Alum Member
    181 karma

    @jurisprudent From the advice you gave, to not to read for details, sounds fair to me. I am also facing difficulty to stick to the time limit to complete the RC passage reading. When i listen to JY's explaination, I feel awed and think that i should also do the same while reading the passage. JY captures the entire details entailed in the passage. But when i am trying out on my own to imitate it, I cant stick to the time limits. Whereas ,the part where it is advised to read for structure goes missing. Is there any webinar session or video which explains how to read for structure?

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