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RC is my worst section. Looking for advice.

TylerPKPTylerPKP Alum Member

I miss an average of -15 on RC. I have finished the CC, but I'm still struggling with this section. Is improvement a matter of drilling a lot of untimed/timed sections? Does anyone recommend a supplemental textbook? Like Powerscore or the LSAT Trainer for RC?

Comments

  • lmora021lmora021 Alum Member
    16 karma

    2 months ago I consistently scored around -14 and now constantly score around the -4 mark. I used to focus on remembering everything while now my goal is to remember the structure of the passage and remember what each paragraph does. Once I got that down it was just lots of drilling.

  • fycw2068fycw2068 Alum Member
    404 karma

    I also used to score around -12, but the memory method in the CC was a total game changer for me. https://7sage.com/lsat-reading-comprehension-the-memory-method/

    I have all the PowerScore books, but I found the memory method to be the most helpful because it trains you to read quickly while retaining information. That's HUGE.

    It took me about a solid month of practicing the memory method before I saw results. Now I'm consistently at around -4 (-1 per passage).

  • DivineRazeDivineRaze Alum Member
    550 karma

    @TylerPKP Read for structure!!! If you know the role of each paragraph in the passage, you will be solid!!

  • Older_LS_Applicant85Older_LS_Applicant85 Monthly Member
    140 karma

    @fycw2068 If you don't mind me asking, what's your average time on a passage where you go -1? I've been trying to improve on RC as well and even though I'm also at -1 or -2 for a passage, my time is still at about 9 or 9:30 per passage. That's why I ask. Thanks

  • kenwritekenwrite Member
    2 karma

    @DivineRaze said:
    @TylerPKP Read for structure!!! If you know the role of each paragraph in the passage, you will be solid!!

    Yes! One helpful thing I got out of "The LSAT Trainer" by Mike Kim is to ask yourself WHY the author is writing this (sentence, paragraph, etc.) rather that retaining WHAT is being written.

  • FoolProofFunFoolProofFun Alum Member
    edited May 2019 122 karma

    I know this probably isn't what you're wanting to hear, but even someone starting at -3 average will need to probably do dozens of sections in order to really move to -0 (certainly the average student). Strategies are good, but in my experience studying RC, you develop strategies that work for you AS YOU GO—you don't pick one off the shelf and just magically apply it and start getting things right. You've familiarized yourself with the content through the CC but that is just the starting point if you're really trying to improve score. This is just my opinion, but RC (and LR) are not like LG. There is no gameboard that will add tons of points to your score off the bat. Everyone wants to believe there is a strategy that will improve their score, but IMO the work has to be done first, and then the strategies will emerge.

  • TylerPKPTylerPKP Alum Member
    148 karma

    @kenwrite said:

    @DivineRaze said:
    @TylerPKP Read for structure!!! If you know the role of each paragraph in the passage, you will be solid!!

    Yes! One helpful thing I got out of "The LSAT Trainer" by Mike Kim is to ask yourself WHY the author is writing this (sentence, paragraph, etc.) rather that retaining WHAT is being written.

    I'll make sure to read the RC section of the Trainer! I have the RC Powerscore book as well but it has not been helping.

  • TylerPKPTylerPKP Alum Member
    148 karma

    @FoolProofFun said:
    I know this probably isn't what you're wanting to hear, but even someone starting at -3 average will need to probably do dozens of sections in order to really move to -0 (certainly the average student). Strategies are good, but in my experience studying RC, you develop strategies that work for you AS YOU GO—you don't pick one off the shelf and just magically apply it and start getting things right. You've familiarized yourself with the content through the CC but that is just the starting point if you're really trying to improve score. This is just my opinion, but RC (and LR) are not like LG. There is no gameboard that will add tons of points to your score off the bat. Everyone wants to believe there is a strategy that will improve their score, but IMO the work has to be done first, and then the strategies will emerge.

    Yeah I realized RC is going to take some work. I'm prepared though. I plan to take in Sept/Oct

  • FoolProofFunFoolProofFun Alum Member
    122 karma

    @TylerPKP awesome. I think you can really hack down on those wrong answers and make up a lot of ground. Just keep at it.

  • fycw2068fycw2068 Alum Member
    404 karma

    @Older_LS_Applicant85 said:
    @fycw2068 If you don't mind me asking, what's your average time on a passage where you go -1? I've been trying to improve on RC as well and even though I'm also at -1 or -2 for a passage, my time is still at about 9 or 9:30 per passage. That's why I ask. Thanks

    I haven't timed myself per passage lately but I am able to solve within the 35 min time frame. When I was practicing pacing I typically timed myself at around # of Q's + 2 mins... so if there's 6 q's for a passage, I'd give myself 8 mins for that section.

    If you're already scoring -1 or -2, then I think it's just a matter of continued practice. It took me several months before I was consistently performing as I am now

  • fycw2068fycw2068 Alum Member
    edited May 2019 404 karma

    @TylerPKP

    I did a PT today and decided to do an extra RC as my 5th section and did well on both (-3, -2). I was reflecting on my progress since I first started and thought I'd share some of the changes I noticed in my approach to RC.

    For me, my performance on a section almost entirely hinges on whether or not I actually understood what the passage is saying. That meant accepting that my reading pace isn't going to be the same for every passage. At first that unevenness in my pacing felt weird, but I eventually got over it. Now, I don't move on to the next paragraph until I feel a high level of confidence that I understand what I just read.

    For "easy" passages, I probably spend about 2 mins reading and fly through the questions. That allows me to take my time and spend 4-5 mins on the hard passages... but once I'm done with the passage, I'm able to get through the questions relatively quickly.

    In dissecting RC passages, I noticed there are 2 things that are characteristic of hard passages:
    1. a lot of jargon/words that I have never heard of
    2. long, run on sentences with lots of referential phrasing

    I realized that it's very rare that RC requires you to fully digest hard jargon... Whenever I felt intimidated by a certain word, it hindered me from absorbing everything after it. I noticed sometimes I would just sit there wasting precious seconds trying to pronounce a word in my head haha Now I just substitute "cytology" with the letter "C" and move on (I do this with LR as well).

    Unfortunately, theres really no "easy" way around comprehending the long, run on sentences, except that I just have to slow down and try to fully process. This is so important because I noticed that in those types of passages, a lot of the questions hinges on my ability to untangle those sentences.

    Not gonna lie, it took me a lot of practicing and honing those skills before I got to where I am. Speed is the last thing I worked on, and something I think that just improved with a lot of practice.

    Good luck!

  • ericauhunmwanghoericauhunmwangho Monthly Member
    108 karma

    @lmora021 said:
    2 months ago I consistently scored around -14 and now constantly score around the -4 mark. I used to focus on remembering everything while now my goal is to remember the structure of the passage and remember what each paragraph does. Once I got that down it was just lots of drilling.

    Can you elaborate on what you mean by structure, i keep seeing this every where but when I read for structure what exactly should I be looking for in the paragraphs and should I be annotating?

  • Trees are GoneTrees are Gone Alum Member
    192 karma

    Manhattan RC Forum - look into their analysis on each passage and try to replicate it. I went from -14 avg to -5 by doing just that.

  • Better every dayBetter every day Legacy Member
    246 karma

    @ericauhunmwangho said:

    @lmora021 said:
    2 months ago I consistently scored around -14 and now constantly score around the -4 mark. I used to focus on remembering everything while now my goal is to remember the structure of the passage and remember what each paragraph does. Once I got that down it was just lots of drilling.

    Can you elaborate on what you mean by structure, i keep seeing this every where but when I read for structure what exactly should I be looking for in the paragraphs and should I be annotating?

    Reading for structure is basically just focusing on what role the sentences and paragraphs play in the writing. When people talk about structure in RC they usually are focusing on why the author wrote each paragraph. Ask yourself how does each paragraph relate to the entire passage as a whole. Additionally Focus on main points and the basic support given for these points.

  • LouislepauvreLouislepauvre Alum Member
    750 karma

    Find the way that works for you. Sit with an RC section untimed at first and find methods that work for you to get the right answer. For example, JY's method of writing short summaries in the margins didn't work for me. I ended up wasting a lot of time annotating. I also don't think about structure really. I just read the thing, and bracket main assertions (which are either author view point, or other people's view points---tons of questions on those). For me, I read it rather quickly the first go and spend more time in the questions because I go back to the passage and find the answer. Remember: all of the answers are right there in the passage. You just have to have a method to find them (either by memory or sheer will).

  • FoolProofFunFoolProofFun Alum Member
    122 karma

    Man I see people ask about RC all the time, and usually it is after the CC and they don't see improvement. I've yet to meet anyone who has disagreed with me on this, but RC is probably the least formulaic of all the sections, meaning learning any given "strategy" will probably have less effect on RC than on LR or certainly LG. You just need to pound away. There are plenty of people on this site who will take up your time telling you what works for them based on the practice they have done. But you can't even begin to know whether a strategy is effective until you've been doing sections for a while.

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