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How to Speed up LR to Have Time for 2nd Pass

danielbrowning208danielbrowning208 Alum Member
in General 531 karma

During my PTs, I consistently average -3 per LR section, with one miss usually coming from the first ten questions. I rarely have much time to go back over troublesome questions. I think that going through the section more quickly, skipping confusing questions and allowing time for review, will help me improve. I want to start intentionally implementing this strategy and was wondering if anyone could recommend specific ways to practice. Is it just a matter of videoing myself taking PTs, or are there other methods for speeding up?


  • Habeas PorpoiseHabeas Porpoise Alum Member Sage
    edited July 2019 1861 karma

    I think -3 without time to go back is pretty solid! But I do agree it's valuable to have time at the end of the section. There are a few different drills I did that helped me with speed:

    1. I used PTs 1-35 and drilled 10 in 10 (10 questions in 10 minutes). I didn't necessarily answer all questions 1 through 10, but my aim was to just get my eyes on those initial 10 and answer as many as I could (think low-hanging fruit). I eventually got to a point where in those 10 minutes, I could answer at least 10 questions. Even if I ended up skipping Question 9 and answering Question 11, the total answered was 10. Then I went for 15 in 15, and after that, 20 in 20. I know some people go for 25 in 25, but I find that my best pace is aiming for between 15/15 and 20/20. This method helped me improve my speed on easier questions (less time spent doubting myself when I really didn't need to), skip efficiently, and get what I could answer out of the way so I had more time for the more difficult questions.

    2. After I'd felt really comfortable with the above timing strategy and skipping effectively, I went back to old LR sections I'd already done (from more recently administered exams), and gave myself 30 minutes to complete the entire section. This drill improved my overall time management across the section and sort of "internalized" the speed factor. This works best if you haven't seen the section in a while, but is valuable regardless, imo.

    Both these drills together improved my pacing on new exams. I'd efficiently knock out the easy questions that are often clustered in the beginning of the section, and was able to pace myself through the remaining questions so that I'd have enough time at the end to come back and address the two or three questions that gave me the most trouble.

    For skipping specifically, I did what @"Cant Get Right" recommended and used a marking system. Mine's a bit simple, but I used a big S for a question I completely skipped, a star for really tough questions (usually 2 or 3 of these in a section), and circle for questions that gave me a bit of trouble, where a second look might be good if I have time. At the end of the section I went back to these questions in order high to low priority: S, ☆, ◯.

  • MIT_2017MIT_2017 Alum Member
    470 karma

    Some sort of marking system similar to that which @"Habeas Porpoise" has outlined is a good strategy. I only used two symbols: a circle, meaning I was unsure and would like to go back to it, and a Q, which meant I did this question very quickly (sometimes without reading all the answer choices).

    People often focus on how to spend less time on the questions that are time-consuming: parallel method of reasoning, etc. But focusing on how to solve the not-so-time-consuming questions extremely quickly is an all too often ignored strategy. I think for someone scoring -3 that incorporating something like a Q can be very effective. When you get good at LR, there are frequently (1 to 4 times a section) questions you can answer in 30-40seconds, and sometimes you get to answer choice B and are 99% sure that it is the right answer (i.e. it perfectly matches, or is even better than, the answer you prephrased in your head). I say go for it and move on -- while you are practicing on PTs, be sure to review your Q-marked questions to see if your intuition was 100% there, if you got lucky, or if there was a detail that tripped you up and which may cause you to take that type of question slower next time. Hopefully by test day you have a good sense of when to use this strategy and when not to. Solving these extremely quickly can sometimes free up a couple extra minutes by the end of the section.

  • danielbrowning208danielbrowning208 Alum Member
    531 karma

    @"Habeas Porpoise" @"MIT_2017 Thank you both very much for your advice! I will work on implementing these strategies at first on various sections from PT 1-35 and then on my actual PTs. I think that finding the right speed balance for me will be key to my success in LR.

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