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Missing 12-15 on RC.. any advice?

WhatslsatWhatslsat Member
edited September 2020 in General 476 karma

At this point I might as well just guess all the answers ha ha!

To be fair, I've only taken 2 RC sections so far (have been studying LR and LG for the last 6months).
It's taking me roughly 4-6 minutes on the passage and I still don't retain much. I think I'm having trouble understanding the structure, figuring out the main points for each paragraph and their relationships.
I tried to read the passages in 2-3 minutes but I pretty much retain nothing. I think I'd rather spend more time up-front and get through the questions quickly, I even thought about not reading the passage at all or skim it in 1-minute and then come back to the passages for all the answers..

My strongest are Science and Law passages.
My weakest are Hum and Art, but Art especially.

I do read The Economist but I saw someone's post saying that you shouldn't really have to do any supplemental reading
until you have been exposed to Every Single RC passages in the PTs (1-74 of course, leaving fresh at least 15 PTs to simulate real exam) and I agree with that.

On the other hand I am:
0-2 in LG
3-6 in LR

I wanted to take LSAT Flex (Nov or Jan if Jan turns out to be Flex) but now I'm leaning more towards 5-section exam since my RC is so weak, I think, at best, I'll be able to get to 8-10 which is where I am after BR. RC, being weighed more in FLEX, will work against achieving my goal score :(
What do you think I should do!?

Any thoughts will be greatly appreciated!


  • noonawoonnoonawoon Alum Member
    edited September 2020 3481 karma

    "I tried to read the passages in 2-3 minutes but I pretty much retain nothing. I think I'd rather spend more time up-front and get through the questions quickly, I even thought about not reading the passage at all or skim it in 1-minute and then come back to the passages for all the answers."

    Definitely don't skim or rush through the passage. If you are in the middle of the passage and feel confused, force yourself to go back and re-read. I know it feels annoying and like it's wasting time, but you save time with the questions that way

    "I do read The Economist but I saw someone's post saying that you shouldn't really have to do any supplemental reading until you have been exposed to Every Single RC passages in the PTs (1-74 of course, leaving fresh at least 15 PTs to simulate real exam) and I agree with that."

    I agree that supplemental reading is not necessary, but it can help improve focus a lot. And I disagree that you should burn through all the RC passages before you do supplemental reading.

    How are your BR scores for RC? Are they still low? If you have a high BR score then you need to focus on improving timing. If you have a low BR then you need to focus on understanding the passages and subtleties of questions/passages

    One big pointer to improve concentration is to just use your phone less. I have no idea if this applies to you, but a lot of people have poor concentration because they're used to grabbing their phone every 2 minutes to check notifications. When you do homework for school, do you also find that your concentration is poor?

  • WhatslsatWhatslsat Member
    edited September 2020 476 karma


    1. Thank you for commenting on how re-reading things can feel like a waste of time. I often feel this way when I'm re-reading things. Not only that, I judge myself, get anxious, and all of sudden I'm in a vicious cycle. I feel like I need to understand everything clearly in one-go. Hearing someone who can speak with experience on this is encouraging.

    2. My BR is -8 or more which is really bad... I found understanding some of the more difficult question stems hard. And it takes long time for me to get through each answer choice. I'm not able to eliminate answers as quickly as I do on LR. I felt like I needed to work on comprehension rather than timing, your comment is very reassuring.

    3. My concentration is okay, I think. I don't use my phone all that much but I can definitely see why you would point that out!

    Thank you so much for this thoughtful, constructive feedback. I'll apply what you said and try to improve on my RC with these things in mind.

    Thanks again!

  • katrinalindckatrinalindc Member
    29 karma

    I was also struggling with RC, which made me so upset because I was a humanities major in college and spent so much time reading and analyzing. I've started to think of the passages not in terms or retaining information, but in terms of passage structure. After each paragraph I read, I ask myself, "what is this paragraph doing?" >> "Oh I get it, it's explaining the statement made in paragraph 2 that all penguins are cute." or "It's refuting the claims made in paragraph 1" etc...

    I've started to pretend that I'm reading a friends terribly boring paper that I know nothing about, but just need to make sure that it makes sense structurally, and also pretend to be very critical of it. So when the passage says something like "Penguins - which are arctic avian creatures who eat fish and have cute babies - are hunted...." I actually have just been skimming that entire interjection because it's not important, it's just context. Just like in LR, we're just looking for main points made, and why there are made.

    Lastly, I personally like using Khan Academy for RC practice specifically, because they tell you what you did wrong and why upfront, along with hints, which, to me, was more helpful than practicing a section, getting them all wrong, and then watching JY. JY worked wonders for LR, but I had a hard time with his RC method.

    I hope this helps!

  • WhatslsatWhatslsat Member
    edited September 2020 476 karma


    Hi there!
    I was also a Humanities major which makes not excelling in RC all the more difficult to swallow.

    I try not to read for the details and pay more attention on bigger picture but for whatever reason I always get bogged down in the details. As soon as I start reading almost everything feels important which means that nothing is important.

    And I agree, I watched bunch of JY's video for RC just to get my feet wet but the low-res memory method doesn't seem to be working so well for me but I've only done 3 RC sections so far. Not sure if I should push through with the Low-res method or try spending more time on the passage.

    One thing I know for certain is that as @noonawoon has mentioned, I need to work on improving my comprehension. Sometimes it'll take me couple of hours to make sure that I understand the passage very thoroughly and get all the questions correct.. Is this worth it?? :neutral:

    Definitely going to check out Khan Academy! Thanks so much for taking the time~!

  • Heinz DoofenshmirtzHeinz Doofenshmirtz Member
    481 karma

    You've only done 2 reading comprehension sections! don't be discouraged ! I am by no means an expert, I'm still going -2 to -5 on an RC passage. But here are some tips that may help:

    1. You probably already know this one: exposure. RC passages have the same topic a lot of times. Already having previous knowledge of what the f they might be talking about really does help when you're confused. I really do believe RC improves with more exposure, so expect improvement in your future!

    2. Concentration: someone mentioned this above, but using my phone less makes my concentration almost effortless. My concentration used to be really bad, and I would lose focus, which then would make me stressed, and therefore ruin my focus even more. I once even had to stop taking a PT because I was so anxious about not being able to concentrate. A couple months later and my concentration is so much improved by deleting social media, which is designed to stimulate you every few seconds. I also meditate (not just by sitting down and breathing for ten minutes, but also intently focusing on other activities in my life). Also, every night I time myself for 35 minutes reading difficult content. I know you said you disagree that you have to read the Economist, and I do not think its a necessity by any means. But reading challenging material for 35 minutes (I'm more of a Foreign Affairs kid myself) has improved my focus and is well worth it for me.

    3. Lastly, and most importantly in my opinion is a deep and thorough BR. It almost pains me to write this because doing a BR the way I do is so time-consuming and tedious, but I think it will bring the most improvement to your score. The way I BR is: paraphrasing the passage in one paragraph, then writing down the MP, structure, and authors tone. Then I go through the questions, and for every single question I write down all the reasons the right answer is right, and all the reasons the wrong answers are wrong. THEN I take it one step further even, and try to "correct" the wrong answer: in other words, how can you "fix" the wrong answer to make it right?
      This process is sooo tedious and annoying to do at times. It takes me anywhere from 1.5-3 hours to BR a single section. But I think this will improve your speed on the test in identifying correct answer choices faster.

    Anyways, like I said I'm no expert. But if you're struggling with RC, maybe try these out! and feel free to message me :)

  • EllegoalsEllegoals Member
    342 karma

    If you really have only done 2 RC sections ever, I think you just need a lot more practice. Since your LG and LR scores are so low, to me it seems like you'll be able to get your RC score down as well.

  • shenmichelle0shenmichelle0 Member
    9 karma

    Hi! Do you diagram the passage in any way? I used to take 5-6 min/passage and now take 3-4, and have improved on significantly getting answers right throughout the section too. What I have found helpful is to highlight sentences as I read the passage the first time and to: 1) use yellow for argument indicators (just the word), 2) use pink for the author's/author-endorsed POV (sentences throughout the passage), and 3) use orange for the other person's/"common" POV (sentences throughout the passage). Diagramming the passage in this way helps me to pay attention to the information as I am reading it, as well as refer back to the structure of the argument as I go through the questions. In terms of practicing, I like to drill one passage at a time (starting untimed), then go through 4 timed. If you know you struggle with art and humanities passage, I would start with only drilling those (because you can likely target common problems you are having with science passages too). I start out each RC drilling session with 1 untimed, review, then 4 timed review, -- and do that every day. I started with passages at 2 star difficulty, but have increased up to 3-4 star, and 5 star passages. If I am doing multiple RC drilling sessions in the day, I start with the easier passages and build up to harder ones. I hope this helps, and good luck!

  • katrinalindckatrinalindc Member
    edited September 2020 29 karma


    Oh I feel you so much. Yes, check out Khan Academy then, it'd totally worth your while because it's free! and they have much more documentation on how to go about each question type. I haven't been worrying about time so far (I'm taking the November Flex), so I'm spending about 13-15 minutes on a passage and questions. I vote for taking your sweet time to get really familiar and feel confident, just like practicing a new skill.

    Let me know if you need an accountability buddy, it'd nice not to be alone during this!

  • WhatslsatWhatslsat Member
    edited September 2020 476 karma

    @"Heinz Doofenshmirtz"

    Thank you for those encouraging words :blush: and feedbacks. My default mode of thinking is to judge and you are right, I have only just started and shouldn't judge myself too harshly.
    Meditation has helped with this but during practices I tend to get anxious fast.

    That's really interesting that you meditate by intently focusing on other activities in life, I cannot overstate how important this is both as a practitioner and student (for everything really). I learned this exact lesson from meditation app (waking up, highly recommend) but the kind of focus and mindfulness that I experience during my sitting doesn't seem to bleed into other aspects of my life. I 'm going to do my best to follow your example (both meditation by being intensely present in all that I do, the good and bad, and the tedious blind review process)

    Thank you!

  • WhatslsatWhatslsat Member
    476 karma

    I knew I wouldn't improve much on RC so I really invested myself into LR and LG. At this point I'll be happy with --10 on RC...

    Thank you for the encouraging words :)

  • WhatslsatWhatslsat Member
    476 karma


    I had a similar approach in terms of highlighting but since I'm using touch pad I found it annoying to go back and change the highlighting colors, I should get a mouse.

    You sound like you've made really good progress! I envy you. And definitely do agree with drilling passages that I'm bad at. I'm going to drill art/hum starting today! Thanks so much!

  • EllegoalsEllegoals Member
    342 karma

    @alexhpcs In case it wasn't clear, by "low" I meant the number of questions you get wrong! :smile: but you shouldn't limit yourself - just because you think you can't do better than -10 doesn't mean you actually can't do better than -10. I have a feeling if you really focused a lot of time on RC, you'll surprise yourself. Good luck!

  • jordan_23jordan_23 Member
    67 karma

    @alexhpcs Practice makes perfect! For me, I used to spend less time upfront, and would struggle answering questions with a fuzzy understanding of what I just read. Spend more time really comprehending what you have just read upfront on each passage - it will payoff in the end! I like spending 4-5 minutes per passage, and 4 minutes for the questions. And when you get to the questions, really attack them and don't get too hung up on one question, especially early on. You got this!

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