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RC- Author's attitude

emli1000emli1000 Alum Member Inactive ⭐
I just wanted to ask what steps most of you take when you are answering questions on RC passages?

Can someone give me a list of techniques/methods that has worked for them?

Also, when you want to find out the attitude of the author do you usually circle words such as however & although to try to figure out the author's attitude/main point in that section or paragraph that start with those two words?


  • alexroark5alexroark5 Alum Member Inactive ⭐
    edited March 2015 812 karma
    For RC to me there are two main parts.

    1. You need to know how to read the passages. Obviously you want to read for reasoning structure and understand how the structure is laid out as it relates to the main point of the passage, allow the main point to highlight the passage's "structural road map" so to speak (what is the purpose of each paragraph). You need to be able to follow shifts in support for one side or another (some scientists believe x, HOWEVER....), understand what the point of specific examples are (why did the author put that example there?), and Identify the author's attitude (is he/she objective, in favor of argument 1, in favor of argument 2, unsure/undecided, qualified support? etc.) and know when you are reading background/contextual information that you do not need to spend loads of time on. Also pay attention to diction, the author's diction is critical. The slightest choice of one word vs another can subtly reveal what the author's attitude is in the more challenging passages.

    2. You need to understand how to attack the different question types (there are only a handful) for example, you should probably be able to answer most "global" questions without referring back to the passage" whereas you will need to refer back to the passage more frequently for "localized" questions (the memory method and your understanding of structure relative to the main point should help you do this quickly when specific line references are not provided).

    One thing that I do for passages is draw brackets in the margins to show where the different sides of the arguments are (i'll just label the brackets 1 or 2 depending on which argument it is) and when I identify the author's attitude I'll write an "A" in the margin and circle it (I do the same for the main point "MP". I'll also circle important names and essay/novel/book titles etc so that I can find them quickly if they are referred to in the questions. I find doing any more than that starts to get too messy and just counterproductive.
  • emli1000emli1000 Alum Member Inactive ⭐
    edited March 2015 3462 karma
    Thanks to the two of you!
  • emli1000emli1000 Alum Member Inactive ⭐
    edited March 2015 3462 karma
    @"Nilesh S" I posted it here so I can star this discussion :)

    "to ace the test and improve on RC... try Manhattan RC... also... since you have 7 months... try reading the economist... .that definitely helps... remember... as @"Jonathan Wang" said you can improve in RC... In RC you can't train for the content of the passages... but you CAN train for the structure of the passages and types of questions... for one... an RC passage will (usually) be some variation/sequence of an argument or view (A1), support for that argument (S1), a counter argument/arguments or alternate view/ views (A2 maybe an A3 as well), support for the counter argument/arguments (S2/S3) and the author's view (AV). The degree of support for either of the arguments may vary... and the author's view will often be subtle.

    Then there are certain types of questions which are standard eg. some rendition of the following: (1) what does the author mean when he uses the word "enlightened" in line 32 of the passage (you have to look at the context here) (2) what is the main point of the passage (this question is easy to get - because the wrong answers have certain patent defects eg. they are too specific or out of scope etc.) (3) what is the structure of the passage (an example of an answer for this type of question would be something like: A problem is presented, two solutions are proposed, support for each position is given and one solution is chosen over the others - proper notation helps A LOT here) (4) According to the passage some scientists/scholars/reporters/professors hold the opinion that/ have criticized (these are just a test of how well you know the passage... no higher function beyond this involved here) (5) from the passage it can be inferred that the author believes that... (now here are questions where you have to use your judgement and common sense based on what the passage conveys about the author/situation) (6) the passage provides most support for - (7) each of the following is dealt with in the passage except (8) the role of computer programmers in the passage is most analogous to (9) which of the following is dealt with in both passage A and passage B / in passage A but not passage B(10) how are the two passages related to each other

    You may not be able to train for all kinds of subjects... but you CAN definitely prime your reading skills so that you look for at least some of these as you go through the passage... (1) develop a notation scheme that gets you the broad structure of the passage (2) tune your self to the different question types (3) assimilate in your prep the strategies for identifying the right answers for these standard question types. If you do this over a period of time, your RC score WILL improve. Practice some of these with passages from the economist. I was struggling with RC too before I changed my mindset...."
  • Nilesh SNilesh S Alum Inactive ⭐
    3438 karma
    @emli1000 awesome!!! Glad it came in handy!
  • emli1000emli1000 Alum Member Inactive ⭐
    3462 karma
  • arabprodigy30arabprodigy30 Alum Member
    243 karma
    @emli1000 Thank you perfect !!!!
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