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Strong LR Scores, Weak RC Scores

EmergingAttorney180EmergingAttorney180 Alum Member
in General 133 karma
Hey guys, I was wondering if anyone else here has, either currently or in the past, found themselves scoring high on the Logical Reasoning sections but consistently low on the Reading Comprehension sections? I've previously scored as low as -0 on both sections of Logical Reasoning, yet I have not managed to consistently improve my score on reading comp beyond the -6 to -3 range. I also find myself short of time on reading comp far more often than on other sections. As a side note, I also find my blind review of reading comp sections to be less helpful than on LR sections.


  • nicole.hopkinsnicole.hopkins Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    7965 karma
    Do share your secrets to LR success!
  • alexroark5alexroark5 Alum Member Inactive ⭐
    812 karma
    @EmergingAttorney180 welcome to my life (and i'm sure many others) I think the Trainer and Manhattan offer some really good insights in to RC strategy. Also 7sage's memory method is very helpful. Here is a discussion from a former Manhattan Instructor that went to Columbia Law that I found on TLS. I've done this for a good amount of passages and it really helps. Hope it helps you too!

    "One exercise I find useful for improving RC when working with partially familiar passages is to take a passage and try to imagine yourself as the author. The author likely wrote an outline of what he wanted his article or paper to be about before he began spitting out text, and you want to recreate that outline. The very top line would be the Main Point of the passage, and perhaps the I., II., III., level would be the point of each paragraph. Then each of those headings would have an A., B., C., level, of detail to support, and some of those might have a further 1., 2., 3., level,. Work out an exhaustive outline that captures every bit of information from the passage, in appropriate outline form. Once you're done, identify what level of specificity it would be important to understand after reading the passage once (Just the I., II., III., level, or a bit deeper)? Now, go back to the passage and look at the way the passage unfolds - ask yourself how you could have seen/understood the important outline levels quickly from the structure of each paragraph.

    This is a really exhaustive exercise, and it's meant to be. By getting deep into the shape and structure of one particular passage, you really begin to train yourself to quickly see passages that you read in that multi-level outline form as you are reading them. Because of the nature of this sort of exercise, it really doesn't matter whether it's a fresh passage or not.

    If you want to get exposure to more clean reading material, I'd recommend reading something every day from one of these sources: Smithsonian Magazine, The Atlantic, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Book Review, NASA News, Scientific American, The Economist, Public Library of Science, Popular Science, Psychology Today, Foreign Affairs, The Socjournal, SCOTUSBlog, Law Professor Blog Network, Arts & Letters Daily."
  • brna0714brna0714 Alum Inactive ⭐
    1489 karma
    @EmergingAttorney180 I'm in a similar situation. Although I haven't gone -0 on both LR, I have achieved -0 on one section and generally average around -2. My RC score has fluctuated a frustrating amount but seems to have improved overall.

    I've observed from studying with others and browsing the forums that those who do well in LR generally pay especially close attention to even the most minute of details. This serves us especially well on LR because it helps with spotting assumptions and catching inconsistencies. I've found that in RC, however, getting wrapped up in details of a passage can detract from seeing the overall structure of the passage. Can't see the forest for the trees type situation. It's helped me to step back and try to approach RC with a mind set focused more toward the author's intent.

    At the end of the day, be happy that you're doing so well on a section that counts for half of your score and kudos on the double -0! I think I've found my next goal.

    @alexroark5 Cool exercise! Thanks for sharing.
  • emli1000emli1000 Alum Member Inactive ⭐
    3462 karma
    RC is my least favorite section but I'm working on ways to improve it =/
  • EmergingAttorney180EmergingAttorney180 Alum Member
    133 karma
    @nicole.hopkins No secrets here (besides the 7sage course obviously =) ), just long hours of identifying patterns of weakness and aggressively correcting them. Even with the recent -0, I still feel like there's much improvement to be made. I think one of my best recent decisions was to start exclusively studying "flawed method of reasoning" questions for a while. After hearing that the LSAT Trainer was a great resource for this question type, I picked up a copy. I also purchased the Cambridge LR packets so I could drill problem sets in between my reading sessions. I went into the book with the mindset of "I'm only here to learn about one thing: flaw questions," and came out with a completely different mindset of arguments on the LSAT. It made for an excellent supplement to the 7sage course.

    @alexroark5 Thanks for the resource! I'm going to put that method to the test, hoping that it will allow me to more clearly organize the arguments in a convoluted RC passage. I've previously read the LSAT Trainer's LR sections and was very impressed, and I plan on starting with the RC section soon.

    @brna0714 I very much agree with your assessment. RC seems to punish those who search perhaps too carefully for details. In addition, the first thing that we read in Logical Reasoning problems is the question stem. This gives us a very clear description of our job and often clues us into what we need to look for as we read the stimulus. In contrast, it can feel somewhat aimless to read through a RC passage without an explicit guide as to what we are looking for. Paying too close attention to a particular section of a passage can sometimes be detracting to our understanding of the whole. A slight change in mindset may indeed help.

    Thanks for the props btw! It does feel good to have completely conquered half the test for once. If you're averaging -1/-2 on LR sections, you're more than likely on the right path, and it should only be a matter of time before you score a double -0. Unlike LG (almost all skillz IMO), I feel like scoring perfect on LR can involve a tad bit of luck.

    @emli1000 Me too!! We'll get there =D
  • nicole.hopkinsnicole.hopkins Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    7965 karma
    @EmergingAttorney180 I started with the LSAT Trainer (just finished my second complete go-through of it) but added 7sage a little while ago. I think the two complement one another nicely. I'm also adding in Manhattan LR as I go—rounding up all the resources to firm up all the concepts. I think there are weaknesses in my understanding (as evidenced by variation in LR scores).
  • EmergingAttorney180EmergingAttorney180 Alum Member
    133 karma
    @nicole.hopkins Don't have any experience with Manhattan LR (Though from what I understand the author of the Trainer has some connection with the group). Have you finished the 7sage course yet? I can't imagine that I would have found much success had I not gone through it at least once (some parts twice!!)
  • blah170blahblah170blah Alum Inactive ⭐
    3545 karma
    @alexroark5 I'm going to drill RC passages right now with the method you recommended -- that sounds awesome!

    My approach to RC that has been helpful is I'll read the passage as fast but detailed as I can to get the gist of everything. If I get caught stuck trying to understand a sentence, I won't really try to understand the details as much as assess it's structure (real time thought process: "omg I don't know what this author is trying to say but I can tell he's trying to prove this point he made earlier in the paragraph... if there's a detail specific question on this, then I'll come back to this but moving on).

    After I finish reading the passage, I'll take 30 seconds to 1 minute MAX and write down in my own words:
    - MP/Author's opinion (which is really just a sum of the things I highlight -- I make sure to only highlight AO/MP)
    - AA (for author attitude, I'll always write two words: the second word could be something as simple as "bad, good, or neutral" and the first one is "qualified/whole." I've noticed that a lot of the times, the opinion is "qualified approval," which is why I started formulating AA answers ahead of time in my own words to refer back to.

    Then, when I approach the questions, I start with the Main Point, Author's attitude, author's opinion questions first. I know that if I mess up on these questions, I'm in a sticky situation. However, if I get these questions right and feel confident about them, I use my understanding of the MP to answer inference questions (which are the ones I always miss but used to miss a lot more of).

    After I finish and RC section and decide to review it, I make sure to analyze the structure of the passage, making up my own terminology. I find that a lot of the RC resources out there focus on the content of RC passages (science, humanities, law) instead of the structural elements that make up these passages. For someone like me who can miss questions in any one of those given domains, I've had a hard time trying to figure out what passage structures mess me up. I've come to realize through the review process that I tend to miss questions that are what I call "detail-oriented," meaning the passage is dedicated to explaining a particular set of facts without necessarily having an opinion (typically science but occasionally others). I'm trying to get to a point where I can immediately identify passage structures because it will tell me how much upfront work I need to do and how closely I need to pay attention. After I identify the passage structure, I'll breakdown the RC questions in the same way I would any LR question. The final review product for one passage analysis and one question breakdown looks like this:

    Passage 1 Discussion: Langston Hughes (PT2)

    Paragraph Summaries
    1: Background + claim + evidence
    2: Additional example + claim

    Passage Analysis
    MP: Hughes’s writing broke from the traditional African American literary tradition and created works that resisted Europeanization (54-58)

    AO: (35-36) “Hughes’s expression of the vibrant folk culture of Black people established his writing as a landmark in the history of African American literature.”

    (54-58) “(these) aspects of Hughes’s writing helped to modify the previous restrictions on the techniques and subject matter of Black writers and consequently to broaden the linguistic and thematic range of African American literature”

    AA: praise at Hughes’s mastery of the language and craftful composition to broaden the scope of African American literary tradition

    SS: Thesis passage (one main point + multiple examples)

    1.1 Detail
    Strategy: references beginning of P2 (39-42)
    (A) “ambiguous and deceptive meanings” – misinterpretation/mischaracterization of
    “hyperbole and understatement” (line 40-1)
    (B) “composing poems” – outside scope (addresses line 46 and cites an example of a
    characteristic of Hughes’s poetry)
    (C) “naming and enumeration” – line 40
    (D) “first-person narrative” – outside scope of passage
    (E) “strong religious beliefs” – outside scope of passage
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