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LR and RC Speed

Burt ReynoldsBurt Reynolds Alum Member Sage

Hey all -- I'm looking to increase my speed on LR and RC. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Here's a breakdown of how I usually approach the sections:

LR: I average roughly a -3 per section and I rarely miss a question in BR. However, I tend to finish with very little time left and occasionally drop an easier question because I don't have the time to return to it. Also, if the section isn't going particularly well, I might not get around to a lengthier PR or PF question.

RC: My greatest score variability is in RC. I average a -5 per section and sometimes miss questions in BR. During timed sections, I usually start with the comparative reading. I'll read Passage A and then run through the questions once before returning to passage B. I've found that this is an effective method for getting questions right, but I usually spend too much time doing this (compared to J.Y's suggestions). I then have to push harder on the remaining passages. For a normal passage, I tend to spend more time on the passage (say 4-5 minutes) and move through the questions fairly quickly. I usually finish the RC section with about 30 seconds left.


  • canihazJDcanihazJD Alum Member Sage
    edited November 2020 7912 karma

    Great username.

    For LR it sounds like you need to get more aggressive and take a look at your timing/skipping strategies. That might include:

    • Hard triggers to skip a question to help you get out of there as fast as possible.
    • An increased focus on speed now that your conceptual knowledge is solid.
    • Not looking at all the answer choices if you are confident in a selection.
    • Analysis of how you attack the section/question... where are you losing your time? Do you often read a stimulus more than once? Consider a stem for more than a second or two? Are you flagging questions?
    • Doing an after BR/scoring review if you already aren't, that breaks down the question and examines any deficiency in your take to include timing hiccups... was this a time sink? Why couldn't I eliminate this answer faster? Did this referential phrasing trip me up? What was the trap here and did I notice it under time? Was I too slow on this conditional language? Do you need to drill stimulus translation?

    The key now is to get those same questions correct that you have been, but to do so while leaving enough time left over to go back and hit those last 3 again. I'll usually end round 1 anywhere from -2 to -4 due to skipping or just wrong answers, and pick up those points at the end. I think a good benchmark is to be able finish your first round by the 25 minute mark, which will typically involves several skips and several questions answered in the 30 to 40 second range.

    For RC it sounds like you could benefit from drilling your focus on retention of reasoning structure. Review this again: Now drill it strictly. I think by your level most of us know how we're supposed to attack RC, but under time it's a lot easier to stray from those strategies because of the length of reading. You have to force yourself, even if it means going paragraph by paragraph slowly, while covering up the rest of the passage. Ingraining that strategy via practice will allow you to extract what you should be from the passage, and not waste time on the unnecessary stuff. Additionally it will equip you to return quickly to the exact part of the passage you need to when you have to go back for details, instead of wasting your time looking for them. Finally review the same way... What did I take with me from the passage into the questions? What should I have? Did I loiter too long on this passage/question? Did I forget to attack this inference question like a MBT/MSS? Did I have enough time for round 2?

    Just like that deep review at the end for LR, you have to force yourself to do it right the tedious, slow, painful way... not just think in your head "ok I know what I should be doing". Because you won't... you'll do what you've been doing, not what you know you should do. When the SHTF we never rise to the maximum level of efficiency and strategy employment that we've read about, we fall to the level of training that we've sufficiently practiced. So train as you fight, because you'll fight as you trained.

  • Burt ReynoldsBurt Reynolds Alum Member Sage
    edited November 2020 952 karma

    @canihazJD this is all incredibly helpful. I agree that I need to both:
    A. work on short-term reading retention for both LR and RC.
    B. get more aggressive in LR.
    Again, I appreciate it!!

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