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So defeated by RC

ts3514ts3514 Monthly Member

I've been studying LSAT for almost a year. Three months last summer till I burn out, and then December till right now. My reading comprehension has improved, but only to a certain extent. In the past three months, no matter what RC section I chose, I constantly got 8 to 9 wrong. I've tried everything. I did a detail review, I looked up all of the explanations I can find online, I write out detailed explanations for the questions I got wrong, but still, there's no improvement. I notice that I'm still having a hard time, being super clear on the structure, capturing the details, and distinguish the "important" from the non-important ones. Not gonna lie, this is so discouraging and it's really been taking a toll on my mental health. I'm discouraged, but do not intend to give up. I'm willing to do anything to nail this section. Any suggestions or encouraging words would be greatly appreciated.


  • emmorensemmorens Monthly Member
    1469 karma

    I would strongly recommend beginning one passage at at time, stop focusing on sections and really hone in on how you are going to get through a single passage. I found watching the videos of JY reading passages to be very helpful because it taught me how I should be reading them. I translate every phrase in my head and it has helped with my understanding which allowed me to answer questions based on what I learned, not by frantically trying to go back to the passage. Take the time you require to read and understand the passage - if that means half an hour - an hour right now, so be it! Timing will come with confidence & repetition.

  • Hal IncandenzaHal Incandenza Alum Member
    394 karma

    I’ve also found that it helps to make yourself enjoy the process. That may seem impossible, but try to focus on the pure enjoyment of learning something new. Allow your brain to feel the enthusiasm of discovery - that helped me tremendously.

  • davejonesydavejonesy Alum Member
    50 karma

    Another suggestion that you may find helpful is to start incorporating some similar level reading into your daily routine - whether that's the Economist,, or something more law-oriented (here's a great Canadian repository of freely-available reports from legal research institutes: Reading comprehension is probably the most broadly applicable section of the LSAT, and so can find an infinite amount of content that's going to be written at a similar level, hopefully on topics you find mildly interesting. I think by incorporating some of that into your daily routine and outside of the atmosphere of a timed RC section, you may start to see improvements in RC.

  • love2learnlove2learn Member
    edited May 2021 252 karma

    As you're practicing (untimed, working to timed), fight the urge to highlight and instead slowly work to improve your memory of the passage's content. Anecdotal, but I found I used the highlighter tool as a crutch and I wasn't actually retaining/processing the bit I highlighted. I first realized this 'highlighter crutch' issue as I'm working through study aids and realized I was highlighting at the sacrifice of absorbing. I find this gives me more time to answer the questions. I spend a lot more time analyzing the answer choices, removing the 'almost, but not quite' and the 'nonsense;' those dirty, rotten trap choices.

    To force myself to 'turtle,' I printed out the RC from PTs 20-35 to work from paper without an awareness of time. Time anxiety messed with my focus. Paper forced me to slow down and concentrate on the passages and answer choices. Ironically, doing this didn't ruin my timing when I jumped back into LawHub, I'm still well enough under 35 minutes to allow for any issues.

    Also, I noticed a substantial improvement in my RC performance as my LR approaches 0 (0-2). I don't know if it's because the same answer choice strategies for RC are helping me weed out the nonsense in LR, or if doing the weeding in LR improved my weeding in RC. ?? Again, also anecdotal.

    Practice with passages you've already worked, maybe having a distant memory of the reading will help you work to improve your memory and to weed through the answer choices better than fresh passages? When you feel confident, incorporate some new passages to try out your 'memory & answer choice' plan of action. Try not to let timing make you panic your approach methods (so hard to implement this, it's hard to not be a hypocrite with this bit!). But, your time will improve without you even trying to improve it as you improve your analysis.

    Good luck! Yikes I'm wordy, but I feel like I had a similar experience to what you've described. I spent a long time at -8, then got worse and went to -12/-14 (I think because I was focusing on perfecting LG) and stayed there forever, but now I'm at -3/-4.

    RC has been my nemesis for the longest time and I think it just comes to some at a slow pace, if we're not naturally inclined to it from the start. I've only recently started studying again for the June test after the January test. I took the in-between time to send out an application and to start study-aid prep-work (and to move). Somehow when I started PTing again two weeks ago, my score improved, a lot. Before the January test, I had a 10-point range in my PTs, but now I'm in a consistent 3-point range, that is higher than my earlier range's highest score. I credit the study-aid prep books (reading hypotheticals and mentally comparing them to the LSAT sections/question goals); but reading critically nonetheless. But, I do also already have an acceptance (yay!), and I'm trying to just 'win' for both personal satisfaction to the time I've put into this test and in the hope of increasing my merit scholarship. So, a little less pressure, although I really need as little out-of-pocket cost as possible, so the pressure is still on to perform.

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