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June LSAT Urgent RC SOS

CNCCO2025CNCCO2025 Alum Member
edited June 2021 in Reading Comprehension 23 karma

My last couple of practice tests have been REALLY rough for RC. I can read and understand the passage pretty well in around 4 minutes, but spend way too much time on inference questions (both author agreement/disagreement and general inferences about the passage questions). My RC scores have been tanking my overall score, I'm consistently -0 to -2 LR, -0 on LG when I finish the section but sometimes don't get to the last 2-3 questions. I was at a solid -3 to -5 with RC for the majority of my studying up until now, usually just from not finishing the last few questions, but recently my uncertainty with these inference questions is killing my score. I can usually only get it down to 2 or 3 answer choices, I overthink them for 2ish minutes, and then invariably choose the wrong answer. Looking for tips on how to answer these question types more confidently, especially when 2 or 3 answer choices can reasonably be supported by information in the passage. How should I be quickly assessing which statement for which there is more evidence that the author would agree with it?

If anyone has recently taken PT87 and remembers passages 1 and 2 from the RC section, would be interested to hear your thoughts/approach on the inference questions - especially question 6 from passage 1 of PT87! Or in general, if anyone has receded severely in RC - how did you get your score back up? Any and all help much appreciated


  • tahurrrrrtahurrrrr Alum Member
    1092 karma

    @CNCCO2025 said:
    , especially when 2 or 3 answer choices can reasonably be supported by information in the passage.

    If 2 or 3 answer choices could be reasonably supported, it would be a bad question for having multiple correct answers. First and foremost, you need to abandon this way of thinking. There is only 1 right answer. Full stop. The reason some answer choices seem good is because maybe they can be supported by your real life knowledge/real word biases, but only one choice can be supported by information in the passage.

    If inference questions are your weakness, maybe you need to slow down a bit when you read. After each paragraph ask yourself "has the author revealed their thoughts on this yet?" Think about if there were any hint words that suggest positive or negative thoughts towards the subject. It's just as important to read for the author's opinion as it is to read for the information.

    Additionally, you might just need to be a little more reckless and less thoughtful when you read? With RC, thinking for too long leads me to the wrong answer more often than not. You don't wanna be messy, but I think you need to be a little more willing to go with your gut and just keep moving, whether you're confident in your answer or not.

  • Kris4444Kris4444 Alum Member
    266 karma

    Definitely agree about the 1 right answer thing. Try writing out a detailed explanation for why right answers are right and wrong answers are wrong on the questions that gave you trouble. Even write explanations for ACs you easily eliminated. I've found that that helps me mentally lump in the tempting wrong ACs with just flat-out wrong answers.

    During timed conditions though, when I'm stuck on a question like this, I try to focus on what's "easier" to prove. If you find yourself deep-diving down a rabbit hole to make an inference, it's probably not the one, and like the comment above said, you may either be bringing in outside knowledge or making unfair assumptions. The correct inference can usually be pushed out from one or two sentences. Example: If an artist is best known for their work with lacquer, we can infer they're NOT best known for their architecture. Or you might find it's just the contrapositive of a conditional statement somewhere in the passage.

    Finally, everyone's different, but I think 2 minutes is probably far too much time to be spending on a question up front in RC. If you're down to two or three ACs and you've read each one twice and you still don't know, it's probably time to flag and move on.

  • GoatAdvocate_0L_SLSGoatAdvocate_0L_SLS Alum Member
    edited June 2021 263 karma

    Ah yes, those pesky RC inference questions. I agree with previous posters in that there are NEVER 2-3 reasonably supported inferences. There is only one. I've devised my own set of strategies that has enabled me to go -0 on RC inference questions. Here they are:

    1. Increase your level of scrutiny to the max. Don't allow yourself to make ANY assumptions, and treat the question like a MBT question. Eliminate all the AC's that either present new ideas not present in the text or misrepresent ideas in the text. Again, allow no wiggle room. Either the statements are consistent with the text, or they aren't. But what if nothing is expressly supported by the text, and you've eliminated all the AC's? Follow the next step:

    2. Determine what kind of inference they're asking for. Is it additive / inverted? Additive / inverted inferences are text based. An additive inference is an inference where you connect two ideas to form a new idea, e.g., A --> B, B --> C, so A --C. A inverted inference is a little more complex. You basically use information about what something IS to say something about what it IS NOT. A great example is what @Kris4444 used above. (If an artist is best known for their work with lacquer, we can infer they're NOT best known for their architecture.)

    Here my favorite example, paraphrased from a passage: "A spectroscope measured the sun to be composed of 90% element Y, with most of the remaining 10% being composed of element Z." What inference can we make? "The spectroscope is accurate enough to determine that significantly less than 10% of the Sun is composed of an element(s) other than Y and Z".

    1. What if it's neither of the above? Then it's probably an extrapolation - you'll need to make some sort of assumption or jump in reasoning. Always eliminate AC's that are inconsistent with the text first. Ideally you're down to 2 at this point. Analyze each word/phrase of the remaining AC's for inaccuracies or vagueness. If something appears vague, ask yourself, what is this sentence referencing? Where does this appear in the text? Finally, of the 2, one AC will utilize a more reasonable assumption than the other. What is a reasonable assumption? This is the best example I can give you:

    Fact: An apple a day keeps the doctor away. What can we reasonably assume?

    1. People who eat an apple a day tend to make health conscious decisions, and thus tend to be healthier and not in need of frequent medical care.

    2. Apples contain an antioxidant that is deadly to doctors and only doctors when consumed daily, therefore protecting those that consume apples from doctors and healthcare expenses.

  • WinningHereWinningHere Monthly Member
    355 karma

    Try to be even more careful!

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