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RC help please

AlexanderL0AlexanderL0 Alum Member
in General 239 karma

I've practiced every part of the test but the one section that fails to improve is RC. As a result, it prevents me frm getting the scores I want. I've tried annotating, using the memorization method, doing 3 sections for accuracy, but nothing seems to help it improve. I'm currently seeing 14-17 correct in that section. Pretty far off from the rest of my test. Does anyone have any suggestions or did they start doing something that just made it click for them? I've also been working through the Manhattan RC book but I'm not seeing any improvements as a result. I'm willing to put any amount of effort or time in to achieve it.

Thank you.


  • logicfiendlogicfiend Alum Member
    118 karma
    I'm right in the same boat with you, RC is definitely a weak point for me. This may or may not help you, but I saw a huge change in my score when I tried to genuinely enjoy what I was reading. I know, this seems so basic and "dumb," but I'm telling you, it has helped me stay focused and better retain what I was reading when I actually got into the passage.

    I was finding that the more I tried to annotate, go over and over my answers, concentrate until I thought my eyes would bleed, the worse I actually did on RC. Why? Because I was stressed out from the minute I started the section until the end. I was trying so hard to remember everything that it was actually affecting how I was processing the information. Nothing worked as well as when I just concentrated on what the passage was trying to tell me.

    This may not all relate to you, but I think trying to relax a little bit and enjoy the passage would help.
  • NYC12345NYC12345 Alum Inactive Sage
    1654 karma
    The key to performing well on RC is to not focus too much on the specific details, and to identify the purpose of the passage and the author's thoughts, arguments and assertions. Annotating is a waste of time for the most part and makes it harder to identify the main point because you're spending so much time underlining and circling; however, it is of paramount importance to remember where each critic's argument lies and so on and so forth because some of the questions ask what the format of the passage is (e.g. a new phenomena is introduced, two arguments supporting the innovation's success are duly noted, a critique of the innovation's practical applications is introduced, etc.).
  • cmanzano415cmanzano415 Member
    49 karma
    Have you tried working through the LSAT Trainer's RC section? It shows you exactly what aspects of reading comp passages to focus on (mainly passage structure). It definitely put things in perspective for me.
  • nicole.hopkinsnicole.hopkins Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    7965 karma
    @logicfiend said:
    I know, this seems so basic and "dumb," but I'm telling you, it has helped me stay focused and better retain what I was reading when I actually got into the passage.

    I was finding that the more I tried to annotate, go over and over my answers, concentrate until I thought my eyes would bleed, the worse I actually did on RC.
    This has very much been my experience, on both points. Try thinking to yourself (when you sit for a PT), "Oh boy, I hope the next section is RC!!" or whatever your "pet" section is. I find deliberately thinking this kind of thought puts me in the "get into the passage" mindset (or LR, LG, whatever the challenge section might be at a given moment).
  • AlexanderL0AlexanderL0 Alum Member
    239 karma
    @logicfiend @nicole.hopkins In all honesty it's not that I really dread the RC section nor the content, it just comes to answering the questions correctly that I struggle with. That and timing, I rarely finish 3 passages. Boredom isn't too big of a problem, thanks fort the advise though.
  • DumbHollywoodActorDumbHollywoodActor Alum Inactive ⭐
    7468 karma
    Are you skipping questions? If you're consistently getting 14-17 correct, then a possible strategy is to shoot to skip 7 questions throughout. You'll feel far less time-strapped, increase your accuracy (maybe get up to a 20) and maybe have time to go back and get the other questions that you originally skipped.
  • AlexanderL0AlexanderL0 Alum Member
    239 karma
    @DumbHollywoodActor seems like a good idea, assuming I complete 4 passages. I've been told many times to do 3 and go for accuracy very often, however it doesn't seem to be paying off. You can tell by my scores 14-17.
  • AlexanderL0AlexanderL0 Alum Member
    239 karma
    I'm considering "speeding" through the reading and trying my best to retain the info then go for all 4 passages
  • DumbHollywoodActorDumbHollywoodActor Alum Inactive ⭐
    7468 karma
    I wouldn't advise speeding unless you're mentally equipped for it. I've heard spending time up front (as much as 4-5 minutes on the hard passages) and avoiding time traps (hence the "skip questions" idea) can be very helpful. Try it. Nothing to lose at this point.
  • JustDoItJustDoIt Alum Member
    edited May 2015 3112 karma
    If you are using the Manhattan book, I would recommend reading for the scale, PEAR, and passage maps. Those three things have helped me greatly. Additionally, when you PEAR, it almost forces you to be interested in what you are reading because you really can't PEAR unless you read actively. Also, if you are struggling with something like passage mapping, listen closely to the end of a passage video by J.Y. He uses passage maps almost every single time
  • harrismeganharrismegan Member
    2074 karma
    RC was the worst section for me as well, but on my most recent prep I managed to get only 4 wrong.
    This is how I have studied for it.
    First, I got the Trainer because I heard it's superior for RC, and in my opinion it totally is.
    It teaches you to break the passage down for structure and not content. I find that the memorization method is hard/difficult to put into practice. But when you train your mind to look at and mark the passage in a way of "this functions in the passage this way" then it's MUCH easier to go back and I find that I know and retain a lot more information than by... trying to retain more information on purpose.

    I then started drilling the Cambridge packages. Just two timed passages a day of my worst ones (humanities, social sciences). In time, I find that I have improved a lot.
  • Dr. YamataDr. Yamata Member Inactive ⭐
    edited June 2015 578 karma
    What changed my avg score from a -12 to a -4 or -5 was a few things:

    -Develop a small system of note taking that you will use consistently and understand. It doesn't matter what it is as long as you can instantly remember it. Like.. "X" for "example.." "Va" for viewpoint of author.. " Underline of topic sentences.. whatever comes up frequently. Some people don't use their notes at all in answering the questions, but others do. I rarely do, but when I need it, it helps me zoom right back in on the part of the passage I need.

    -Take the two seconds to summarize the paragraph and write a small recap. Especially on dense passages that you're not familiar with and are feeling hard. Yes, it will take 10 seconds or so. BUT the process of formulating the paragraph into your own words forces you to think about what it was actually saying and visualize some of the things it's talking about. Visualization is key

    -Like I said, visualization is key. Almost every memory system relies on some of form of visual memorization. The way people remember 20 objects in a list is by visualizing a big chain of those things put together. Why not harness this memorization tactic in the LSAT? For me, it turns into thinking about the people or things in the passage and developing my own little movie in my head. I make a little movie about each paragraph, and guess what? I'm able to recall my own movie in my head WAY better on the questions than if I had strung together some auditory chain of words without visualizing and internalizing their meaning.
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