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My Unorthodox RC Timing Method That Just Might Work For You

crystal0712crystal0712 Monthly Member
edited July 2021 in Reading Comprehension 107 karma

I HATE this section with a passion. I was never good at it, I never was able to finish on time, I tried every skill out there for studying and practicing and NOTHING worked. I do not consider myself a slow reader, but I do consider myself someone who tries to pay attention to every detail. My thought process was comprehension > generalization; I thought it was worth going slower if it meant I could understand the passage better, but this didn't help. What it did do was make me focus so much on the details that I would not only be snail slow, but I would second guess answers due to me giving my brain enough time to over-evaluate questions or focus on the wrong things. HOWEVER, I think I have finally hit a holy grail...and it might sound unorthodox...but LSAT be making you do some crazy things sometimes.

My Method: What I found works best for me is an alternating method of focus and skim. As I start the passage, I read the first sentence slow and ask myself what is going on. I make sure I can pick out a focal topic or something to anchor my mind to. Then, I skim through the main body of the paragraph, focusing on simply acknowledging the details and what they are generally saying. Once I get to the last 1 or 2 sentences of the paragraph (nothing more), I slow down and focus on identifying how the author closes out the paragraph. I do this process for each paragraph: first sentence focus, main body skimming, last sentence focus. (If the paragraph is short, such as only consisting of two long sentences, then I read the whole thing in a medium pace manner, mainly paying attention to its topic & what its purpose is for being so short.)

What I have found is that this method not only allows me to recognize the details of the passage, but it helps me naturally focus on the general idea. Focusing on the general idea when each paragraph is saying something different is easier said then done, but pin pointing specific spots in the passage that you know you're going to slow down at and focus on makes it easier to keep track of your thoughts and passage development. By doing this method, I still find myself having to reference the passage, but I can usually find where the evidence is fairly quickly and move on.

I used to NEVER be able to finish the RC section, and even when I gave myself more time, I still would get -8/9 wrong. Now that I do this method, I am finishing the section for the first time, and I even finished one yesterday with a whole 5 minutes to spare; that's probably because with this method, I went from reading the passage in 4 minutes to reading it in under 3 minutes. That is a huge accomplishment if you're like me and also want to make the RC section illegal for mental health reasons. I still got -5 wrong, but that's at least some improvement, and I mostly got them wrong due to my lack of reading the answer choices correctly, not because I didn't understand the passage. I pray and hope this method works for some people because RC can be a major pain and sometimes the average methods just don't work. So here's something new. LMK if it works!


  • mkleinman0000mkleinman0000 Alum Member
    69 karma

    Thanks for the advice, I looked forward to trying this!

  • emmorensemmorens Monthly Member
    1469 karma

    I will definitely give this a shot! So is this method more so focused on mapping the passage & getting a general understanding, so that you can more quickly revert back to it to backup and disprove answer choices?

    Currently I spend about 4 minutes reading the passage and I usually answer questions based on memory. This method has served me well but the odd time my memory fails me...I would feel more comfortable going back to the passage to prove things out but I feel like I always waste time!

  • Be_of_good_cheerBe_of_good_cheer Alum Member
    67 karma

    I love this ; can't wait to try it out for myself. Thanks so Much!

  • crystal0712crystal0712 Monthly Member
    107 karma

    @emmorens When I use this message, I don't write anything down. The most that I do is highlight the topic or some key points that appear like a transition (however, instead, additionally, first, second, etc.) or when there is a reference made (study, another person, etc). This way I can flag where certain transitions happened so if I do a whole quick sweep after I am done reading, asking myself "okay what is the overall structure of the passage?", I can have those reference points highlighted. This allows for a more general understanding and yes, it does make it easier to quickly revert back to confirm answers.

    One thing that has helped me stop myself from falling into trick questions without having to go back is asking myself what made an answer choice wrong instead of what made it right. From an overambitious word to a not specific enough focus, an answer can be wrong for many reasons, so if there is even the slightest reason that an answer could be wrong, then it most likely is.

  • Nice_homeNice_home Monthly Member
    83 karma

    Thanks for sharing this! Will try!

  • defeatRCdefeatRC Monthly Member
    69 karma

    I am going to try. My RC is -15 now. I will start trying this method! Thanks for sharing this.

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