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For those within the range of 0-2 missed in RC...

danielznelsondanielznelson Alum Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
I'm doing pretty well overall with RC, but I can't breach past the 2-5 missed average. On harder passages, I'm almost always getting 1-2 incorrect. At this point, I am able to comprehend just about every passage thrown my way, but the questions themselves occasionally leave me scrambling to find the answer.

I realize there's really no strong consensus on RC tactics, but for those within the near-perfect range, what is your average time spent on simply reading the passage (this can include notating, note-taking, et cetera). I typically spend just under three minutes (2:40 is a relatively reliable number for reference) with moderate underlining/circling as well as minor note taking. The rest of my time is spent of the questions.

Thanks in advance for any input!


  • bSM45LSATbSM45LSAT Legacy Member
    522 karma
    I generally miss 3-5, so not really in the range you're looking for, but I haven't done any official PTs yet, so that might change.

    I do take note though that it always takes me 3min to finish the passage.
  • LSATislandLSATisland Inactive Sage
    1878 karma
    Early in prep, I did a lot of markings. Later, I tried minimal to no markings, which forced myself to remember instead of the false security of having marked the passage. The second way was the method I ultimately used. Try out different methods, and settle on what is best for you. When it comes to RC especially, people have different preferences. I would also read the passages pretty quickly, like the range you mentioned.
  • Jonathan WangJonathan Wang Yearly Sage
    edited June 2015 6713 karma
    The timeframe sounds about right. Notation should just be what you're comfortable with.

    If a question leaves you scrambling, then you simply aren't understanding the passage as well as you think. It's the cold, harsh reality of the situation. If an extra 10-20 seconds in the passage will fix that, then spend it. But since you're already in the 2-5 range on the whole section, then adding or subtracting 20 seconds from your read probably isn't going to be the magic bullet you're hoping for. For whatever part of it that isn't a pure comprehension issue, odds are that you're just getting baited by the test writers, and no amount of time in the passage will fix that.

    There's no secret. This plateau is like any other - you need to find the mistakes you're making, figure out how to not make them, and incorporate that new understanding into your test-taking.
  • PacificoPacifico Alum Inactive ⭐
    8021 karma
    I think @"Jonathan Wang" is right and since you can read fast enough, then it's probably time to drill down on the kinds of questions you're getting wrong. If it's random then you're kind of SOL, but if you're missing a lot of a certain type of question (e.g.-"which of the following would the author agree with" or "the organization of the passage is best illustrated by which of the following") then you'll gain valuable insight into the gaps in your understanding both within the passage, within the questions and the relationship between them. Unfortunately the analytics on here are not designed that way like they are with LR so you're going to have to do the analysis on your own but I'm sure it will prove to be invaluable analytical work. Good luck!
  • nicole.hopkinsnicole.hopkins Legacy Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    7965 karma
    Here's what I do, and I'm pretty consistently in the 0-3 range:

    1) Read passage once very fast, following each line with the tip of your pencil (not underlining).
    2) On the first read, box names, dates, and terms that are defined. Also mark pivots ("however," "critics of this approach," "more recent investigation," "yet," etc.) with a ">" in the margin.
    3) First read is all about what is being done (reading for reasoning structure). It's like drawing the outlines first before you color them in.
    4) Second "read" (not really a full read): go through and identify what main points are, with very brief notations in the margins. Very brief "summaries" (hard to even call them this). This is like coloring in your outline.

    This is all done in less than 3 minutes. Less is more (for me) when it comes to notation but I do find that jotting briefly helps to firm my grasp. Actually I do best when I focus in and own it, largely sans notations.
  • danielznelsondanielznelson Alum Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    4181 karma
    Thanks for the input, guys. Usually, it comes down to the specifics. The abstract I nail. The generalities are fine. Often, it's silly mistakes, such as missing an EXCEPT question along the lines of "all of the following are mentioned in the passage EXCEPT..."

    Sometimes, I simply miss on very tricky questions, and I almost always narrow those down to two choices. The answer is immediately apparent after realizing that my choice is incorrect. I wondered if spending more time on the passage would help, but I just came to a realization yesterday that I should probably be spending more time on the questions themselves. Time spent on each passage and its respective questions is usually no more than 8:30, with about a 7:45 average.

    I think it comes exactly down to being "baited" as @"Jonathan Wang" noted, which as you mentioned won't be solved with added time. I'm getting better at catching things, but all of what you all are noting is extremely helpful. @Pacifico, I haven't actually organized my misses by question type, and that's something I will start doing immediately.

    @nicole.hopkins You're method is very unique. I may give it a shot, especially since it might compartmentalize the general flow of the argument and do the same for the various points made in the passage. Remembering everything the passage has to offer may be easier this way.

    Thanks, all! I'm feeling very strong about my future with RC.
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