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How long do you usually spend on reading a RC passage?

aaabbbcccaaabbbccc Alum Member
edited July 2015 in Reading Comprehension 136 karma
I am curious how you guys approach RC passages.

For RC, some of my friends told me that they spend about 2 ~ 2.5 minutes skimming a passage and having a grasp on points made in each paragraph. Then, when approaching questions, they go back to a passage for questions whenever needed.

And for others, they said they spend around 3.5 ~ 4 minutes understanding a passage solidly (just like how we try to spend enough time on drawing a solid game board for LG). Then, when working on questions, they barely go look back the passage.

There are definitely pros and cons for both approaches, but I am still curious what you guys think about them and what kind of an approach you guys use for RC. Thank you!


  • emli1000emli1000 Alum Member Inactive ⭐
    3462 karma
    Which method do you use? Everyone is different so everyone uses a different approach. I feel that as long as you are able to complete each passage by 8 mins & 45 seconds then you are fine.
  • aaabbbcccaaabbbccc Alum Member
    edited July 2015 136 karma
    @emli1000 Thank you for your response! Definitely agree with you that everyone goes for a different approach, but still curious what works best for others :D

    I have been using the latter one, but also thinking of trying the former one and see if that one works for me as well
  • PacificoPacifico Alum Inactive ⭐
    8021 karma
    I use the former but I don't skim, I read about 30 lines per minute so I finish the average passage in right around 2 minutes give or take 10-15 seconds. For easy passage I can then fly through the questions so I can finish everything in under 8 minutes and use the extra time for harder passages or questions later on.
  • aaabbbcccaaabbbccc Alum Member
    edited July 2015 136 karma
    @Pacifico Thank you for your response! Ahhh does that mean that you spend around 2 minutes to read and understand (almost) everything what the passage says?
  • PacificoPacifico Alum Inactive ⭐
    8021 karma
    For the most part yes, if it's a really crazy dense or otherwise difficult passage I may thread certain parts but never spend more than 3 minutes... If it's still not working for me then I use the questions to gain a deeper understanding. This approach is definitely not for everyone and there are people who spend 4+ minutes on the passage and then only 30 seconds per question so there are a lot of different possibilities. I'd suggest watching some videos of the sages doing RC passages to see how fast they go through everything.
  • Aiesha G.Aiesha G. Alum Member
    edited July 2015 199 karma
    I use the former method as well but I think I only do so because it is ingrained in my head from using the trainer. I read the passage with minimal pauses to mark for reading structure, which takes me about 2 mins. I made it a point not to spend more than 3-mins on a passage because difficult ones are designed to be time ships. 9 times out of 10 u understand the structure to answer the questions (but your subconscious mind tells u that u don't and u end up wasting time). I usually read in 2 mins (give or take 30 secs) and can answer most questions without referring back to the passage. However, RC is my strongest section so I never explored various methods. That way seemed to naturally work and I just stuck with it.
  • aaabbbcccaaabbbccc Alum Member
    edited July 2015 136 karma
    @Pacifico @"Aiesha G."

    Thank you so much for sharing your methods guys!
    I have been somehow afraid of spending less than 3 minutes to read a whole passage, never really trusted myself, and never thought that I would be able to spend around 2 minutes reading the passage and being able to grasp its reasoning structure. So, it never crossed my mind that I would want to try spending less than 3 minutes to read the passage only. But, after I attempted several passages using the former method today, it surprisingly works well! Again, thanks for sharing your RC methods :D!
  • 7sagelsatstudent1807sagelsatstudent180 Alum Member
    932 karma
    2:30 unless the passage is ridiculously hard... Ridiculously hard occurs roughy once every 3 or 4 pts and it takes me 5 minutes but I don't go back to passage afterwards.
  • lschoolgolschoolgo Member
    edited July 2015 274 karma
    @Pacifico @Aiesha G.what are your RC scores in recent PTs (after PT-60)? are these scores strictly timed and on fresh never before seen tests?
  • gs556gs556 Member Inactive Sage
    568 karma
    I aimed for about 3 minutes a passage, hoping to have at least an 80-90% grasp on what I was reading. If there was a certain line or paragraph that was particularly confusing I would avoid getting trapped, but otherwise I read looking to know what the heck was being said. I particularly wanted to note what were the different view points being advanced, who was advancing them, which argument the passage favored overall and why it favored that particular point-of-view.
  • c.janson35c.janson35 Free Trial Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    2398 karma
    Reading speed/comfort level is intensely personal, so just find the sweet spot that woks best for you. I personally find that I spend between 2.5-3.5 minutes reading, annotating, and summarizing the passages, depending on the level of difficulty and I avg -1 to -3 on RC. Generally, though, I've found, for me, that a thorough read is better than a skim, so however long that takes you is what I would ultimately suggest.
  • harrismeganharrismegan Member
    2074 karma
    I use the first method because it's what the LSAT Trainer teaches you.
    Basically, and if you read the Trainer, you'll see that all the questions for every passage you will ever read are all structured pretty much the same and they're all looking for only a small group of things such as.... how this paragraph relates to that paragraph, what is the main point of the passage/paragraph, what are the different opinions present, ect.

    When you start reading the passage, focus less on what the passage is saying, and read keeping ^^ in mind, reading the passage becomes quick and easy. Then, when you go to the questions and they're asking you something like... what is the function of paragraph 2? and you read "evidence for paragraph 1" next to it... how easy is it to find a paraphrased answer choice saying "evidence for paragraph 1" in A-E? Super easy. Super quick.
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