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Manhattan Prep and RC struggles

mes08mes08 Alum Member
While I've seen my LG and LR improve a lot over time, I'm afraid I've plateaued a bit in RC. On average I make -4. I've already done the whole 7sage curriculum (twice) and I'm reading the LSAT Trainer for the second time. Does anyone recommend the RC Manhattan Prep for RC? I saw it's $10 on Amazon, but I was just wondering if it was worth my time to read through it. Any thoughts or advice on this question and more generally the RC section would be appreciated :)

Comments

  • nicole.hopkinsnicole.hopkins Legacy Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    7965 karma
    @mes08 said:
    I'm afraid I've plateaued a bit in RC. On average I make -4.
    Manhattan is not the silver bullet you're looking for. I can say that with confidence because there is no silver bullet, and MPRC is most assuredly not it. If anything I would advise getting the $9.99 Kindle version since that is the cost of a fancy drink and a cake pop at Starbucks. Do not waste very much time at all on this. Take it or leave it.

    "The Scale" (MP "method" for RC) is just code for reading for reasoning structure with an emphasis on POV's presented (or competing conclusions/hypothesis). So I guess it is helpful to hone in on that aspect of reasoning structure. But TBH ... I just kinda gave the whole thing away right there.

    So if you've got some time to kill and want to check boxes, get the Kindle version. But it's not the droids you're looking for.

    image
  • c.janson35c.janson35 Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    2398 karma
    There really is no secret formula to acing the RC section, and I would guess that most of the advice hinges on the same stuff mixed in with some new terminology so that it feels fresh. RC boils down to understanding what you read, that's it. No scale or trademarked terminology can substitute for a lot of practice. Read each paragraph on its own terms, summarize what you've read, predict what you anticipate the author will talk about next, and then relate the paragraph and its main point to the main point of the passage as a whole. Note the authors opinion throughout, no matter how subtle, and how the argument progresses. Ask yourself, "why is the author taking the time to tell me about this? Why is it important to him or her? And why is this important to me?" A good exercise to help develop this mindset is, after you've read a passage while drilling, pretend you have to teach the passage to someone who hasn't read it, and do so without looking back to the passage to just read important lines. Describe the passage on your own terms, because if you can't speak about the passage without referring back to it, then you really didn't comprehend it all that much. You'll see how this forces you to really sort out what's important, what's the main point, and how the author feels, all while not getting too bogged
    down in the details.
  • DumbHollywoodActorDumbHollywoodActor Alum Inactive ⭐
    7468 karma
    @c.janson35 said:
    No scale or trademarked terminology can substitute for a lot of practice.
    Some serious brilliance right here.

    I’ve read them all, and the truth is any improvements I’ve made all have resulted from some serious practice.
  • nicole.hopkinsnicole.hopkins Legacy Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    7965 karma
    @c.janson35 said:
    Describe the passage on your own terms, because if you can't speak about the passage without referring back to it, then you really didn't comprehend it all that much. You'll see how this forces you to really sort out what's important, what's the main point, and how the author feels, all while not getting too bogged
    down in the details.
    I always do this in my head after my read and before the Q's.
  • mes08mes08 Alum Member
    578 karma
    Thanks a lot for the candid advice, guys.

    @c.janson35 I'll do that in my next PTs and drilling RC sections. I haven't done much of that before, so hopefully that'll help me reduce the number of mistakes I make per section. I'll feel so much better if I can improve even a little in the RC; it's my weakest section atm.
  • tanes256tanes256 Alum Member
    2573 karma
    I'm on my third read of The Trainer and I feel like something new jumps out at me each time. I noticed what I was getting lost in the details and trying to understand everything. I was also not paying enough attention to the question stems. I'm working on trying not to think I have to understand every single word of the passage and I just keep repeating "why" as I read. So far it's helping. Getting into the habit of reading for reasoning structure is definitely different but I just got through a science passage and had no clue until the end of the passage what was going on. It's definitely practice practice practice, recognizing the "whys" of the passage and knowing what's presented as main point, background info, etc.
  • Faaabs93Faaabs93 Alum Member
    82 karma
    Honestly there's no 'sure fire' way of doing Reading Comprehension. For me, I just had to drill various methods until I found one that worked consistently.

    For me, I look at the questions, write all of the "author/passage suggests" variables on the top of the passage, and then read. Then when I see one of those words, I summarize briefly on the side what is said about it.

    This, I find, allows you to make sure you're not zoning in on minute details that won't come up on a question (which was my problem). But again, if your problem is not focusing on little details, this may not work for you.
  • goalis180goalis180 Alum Member
    531 karma
    Just practice. I only saw any improvement from practicing. Read for structure, POV's, keep track of hypothesis and their explanations. I usually do this, as well as keep in my mind if they used an analogy, or a term, and mark it down so I know to refer back.
  • goalis180goalis180 Alum Member
    531 karma
    Also anything un-timed after learning the fundamentals is useless. The time constraint makes you think, and behave differently, you must get used to it so that it becomes second nature.
  • tanes256tanes256 Alum Member
    2573 karma
    @mes08 hey just wanted to tell you that I just hit my first -4 on RC. I know you're already and -4 and you're striving for better, but my point is, maybe the 3rd time is the charm?? As I stated before, I've read the RC section of The Trainer 3x and each time I pick up something new. It may seem tediuos or even redundant to keep reading the same stuff but I find that sometimes I focus on a few details at a time because it's too much to process all at once. Once I'm satisfied I'll pick up more details to focus on. I don't know if I've missed stuff during the first few reads or what, but I do think the extra reads have improved my score. I'm not sure about picking up a new source at this point. I think it's just going to come down to drilling and for me I'm going to go through the RC section with a fine toothed comb until I'm satisfied with my results. Idk what else I can do.

    @InsertPseudonymHere I tried your method of looking at the question stems first. I think it definitely helped, but it threw my timing off some. I'll keep using this method for now. When I read the passage I immediately recalled what was asked in the question stems. This definitely helps with not focusing on irrelevant stuff in relation to the question stems. It seems like the method also helped me continue to think about the "whys" more because I wasn't destracted by what wasn't in the question stems. I think it helped me stay on track with the reasoning structure. I'm liking this! Thank you!
  • mes08mes08 Alum Member
    578 karma
    @InsertPseudonymHere From what I remember, in one of his videos JY explicitly says it's a really bad idea to read the question stems before reading the passage. It's a big time sink because you end up reading the questions before and after reading the passage(s). Instead, he recommends having a very clear understanding of the passage to begin with and then referring back to the passage when needed for detail-specific questions. I think that's the general strategy the Trainer suggests as well. I don't really see the benefit of reading the question stems in advance because the most common questions (ex, asking the author's opinions or what the main point is of the passage) are things you should be looking out for anyways.

    @tanes256 Definitely going to re-read the Trainer RC chapters, since as you pointed out, it always helps to refresh and maybe get something out of it the second time around. Also planning on doing several reading passages the way @c.janson35 recommended before my next PT. I'll let you know if I make any improvements! :)
  • nicole.hopkinsnicole.hopkins Legacy Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    7965 karma
    Do not read the question stems before you read the passage. This is one of those tricks that pop up occasionally—if it were a legit practice then you would hear a lot of stop scorers swearing by it (I do not personally know a single top scorer who does this, unrepresentative sample size notwithstanding); literally nothing to gain and much to lose.
  • I think the 4th edition of Manhattan's RC does have a number of good drills that well help you improve your RC skills. Beyond reading for scale, the book also focuses on using context clues to determine words you are unfamiliar with and it has a chapter on section salvaging when you only have a few minutes for a passage. It is certainly no silver bullet but I do think the book is good.

    The real silver bullet of RC is doing a lot of passages. Pull out the RC section from the 30 earliest PT's and do them section by section until it starts to click. The structure of passages are similar and it is this repetition that really allows us to make major gains in reading comprehension.
  • nicole.hopkinsnicole.hopkins Legacy Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    7965 karma
    @"mornincounselor-1" said:
    The real silver bullet of RC is doing a lot of passages.
    this
  • lschoolgolschoolgo Member
    274 karma

    Is the section salvaging and drills only in 4th ed? I already have an older edition of manhattan rc book and not sure if it's worth buying for these alone.
    Anywhere else one can access these additions to previous ed?
    @"mornincounselor-1" said:
    I think the 4th edition of Manhattan's RC does have a number of good drills that well help you improve your RC skills. Beyond reading for scale, the book also focuses on using context clues to determine words you are unfamiliar with and it has a chapter on section salvaging when you only have a few minutes for a passage. It is certainly no silver bullet but I do think the book is good.

    The real silver bullet of RC is doing a lot of passages. Pull out the RC section from the 30 earliest PT's and do them section by section until it starts to click. The structure of passages are similar and it is this repetition that really allows us to make major gains in reading comprehension.
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