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how to attack questions on rc under timed condit?

jrkovalsjrkovals Alum Member
edited January 2014 in Reading Comprehension 183 karma
can someone remind me of the strategy for attacking Rc questions under timed conditions. When we see an answer we think is right are we supposed to go with it (b/c the amount of words in this section and time). This entails little checking of other answers underr timed conditions and is a little different from lg and lr in this sense). (after time stops ticking you go back and heck your answers though, like a br type of thing).




  • zhenderszhenders Member
    228 karma
    I think with exception to a very rare sometimes in LG, you should always at least consider the other options. It's too easy to get tricked if you don't.

    My best advice for RC is basically to follow 7sage's methodology. If you are running out of time on RC, it's either because you spent too long reading the passage (perhaps you had to retread paragraphs, or chose to read the whole thing twice), or are having to refer to the passage too frequently (thereby spending valuable time re-reading).

    The time issues are almost invariably from issues related to information retention; if you have to reread even one paragraph, or reference back on a question you ought to be able to answer from memory, that's where your time is going. Always read each answer choice, if only to confirm the one you suspect is correct.
  • Llaima01Llaima01 Member
    230 karma
    I struggled with the 4 RC passages not because I could not understand them but because of timing issues. In my quest to improve, I have come up with certain items that have proven helpful to me. The points below reflect my learning from 7Sage, of course, and also the book LSAT Trainer (chapters on RC). I hope these points resonate with some of you and help you master this section. Please add/modify/correct my ideas. Also, If you have questions, let me know. We can all benefit from the discussion. Best of luck to you all!

    I. It is absolutely critical that you identify the main point of the passage and main points of each paragraph. If you identify the main point, this alone will help you answer 3-4 of the questions in a passage.

    II. Rather than focusing on reading faster, I have focused on reading better i.e. identify without a doubt the main point (s). The focus is on what is primary vs. secondary (details).

    III. I do not try to remember details. This is impossible. I remember where the details are so I can go back to verify the final answer or to confirm a decision between two finalists.

    IV. I note the voice/tone of the author. I circle any word that provides a clue. Also, I keep track of the internal structure of the passage. I do this mentally at the end of my read. It is fairly obvious because the passages are versions of a combo of the following: presentation of a problem, thesis, idea, etc.; main point; for- against, application and/or information, and background information.

    V. Just as critical as understanding the passage, it is absolutely critical to understand what the questions are asking. This is where I was wasting most of my time; since I did not have a precise idea of the question, many answers seemed plausible and I wasted my time reading and re-reading finalists. I am still trying to perfect this area but this is what I have learned thus far:

    1. Pay attention to the scope of the question: i.e. specific or general
    2. Pay attention to the type of question & learn to decipher what they are asking:

    a. If the question says: Main point of the passage= what the passage is all about according to THE AUTHOR.
    b. A question like “which one of the following most accurately characterizes the author’s attitude toward Tutuola’s position in world literature” blah, blah, blah = this simply means What AUTHOR thinks of Tutola’s position in world of lit In other words, learn to summarize the question. Most importantly, this question is completely connected to the Author’s main point or at the very least, it will not go against the Author’s main point. As obvious as this main seem, at first, I just did not make the connection.
    c. Other “translations” that may be useful: “According to the passage some critics have criticized T’s work on the grounds that” blah, blah, blah = this means why is T criticized according to the Author.; The primary purpose of the passage is = WHY the Author wrote it; “which one of the following most accurately describes the function of the last sentence of the 2nd paragraph?” = this simply means “purpose of the last sentence of the 2nd paragraph”, why this sentence is there? And so on. If you can crisply identify what the question is all about, then, the wrong answers do not seem as tempting any more.

    VI. Once you identify the 1 or two finalists, scrutinize each word. Treat it/them like a MBT question: look at “all,” “some”, “most” “should” etc.. For instance, a wrong answer that I picked read: “The author shows ardent approval of most aspects of the theory”. This was wrong on 2 counts: “ardent” was too strong of a word (although the Author was completely committed to the idea) but also because the passage discussed only ONE aspect of the theory so I could not conclude “MOST aspects of the theory”. Some very tempting wrong answers will have a part that is completely aligned with the passage but the second part will be out of scope, not mentioned at all in the passage, or will conflate.
  • jrkovalsjrkovals Alum Member
    183 karma
    thank you for your guys' comments. My problem is not in finding the right answers or "rereading" per se. However, Zhneder, i am spending too much time on reading the passage. This sounds kind of weird, but i think i am being too analytical. Spending too much time on seeing all the relationships (maybe ones that are that important). With regard to answering the questions this helps with seeing correct answer choices (w/o much referencing back). However, I think a major reason i was asking about the questions was because i want to speed up my reading and not sacrifice details. Lliam, i am working getting through your suggestions. However, if you guys have specific suggestions for this problem, i'm opening to listening to them ( Liam, i will work my way through your suggestions). anyone feel free to answer

  • zhenderszhenders Member
    228 karma
    Llaima's suggestins are solid; definitely do read through them.

    I guess my last advice -- and what took me from -4/-5 to -0/-2 was this: find a way to get really interested in each passage, and convince yourself you are not allowed to go back and reread anything. I've programmed these ideas into my head, and it has drastically improved my RC.

    Best of luck, mate.
  • jrkovalsjrkovals Alum Member
    183 karma
    will do, and thanks for the tips.

  • jrkovalsjrkovals Alum Member
    183 karma
    Llaima, your suggestions on question identification i found very helpful! if we could have id stems ( like in lr) that would be so helpful! Your " according to the passage," meaning "according to the author was very helpful." My q is, how do you focus on honing in on important and "2ndarily" important details. I think I get bogged down in details and this slows me down. Even in doing the memory method, i find i start to be able to recount odd (this is subjective to me of course) amount of small details (its almost like my brain focuses more on the little details more than the big ones for some reason). While i think this could be an asset you if you had 45 minutes to do this section ( at this time I'm saying there could a reward for this as opposed to if you had over an hour you might not need to do a memory method b/c you could just look back at the passage ! haha) but anyways , i really struggle with this and i think i need lean to cipher out between big details and little details, in interest of time !! Maybe you have some tips for this. Your suggestions with the question stems helped a lot with this too, again, thanks.

  • Llaima01Llaima01 Member
    230 karma
    Hey Jake,
    I am still working on deciding what is important/primary and what is secondary. This is what has helped me:
    1. Focus on when the AUTHOR "speaks/has an opinion". This usually leads to a main point....seems obvious, ah? but it is not if one is not used to this type of test.
    2. Also pay attention to opposing ideas.
    3. Keep the STRUCTURE of the passage in your mind i.e. 1st paragraph intro of thesis-author states her view; second paragraph, author expands on her view, etc. etc. This is critical because it will help you when you need to get back to look for a detail and/or to confirm an answer.

    Try this and see if you can get the main idea, support and opposing views. Summarize them in your head in less than 30 seconds and go to the questions. Come back to the text only when there is a detail and you need confirmation. I would do the questions under un-timed conditions at first until you feel comfortable with the system.

    Two more things that may be useful:
    A. Always work from WRONG to RIGHT: this means, ATTACK ( and by that I mean be aggressive) a question looking to eliminate answer choices (i.e. A-wrong because it is about one theory and not most theories, C- wrong because author never mentioned international writers, D-wrong because it is the other way around, X influenced writers not the writers influenced X.) Once you do this, the clutter disappears and you can focus on the two finalists or the finalist. If you have 2 finalists, DO NOT compare them against each other (I do this all the time! :( ). Rather, take the first one and compare it against the text and eliminate if it does not match. You are left with the other. You can quickly confirm it by re-reading it again.
    B. Do not answer the most wordy question in each passage: the analogy one, or the weaken one, you know the one I am talking about. These type of questions take a lot of time which can better spent in answering 2 or 3 30-second questions on the next passage. Remember, this is about points (In the past I always felt I "needed" to answer every question .. I needed to prove I am smart :) - this is about how to get the most points in a limited amount of time, and for that you need a good strategy, whatever that is, just have a good strategy). As you get better, even these questions will become easier.

    I hope this helps. Finally, I can offer this. I started by barely being able to read 2 passages to now being able to read 4 passages and going through 1/2 of the questions on the last passage. So I still need to improve...but I guess what I want to say is that there is hope. You CAN get there. If you have more questions or would like to discuss via phone, feel free to email me at I will be glad to help however I can.

    All the best!
  • jrkovalsjrkovals Alum Member
    183 karma
    thank you for more of your suggestions, Llaima! I will work my way through them and get back to you.
  • ENTJENTJ Alum Inactive ⭐
    edited January 2014 3658 karma
    Wow, some of these responses are like Reading Comp passages in and of itself!

    It's nice to see such attentiveness and dedication within the 7sage community. I feel all warm and fuzzy inside. :)
  • chase62442chase62442 Alum Member
    79 karma
    Llaima01, thanks so much for your ideas. Thinking about the questions in terms of "what does the author think" instead of "what is the passage trying to say" makes it much easier.
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