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What do you keep it in your brain when reading for RC

Giant PandaGiant Panda Alum Member
in General 274 karma
Hi team,

I have been studying with 7sage for a month now. Learning a lot of stuff, but just want to do a double check, what do you keep in your head when reading the passage?

For me, I feel like I have constantly do the following set of things:

-Untangle the passage into context, premise, conclusion (minor/major) by asking the WHY question.
-Writing the sentence into logic terms by constantly looking out for any logical indicators (all, never, only if...) and pause for 2 seconds and write it out (sometimes if the sentence is symbol I still try to do it because in the end the passage is an argument)

And yes, I do this for all the questions. Surly, I speculate when doing actual PT this may be done unconsciously, but for starters, what do you keep in your mind when reading for RC?

@twssmith, @"Accounts Playable" and anybody else care to share?

Much thanks,

Panda

Comments

  • SamiSami Yearly Member Sage 7Sage Tutor
    10700 karma
    I just try to keep it simple, like "why is the author talking about this"? oh this is an example, or another critic, or support, Main point. That's it. If any detail is required by a question, I first try to see if i can eliminate any extreme and out of scope answers and whatever answer choice is left, if there is more than one, I use my notation's in my pasage to quickly find it to verify.
  • MrSamIamMrSamIam Legacy Inactive ⭐
    2086 karma
    I like to focus on acquiring a general understanding of each paragraph, then, of the passage as a whole. I focus on a few things:
    1) Lists - did the author list a few things? If so, there's probably a question that'll try to trip me up with said list.
    2) Points of view - refer to 1.
    3) Authors perspective - even if there isn't a question on this, it helps tremendously to understand how the author feels about what he or she is discussing.
    4) Main point - needs no further explanation
  • twssmithtwssmith Alum
    5120 karma
    @"Giant Panda" said:
    -Untangle the passage into context, premise, conclusion (minor/major) by asking the WHY question.
    -Writing the sentence into logic terms by constantly looking out for any logical indicators (all, never, only if...) and pause for 2 seconds and write it out (sometimes if the sentence is symbol I still try to do it because in the end the passage is an argument)

    Hate to say it but I gave up on that type of detailed approach:(
    And I sucked at RC but getting better so no "Hail Mary" here on advice for a silver bullet.

    Take a step back when reading RC. Read for argument structure and notate details as needed. When you read the first paragraph, what is the point of the passage? Many times you will not even be able to know, but to be engaged you will keep asking "Why" did this person spend time to write this. More often than not it is a whole hell of a lot of crappola but where is it going? Anticipate what the next paragraph might be about? Then, painfully read the next paragraph and hope you have some idea where it is going. Link it up back to the 1st paragraph and then hopefully understand how the 2nd paragraph plays into a part of the argument structure and then anticipate what is coming next. Keep working not only top-down but back up to find a clear structure of the passage. This understanding will hopefully save time in answering global questions and make it quick to return to the passage for verification on a context specific question.

    Did I say it "ain't easy" for those that struggle in RC? But, there is hope! My speed working through the passages and questions is improving. Getting better at LR has also made a difference in my RC confidence answering the inference, weaken, strengthen questions.

    Most of the passages can become cookie-cutter in structure but they love to crucify you with the details. Your instincts are great to always recognize logic indicators that can impact eliminating incorrect AC's fast. Having a personal notation strategy to annotate the subtle logic indicators, shifts in scope, relativity to time, etc, and most importantly words that give a sense of the Author's attitude/opinion/tone on the subject can make a huge impact on timing and scoring. If RC is not a natural strength, it might take time and practice to implement different strategies that play to your strengths.
    Give this strategy a shot on previously taken RC's - please never practice new strategies with new PT's!
    Let me know how it goes:) T
  • AurBorealAurBoreal Legacy Member
    74 karma
    @twssmith - you mention not trying new strategies on new PT's - has it been helpful to your RC to re-do old reading comp sections? how long do you wait until you re-do them?
  • Cant Get RightCant Get Right Yearly Member Sage 🍌
    25607 karma
    Very generally, my strategy is to read for the forrest and annotate for the trees. So my annotations will be highlighting details, clarifying referential phrasing, and marking specific words and phrases that indicate shifts in voice and perspective.

    What I try to really absorb is the author’s opinion and purpose, as well as the opinions of any other individuals or groups the author may address. At the end of each paragraph, I try to pause to briefly review the paragraph, make sure I have some idea about what I’ve just read, and project forward to anticipate what I think might be coming. At the end of the passage, I very briefly run back over the passage and do a fairly broad summary before I go on to the questions.
  • stepharizonastepharizona Alum Member
    3197 karma
    Some of the best advice I have seen is to read like a Judge for Comparative passages and like an Investigator/Interviewer for other passages.

    Why am I being told this? Whats the authors motive and points of view? It helps me stay much more engaged in the reading process.

    Like at Cant said, I try to pause a moment after each paragraph, or when there is a switch in the longer paragraphs to make sure I can summarize each area with a word or two.

    I also make marks, to make it easy to return back to a point in the passage.

    Once I get to the questions, I always go back to the text as needed to verify answers with line items.

    A lot of practice with RC really helps.

  • SeriousbirdSeriousbird Alum Member
    1278 karma
    What I do is make pictures in my mind as I read the passage.

    I focus on the content in the passage by reading slowly, underlining important facets the questions might ask me about (for example if there is a theory I will underline the theory advocated by a group of people, theory author supports, and the conclusion the author makes). I just did the Thurgood Marshall legal case so what I did was make a bracket for the first method, another bracket for the second method, and another bracket and I wrote M next to it to symbolize Marshall's strategy. I did not mark up anything else in the passage..

    I generally understand the structure of the passage, the main point of the passage, and the author's opinion just by doing this.
  • The 180 Bro_OVOThe 180 Bro_OVO Alum Inactive ⭐
    1392 karma
    I think about the 180 I'm going to get after I dominate the PT I'm taking. Works like a charm.


    Haha but in all seriousness. Excellent advice above
  • Accounts PlayableAccounts Playable Alum Sage
    3107 karma
    Excellent advice given.

    I think improvement in RC comes from applying the memory method to your blind review. For me, reviewing RC was the most time consuming section to review (that was intentional since I thought it was the hardest to improve). During BR, print out a copy of the section fresh, and for each passage, type out the answers to the memory method questions in a word doc. After that, watch JY's video of him reading the passage and follow along. Then, answer the questions/put line references next to your justification for your answer. Lastly, watch JY's video for the answers. In that word doc, type out questions you missed/struggled with. Over time, you'll start to see how formulaic RC really is (just like the games).
  • twssmithtwssmith Alum
    5120 karma
    @"CUNY_2017" said:
    you mention not trying new strategies on new PT's
    RC sections are hard to recycle thru the learning process with multiple attempts. Unlike LG where you can keep doing the games until you finally master all of the inferences, RC is more limited in what awareness you can capture on a retake. Even LR, especially for specific questions already missed, can provide drilling opportunities thru-out your studies.

    When I find a new strategy that I want to implement, I go back to PT 1-35 or find a retake RC that was in my early stages of prep when I started PTing way before I was ready:P
    Fortunately, I had no clue what I was reading on certain passages the 1st go round so I kept a log to return to them. (I was able to get the PT PDF's before the LSAC ban which allows for my strategy)

    I alternate between doing a "lap timer" on a specific passage with a target time around the 8ish minute mark to get used to trying a new mental (forest not trees) strategy or a different way to annotate. After doing the 4 passages individually of a section, I will do a proctored timed RC section to try identify strengths and weaknesses. Then repeat process. Admittedly, it is going to be tough for me to keep "fresh" RC sections going into Sept because I have found it very important for me to keep up RC reading skills on a regular basis akin to my LG practice drills to stay sharp.

    p.s. The value of being able to video record your practice cannot be over-emphasized. Give it a shot if you have the capability:)
  • cal6005cal6005 Member
    106 karma
    @"Accounts Playable" said:
    Over time, you'll start to see how formulaic RC really is (just like the games).
    This is so true! I used to struggle with RC, but after drilling so many passages and focusing on breaking down the right and wrong answers during review, it now seems formulaic like the other sections. Reading the LSAT Trainer helped me very much to understand how I should best focus my attention for each passage:

    - ID main point of each paragraph (or at least the purpose of it)
    - ID main point of passage
    - ID author view/tone & opposing viewpoints
    - ID structure of passage (the function of each paragraph as it relates to the entire passage)

    I found the Manhattan Prep RC book to be super helpful, too, in terms of being able to identify wrong answer choices more easily. And going through every single PT I've done and re-doing the RC sections with my newfound method helped me start to see the formula/patterns in this section.

    @Giant Panda, you say you are constantly trying to "untangle" the passage - maybe you're trying to focus on too many things at once. What worked for me was simplifying my approach to reading the passages, and thoroughly scrutinizing the answers choices to categorize why each of the 4 wrong choices are wrong. For example, they can be out of scope, exaggerated, unsupported, contradicted - and then suddenly the only answer left is the right answer.

    It'll get easier over time as you do more RC passages and start to see the patterns. Good luck!
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