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A plug for using a highlighter on RC!

My apologies if this has been discussed better here before and I'm just missing it! Everything I've been able to find specifically on the 7Sage Discussion boards has been pretty wishy-washy in general about it, so I figured I'd post.

I know that success using particular “methods” (e.g., specific notation systems, margin-writing, etc.) in RC is typically pretty idiosyncratic and that what works for one person might be entirely unhelpful for another, but I want to sing the praises of a tool that I haven’t really seen suggested too much elsewhere (and in fact, that I’ve seen a few actively discourage):

The highlighter! Hear me out.

I didn’t even realize it was acceptable to use a highlighter during the actual test until recently because it doesn't seem to get talked about much, and I definitely did not expect it to help me, but it totally has. If you're like me and feel like the passages are a blur and the answers sometimes feel like total shots-in-the dark because you're so rushed and stressed, this honestly might help you get a little bit more certainty and confidence.

I’ve been putting my pencil down during my initial read and focusing just on understanding the passage and its structure, and then going through with the highlighter during a much briefer second pass and marking up everything that seems like it’ll be helpful to have for the questions (names, dates, details, shifts—anything that seems like answer-fodder, really). For me, this serves two purposes: 1) it quickly reacquaints me with the passage's overall structure in light of having just finished it (which can be quite helpful for a tricky main point question), and 2) it (obviously) makes the information easier to locate quickly.

It might just be me, but I feel like—since I've been staring solely at #2 pencil chickenscratch and black ink for months and months during prep and it can all start to feel like extraneous clutter at a certain point—the yellow of the highlighter stands out and really helps me organize the info visually. I’ve gone from missing 5-6 per RC section (on the newer tests) and sometimes not finishing on time to only about 2-3 misses on average (and in time, even with spending about 4 minutes upfront on the passage). For someone trying to go from consistent 169ish to consistent 172ish, these 2-3 extra points are huge for me!

Now I WILL GRANT YOU the possibility that this is all placebo and my actual improvement might simply stem from increased familiarity with RC (and no doubt that's a big part of it too), but the highlighting method really has, at least at this stage of prep for me, helped me feel more confident about my understanding of the passage. It feels like having a great setup for a logic game and being able to breeze right through the questions.

Anyway, if you're banging your head against the wall with RC and wrote off using a highlighter because you thought you couldn't spare the time, I'd say give it a shot! If it doesn't work for you, that's okay—but maybe it will!

Comments

  • AlexAlex Alum Member
    23929 karma
    @kylereinhard ,

    That's awesome you found something that works for you! And if it works, no one can say jack about it. Even if it is just a placebo effect, it is still getting you those extra points.

    I've never been a fan of highlighters in general because I tend to go crazy and start highlighting everything, lol. At least that is how I used to be in high school and have gotten better and choosing the important info.
  • Cant Get RightCant Get Right Yearly Member Sage 🍌
    25530 karma
    Right on @kylereinhard . This has me wondering about one of those tri colored highlighters where it's got yellow pink and blue all in one. One color for who/what, another for when/where, and the last for shift/attitude indicators. I haven't used a highlighter because it is less versatile than a pencil, and I don't want to waste time switching. But with three colors I could see how I could disregard the pencil all together and end up with a notation that popped more than boxes and circles and underlines. Everybody hates on the highlighter but I may give it a shot just to see. I'll report back if I do. Thanks for the post! Always good to reexamine things!
  • NanchitoNanchito Yearly Member
    1754 karma
    @kylereinhard You know I have to ask... what highlighter do you use?
  • aimhigheraimhigher Alum Member
    100 karma
    @"Cant Get Right" said:
    But with three colors I could see how I could disregard the pencil all together and end up with a notation that popped more than boxes and circles and underlines.
    @"Cant Get Right" Quick question - do you know if the LSAC actually allows more than one highlighter? I've been hearing that they were super strict on a lot of what we can and can't bring, and although I checked out their Do and Don't brings list and highlighter is specifically allowed, I think I remember hearing from somewhere that we were only allowed to bring one yellow highlighter (or I might be remembering wrong I'm not sure, I just don't want to devise a method just to find out I can't apply it during test day)
  • kylereinhardkylereinhard Alum Member
    edited August 2016 72 karma
    @nanchito This is important, yes! Right now, I've just been going with the bottom one here—the classic!—because I already had one in my drawer:

    image

    However, I've heard that bleed-through to the back of the page could potentially be a problem, so I'm going to test it out soon with an "official" version of a PrepTest (just in case it's a slightly different type of paper from what I've been PTing with) to see if it's an issue, and if so, I'll consider switching to a gel one!
  • Cant Get RightCant Get Right Yearly Member Sage 🍌
    25530 karma
    Not sure @aimhigher . That would definitely be important to know! Unless it specifically excludes non yellow highlighters though, ought to be fine.
  • AlexAlex Alum Member
    23929 karma
    Great! Now I'm going to be in the market for new highlighters! lol
  • J. TharpJ. Tharp Alum Member
    575 karma
    So, I might try it. Also: time for a best highlighter thread? ;)
  • DEC_LSATDEC_LSAT Alum Member
    760 karma
    thanks for the tip @kylereinhard I'll give it a shot!
  • aimhigheraimhigher Alum Member
    100 karma
    @"Cant Get Right" Thanks man! I'll see if I can find out, I mean the worst thing that can happen is they take it away and I'll go back to the old simple pencil method
  • tanes256tanes256 Alum Member
    edited September 2016 2573 karma
    @"Cant Get Right" you haven't noticed any lost time with switching between colors? That was my initial concern.

    I'm not sure if you can use pens but does anyone remember the pens from the 80s that had like 4-5 different colors in one pen and you push down the color you want? Who knows where you could find one these days, but I'm wondering if this could eliminate the possible bleed through with the highlighters? Just underline or box/circle, whatever in the designated color? hmm...

    https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/31iDuRAUz8L.jpg

    http://multicolor-pen.hinib.com/cache/cs/4-color-pens-multi-color-pens-hswb992_630.jpg
  • theLSATdreamertheLSATdreamer Alum Member
    1287 karma
    def trying the highlighter !
  • SprinklesSprinkles Alum Member
    11536 karma
    @"Alex Divine" said:
    Great! Now I'm going to be in the market for new highlighters! lol
    LOOL typical Alex move. I've recently been using the Sharpie smear-guard highlighters that have that glass-type window near the tip so you can see exactly what word to stop on...only convenient for supply nerds such as ourselves :P
  • NanchitoNanchito Yearly Member
    1754 karma
    @"J. Tharp" said:
    highlighter thread? ;)
    The official highlighter thread.... Me thinks so.
  • AlexAlex Alum Member
    23929 karma
    @montaha.rizeq said:
    LOOL typical Alex move. I've recently been using the Sharpie smear-guard highlighters that have that glass-type window near the tip so you can see exactly what word to stop on...only convenient for supply nerds such as ourselves :P
    I need a new pencil cup (For me sexy Noricas) since I foolishly lost mine during my move. So in about an hour I am going back to Staples to get one. While I am there I am planning on doing some highlighter shopping, lol.

    The ones you are talking about are awesome! I found one in the library last year and kept it haha. The only bad thing was it was nearly dead :( Perhaps I should pick some more up?

    I'm trying to find excuses to buy more office supplies ;)
  • SprinklesSprinkles Alum Member
    11536 karma
    @"Alex Divine" said:
    I need a new pencil cup (For me sexy Noricas) since I foolishly lost mine during my move. So in about an hour I am going back to Staples to get one. While I am there I am planning on doing some highlighter shopping, lol.

    The ones you are talking about are awesome! I found one in the library last year and kept it haha. The only bad thing was it was nearly dead :( Perhaps I should pick some more up?

    I'm trying to find excuses to buy more office supplies ;)
    Haha! I'm so mad there's no Staples where I live grr...but yeah try getting some of the one that I mentioned...super convenient and fit nicely on the hand.
  • AlexAlex Alum Member
    23929 karma
    @montaha.rizeq It is a good thing there isn't one near you, lol. I spend way too much money and time in that place.
  • Cant Get RightCant Get Right Yearly Member Sage 🍌
    25530 karma
    @tanes256 said:
    does anyone remember the pens from the 80s that had like 4-5 different colors in one pen and you push down the color you want?
    Hell yes I remember those! Man, technology has really regressed since then, those were amazing.
    @tanes256 said:
    @"Cant Get Right" you haven't noticed any lost time with switching between colors?
    Yep, it was totally more trouble than it was worth. Moreover, I didn't find it to be particularly more helpful than my pencil annotations. It was worth a try, but I think I'm officially back on board the hating on highlighters train.
  • kylereinhardkylereinhard Alum Member
    72 karma
    @"Cant Get Right" honored you gave it a shot, HEARTBROKEN it didn't work out for you
  • Cant Get RightCant Get Right Yearly Member Sage 🍌
    25530 karma
    Haha, I guess at this point I'm just too old and set in my ways!
  • SprinklesSprinkles Alum Member
    11536 karma
    @"Cant Get Right" said:
    it was totally more trouble than it was worth. Moreover, I didn't find it to be particularly more helpful than my pencil annotations. It was worth a try, but I think I'm officially back on board the hating on highlighters train.
    image
  • citizenkanyecitizenkanye Legacy Member
    edited September 2016 74 karma
    Thank you @kylereinhard for posting this, because I just tried out the highlighter method and was *finally* able to break my frustrating plateau on RC! You're awesome. Happy studying!
  • 322 karma
    This looks like a really good solution to some of my problems lol I may just have to try it.
  • dcdcdcdcdcdcdcdcdcdc Alum Member
    382 karma
    Am going to give this a try on PTs as during some re-takes of RC passages I was using a highlight an strictly enforcing the rule to only highlight main points of each paragraph. I felt this forced me to consider to passage structure and withhold judgement during my read through. Not so much a highlighter specific thing, but whatever works!
  • gititenenbaumgititenenbaum Alum Member
    48 karma

    can anybody comment on using highlighter during actual LSAT did it bleed through or is that just hog wash?

  • pioneer321pioneer321 Member
    328 karma

    @gititenenbaum said:
    can anybody comment on using highlighter during actual LSAT did it bleed through or is that just hog wash?

    I used highlighter on my first take last year, and it didn't bleed through. Unfortunately I didn't find it useful though.

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