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For those who score within -5 in RC...+RC general question

AliceZ6v6AliceZ6v6 Alum Member
edited October 2016 in General 92 karma
How do you read passages?
Do you just scan the structure and not remember the details? And go back to the passage for each question? (or just questions asking the details?)..what does "read structure" really mean?? Like...1st paragraph is about background, 2nd is about critics...etc?
I just read the mirror passage in PT 71 and it completely scared me off...I listened to JY's explanation but still not sure what the passage is talking about.
What should we do on the test day if we have a passage like this one???
I missed 4 questions just within this passage...

Comments

  • Tinyosi1Tinyosi1 Alum Member
    235 karma
    I usually read it and retain general information such as the structure of everything, certain opinions such as the author's or the opinions of any key people/groups.

    When people say you should read for structure they usually mean that you need to be aware of the flow of the passage. Such as "Paragraph 1 introduces a conflict of opinion, Paragraph 2 presents one opinion, Paragraph 3 the opposition of 2, and Paragraph 4 presents the author's opinion/reveals which of the two the author agrees with."

    This is helpful because if you get a question like "According to the passage, how does [Group] feel about [Idea]". You now know, instantly, what section to jump back to because you remember "Oh, their opinion about [Idea] was stated in paragraph 2"

    So I would focus more on the attitudes and arguments presented; you can use these to direct you to specific passages. In the mirror question, two arguments are presented, but try to hone in on the fact that the author clearly supports one over the other. This sets the overall tone of the passage, and will especially help you to answer the questions regarding how the author feels about certain things within the passage.
  • desire2learndesire2learn Legacy Member
    1171 karma
    If you get a passage like that one just skip it and come back to it at the end. Do you best but do not allow that hard passage to affect your scores on the other 3. You can't control difficult passages, but you can limit the damage they do to just that passage.
  • speedwagonspeedwagon Alum Member
    393 karma
    I am always looking for these things/underlining:
    1) what does the author think about what they're saying;
    2) what are the sentences that express an opinion (even if it's not the authors');
    3) what are the key nouns/sentence subjects (ie the things doing things);
    4) what does each paragraph do (ie what @Tinyosi1 said above.)

    I find this makes it easy to move through the passages and find what I need to answer qs fast. This gives me more time to confirm since I have to spend less time finding in the first place.
  • AliceZ6v6AliceZ6v6 Alum Member
    92 karma
    Thanks :)

    @speedwagon
    @speedwagon said:
    3) what are the key nouns/sentence subjects (ie the things doing things);
    What does this mean? How do you know which noun is important and which one is not ?
    Do you go back to the passage on detail questions?
  • Tinyosi1Tinyosi1 Alum Member
    235 karma
    I always go back to the passage if only for a couple of seconds to confirm an answer, but in your passage I would say the best nouns/ ideas to remember would be
    1. First group of scientists(Group A)
    2. Group A's explanation 3. Group B of scientists("opposing")
    4. Group B's explanation
    5. Author's opinion/Conclusion

    With these things in mind, you essentially have a barebones version of the passage in your head that you can use as a map back to specific parts.
  • AliceZ6v6AliceZ6v6 Alum Member
    92 karma
    Okay...I'll do some more practice.
    Reviewed the mirror passage, but still not sure whether the author agrees with the 1st group of scientist...
  • danielznelsondanielznelson Alum Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    4181 karma
    I think you pose a good question when you ask what "reading for structure" looks like practically. That term is used a lot, though it's hard to define.

    One thing I more or less implicitly do is consider what certain terms, definitions, sentences, claims, et cetera do for the passage. These all play off of one another and impact other parts of the passage. For example, a really confusing hypothesis about some chemical reaction may figure in the argument as a foreshadower or what future research will presumably reveal (and thus, what subsequent passages will discuss) or perhaps as an outmoded hypothesis that is later refuted with newer research. The hypothesis itself may be as confusing as all get out, but if you know what it's relationship is relative to other parts of the passage, you're focusing on the structure.

    Maybe another key point within a paragraph is an important claim/conclusion made by the author. Maybe that conclusion is supported in a preceding paragraph, with perhaps an anticipation of opposing arguments in the following.

    This may not help a lot and may not be much different than what's already been suggested. But one key point is to remember that you do not need to know exactly what something means, whether it be a particular word, legal concept, or scientific theory. But you definitely need to know what that thing is relative to other "things" in the passage, and more broadly, its purpose in the passage.
  • AliceZ6v6AliceZ6v6 Alum Member
    92 karma
    Hi @danielznelson
    Thank you for your reply!
    Can I ask some questions?
    So when you say

    @danielznelson said:
    you do not need to know exactly what something means
    So maybe we just need to know some name and whether the author agrees with it or not and if questions ask about the theory just go back to the passage and confirm what it means? Is this what you suggest?
    How often do you go back to the passage?
    I mean...for which questions?
    I'm not sure how much info to retain by the1st round of reading...

    Like, if you know which paragraph talks about someone's opinion, it maybe easy to look back the exact place, but for a question which asks really details about some theory etc it's kind of hard to even find the place to read again...or in this case should we just re-read the whole passage again?
    Btw,
    Do you take notes?
  • runiggyrunruniggyrun Alum Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    2481 karma
    @coconutsberries said:
    Reviewed the mirror passage, but still not sure whether the author agrees with the 1st group of scientist..
    The author agrees with the first group and disagrees with the second, as evidenced by two key statements:
    lines 22-23 : "this explanation (the second one) is clearly based on a false premise"
    lines 48-52 which state that you need to take into account both the object and the observer - that's exactly what the first group of scientists do.

    These are the sort of things you should be looking for in a passage - indication of opinion and indication of strength of opinion (clearly based... is different from potentially based... in terms of strength)

    These are skills as fundamental as the ability to identify the conclusion in an LR stimulus. Once you know what the author's opinion is, it will be a lot easier to answer the "main point" question, because the main point is generally the author's opinion, and at least 2-3 other questions that relate to that opinion.

    Besides that, pausing after each paragraph to summarize what you think it's about, like other people mentioned, is really helpful. You might want to try JY's "memory method" where you write those thoughts down, just to get a handle on how the process works. You won't have time to write things down during the test, but after some practice you should be able to do the summary in your head.
    Knowing where the information is because you have an outline of the passage in your head would help answer some of the more "detail" oriented questions.
  • AliceZ6v6AliceZ6v6 Alum Member
    92 karma
    @runningthis
    Hi,

    Thanks for the input.
    Um, by saying "summary" do you mean summary of the content (the author agrees with the reversed left to right theory because....) or just "structure" such as "author's opinion about reversed left-to-right theory"?

    Thanks
  • Q.E.DQ.E.D Alum Member
    556 karma
    Hey @coconutsberries, lots of good advice here. As always, I'm here to jump in and insist on reading some challenging outside material, the goal being to make reading comprehension more automatic. You may not have time for that, of course. If your deadline is coming up, you should be drilling, PTing and BRing.

    But - and correct me if I'm wrong - it sounds like you want to know something simple and encompassing about RC. You've prob heard a lot of tactics, very important routines and things to notice. 'Very good advice. But it seems to me that, if those things don't come naturally to you, they must seem like a daunting list of tasks to keep track of and execute in a 7-10min exercise. It's analogous to asking a pro skier to explain how he/she so masterfully navigates the slopes. You will hear a lot about skiing fundamentals, but you would on some level doubt that the athlete thinks about much of that in competition. Probably those skills come automatically as involuntary reflexes ingrained by countless hours of practice.

    'Same with reading comp, says I. if you ask a strong reader how she got her answer, she may list observations about structure, evaluative words, hooks etc., but she may not have looked for them consciously. The reader noticing literary elements, the skier leaning at perfect angles to the slope, and even the casual customer at a restaurant who quickly scans the menu all rely on ingrained reflexes.

    If you're a strong reader, you'll do a lot of this stuff automatically, and you become a strong reader by crossing oceans of difficult prose in different styles, from different times and on different topics. That's your athletic training.

    Assuming you don't have time to read, you may at least want to know what it's like to experience strong reading comprehension. Like test-takers who ask about that "click" you eventually get with LG, maybe you want to know what happens in your head when you have a strong command of RC. I'm not sure it's the same for most, but I can give that a shot: it's like you're the author. You might even define reading comp as the ability to imitate the author's tone, inflection, attitudes, beliefs, purposes etc. in minute detail. You can't do that without understanding the passage. If you CAN do that, you'll be able to say what's important and why the author says this or that with less effort.

    So there you have it. I think you should challenge yourself with difficult reading material, if you have time. Otherwise, strive for the experience of reading the passage as if you had written it.

    Good luck.

  • uhavnobusinessuhavnobusiness Legacy Member
    7 karma
    Its all about reading through as quickly as possible, but not moving to the questions until you are sure that you understand all the different opinions involved and what they think and how they relate to one another. In other words, the big structure.

    It is important to note that this does not mean skimming, or going too quickly. Often a tiny detail can alter a person's entire argument. And you need to be able to catch that or else you will definitely be missing more than one question on the passage or at least burning too much time and skipping a couple on the back end of the RC section.

    As you practice more you will build intuition around what small details are important to memorize and connect to other information.

    Other than that the biggest thing is pacing. Assuming you read through a passage quickly and efficiently, you should be spending 20 seconds per question tops! this means in essence read through the stem, options ABCDE, refer back to passage once if necessary then select answer. If you need to read through ABCDE again, too bad, mark the question and skip. Or else you will miss easy questions on the back end.
  • AliceZ6v6AliceZ6v6 Alum Member
    92 karma
    Thank you for the advice&great insight!
    I wish I had time for reading outside materials...I'll try.
    @uhavnobusiness said:
    As you practice more you will build intuition around what small details are important to memorize and connect to other information.
    Hi,
    Can you give us some examples? What kind of "small details" are important?
  • SherryS1SherryS1 Legacy Member
    477 karma
    RC is my best section hands down. When I read a passage I try and understand the relationships discussed.

    The key for me is as I read I subconsciously rephrase things into simpler terminology in my head much as JY does during the LR videos (I haven't tried the RC videos). For example:

    - Paragraph 1. During X period this trend was happening, which lead to several proposals that didn't pan out.

    - Paragraph 2. Here are two of the proposals. Proposal 1 is about x and has these cons. Proposal 2 is about y and has these cons.

    - Paragraph 3. The author thinks the proposals didn't go through for reasons a & b.

    - Paragraph 4. The proposals were relevant to shaping the future in the following ways: x & y.

    I track what's happening as I read. I don't pause after the passage to summarize. I never skim passages without processing what is being said. For tough science passages, I'll abbreviate the scientific names for diseases (LGR) or processes (Method z) so I don't get hung up on them.

    I am a very active reader and tend to underline a lot simply because it keeps me engaged. Here's some of what stands out to me:

    - Dates. I circle them. In some passages, they'll try and mess you up with chronology. While reading I just keep track of general chronology (before or after).

    - Definitions. Box these and pay close attention! They will ask us about it.

    - Names/groups/diseases/animals/etc. If they seem relevant, I'll mark them. Often times these will come up in comparative questions and I know where to look. It also breaks up the passage into topical components

    - Key Conclusions. So in the example above I would box/underline/etc. the sentence summarizing the first and second proposals in paragraph 2. Every paragraph has a takeaway for me.

    The beauty of RC is that every questions has a nice clean answer right in the passage. Because of that I always reference back and use my mark ups to save time.

    I wish you luck with your RC sections and hope you're able to find something that works for you :)
  • Tinyosi1Tinyosi1 Alum Member
    235 karma
    @coconutsberries said:
    Thank you for the advice&great insight!
    I wish I had time for reading outside materials...I'll try.

    I definitely recommend reading outside materials as well. I think a big part of why I am "good" at RC is because in HS I developed a love for things like The Illiad. If you can get through stuff like that you can follow anything from the LSAT with general ease. Obviously you won't have as much time between now and your test, but I think it would be good to try to read at least one challenging passage each day/every other day. You might want to look into essay collections if something longer isn't a viable option!
  • AliceZ6v6AliceZ6v6 Alum Member
    92 karma
    :D
    More great advice, thank you so much!
    @SherryS1
    So you just mark on the passages and do not write any sentences or words I guess?
    Can I ask how often you go back to passages?
  • SherryS1SherryS1 Legacy Member
    edited October 2016 477 karma
    @coconutsberries Happy to help :)
    So you just mark on the passages and do not write any sentences or words I guess?
    No full words or sentences but I do sometimes write down "C" for critics, a year or the first few letters of a place/text/name/etc. I'll also number anything they do (there are 3 trends...etc.)
    Can I ask how often you go back to passages?
    It depends on how well the passage stuck with me and the questions types.

    - Summarize/Tone/Passage Purpose Questions: I don't tend to look back for these.

    - Reference Line/Word/Paragraph Questions: I only glance back if I feel I need to. For example, I may know how a word was used and won't reference back to save time.

    - Content/Comparative Questions: If the answers pops for me or if process of elimination gets me there, I trust my gut. Where I'm stuck, process of elimination will generally get me down to 2 answers. I'll check the one I think can be more easily located first.

    I think the key for me is to do the heavy lifting upfront while reading the first time but everyone is different. I hope that helps or at at least offers another perspective :)
  • AliceZ6v6AliceZ6v6 Alum Member
    92 karma
    @SherryS1
    Thank you so much! Yes, it helped a lot :)
    "content" is a question asking specific content discussed in the passage right? (not too specific like line reference, but still ask what is true in the passage)
    I hope I can establish how I should read RC passages soon...
    Great to know how other people read, thank you a lot folks.
  • SherryS1SherryS1 Legacy Member
    477 karma
    @coconutsberries
    Thank you so much! Yes, it helped a lot :)
    Yay. I'm glad to hear it :)
    "content" is a question asking specific content discussed in the passage right? (not too specific like line reference, but still ask what is true in the passage)
    Exactly right. I'm sure the test prep companies out there have come up with better names...
    I hope I can establish how I should read RC passages soon...
    This is how I feel about logic games. I'm reviewing a PT LG section right now. The struggle is real.
  • AliceZ6v6AliceZ6v6 Alum Member
    92 karma
    @SherryS1
    Thanks! :D
    Yeah I hear you...I haven't started much preparation for LG neither (mostly LR right now) but people say LG section is the most learnable section so I'm sure you'll be fine :)
    &hope I'll be fine too...haha
  • speedwagonspeedwagon Alum Member
    393 karma
    @coconutsberries said:
    What does this mean? How do you know which noun is important and which one is not ?
    Do you go back to the passage on detail questions?
    Coming back to this - hmm. I think it is somewhat automatic. I am looking for nouns that relate to the main argument; I'm looking for nouns that have juicy verbs after them (ie verbs that indicate they are relevant to the argument at hand or otherwise indicate specific actions). If the passage is about two scientists, I'm going to pay attention to anything indicating they are doing something.

    I'm also signposting for structure words - "in summary," "on the other hand," "further," anything that can help me see the flow of the argument. I think the skiing analogy is pretty good in that you have to figure out the lay of the mountain as you go. Where are the rocks? Where are the surprise twists? These are things that help me track back if I need to examine further.
  • AliceZ6v6AliceZ6v6 Alum Member
    92 karma
    @speedwagon said:
    I think the skiing analogy is pretty good in that you have to figure out the lay of the mountain as you go. Where are the rocks? Where are the surprise twists? These are things that help me track back if I need to examine further.
    @speedwagon said:
    I am looking for nouns that relate to the main argument
    Thank you for your additional response!
    I like the skiing metaphor, I'll try to pay attention to those phrases indicating the arg. flow :)
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