Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

How to Improve ST Memory for RC?

Hi Everyone,

Was hoping to get insights from the community on how to improve short-term memory for RC. RC is by far my worst section (usually 8-9 wrong) and my goal is to try and knock it down to at least 4 wrong by November.

I have read posts online that if you read something at certain intervals that helps with your memory recall (ie. at 30 seconds since first reading, then 2 minutes etc. but I feel I do not have the time to be cognizant of syncing this up- even in a rough estimate fashion). I think I need to do drills outside of the realm of the LSAT to improve my short-term memory and was curious if others have done the same. I bought Economist magazines which I will try to read in my free time which I know helped one of my friends for RC (I work until 6 every day so I just go home and usually do 2 sections a night and blind review so I have little time to read and my blind review usually carries over to my lunch hour the next day).

I notice that the questions I get wrong are the factual recall ones similar to MSS and Inference questions in LR which I am actually good at for LR. I also struggle with identifying the author's tone in the passage (main point and structure I am not bad because I include a 2 word low res for each paragraph- one for content and one for structure).

Any advice would be greatly appreciated- thank you! #help


  • BamboosproutBamboosprout Alum Member
    edited September 2018 1694 karma

    Do you use the memory method? Do you know how to refer to the passage? The interval reading technique doesn't work for me, since my max reading speed is 250 words/minute. I would recommend perfecting the memory method (I have two 100page notebooks filled up with memory method notes), your active reading techniques (I choose to read for tone,purpose, and structure), and then watch JY go through real PTs and compare his techniques with yours in order to optimize. I don't think there are any short cuts for improving memory. You just have to practice. And I think 2 passages at a time is too few, and doesn't simulate the mental stress that you'll be going through in the real test. I would recommend at least 4 at a time, and preferably, choosing harder passages.

  • Phyxius1Phyxius1 Member
    55 karma

    Thanks so much for the comment! Candidly I do not use the memory method rigorously- would be good to get your insight here. I read the passage in about 3:30 and maybe spend 10 seconds mentally threading the low resolution summaries of each paragraph together to get a overall main point (I do not do the turn the page over thing- I know this is a practice exercise not to be done on test day but I figure if I can't do it on test day don't do it during prep).

    Can you share insights as to what these 200 pages of notes are? Is it your observations of your reading tendencies in general or is it passage specific notes of low res, tone etc?

    I do 2 timed sections a night during the week and I take Friday's off. Right now the timed sections I am doing are 1 RC (so 4 passages) and LG each and then a PT on the weekend which I blind review on the weekend.

    Also, 3 questions for you: 1) What have you found is the best way for you refer back to the passage (on a granular level beyond low res etc.)? 2) What are your active reading techniques (you alluded to tone, structure and purpose- is there anything else and how do you make a mental or written note of these?)? 3) What do you write down on the passage itself?

    Thanks so much!

  • Cant Get RightCant Get Right Yearly + Live Member Sage 🍌 7Sage Tutor
    27801 karma

    One trend I've noticed is that people often over-mechanize the procedure. The RC strategies are really important, but they are a guide to the reading, not the reading itself. They should be directing your attention to critical elements of the passage, but they should not themselves be your focus.

    A really simple test of where you are on this is if you can just have an intelligent conversation about what you've just read. This is a great exercise for study buddies. I've often found that many people reciting low res sums at me can't engage in conversation about the passage with me. Even worse, many don't even have an opinion about the subject matter. If you don't know how you personally feel about the author's argument or the subject being discussed, then you're really, really missing something big. Your opinion, of course, is irrelevant and you should ignore it, but you should still have an opinion to dismiss because you're a human and you should have some kind of intellectual response to a stimuli. The absence of this response is evidence for the absence of having been intellectually stimulated, which is obviously not what we're going for.

    The procedural stuff is really important, but it has to guide--not replace--your reading. The best thing that can happen on a passage (other than having studied the source material in depth as a part of your thesis--true story.) is for you to become really interested in the subject matter. If you're sincerely interested, you will be absorbed. The strategies will guide you within that mindset, but they will not act as a stand in for failing to engage.

    There's no specific reason to believe any of this applies to you necessarily, but in my experience, it's a pretty common problem for people in your score range with your approach. So make sure that under timed conditions, you're not so focused on strategy that you're neglecting the passage. Strategy works best when you've learned it so well that it's not something you do anymore, it's just how you take the test when you're not thinking about how to take the test.

Sign In or Register to comment.