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Share your RC improvement journey

Leon-on-the-LsatLeon-on-the-Lsat Monthly Member
edited November 2021 in Reading Comprehension 375 karma

Hi fellow sagers,

I have been struggling with RC for almost a year and still can't find a way to stably improve my RC scores.
I've tried connect-back, pre-phrasing, prediction, visualization, etc. But none of them really work for me.

I just finished PT91 and my RC was -10 (-8 on the two harder passages.) In earlier PTs, my worst performance was -7~-8. So PT91 was quite devastating. Thus, I started to postulate the reason for my stagnation might be my ability to understand hard English articles.

I heard in RC the best achievable level is -3; following by the next level -3~-6. I am hoping someone could share how do you improve your RC from where I am to a higher level.

Now I am thinking to really hone my reading skills and focus on really hard english materials, books, etc. I would love to know how others get through a similar struggle.

Thank you so much for your time.
Leon

Comments

  • Kevin JungKevin Jung Monthly Member
    34 karma

    Leon,

    I'm sorry to hear that you are struggling with RC. I'm pretty much on the same page with you. English is not my dominant language, and I think my lack of proficiency shows clearly in my performance in the section.

    That being said, I might have some tips that you might find helpful as well.

    1) Have you tried timing your progress throughout the section? I started allocating more time to science passages after noticing that I make the most avoidable mistakes in science and tech-heavy segments. I am more confident about arts & humanities passages, so I try to go through those segments as quickly as possible, leaving myself more time to wrestle with the rest.

    2) Maybe try anticipating question types and content while reading the passages. I usually try to mentally prepare in advance for certain types of questions while skimming the passages (i.e., author's tone, structure, flaw). This helps me tackle those questions quickly simply because I feel less flustered.

    I also considered establishing a habit of reading scientific journals. I eventually decided against the idea. RC passages serve the unique purpose of testing a particular skill set. In my opinion, getting used to reading dense materials outside of that context cannot replace actual RC practices accompanied by a plan to improve time management and anticipatory reading skills.

    I haven't taken any actual LSAT exam, so please consider my suggestion with a grain of salt.

    Wishing you the best,
    Kevin

  • poooumbaapoooumbaa Monthly Member
    edited November 2021 26 karma

    Seconding himchanjung in that you should figure out which passage type is giving you the most difficulty. I majored in science so I blaze through the science passages, but I used to struggle in the humanities. Reading them felt like eating a bowl of bland oatmeal; kind of boring so it takes forever to eat(no offense to you oatmeal fanatics). But your oatmeal doesn't have to be boring. It's your kitchen and you are the chef.

    let's look at a couple ways to make your limp oatmeal more colorful and palatable.

    1. In my case I focused on reading more humanities material both on the LSAT and in real life. I casually read humanities topics from news articles, Reddit posts, and even my old history textbook. This allowed me to pick up on jargon and related concepts much faster. Upon seeing such concepts in the passage I had already done the mental work of understanding them. This saved precious time and mental effort.
      An example to demonstrate:
      In a science passage the concept of entropy came up. Having already invested a portion of my undergraduate studies in thermodynamics I immediately thought, "Oh cool entropy, I know a bit about that. Let's see how they tie this in to the rest of the text", as opposed to thinking "Jesus what is this entropy stuff? God I hope the author explains this more because I'm lost". No panic rereading the sentence five times in confusion, instead I just barreled through the rest of the text. Concept familiarity makes the passage easier and more interesting, if not enjoyable(I swear I'm not a psychopath).

    2. You need to get interested, or at least feign an interest. When you approach the text from a frame of curiosity you not only focus more, but also engage with it on a new level. It's this engagement with the text that allows you to banter with it and challenge it. In your head you start asking the author questions like,"Well why would you think that?" or "That seems like a bold claim, got any proof?" or even, "Wow, this guy just hates his opponents, why is that?". You start to think critically, you know, like a lawyer.

    I should mention you don't necessarily need to spend most of your time on the text. Some find it helps to focus their attention on the passage, others read just to get the gist while focusing on the core elements. Try both approaches. Experiment, see what works best for you. Good luck!

  • hotranchsaucehotranchsauce Alum Member
    edited November 2021 282 karma

    Some things that have helped me a little. You could maybe give it a try if you want:

    Try doing a blind review in real time. As in, time yourself doing the question, answer the question, stop timer, review your current confidence level of your correct answer, rank best to worst the other answer choices, etc. Then check answer (are they all equally bad, or is there one incorrect answer that is at least a little better). Then re view why it's right or wrong. THEN re start timer, THEN do the next question.

    Try re naming question types into something more intuitive to you and less sterile, it only needs to make sense in your own head. For example: NA questions become "connect the dots".

    As you're doing a question, do you know when you're getting an answer wrong? As in, do you know when you're guessing? If you do, and if you're doing the "stop timer" blind review method I mentioned above, stop the time immediately and see what is going wrong. Why are you guessing? I call this feeling being "lost in the sauce". Is it because the passage, a certain word in the passage, certain word in the question stem. Like articulate it RIGHT then. I think this "stop the timer after every question blind review method" can be beneficial especially in situations like this.

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