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Reading Comp HELP

shaydamilanishaydamilani Member
in General 15 karma
I have been studying for the LSAT for a few months now and my score has tremendously improved. I am now scoring on average 165 consistently on prep tests, but what holds my score back is my reading comp section. I usually always score the lowest on RC. On my last prep test I took, I missed 2 in LG, 2/3 in LR, but missed 8 in RC, so it is really hindering my overall score. I am consistently having trouble with the humanities and social science passages in RC. I do not like those subjects and have had virtually zero practice since high school (I'm a Finance major). I have been practicing more on RC and trying to review, but I just don't know what I can do to help my score. I watched the webinar that was posted previously on the discussing and I am going to try her tips, but I just feel like I always second guess myself and narrow it down to two answers, but in the moment of the test I choose the incorrect answer. Any ideas on what I can do to try to work on my reading or any other tips? I am going to try to notate differently because I do find myself going back a lot and not being able to find anything because I underline everything as I read.


  • Julia LJulia L Alum Member
    354 karma
    Hey @shaydamilani, I feel your pain! RC has been a struggle for me.

    Are you consistently focusing on reading for structure and have you tried the memory method? How are your BR scores for RC? If you find your BR scores are high, then you're probably understanding the material well and what the questions are asking of you, but having difficulty executing it under time pressure. Here are a few things that have helped me (still working on execution!)

    1) Read for structure and think about what the author is trying to persuade you overall, and how each part of the passage plays a role in the author's argument.

    2) Unless you have a phenomenal memory, there's no way you can remember all the details during a short amount of time, so you just want to get a good enough understanding of the main points of each paragraph. Be confident! The questions try to trick you into thinking you read something that you didn't, but trust yourself! If the questions ask about specific details, go quickly to where you remembered it was mentioned.

    3) Really engage yourself with the passage. The time pressure makes you want to rush, but stay focused and piece together sentence and paragraph.

    4) During your review, just like LR, reason why the right AC is right and why the wrong ones are incorrect.
  • 179 karma
    I had the EXACT same problem. I've noticed that underlining that much tends to slow me down during the read and keeps me from deciphering main points (especially in the later PTs with tricky question wording).

    Now I try not to underline or mark anything until I am finished with the individual paragraph. Also I don't mark what I think is the main point (or a new opposing/affirming point) until I am done with the paragraph.

    Also I would advise not underlining/circling anything that's over two words. Instead (if it's a main point you're marking) I would write MP (or whatever other indicator you want) to remind your self where the info is, and make a "]" around the lines in the paragraph.

    Most questions are in regard to the passage Reading Structure. i.e.- the main points and the authors position.

    So think about any new presented information as "how does this related to the main point / structure of the passage"

    This is a list of what I mark now:

    -the Main point(s)- only AFTER you read the paragraph
    -Authors position -DONT UNDERLINE, put a "!" or something, but it's probably worth the mark if the author is not presenting someone else's information
    - Indicator words: *But
    These I circle to mark transitions into the authors view/ opposing view
    these sometimes indicated specific instances brought up in questions (not fool proof though)

    Ohh and I noticed that doing timed BRs with a highlighter (just for the passage) helped me realize what type of extraneous information I would focus on. (to avoid it later)

    Also (for passages giving you the most trouble) I would reprint the section and read/answer the questions, then mark where in the passage the answers are. Doing that gave me more or less of an idea where the important information was located and how the questions and main points related to each other.

    I am an Accounting major, so I know what you mean about having ZERO practice with theses subjects :/ I hope this helps!!

  • Nilesh SNilesh S Alum Inactive ⭐
    3438 karma
    A job for @nicole.hopkins
  • lsatblitzlsatblitz Alum Member
    edited November 2015 521 karma
    It took me about a week to get @nicole.hopkins notation method down untimed. Now, notating purposefully seems like second nature during a timed section. You really need to embrace Nicole's idea of using the passage as a toolbox if you're going back to the passage or else you're gonna keep getting stuck in those time sink questions. PM me or obviously Nicole if you wanna hear more about it.
  • lsatblitzlsatblitz Alum Member
    521 karma
    Also, when I say untimed I don't mean that you should be practicing untimed. I mean that my timing was way off for about the first week.
  • nicole.hopkinsnicole.hopkins Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    7965 karma
    @shaydamilani said:
    Any ideas on what I can do to try to work on my reading or any other tips? I am going to try to notate differently because I do find myself going back a lot and not being able to find anything because I underline everything as I read.
    Here you go (this is my webinar):

    Many good points made in this thread (reading for reasoning structure). I found that I needed a turnkey, muscle-memory, automatic, don't-need-to-think-about-it notation strategy. So I came up with one. I hope it helps you (it's in that video linked above). And please do PM me!

    The other key to improving in RC (for everyone, even if they have a photographic memory) is tightening up your understanding of inferences—especially what kinds of inferences you CANNOT make and therefore must eliminate :D
  • shaydamilanishaydamilani Member
    15 karma
    Thank you all for the comments and advise! I will definitely work on the notation method and try to read more for structure. I feel that I do get caught up in details and then it slows me down. I also seem to be looking and wasting time when I look back in the passage for answers.
  • nicole.hopkinsnicole.hopkins Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    7965 karma
    @shaydamilani very common :) You can do it!!
  • cverdugocverdugo Free Trial Member
    136 karma
    I would say make sure when you BR the passage that you are developing good habits that will hopefully translate on test day. For example when selecting answers during BR write out the specific lines that made you choose that answer. And as everyone mentioned the key is to read for reasoning structure! What helped me develop these skills is on my BR I would write little sentences next to each paragraph about how it relates to the whole passage. For example I wouldn't write "This paragraph is about black holes and how scientists say they are the key to space travel," instead I would simple write "introduces a subject and theory about it." Next paragraph I would write "Evidence for theory," or "historical info about subject," whatever pertained. This just trained my mind to read for structure and how everything relates. Try not to get bogged down in notating things if you haven't gotten comfortable with seeing how the paragraphs relate, (but of course if notating helps keep you engaged then scribble all over that damn thing).

    As you do more and more timed sections of RC and review you will start to see the many patterns LSAT writers have for the structure of a passage like; introduce theory, refute theory, new evidence for theory, qualify support for theory. But don't get caught up in trying to memorize these many different structures, just get comfortable with recognizing how things relate to one another within the passage. And if you haven't done it already read the RC chapters from the LSATrainer, if you haven't bought the book don't worry there's not many chapters on RC, you could go to Barnes and Noble and read the chapters there.

  • Quick SilverQuick Silver Alum Inactive Sage
    1049 karma
    Hey @shaydamilani If you haven't already, get a copy of The LSAT Trainer - he gives great stuff on reading for Structure vs Content. He also categorizes Question types which is HUGE and underestimated. Know Question types the way you would know LR Question types - it makes you quicker and more effective!
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