5mins left on RC and 1 passage left -- Tips?

abisin1234abisin1234 Alum Member
in General 171 karma
I was just doing an RC section (Particularly PT 68) and got to the last passage with a little more than 5minutes left on the clock. At this moment I wasn't sure what the best way to maximize my remaining time was.

Would one advise just reading the passage as quickly as you can and trying to answer what you can with whatever time is left after the reading?


Is it more productive to go straight to the questions and try to target your reading. (I was lucky that this particular passage had a lot of line reference questions, but would the strategy be the same if this weren't the case?)

I wonder what you all think?


  • sabaker5-1sabaker5-1 Legacy Member
    edited August 2016 18 karma
    aah that's something I toggle with too, if you see specific line reference questions, then congrats! The passage requires a simple skim... but generally, I think reading quickly and then looking for premise, additional premise, and counter premise indicator words, and then trying to answer is also a major key.
  • Cant Get RightCant Get Right Alum Member Sage 🍌
    26297 karma
    Yeah, I'd do a quick read. If you just read normally without pausing and taking your time to make mental notes and annotate and everything, you can read the passage in right about 2 minutes. I might take an extra 20 seconds to pause at the end and run it all through before attacking the questions. Be strategic about which questions you answer first. You want to start with the questions you won't need to refer back to the passage on. Once you get all of those, then go back through. If you can get a question narrowed down to two answer choices, make your best guess and take the 50/50 odds. You want to finish all the questions before you dive any deeper. 50/50 is way better than the 20/80 you'll get on a last second blind guess. If you answer everything and still have a little time left, then go back and dive in to try and confirm the ones you're least sure about.
  • danielznelsondanielznelson Alum Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    4181 karma
    Definitely recommend a quick read as well. Often, the last passage isn't as bad and has less questions if you only have 7 or less minutes left for it (provided your pacing is about where it should have been for that particular section). If I remember correctly, 68's last passage wasn't as bad as the third and had less questions, but it was still a difficult passage!

    As @"Cant Get Right" mentions, be very strategic with the questions you attack. Scan them and look for ones you may already know the answer to. Hopefully, there will be two or three questions that allow you to easily arrive at an answer choice.

    Since #26 is asking of the meaning/role in the passage, a quick look at the word and reading a line or two both before and after the word should be enough to allow you to select an answer choice. This, along with #23, would be the best to look at after answering what you can without referring to the passage. Maybe you didn't even need to look at the passage for either.

    I would only recommend addressing this question sooner rather than later if you can arrive at an answer quickly. Since you're not looking back to the passage in hopes of finding what you need (it's given you the word and its placement in the passage), the process of looking at the passage is very different in this case.
  • runiggyrunruniggyrun Alum Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    2481 karma
    I'm in the quick read camp as well. Of course ideally you'd want to work on your timing and moving on strategy to make sure you're not in this situation, but let's assume you're already doing this and asking for the odd occasion when it might still happen in spite of your best effort.
    You should be able to give the passage a reasonably thorough read in 2 minutes, and have 3 left to answer questions - 30 seconds per question, give or take.
    That's where it becomes crucial to move quickly - if the answer doesn't jump at you immediately, pick one of the answers you haven't eliminated (assuming you CAN eliminate at least a couple quickly) and MOVE ON.
    Don't look at your watch - that wastes time - just move as fast as you can, bubble your best bet, move along.
    If you find you've reached the end and time still hasn't been called, then you can go back and read through the questions you couldn't answer confidently on the first go.
    I was in this exact situation in June. Not something I expected, I don't generally have trouble finishing RC, but it happened. The proctor called 5 minutes and I still had one question left of passage 3. I answered that as fast as I could and moved on to passage 4. Luckily it was a straight forward science one so a quick read took probably took less than 2 minutes, and I was able to get through all the questions. There was even enough time to check on a couple where I picked what looked like the right answer without checking the remaining ones. I got the last question of passage 3 wrong, but I got all of passage 4 ones right, so 5 minutes CAN be enough.
    Don't give up on the passage and don't give up on any of the questions without at least giving them a quick look. Chances are, if you usually finish in time and this one time you didn't, there was a hard passage that used up a lot of time, so chances are good passage 4 will be much easier.
  • LSATKingsmanLSATKingsman Alum Member
    1024 karma
    Certainly read the passage. If the best option was to look at the questions and try to answer we would do that for all four passages. Some great responses by the other commentators I'd follow that advice for sure.
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