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RC Lessons Learned, please do share

Dear all,

LSAT has become my new drug now. And what JY had said, RC has become especially addictive. As such, I am more desperate to score high on this section. So here are my learning lessons for the 2nd week of learning. And please feel free to share your opinions.

1) Concentration. You must concentrate when you are reading the passage. The number of questions that you answer correctly will be a direct reflection of your concentration. Likewise, this concentration extends all the way to answer questions.

2) Interest. I find that most of the times, you don't have to be interest in the topic but the way that the author is composing his/her point. I have found a way for myself to generate interest by playing what I call a "game of inspectors", meaning that I am always trying to find MP, connections, strong terms, reference, examples....And in general, I believe that every passage is a carefully designed maze and it is game that I have to get good at.

3) Structure. When reading, always ask the question, why the author puts this here and now. There is always a reason. And rarely I find them do it because they intended to be confusing.

4) Reading notes. Don't write like crazy next to the passage. A word or two. I find the fact that you are pushing the brain to process the information actually does a better job for later paragraph recall.

5) But do put in arrows or numbers (link to pt 4). Often times, there is some logical relationship, like the one that I just did, of something that relates with serotine and carb craving. That passage is crazy about A cause B cause C cause D that sort of stuff and when this happens, draw the arrow on the passage and not write a reading note.

6) Track referential phrasing. When the author uses "it", "that" have to be able to mark it and track it back. This a fraction of a second thing helps to do 2 things: 1) keeps the structure in constant check, 2) more recall and brain processing

7) Answering. If it is a easier question and you can smell it, just circle it. Or else, do process and elimination. And when it comes the time when you are 2/5 and tries to make a final decision, just believe your gut feeling.

8) Keep learning the passage in the answer choice. I find this especially helpful when doing harder passages. The answer choices do helps you make a double check on your understandings. So you can revise your initial map. So let's say you are doing question 4 and now you find the map is wrong and the question 1 answer needs to be revised, then do it. The questions are just another more targeted "tool" for you.

9) Enjoy the process. Feel the process and actually enjoy. Once you are able to break all the things down, then you are able to feel how sophisticated that the writer is. And often times, these writings are highly sophisticated. This attitude will snowball and get you to the next passage and the next and the next. And then you get addicted like me and just want to do another RC.

While I am only 2nd week into RC, I am constantly meditating on this as RC is not about reading.

Please share with me of your learnings. I be much appreciated.




  • tanes256tanes256 Alum Member
    2573 karma
    @"Giant Panda" I like this! I was so happy to see that someone else "thinks" like me or is on the same page when it comes to RC, especially #8! The questions have helped me a time or two for sure. I realized my thoughts or understanding of some things were the complete opposite of what was really going on. The questions and AC saved me! Even though I consider RC my worst section, I surprisingly enjoy RC. You mentioned thinking of the passages as a maze and that's exact how I see it! It bothers me that I don't have time to figure out the common structures the writers use. I'm convinced they are just as formulaic as LR and LG and we can plug and chug here too if we knew their patterns. Of course it's more difficult here because of all the extra words, but I'm just convinced! LOL Question about your notes or "markings" you use. Do you use anything similar to Nicole's method? Like boxing, circling or underlining certain things in the passage? The lowest I've gone on RC is -3 but that was during BR. I haven't hit it on a timed PT yet. That concentration thing is definitely key. I've missed questions because I rushed through the questions and misinterpreted what was asked! I've tried the memory method as well but I'm just not having a lot of luck on timed PT tests. It's good that I'm doing well on BR but I guess anybody could without the time restraints, ugh!
  • DEC_LSATDEC_LSAT Alum Member
    760 karma
    @"Giant Panda" THANKS for this post!
  • AlexAlex Alum Member
    23929 karma
    @"Giant Panda"

    The LSAT is my drug now too... lol

    Great tips too! :)
  • Giant PandaGiant Panda Alum Member
    274 karma

    I just came across Nicole method today. I probably will watch it later.
  • loosekanenloosekanen Alum Member
    138 karma
    I've developed a personal strategy that has helped me, a former -7 average on RC go to -4 average. While taking RC I feel more time pressure than in any other section. As such I was reluctant to spend too much time going back into the passage to find answers. I realized that was burning too many points that I could've easily got by just taking my time and going back to find the answer. I mean, those questions are essentially a trade of time for a 100% answer most of the time. Then, I couple that with just plain skipping the hardest questions. You know those questions, they take like an extra 90 seconds and you still don't feel like you know for sure what they're looking for. I come back to them if I have time and try, but I'm just not worried about those 2 or 3 per section that are true curve breakers. Since focusing on just making sure the questions I do answer are correct I have gone from a 10-6 missed range to a 7-3 missed range. Considering this is my weakest section it probably is the difference between high 160s and low 170s. I encourage you to try it out.
  • LSATakerLSATaker Free Trial Member
    edited November 2016 250 karma

    I wonder which question you usually skip?
  • Rigid DesignatorRigid Designator Alum Member
    1091 karma
    I guess this might fall under the umbrella of 'concentration' but for me I really need to make a conscious effort to focus on the full content of each and every sentence as I go.

    As a humanities student I feel pretty comfortable with reading dense prose, but through my RC practise I have noticed that sometimes my comfort had the effect of making me borderline skim-read sentences. I then sometimes found these sentences had an unusual quirk, a key piece of information, a key insight into the author's view, or something else right at the end. This obviously caused problems.

    So I guess my lesson learned is pay close attention to each sentence in its entirety, and don't get too complacent, no matter how comfortable you are.
  • loosekanenloosekanen Alum Member
    138 karma
    @LSATaker for me the hardest ones are the ones that read like, "which of the following statements would the author most be inclined to agree with?" or "Which of the following studies would be most similar to the studies performed by the researchers in paragraph 2?" Then there will be an entire column of answers, with usually a few of them nuanced. That's obviously not well-crafted like the actual exam question but that's the kind of question that I can spend three minutes on and still only have eliminated two or three answers. I get that it's essentially a MBT/inference question but I still dump loads of time on those.
  • LSATakerLSATaker Free Trial Member
    250 karma
    Thanks! I'm weak at those inference question too...took a lot of time for me to find the right sentences to get to the right answer (especially when the info is from different parts of passage)
    Maybe I should skip those questions too or just skip a whole passage and devote time to only 3...I dont know which is better.

    @"Rigid Designator"
    Do you have any tips for having interests to read those humanity passages?
    Sometimes, archaeology, anthropology, philosophy...those make me feel asleep a lot and I have serious problem...
  • Rigid DesignatorRigid Designator Alum Member
    1091 karma
    @"LSATaker" Honestly, I'd just drop the expectation that you're going to enjoy them. I mean, I don't. Maybe if it's philosophy or politics I don't mind them but on the whole I don't like them much. You just have to force yourself through them.

    It might be good to notice that most of the passages are just three or four paragraphs. If you hate going through a whole passage look at it like 4 mini-challenges. What is this paragraph doing/saying? Repeat 3-4 times and you're through!
  • LSATakerLSATaker Free Trial Member
    edited November 2016 250 karma
    @"Rigid Designator"
    Interesting approach!
    I'll try it :)
    But I mean, good to know even humanities major students do not like some of the passages...feel a little relieved lol (I regret a lot that I did not read humanities articles a lot...)
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