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Skipping Strategies- especially for RC

clarkermclarkerm Alum Member
in General 49 karma

Hi all,

I am hoping to get some input on a skipping strategy (not really for LG). RC is my weakest section (seems like almost everyone says this). When I BR I an able to get 4-5 more questions right because I had made stupid mistakes rushing to get all the questions done. I want to try to practicing skipping questions throughout my next several PTs.

Was hoping to learn some of the strategies y'all use! I REALLY want to maximize my potential on RC- the process has been very rough thus far.



  • BenjaminSFBenjaminSF Alum Member Inactive ⭐
    edited February 2017 457 karma

    When I was skipping questions in RC, it was largely because I did not adequately absorb the information in the passage. Either there was specific info that I could not refer to quickly or other concepts that I did not retain that were needed to answer the question. In having to return to the passage, I was wasting a lot of time, and I tried skipping these to answer questions that I could do right away. In the end, skipping these was not a fault of me not understanding the question stems or ACs, but instead not working enough on the stimulus.

    I think it is really important to distinguish why you are skipping the questions. If it is because it is hard to remember the referenced information, this is a problem that can be addressed through improving reading strategy. It is another thing entirely if the question feels difficult because of phrasing or misleading answers. I found that when I worked on my reading strategy for the stimulus, I was much less compelled to skip questions in this section.

    Obviously, there are going to be hard questions mixed into the RC section. However, all of the questions rely on a strong understanding of the passages. My experience was that as I improved my strategy on the passage, I could skip a hard question here and there to finish at the end. But similar to LG, each passage has 6-8 questions, so skipping more than 1-2 questions in a passage would suggest that it may help to focus on overall understanding.

  • Sarah889Sarah889 Alum Member
    877 karma

    You should check out this webinar. It's gold. It talks about skipping in general, including RC.

  • tjphilbricktjphilbrick Alum Member
    174 karma

    My timing and scores improved on RC when I did two things in particular: 1) started bracketing the main point of each paragraph as I went so that I have a physical reminder of the important points of the passage when I try to answer the questions, and 2) spending time up front on the passage rather than on the AC's, just like LR. Not sure if this will help you, but in my experience these things helped a lot.

  • danielznelsondanielznelson Alum Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    4181 karma

    @BenjaminSF's point on recognizing why you're skipping is a tremendously important one.

    For me, skipping what I know to be harder questions is helpful. It gives me a sense of self-autonomy, where I can pick and choose which questions I want to answer first. So rather than dealing sooner rather than later with a harder question specific to the passage, I skip and move to what seems easier. Thus, instead of worrying about my pacing or worrying what questions lie ahead, I can breathe a sigh of relief knowing I worked my way up to the questions that may take the most time. Of course, a solid understanding of the passage through identifying the main point of each paragraph and the passage as a whole, identifying the author's tone, anticipating and actually reflecting back to your anticipation when parts of the passage support or contradict your anticipation makes less daunting the harder questions.

    Because I trust in my ability to understand the passage, if I've hit a roadblock, I quickly move on, trusting that revisiting it will give me a fresh and thus more productive perspective on the last few answer choices I haven't eliminated.

  • JustDoItJustDoIt Alum Member
    3112 karma

    I think @BenjaminSF and @danielznelson really hit the nail on the head. Knowing why you are skipping the questions will help you to recognize your weaknesses too. Granted some questions (weaken, analogy, passage format, etc.) are designed to take longer. If you are pressed for time, I would skip these and come back to them later. They don't occur often, but when they do, I usually get out of there and come back only if I have time.

    I also find it helpful spend more time up front, like @tjphilbrick mentioned. I spend about 3:45 on the read, :15 on the review, and about 3-4 minutes on the questions. Having an agenda or time scale, so to speak, puts your mind at ease because you know what to expect, what your goals are and how to achieve them.

    But probably more importantly, it gives you an idea of your overall time bank (see Trainer or Manhattan RC). For example. If you know you can do each passage in about 8 minutes, you are going to have 3 minutes left in the bank after the section. When you speed up on easier passages, you are adding more time to the bank. When you slow down on harder passages, you are taking time from the bank. I mention this because this is wear your skipping strategies come into play. By skipping questions, you are adding time to your bank, by moving past those time sinkers. You can use the time that you have put in the bank after you have done the section to answer questions that you skipped. Regardless, even if you have no time left in the bank, at least you know that you have spent it wisely on questions that you are more likely to get right.

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