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How to get above the mid 160s/ I need help with Reading Comp.

The King in the NorthThe King in the North Alum Member
edited December 2017 in Reading Comprehension 75 karma

Thanks! :)


  • calcal101calcal101 Alum Member
    582 karma

    I've been struggling with RC on more recent PTs but I've had some recent improvements, so I'll share what's helped!

    First off, we have the same diagnostic score and are scoring not too far off from each other at the moment--I fluctuate between high 160s and low 170s. Reading comp tends to range from -1 to -5 (my weakness is LG).

    A few things that I've been implementing over the last few days that have really helped:
    1) not over-notating. When there are tons of things circled and boxed and all that, I get distracted. It also slows me down. Now, I focus on author perspective, other people's perspective, and major pivots in perspective (or things like a concession an otherwise argumentative author is making)
    2) if you haven't looked back at the RC section in the CC since it was updated, do so. The low res to high res explanation definitely helped me
    3) take risks and accept uncertainty. Don't waste time checking every single answer choice back against the passage. Just because the question mentions a specific line does NOT mean you need to return to that line…think of it as a trick to get you to waste time. Only return to the line if you must

  • TheMikeyTheMikey Alum Member
    4196 karma

    you should def check out the updated RC stuff in the CC. It was pretty helpful for me, as RC is my worst section as well.

    Is there a methodological way to handle this as there is in logic games and logical reasoning? -- yes, but it does not work for everyone. have you heard of Nicole's RC strategy? It's based on extensive notating and going back to the passage for most questions. It's a time sink, and may not be the best fit for you but you can check it out, it's the closest thing to being something methodological like LG that I can think of.

  • AlexAlex Alum Member
    edited August 2017 23929 karma

    @"The King in the North" said:
    Hi everyone! I've been studying for the LSAT this past month. My diagnostic score was a 162. I'm aiming for above a 170. Currently, I'm scoring in the mid to upper 160s. Only once have I scored a 170 under timed conditions. During blind review, my scores are usually in the upper 170s range.

    I usually score 0 wrong in Logic Games and around 3 to 5 wrong in each of the Logical Reasoning sections.

    My biggest struggle is Reading Comprehension. In my best performance, I had only 3 wrong in this section. However, there have been times where I had 10 or 11 wrong. In short, my performance vastly fluctuates in this section. Oftentimes, I run out of time before being able to finish the section. During blind review when it's untimed, my scores in Reading Comprehension is significantly much better with usually 0 to 2 wrong.

    I was wondering if anyone has any advice on Reading Comprehension. I continue to struggle with this, especially the science passages. What are some helpful tips you have? How does one become faster at reading comprehension? Is there a methodological way to handle this as there is in logic games and logical reasoning?

    I've also noticed that sometimes when I'm doing a reading comprehension passage, I'll forget what I'm reading and realize that I don't really understand what I'm reading. How should I fix this?

    Also, what were some strategies and study habits that y'all employed to cross the final hurdle to score in the 170s range?

    Thanks! :)

    It's hard to give general reading comprehension advice without some more detail. The biggest piece of advice that everyone agrees on is putting emphasis on reading for structure vs. details.

    Some general skills I have developed that have helped me have been increasing my reading speed. I want to be clear that I am talking about increasing your baseline reading speed. I don't think you should speed read or simply try to read faster, with less comprehension. You want to learn to read faster with the same level of comprehension, or better.

    Another helpful skill I've learned is getting really good at skimming. After reading a passage, I usually give it a quick skim. I feel like skimming refreshes my memory and instills a better sense of the structure of the passage. And since I've gotten better at this, I can usually do this in 20 seconds. I also find that getting good at skimming to find textual support for answers can be key! I am generally against note taking of any kind just because I think it's distracting, wastes time, and generally the things people think are important at the beginning of a passage end up being something so basic and obvious the passage doesn't ask about it.
    If you are note taking or underlining truly keep track of if they are helping in any meaningful way. For instance, when was the last time you found an answer because of your underlines or notes?

    This is just my opinion on RC and the fact reasonable minds disagree tells me there's really not one right way or wrong way to approach RC. It's very much an exercise in finding what works for you. So I implore you to try different methods and tactics and find what works for you. For me, 7Sage's memory method is still at the foundation of how I approach RC.

    As far as science passages, You don't need to understand any hard scientific words. Read and treat it like any other passage. The LSAC knows that hard language in the science passages are going to freak you out, so don't let them.

  • KillmongerKillmonger Alum Member
    332 karma

    For me personally what @"Alex Divine" said has worked dividends for me. I speed read now but i also answer a decent amount without referring to the passage. I think constantly evaluating and trying new things if it isn't a strength is idea. No two people read the same or notate the same. Honestly ill even quickly search the questions for ones that ask something very detailed, because the longer i wait to answer those the more likely i will forget. I also answer tone questions early on. RC was and still is my "weakness." On tests my goal is to miss 5. Would love to miss less but I'm giving myself some breathing room because i don't miss on LG and on LR I'm usually 2-3. Which puts me right at or a little above a 170. Which is my goal.

    Just like every other section you have to go into RC with a plan. A plan that you've put into play on PT's over and over and over and are comfortable with.

  • AlexAlex Alum Member
    23929 karma

    @"marvin.dike" said:

    Just like every other section you have to go into RC with a plan. A plan that you've put into play on PT's over and over and over and are comfortable with.

    Here's a big point I forgot to emphasize enough. You can't just ever take a passage approach where you think just reading the passage and then answering the questions will be enough. I'm pretty sure that's what I did when I began prepping and was stuck missing 5/6 per section for months and months. It wasn't until I wrote out and solidified an "RC attack strategy" that I could repeat for every passage that I broke my plateau.

  • ZaTablerZaTabler Alum Member
    513 karma

    Not sure if there is correlation.... but Ive been scoring terrible on RC and the past few tests I have been making very few marks and reading the passages clear through and my score has increased an average of 5 points.

  • AlexAlex Alum Member
    23929 karma

    @ZaTabler said:
    Not sure if there is correlation.... but Ive been scoring terrible on RC and the past few tests I have been making very few marks and reading the passages clear through and my score has increased an average of 5 points.

    I can't say if there's a correlation or not but I can tell you @ZaTabler that I experienced an almost identical increase when I stopped notating or using Nicole's strategy and began focusing solely on the passage and reading with intent. I believe I went from missing 6-8 down to 3-5 within a section or two. It took a lot of work to get that -5 down, but giving up needlessly marking up the passage was a great starting point.

    It's so odd because some people who score amazing on RC mark up the passage from start to finish. It's just one of those things where you won't know what works for you until you try it yourself.

  • fambam24fambam24 Member
    215 karma

    I would definitely look through JY's new lessons on reading comp. I've been implementing the low/high resolution summary methods and it's actually worked really well. On the comparative passages, it's been helpful to read passage A and then answer any questions that I can before reading passage B. I find that I can retain more information this way. Another approach that's been helpful is that of finding parallels b/w reading comp. questions and logical reasoning questions...the two sections have similar question types. You can use the approach that you take to LR questions to similar RC questions.

  • TheMikeyTheMikey Alum Member
    4196 karma

    I think RC is too subjective tbh.

    I know people who read a passage and skim it quickly just to get structure and goes back into the passage for questions and do just as well as someone who reads a passage in 4 mins and comprehends almost everything and answers questions from memory.

    try things out for yourself. if you notating doesn't work, don't do it anymore. if reading slower and comprehending things fully works, then great. if reading very fast to get structure down and going back into the passage more often works then great, and if it doesn't then try something else.

    up above I linked Nicole's RC strat. it's notation heavy but it may be something that works for you or it may not be. overall though, you should be reading for structure no matter what approach you take

    best of luck!

  • extramediumextramedium Alum Member
    edited September 2017 419 karma

    Not a fan of Nicole's strategy in general, but I do use a couple of her tips. I just circle keywords and underline majorly important statements like definitions of terms as I go. Aside from that, I just bracket main points of the paragraphs and the main conclusion of the passage if it's quite clear.

    After reading, I'll sometimes tag the functions of each paragraph and then regardless, I say to myself, What was the passage trying to achieve? What was the argument or main idea? And how did the paragraphs function (helpful for organization questions) to serve that purpose? When I have time, I'll occasionally write that out briefly in the blank at the bottom of the page.

    Reading for 30 min. to an hour every morning has really helped. Just read anything. I was a huge reader before the test, then as soon as I stopped reading to focus all my time on the LSAT, my RC score dropped like crazy. Went back to reading and my scores immediately went back up.

    Blew through Jon Ronson's "So You've Been Publicly Shamed" and now I'm reading Hunter Thompson's "The Proud Highway," both of which I'd recommend.

  • BirdLaw818BirdLaw818 Free Trial Member
    553 karma

    Same situation here! I've learned that my mistakes and those who I study with are similar. First, my problem was that I wasn't reading for structure or keeping a lookout for certain things like authors attitude and main points and such. I just figured if I read it I should understand it. Wrong, normally you might but you're under a time constraint.

    This improved my score but not by enough.

    Then i realized that while i used the right methods to read the passage, I wasnt understanding of the importance of actually knowing what the passage talks about.

    If the passage describes a process, you'd better know it after you read it. If it's about the life and times of Winston Marsalis (pt81 lol), you'd better know who he is and what he did and why he did it and where it got him.

    I'm short , I feel like for someone in the 170s , reading for structure is of second nature. The real difference comes when you're able to actually LEARN what's in the passage. Now this advice doesn't mean that you pay attention to every little thing, but if the passage talks about C4 Photosynthesis and how it works, you need to know that once you finish. The RC section I just took asked questions about the specific process and went so far as to have you make inferences based on that process itself.

    Read to understand structure , and almost as important, read to learn.

  • The King in the NorthThe King in the North Alum Member
    edited September 2017 75 karma

    Hey everyone.

    First, thanks for all the comments and help. I found them very enlightening and helpful.

    I've been experimenting with different techniques mentioned here and others I've come across. Recently, I've tried something new with Reading Comprehension sections that seems to work for me in that I've been able to decrease the number wrong to around minus 2 now. This now boosts my overall score greatly.

    The technique that I've been doing is that for every paragraph I am reading in the passage, I am just simply looking for the main point/conclusion of only that paragraph. Basically, it's similar to how in LR we look for the conclusion/main point in the stimulus. As I'm reading the reading comp. passages, I'm essentially treating each of the paragraphs as LR stimuluses and I'm looking for the main point.

    Also, prior to reading the passage, I now read the first sentence of each paragraph and then read the entire passage. I simply do this because it's hard for me to stay focused and my mind tends to wander a lot. By doing this, I've been able to pay better attention to the passage and no longer find that I have no idea what I'm reading about or that I'm completely lost.

    Has anyone else done something similar to this method of looking for the main points of each of the paragraphs? What are your thoughts on this method? It seems to be working for me.

  • Hi @TheKingisintheNorth! So, I am an English professor [rhetoric, specifically], and I think the most helpful piece advice for one to follow in a situation like this is to fill your life with similar readings and practices. Read articles about things you enjoy, whether that is science or sports or what have you, and analyze them and summarize them as if you were doing it for the LSAT. I think it is helpful to also do this with podcasts, and ask yourself similar questions as well. Why is the author/speaker telling me this? Why should I give a shit? Why do they want me to care, and why do they? What is their attitude/tone? What is the big idea? If we get in the practice of doing this with everyday readings, or even just youtube videos on different types of lip gloss, it can help us apply the skill to our other reading needs.

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