How to speed up the RC?

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How to speed up the RC?

Postby Olesya_ » Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:19 pm

I have been preparing the LSAT for 10 months and have down 20+ timed pts. However, every time I cannot finish the RC. I usually use 11 minutes to finish one passage with bubbling in the answers (3.5 minutes to read the passage) and end up using 44-45 minutes to finish the four passages. So under timed condition, I can only finish 3 passages.
I usually redo the RC the day after and end up finishing four passages within 33-35 minutes.

I am quite anxious about this issue because I haven't shown any improvement in my speed during my 10 months' preparation, although every time I've tried my best to speed up. Any advice?

(In LR, I usually leave 2 questions untouched under 35 minutes and finish all the questions within 38.5 minutes. It's very stable since I start preparing for LSAT and I've made no improvement. )


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Re: How to speed up the RC?

Postby damask_rain » Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:24 pm

This may be a bad idea, depending on the person, but try not marking the passages at all and just read to get the big picture.

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Re: How to speed up the RC?

Postby PhiladelphiaCollins » Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:44 am

Try taking more time on the passage. Make sure you really understand the tone, logical structure and main point of the paragraph before moving on to the next one. If you want, scribble a 5-7 words next to the para to help you explain to you what the function of the paragraph is. Then, once you hit the questions, try to back-read as little as possible. Obviously don't do it if you have to re-read something, but try to force yourself to eliminate the first 2-3 answers based off your memory and then if you have to, go back and double check/skim to select the correct answer.

It's gonna seem pretty foreign at first, but force yourself to try it on a few sections/PTs to get the hand of it. My RC has gone from -10 on the June test to -3 on my last PT.

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Re: How to speed up the RC?

Postby Deardevil » Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:29 am

What I do first is find the main idea, which usually reveals itself early.
Magically, everything else falls into place: the support, author's opinions, etc.
So focus directly on locating the conclusion, then worry about what the other paragraphs entail.
My average on my last 15 PTs is -2, with three perfect scores, whereas it has been hovering around -8 before.

Takes a bit of time, but you'll get there. :D


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Re: How to speed up the RC?

Postby Jjbb938483 » Sun Nov 19, 2017 2:54 pm

PhiladelphiaCollins wrote:Try taking more time on the passage. Make sure you really understand the tone, logical structure and main point of the paragraph before moving on to the next one.

This has helped me a lot as well. I summarize every paragraph after I'm done with it before moving on to the next one. After each one, I think about how the one you just read relates to the previous ones. My process is something like this:

*read paragraph 1* –"They introduce a theory about X, give background info"
*reads paragraph 2* –"They explain proponents' views about this theory using evidence from X"
*reads paragraph 3* –"Now they mention new evidence presented by opponents of this theory that contradicts previous evidence"
*reads paragraph 4* –"Finally they describe the reasons for rejecting the proponents' view in favor of the opponent's argument"
*Done reading, before going to Q1* –"Their view is that the proponents of Theory X are wrong because new evidence suggests.... and the argument proceeds by presenting a theory, describing two views, and siding with one view over the other."

As I'm reading I underline or circle keywords that I know are important: Words about time (recently, previously, prior research, 19th century, Renaissance, Mesozoic era), words about viewpoints/people (proponents, opponents, researchers, actual names, scientists, historians, artists), words about tone/opinion (misguided, justifiable, wrong to assume, highly regarded).

This has helped me go from about -8 to about -2. Think about it like logic games: if you take time drawing your game board and fully process the rules and whats going on, the questions become much easier. It's the same thing with RC. Using this method answers your main point/purpose questions and your structure questions because you grasp the structure of the argument. Also, don't get slowed down trying to understand all the details (such as scientific evidence). You might be wasting time on something that the questions won't even ask about. If you focus on structure/tone/purpose you'll answer those questions very quickly. Then you can come back to the passage to answer questions about specific details (and because you know the structure, you'll know exactly where to go to find those details).

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Barack O'Drama

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Re: How to speed up the RC?

Postby Barack O'Drama » Sun Nov 19, 2017 5:35 pm

All the above advice is great!

I'm a big fan of Manhattan RC and The LSAT Trainer's approach to RC. I saw some pretty big improvements after going through each of those.
Last edited by Barack O'Drama on Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How to speed up the RC?

Postby Platopus » Sun Nov 19, 2017 6:13 pm

damask_rain wrote:This may be a bad idea, depending on the person, but try not marking the passages at all and just read to get the big picture.


I started seeing improvement on RC by just reading slow and not taking any notes.


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Re: How to speed up the RC?

Postby Vianco » Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:40 am

Something that really helped with reading structure for me is a strategy I saw Nicole Hopkins use in her RC video. Whenever there's a viewpoint changed, put a big > mark on the left side of the passage. For example, if there is some sentences about proponents of a method and then the author introduces critics of the method, put a > where that happens.


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Re: How to speed up the RC?

Postby rowdy » Fri Nov 24, 2017 12:38 pm

As the people above have said, slow down and read critically. DO NOT try to go fast. IMO writing notes and marking up the passage is a time waster--you can get the same benefit just thinking through it in your head, and that way you . You should be inquisitive about the passage as you read--for each sentence, you should be asking yourself "why does this matter?"

If you slow down and really attack the passage, you will find yourself just breezing through the answers because they will be obvious. If you read the passage critically enough, you will only need to read it once, and you will have to go back and "search" the passage for the answer to a question maybe once per section, instead of multiple times per passage. If you try to speed up, you will be the person sitting there trying to decide between two answers or trying to scan the passage for key words from the question. You want to be the person who took two extra minutes to read the passage carefully, so when you look at the question you just go "oh, it's obviously (answer)" and then you look at the answer choices and the answer is right there staring you in the face.

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