Jump to content

How did you improve in RC?


13laws
 Share

Recommended Posts

13laws
  • Applicant

What tips/techniques/materials did you use to improve in reading comprehension? 

Not looking to join a course or anything as I'm already in one, but their technique is not working for me personally.

 

Thanks¬†ūüėä

Link to comment
Share on other sites

RC is probably the most difficult section to improve. Reading more short news columns and articles, particularly opiniated ones, is sometimes touted as a good tactic. 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
  • Law Student
4 hours ago, 13laws said:

What tips/techniques/materials did you use to improve in reading comprehension? 

Not looking to join a course or anything as I'm already in one, but their technique is not working for me personally.

 

Thanks¬†ūüėä

Hi fellow swiftie!

One key tip I would suggest that really helped me is to make a short summary of what each paragraph entails after reading it. So basically after I finish reading a paragraph, I quickly go over what it discussed and then move on to the next one. I find that these summaries help me to retain information and also build a mental map for finding information when the questions refer to a piece of information. This is much more efficient than reading everything at once because then I forget what were the key points of the reading and where to look for information required in a question. Good luck! 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

VitalGiraffe
  • Applicant
2 hours ago, ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ said:

One key tip I would suggest that really helped me is to make a short summary of what each paragraph entails after reading it. So basically after I finish reading a paragraph, I quickly go over what it discussed and then move on to the next one. I find that these summaries help me to retain information and also build a mental map for finding information when the questions refer to a piece of information. This is much more efficient than reading everything at once because then I forget what were the key points of the reading and where to look for information required in a question. Good luck! 

I second this advice. The only thing I would add is to first do it with pencil and paper, get good at it that way, then start doing it mentally.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Renerik
  • Applicant

I'm at work rn so this might not be as concise as I'd like.

For context, I was/am not a great reader and English is my 2nd language. I might pick up 6 books a year, read more than one page on 4, and actually finish 1-2 of them. The MCAT has a reading comprehension section, the CARS, very similar to the RC section on the LSAT. When I took the MCAT the first time I got a 125 (top 50%) in CARS, after changing my strategy the second time I got a 130 (top 2%). Using the tools I learned studying for CARS, I scored -3 on my LSAT diagnostic and averaged -2 before my June test. So I know a thing or two about improving reading comp.

Long term the best thing you can do is what @LMP said. Get used to reading and build that ability over time by reading both material that engages you, and stuff that might be more complex and advanced. If you struggle at science passages, you might want to open up https://www.nature.com/news and regularly read some of their stuff. Being well read helps a lot with RC. Many on reddit who did the June LSAT thought that one RC section was extremely hard but I knew some of that information beforehand slum-dog millionaire style and that helped a lot. As for short term stuff you can do now, you can both work on LSAC pattern recognition and active reading.

Pattern recognition is useful for passages that require you to identify certain non-explicit qualities like the author's tone. It's easy to tell whether an author agrees with something or not, but how do I know if they "Strongly agree with the position" or only "Mildly agree with the position"? Through sheer practice and review, after 20-30 PTs you'll come to develop a better "feel" for what tone the author has by picking up on common indicators as you read. No-one can distill this secret sauce for you but it will become obvious with practice. This pattern recognition isn't only relevant to RC but the other two sections too. 

Active reading as mentioned by @ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ is what gets you into the big league. At first, I did like @VitalGiraffe and had a piece of scrap paper next to me where after each paragraph, I'd write down 5-7 words to sum up what I just read. As I got more confident and experienced, I switched to doing so mentally. After every 1-2 sentences, I'll pause for 1 second to let what I just read sit in my mind. I'll consider how this plays into the author's tone, how this information contributes to the main objective of the passage and if it interacts with other information as to build onto or oppose it. It's not uncommon for me to say "hold up, what did I just read" and re-read the sentence 1-2 times. If I still don't understand what I just read, I pray that the next bit will give me enough context to piece it together. 

If you're using highlighters/writting down summaries and you're planning on writting your LSAT soon, I'd say keep going. But if you have time, I'd argue you should stop highlighting and writting down summaries. You won't end up coming back to 90% of the stuff you highlight and you aren't a goldfish, you can remember 3-4 one line summaries for each paragraph if you practice. Both of these things pull you away from passage and disrupt active reading. Like most other test-takers, you've got training wheels on your bike for the big race. Don't take them off if you haven't trained without them, but imagine how much better you'd do if you competed without them.

Lastly, don't be afraid to spend a long time on your passages. Slow is smooth, smooth is fast. I spend 4+ minutes reading a passage and only 3-4 minutes answering all of the questions. A second spent reading the passage is worth two seconds reading the questions.

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

13laws
  • Applicant

@Renerik¬†wow thank you so much for putting in so much detail in your answer. science passages are the worst IMO. I always zone out. I will try to force myself to read one article on Nature.com a day. I hope your June LSAT went spectacular! ūüŹÜ

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dee
  • Applicant

Still waiting on my LSAT score to come out, but I thought I'd chime in since RC went from being my worst section to my favorite.

I tried following everyone's advice and read tons of academic articles online but what really helped me is actually doing RC sections in older LSATs. I started doing untimed RC sections in the 40s to the 60s until I understood everything and then tried to read quicker once I got the gist of it. I also cannot get to all 4 passages in the section (even on test day) so I leave around 4 minutes for the last passage, skim over it, and try to do educated guesses on the questions for that passage. Not the best strategy but worked for me!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Parker
  • Law School Admit

I also hated RC because I'd zone out, get to the end of the passage, and be like wtf did I just read I remember nothing. I started by learning the different strategies that worked (highlighting key words that showed the authors point of view or comparative points, 5-7 word summaries at the end of paragraphs, etc.), and then I practiced untimed so I could really apply those strategies and once I got good enough to no longer need to highlight/write down summaries but could just make a mental note, I started doing timed sections and focused on my speed! I used the same strategy with basically every section of the LSAT. I was studying for about 2 months (1 month with nothing else going on and then the last month working full time). By the second month I'd moved to essentially only doing timed practice for each section and improving on speed or specific areas I struggled with. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Barry
  • Law School Admit

One thing that really helped me was reading the passage like it's a conversation. Figure out what the point of the conversation is, who is having the conversation, what do they each think about the point. I found that taking notes or highlighting was a huge waste of time, but subvocalization really helped. I would make a different voice for the groups/people involved, and then I could easily remember when they came into the conversation. 

I'm also not sure why people drill question types in the other sections but not for RC. It helps imo. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

JudgeJudy
  • Law School Admit

There is some good advice here. I would second the conversational approach, I found doing this really helped to stop me from zoning out. 

I was in a very similar situation as you, RC was my worst, and I remember reading people say its next to impossible to improve. This isn't true.  I found some of the same strategies used to improve LR were useful in improving RC. And I noticed after really drilling LR sections hard, RC also became easier. 

The biggest thing I would say is to just keep doing RC passages over and over and over again, you will inevitably get faster at them by doing this. Start by doing them with added time, and work your way to timed sections and just keep doing that. You will get faster and the questions start becoming very predictable. Of course everyone is different but I would say this was the best approach to for me. When I really started improving on RC was when I worked on LR, so if you are getting frustrated maybe just do some LR drills. A helpful resource is the Loophole.

 

Hope this helps! Good luck. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

ThreeWhiteLights
  • Law Student

I tried a few different techniques but the only real improvement I made came after doing sections over and over. It's probably worth trying different approaches but eventually you just have to pick one and dial it in. 

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

maybemaybe
  • Applicant
On 6/22/2021 at 7:05 PM, VitalGiraffe said:

I second this advice. The only thing I would add is to first do it with pencil and paper, get good at it that way, then start doing it mentally.

Thats the hardest part, doing it mentally. I have been using pen and paper but idk if its going to be feasible for the real thing because it takes up a lot of time for me. My sucky short term memory makes it hard for me to keep track of it all mentally

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Licn
  • Applicant

I don't know if my experience as a non-native English speaker could help here.

I think the most important part of RC is not remembering details; instead, it is understanding what the article is trying to argue and how it reaches the conclusion that matters  most. Once you can grasp the conclusion and the structure of the whole passage, I think you can at least achieve a -5 in this section.

To arrive at this, I spend about 3.5 min reading every article and the result is that, for general questions like main point questions, passage structure questions and what-would-the-author-agree questions, it is possible to eliminate quickly at least three choices. For other questions concerning details, you can then quickly locate these details and consult the texte, so they won't cost you much time either. Since now you have more time to see the nuance of each choice and evaluate them, the result of this section will improve quickly! Ideally, it is then possible for a ESL student like me to finish the whole section within 34 min and I assume native speakers can do much quicker and better.

Hope this could help.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
TheCryptozoologist
  • Articling Student

Dunno how much they changed it from 4 years ago, but think there's a myth that RC can't be improved. I went from it being my worse section, usually no better than half right on practices to being able to get near perfect on it.

The trick is that RC has very similar topical areas, the more RC sections you read the more comfort you build with a type of subject matter. E.g. remember the legal philosophy articles which became manageable after dozens or so sections. gradually when you read it enough times it becomes more interesting and so you pay more attention to it. that, and learning how to mark up a passage, worth checking out manhattan prep or other guides here. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

maybemaybe
  • Applicant
3 hours ago, TheCryptozoologist said:

Dunno how much they changed it from 4 years ago, but think there's a myth that RC can't be improved. I went from it being my worse section, usually no better than half right on practices to being able to get near perfect on it.

The trick is that RC has very similar topical areas, the more RC sections you read the more comfort you build with a type of subject matter. E.g. remember the legal philosophy articles which became manageable after dozens or so sections. gradually when you read it enough times it becomes more interesting and so you pay more attention to it. that, and learning how to mark up a passage, worth checking out manhattan prep or other guides here. 

my issue is definitely timing. I usually have to rush the last passage. The questions I get wrong also are usually because I don't have enough time to fully digest the content in the passage so it makes it harder for me to answer questions. Also, I have the worst short term memory which eats up my precious time. Today I did a PT and got -12 on RC, 8 of those being questions I skipped. Any advice? How did you go from making it your worst to your best section? I want to reach my goal score but the second last week to last week of August and to reach it my goal is no more than -6 on RC. Any advice on what I should do until then? My goal in these next two weeks would be to improve my RC to be at -10 or -8 and then get better over the next month

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 7/17/2021 at 11:02 AM, maybemaybe said:

The questions I get wrong also are usually because I don't have enough time to fully digest the content in the passage so it makes it harder for me to answer questions. Also, I have the worst short term memory which eats up my precious time.

I think that's exactly why people are struggling with the RC, and if there's no longer the time limit, at least 70% of the people could have a perfect section. The test makers are deliberately making people who only skim over the article without fully understanding its argument structure to suffer. If you have difficulties remembering in the passage the vague position of the referential word or sentence mentioned by the questions, it could be that you'd only read the article without reading it actively as if it were something  on twitter or instagram. The same is for general or global questions: with a firm grasp of the article, you would be able to identify quickly after the elimination process the correct answer.

So the trick for test makers is to punish people who rush to questions by making their hesitation costs them more time than actually reading closely the text. Improve to -6 should not be too hard for a native English speaker if you did not hit the questions before seeing the argument structure of the article. Don't be afraid to stick to each passage for 3 to 4 minutes, because reading carefully would save you more time when going to the questions. I guess this methodology is also shared by the LSAT trainer and the powerscore RC bible?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

maybemaybe
  • Applicant
3 hours ago, Licn said:

I think that's exactly why people are struggling with the RC, and if there's no longer the time limit, at least 70% of the people could have a perfect section. The test makers are deliberately making people who only skim over the article without fully understanding its argument structure to suffer. If you have difficulties remembering in the passage the vague position of the referential word or sentence mentioned by the questions, it could be that you'd only read the article without reading it actively as if it were something  on twitter or instagram. The same is for general or global questions: with a firm grasp of the article, you would be able to identify quickly after the elimination process the correct answer.

So the trick for test makers is to punish people who rush to questions by making their hesitation costs them more time than actually reading closely the text. Improve to -6 should not be too hard for a native English speaker if you did not hit the questions before seeing the argument structure of the article. Don't be afraid to stick to each passage for 3 to 4 minutes, because reading carefully would save you more time when going to the questions. I guess this methodology is also shared by the LSAT trainer and the powerscore RC bible?

Yes I am a native English speaker and am currently experiementing with ways to read the passage. I guess I need to get more practice in. How exactly did you approach reading the passages?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Licn
  • Applicant
17 hours ago, maybemaybe said:

How exactly did you approach reading the passages?

I followed at first the STAMP method proposed by the powerscore lsat bible (the book spent an entire chapter to introduce this method, and the essence is to make marks while reading, using underlines/circles or other signs respectively for arguments, tones, turns, etc) You can try this and I believe this will force you to slow down your reading and to help you grasp the argument structure.

Because I only took the lsat-flex tests where only highlights are available, I decided after this stage to simplify the marking system(the bible argues that you should always create and develop your own system). I believed that since the future tests should be the traditional paper-pencil format, you can stick to the stamp method while reading.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   1 member

    • Renerik
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By accessing this website, you agree to abide by our Terms of Use. YOU EXPRESSLY ACKNOWLEDGE AND AGREE THAT YOU WILL NOT CONSTRUE ANY POST ON THIS WEBSITE AS PROVIDING LEGAL ADVICE EVEN IF SUCH POST IS MADE BY A PERSON CLAIMING TO BE A LAWYER. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.