RC Tips:

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RC Tips:

by voodoo_child » Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:46 am
A question -
I have noticed that I tend to forget details/points mentioned in the passage. For instance, when asked a detail question that encompasses all the paragraphs, how can I find the detail and decide yes/no in 1 minute? Any tips? Not everything can be written on notes. It takes about 5-6 minutes for me to read the passage.

Is it that RC requires a lot of practice? Any tips?


Thanks

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by [email protected] » Thu Nov 17, 2011 3:55 pm
5 to 6 minutes is probably too much time. More like 4 minutes at most to read the passage would be better. For example, at 2 minutes per question, you would have 8 minutes to do a 4 question passage and you would not want to spend 6 minutes reading.

You may be taking too many notes! You should be ONLY writing down the main idea of each paragraph no more than 6 - 12 words. Do not write anything down while you are reading the paragraph. Wait until the end of the paragraph and then write down the main idea. If you cannot come up with the main idea then you need to re-read that paragraph.

As to a question with a detail that could be from any of the paragraphs - you need to have a technique. The way I approach these is to use process of elimination to eliminate any answer choices that you can. You then will need to use the answer choices that remain in order to go back to the text for the detail you do not remember. Most answer choices are only from 1 paragraph, so you can pretty quickly investigate them.

So, if the question stem is too general to guide you back to the text to re-read, then eliminate any choices that you can and use the other choices to take you back to investigate each possible choice.

Does that make sense?
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by voodoo_child » Sun Nov 20, 2011 7:22 am
David,
I would like to first thank you for guiding me. I will tell you a bit more.

#1 - While reading a passage, I try to write down or at least diagram protagonists, antagonists, time frame, author's view point or any other name that may have appeared in the passage.

#2 - Initially, I used to answer RC questions based on my memory. I used to get 50-100% correct. I read MGMAT - RC book and liked their suggestion to take notes, at least the main idea, so that it becomes easy for us to engage with the passage. It really helped me initially. However, while practicising, I have noticed that I tend to read or possibly re-read the sentence multiple times until I understand the gist or ,in the worst case, I tend to skip the sentence with *some* idea about it.

I have noticed that if I skip that sentence, *sometimes* my brain makes connections between the ideas and gets author's point. Sometimes I miss questions because of not paying proper attention to that particular sentence. For instance, lines 25-34 OG 12 Page 384 really killed me. I was worrying about the time on one hand and accuracy on the other. I ended up missing 2-3 questions. However, when I took some *extra time* to relax and re-read the passage, I got the idea, and I was able to answer all questions perfectly.

So, I thought that it better works if I spend *some* extra time before hand to at least process such statements. These days, I am practicing LSAT passages because of two reasons:
1) they are annoying and their questions are much more intricate than those of GMAT.
2) they are lengthy and it helps me to get trained for the *worst*.

I went through a few videos posted by GMAT experts on this forum. They really helped me to focus on specific items such as transitions, mood, protagonists etc. while reading the passage.

To give another example - I was lost while reading LSAT #43, lines 15-29. After reading and re-reading these sentences multiple times, I was able to understand author's point. My hit rate on this passage was approx. 50-60%. I don't have issues with Science passages because I read a lot about science. I have trouble with humanities passages. My undergrad and graduate major was Engineering, Math.


Any tips? Again, I really appreciate your help.

Thanks again
Voodoo Child

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by [email protected] » Sun Nov 20, 2011 12:29 pm
I personally do not recommend the time frame, antagonists, protagonists, etc. I find that if you write out the main idea of each paragraph in 6 - 12 words you will capture the main points of the STOP technique found in the Veritas Reading Comp book. If you know what is happening in each paragraph you will know the Scope, Author's Tone, the Organization, and the Purpose. Also, if you know what is happening ins each paragraph you will be able to look back for the detail questions as needed.

Do not try to answer detail questions from memory. If a question stem is specific enough to guide you back to just one paragraph then you should generally re-read that part of the passage to literally find the answer there. Do not rely on your memory for such questions unless you are quite sure of your answer in your own words before you look at the answer choices. You should not use process of elimination to answer detail questions if you can look back at the text instead.

If you do not understand one sentence do not read it over and over. Instead finish the paragraph and give yourself and chance to get the point of that sentence. Remember, you can understand the entire passage even if certain words or even sentences are not clear to you. If you need to answer a question from that sentence you can come back to it later.

Your experience with the OG passage that you mention is very typical. Anyone that does not understand the passage and still tries to answer the questions has a good chance of missing those questions. Better to understand the passage...
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