Those who got -2/-0 on RC on an official recent test or were natural at RC, what did you do?

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app
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Those who got -2/-0 on RC on an official recent test or were natural at RC, what did you do?

Post by app » Sun Jul 05, 2020 3:33 pm

I took the official test many years ago but recently began reconsidering a retake.

The most tricky section for me was RC which i found difficult to get better at even after doing umpteen pts. i have a low 17x score, but my RC was like -8/-5 range mostly. it was also paper-based. timing was the main issue. within 45 minutes i could go -0/-1 as i think a lot of people would.

If you got -2 or better on RC of an official test, could you walk through your thought-process as you're doing RC passages?

if you were a natural at it, any specific experiences earlier you think helped you that can be useful for those non-naturals? how much time typically you'd spend reading the passage on average? if very less like 4 min or less, how are you able to comprehend some complex structures within that less time on something that you're reading the first time?
even though you get -0/-1 on RC, does it feel very difficult where even you feel unsure or anxious about time while you are in the middle of the section reading its passages and debating answer choices?

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icechicken
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Re: Those who got -2/-0 on RC on an official recent test or were natural at RC, what did you do?

Post by icechicken » Sun Jul 05, 2020 5:07 pm

You only have about 8 minutes per subsection, so spending 4 minutes just to read the passage sounds way too high to me. Are you heavily annotating them? Even if you find it helpful to mark up the text, you can't afford to spend a ton of time on it. When I took the test, I would just read the passage in about 1.5–2 minutes and then get to the questions. During the questions, I would often underline or circle the support I found in the text for my answer, especially if I was trying to choose between two or three answers after eliminating the obvious bad ones.

A good way to improve reading speed is to consume a large amount of material with similar length, tone and difficulty. This is one of the reasons it's easier to do the LSAT during, or immediately after, undergrad. Get a stack of back issues of some newspaper and force yourself to read them cover-to-cover (can skip stuff like sports and op-eds). Definitely don't spend 45 minutes on actual LSAT practice sessions, which is a waste of those sections.

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Re: Those who got -2/-0 on RC on an official recent test or were natural at RC, what did you do?

Post by app » Mon Jul 06, 2020 1:02 am

icechicken wrote:
Sun Jul 05, 2020 5:07 pm
You only have about 8 minutes per subsection, so spending 4 minutes just to read the passage sounds way too high to me. Are you heavily annotating them? Even if you find it helpful to mark up the text, you can't afford to spend a ton of time on it. When I took the test, I would just read the passage in about 1.5–2 minutes and then get to the questions. During the questions, I would often underline or circle the support I found in the text for my answer, especially if I was trying to choose between two or three answers after eliminating the obvious bad ones.

A good way to improve reading speed is to consume a large amount of material with similar length, tone and difficulty. This is one of the reasons it's easier to do the LSAT during, or immediately after, undergrad. Get a stack of back issues of some newspaper and force yourself to read them cover-to-cover (can skip stuff like sports and op-eds). Definitely don't spend 45 minutes on actual LSAT practice sessions, which is a waste of those sections.
from what i recall last time i took it for me any less than 4 mins and and it'd be even worse. no annotation. some very easy passage may be 3:15-3:30 min. only by slowing down and spending more time upfront (even up to 5:30 min or 6 min extreme on tough ones) i was able to go -5/-6 on rc. questions then would be like 4-6 mins depending on hardness.

could you say what you scored officially in rc, and which administration?

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Re: Those who got -2/-0 on RC on an official recent test or were natural at RC, what did you do?

Post by icechicken » Mon Jul 06, 2020 4:42 pm

I went -0 in September 2017. (Was a pleasant surprise since my PTs had been bouncing between -1 and -3.)

To be clear, I'm not saying you should rip through the passages in 90 seconds. I probably read things too quickly, and if I recall correctly you're not a native English speaker so it'll be more important for you to pay careful attention to how sentences are put together. But if you only allot ~3-4 minutes to do all of the questions on a given passage, then that's going to limit you. The toughest questions (the 5-8 per section you are missing) require some time to adequately understand what they're asking and to check each option against the text.

In other words, your current strategy works great for nailing the easy questions but you'll need to modify it to make space for all 27 questions. Being able to read quickly and accurately is one of the main things the RC section evaluates.

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Re: Those who got -2/-0 on RC on an official recent test or were natural at RC, what did you do?

Post by app » Tue Jul 07, 2020 1:07 am

were you always able to read so quickly even the difficult passages, or how much practice, pts, or drilling you did in order to get there? anything you did in your college education or prior that helped (besides the reading newspaper tip)?

wondering if you sub-vocalize internally or not? 1.5-2min reading a passage and comprehending is blazing, and not sure if reducing subvocalization has something to do with it.

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Re: Those who got -2/-0 on RC on an official recent test or were natural at RC, what did you do?

Post by Nony » Tue Jul 07, 2020 8:07 am

FWIW, RC was natural to me (to be sure, my only natural section), and really the only thing I can suggest is icechicken’s advice just to read a ton. I’ve always read really fast and always finished the RC with time to spare, even with my diagnostic. Unfortunately I can’t really give any concrete advice how to get there besides reading a ton (I did a phd in the humanities before going to law school, which is basically professional training in how to extract meaning from the written word (non fiction)). I’ve seen the Economist recommended over the newspaper, which seems right depending on what newspaper. FWIW I don’t subvocalize internally when I read (I think the shape of the word triggers the meaning rather than taking in each individual letter, if that makes any sense).

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Re: Those who got -2/-0 on RC on an official recent test or were natural at RC, what did you do?

Post by icechicken » Tue Jul 07, 2020 3:40 pm

Nony's experience aligns with mine. I was a social-sciences major in college and I've always read a lot of English-language nonfiction in my spare time. I also don't subvocalize when I read (I know this because I have to consciously do it to analyze poetry etc.). Agree that the Economist is an especially good source of reading material—each issue is basically stuffed cover-to-cover with LSAT RC passages.

If you want specific techniques you can implement now, the below Reddit post seems like a decent list of things to try. But there really is no substitute for working through like 5,000 pages of academic English, especially if you're not a native speaker.

https://www.reddit.com/r/LSAT/comments/ ... rehension/

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Re: Those who got -2/-0 on RC on an official recent test or were natural at RC, what did you do?

Post by app » Tue Jul 07, 2020 5:58 pm

Nony wrote:
Tue Jul 07, 2020 8:07 am
FWIW, RC was natural to me (to be sure, my only natural section), and really the only thing I can suggest is icechicken’s advice just to read a ton. I’ve always read really fast and always finished the RC with time to spare, even with my diagnostic. Unfortunately I can’t really give any concrete advice how to get there besides reading a ton (I did a phd in the humanities before going to law school, which is basically professional training in how to extract meaning from the written word (non fiction)). I’ve seen the Economist recommended over the newspaper, which seems right depending on what newspaper. FWIW I don’t subvocalize internally when I read (I think the shape of the word triggers the meaning rather than taking in each individual letter, if that makes any sense).
could you say how long to read passage on average for you and total time on the section? eventually how was your official and when?

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Re: Those who got -2/-0 on RC on an official recent test or were natural at RC, what did you do?

Post by app » Tue Jul 07, 2020 6:00 pm

i'm not sure but i think i read somewhere everyone sub-vocalizes to an extent as brain's comprehension seems to require it, like a continuum. that's why speed-reading was kind of controversial imo.

but also i have heard that some people do speed-read and 1.5 min-2 min reading the passage and comprehending, at a speed of like 300 wpm seems sort of like that.

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Nony
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Re: Those who got -2/-0 on RC on an official recent test or were natural at RC, what did you do?

Post by Nony » Tue Jul 07, 2020 7:30 pm

I'm afraid I honestly don't know how long each passage took, all I know is that I always finished RC with time to spare (so I never needed to figure out how long any individual passage too). My official was -2 but that was a long time ago now.

Also out of curiosity I did a couple of the reading speed tests linked in the link that icechicken posted and ranged from about 550-700 wpm (I'm not sure how reading on the screen translates to reading on paper). I suppose there may be some subvocalization going on at a subconscious level, but it's really not what I normally do - one of the speed reading pages talked about seeing the words rather than speaking them, which is what I do (seeing).

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Re: Those who got -2/-0 on RC on an official recent test or were natural at RC, what did you do?

Post by app » Sun Jul 12, 2020 3:14 pm

regarding subvocalization, i mean i have a kind of faint voice thing running in my head where it's saying some words or may be just some important syllables of them and sometimes deciphering or comprehending meaning just from seeing its shape (like for prepositions or connectors but for some common words too). tried speed reading at the graeme blake's link years ago but felt it hurt comprehension needed for lsat rc.

https://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/
http://nautil.us

when prepping the last time, i used these to work on rc. recently opened this article http://nautil.us/issue/83/intelligence/ ... time-it-is

tried reading it with comprehension without trying to read fast or measure speed, mainly so can answer main questions about main point, structure, attitude, purpose right away, took around 30 mins.


550-700 is super super fast. which link you read? newspapers or other similar links (sans economist) would be much less dense, not sure if they're as dense as lsat rc.

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Re: Those who got -2/-0 on RC on an official recent test or were natural at RC, what did you do?

Post by app » Sun Jul 12, 2020 10:06 pm

interesting read today http://nautil.us/issue/47/consciousness ... t-feelings

this one is ~3200 words. kinda of like a less denser text than lsat rc out of which one could make a denser lsat rc passage, which are ~500 words.

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Nony
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Re: Those who got -2/-0 on RC on an official recent test or were natural at RC, what did you do?

Post by Nony » Sun Jul 12, 2020 11:23 pm

Re: which link - I did two of the tests at the first link and then one at the second link, which is why I gave an average.

I read the circadian rhythms piece in ~6 minutes. TBF, I have a hard time really focusing on stuff on a screen, so I probably skimmed some of it. But that made me realize that I think skimming was part of how I handled RC: the passages are short enough, I'd read them to get a sense of everything and where things were in the passage, then would read a question and go back to the passage to find/confirm the answer.

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Re: Those who got -2/-0 on RC on an official recent test or were natural at RC, what did you do?

Post by RichardMilhousNixon » Wed Jul 15, 2020 3:10 pm

I went -0 on RC back in the day (which was a while ago). I also found that the section was mostly natural to me - I never did worse than -4 or -5, even at the beginning. The "natural" aspect of RC makes it perhaps the hardest to learn and more challenging for non-native speakers.

That said, my observations, with the caveat that different things work for different people:

- I do NOT agree with speed reading as an approach to RC. I've always been a very slow reader - so don't feel like speed reading ability is a necessary prerequisite to doing well. Taking the time you need to read and understand the text is far more important, IMO.

- A lot of advice says "read for structure." Many find this helpful but I also disagree with this. Read for structure to an extent perhaps - but also read for details.

- A lot of RC approaches have you heavily annotating - For example, writing a one sentence summary of what was said beside each paragraph to refer back to. This approach works for some but really, really did not work for me. It wasted time and mental energy and resulted in unnecessary oversimplification.

- The annotation system that DID work and which I strongly recommend: Have a system where you, for example, draw a square around a name and a circle around an object/instance of something. For example: "The poet T.S. Eliot [SQUARE] was famous for utilizing symbolism [CIRCLE] in his writing, including roses [CIRCLE], cemeteries [CIRCLE], and cities [CIRCLE]." That way, when you get a question that asks you "What best describes T.S. Eliot's approach to writing?" you can quickly refer to the text to find "T.S. Eliot" (bracketed in squares) and "symbolism" (circled) and don't have to (a) rely on your memory, or (b) spend any time actually re-reading the text.

- My best general advice on RC: The answer to any question you get is almost always something you can point to in the text. No RC question is going to ask you to do any kind of deep literary analysis. I think many people struggle with RC simply because they are thinking too hard about it - They think the questions are asking for analysis when they are simply asking for regurgitation.

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