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Author Topic: RC - Summarize paragraphs?  (Read 579 times)

Garbled

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RC - Summarize paragraphs?
« on: November 22, 2004, 04:31:47 PM »
My RC section is by far my worst section, and i'm struggling with finding a strategy to improve my score. Sometimes i do well on the section, but sometimes i do horribly, and it seems to have little to do with the subject matter. It will probably always be my worst section, but i just want to keep the damage to a minimum on the real thing.

I've tried highlighting/circling key phrases, but i've never studied this way and it doesn't seem to help at all. I've read that quick paraphrases of the paragraphs can be helpful, and it might fit my style better, but its hard for me to be briefly analyze some of these paragraphs! Does anybody have advice or strategies that might help? Does anyone use the paraphrase method to some success - any tips?

Thanks all!



Hocine

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Re: RC - Summarize paragraphs?
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2004, 04:57:10 PM »
RC is my worst, too

I seem to always get 19 correct, no matter how many questions are in the section.. and the arts/humanities passages are my achilles heel

My princeton review teacher tries to get us to do the topic summaries you're talking about

It's a 1-2 sentence paraphrase of what the author is trying to get across to you in each paragraph (obviously it needs to be longer for longer paragraphs)

At first it is extremely hard and time consuming, but if you spend large amounts of time practicing doing these, then you will get a lot faster at it

Also the strategy for doing RC is supposed to be to read the questions, then read the passage extremely quickly (1-2 minutes max, but make sure you're aware of what you're reading, and the structure of the passage)

Then go and do all the specific questions, referring back to the passage for each one

Then do the general questions (after you've done the specifics you've read and re-read parts of the passage a couple times so you you should be able to answer these)

Then do the complex ones (strengthen, weaken, etc)


That's the strategy anyway....

Personally it takes me about 5 minutes to read the passage, and then another 5-6 to answer the questions.. so I only really have time to do 3 passages :(

One of my PR teachers said it's really too late in the game to start changing how I read the passage, as that will likely drop my score even further (which it has), so I should just practice practice practice


Sigh..... :(

Garbled

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Re: RC - Summarize paragraphs?
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2004, 05:29:11 PM »
Thanks for the post - its hard for me to find a good method too. I've really concentrated on the other sections (esp LR), to the detriment of my RC.

I get through the sections OK, but my scores just swing so wildly. For example a week ago i did PrepTest #40 and missed 4 on RC, but yesterday i did PrepTest #23 and missed 10!! The range of misses on the other sections are narrowing, but not on RC. Damn.

I'm just going to spend the next couple of days doing nothing but RC and try different strategies, like the paragraph summaries you mentioned.

THanks!

laur0212

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Re: RC - Summarize paragraphs?
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2004, 07:57:31 PM »
I took Testmasters and they had a really good method for dealing with RC.  So here's what I have written in my notebook from the class:

  • your primary goal is to find the main point of the passage
  • write down the main point at the bottom of the page when you are done reading--should be either 1 really long sentence or a couple of short phrases.
  • the terminology may be difficult, but the main point rarely is.
  • look for:  causal arguments, distinctions, author's attitude, and tone

Hope it helps.  It's been since June since I looked at any of this stuff so I'm not sure if it makes sense anymore.  Good luck.

Garbled

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Re: RC - Summarize paragraphs?
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2004, 10:18:07 PM »
I took Testmasters and they had a really good method for dealing with RC.  So here's what I have written in my notebook from the class:

  • your primary goal is to find the main point of the passage
  • write down the main point at the bottom of the page when you are done reading--should be either 1 really long sentence or a couple of short phrases.
  • the terminology may be difficult, but the main point rarely is.
  • look for:  causal arguments, distinctions, author's attitude, and tone

Hope it helps.  It's been since June since I looked at any of this stuff so I'm not sure if it makes sense anymore.  Good luck.

Thanks! I need all the help i can get! :)

Scampura

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Re: RC - Summarize paragraphs?
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2004, 12:42:00 AM »
Hey everybody,

So tonight I scored 172 on a practice test, and I'm about to crap myself with excitement about it. Best I've done before tonight was 167, so this is a pretty big deal for me. I want to share some conscious strategies I've used to help with the RC section. I started off missing loads of them each time (8 or 9), but tonight I only missed one question, my best showing yet.

1. I've discovered that gimmicks (reading questions first, doing the passages out of order, etc.) don't work for me. I just read the passage at a nice leisurely pace for full comprehension, which takes about 3 minutes per passage. Then I answer the questions in order.

2. I think it helps a lot to do a ton of practice. This test freaks me out, so sometimes I tend to freeze mid-passage and become aware of the fact that this test is a huge beast sitting on my shoulder, determing my future. But now that I've been practicing for a while, that's gone away. I'm just interestend in the passages that await me, and i'm curious how those bastard test writers will try to trick me.

3. I analyzed the questions I've been getting wrong, and I was intrigued to see that most wrong answer choices can be categorized in one of two ways: a) they make up stuff on the spot that is neither stated nor implied by the passage, or b) they talk about stuff that was mentioned in the passage but in a stupid way that contradicts other information, takes it out of context, etc.  So now when I go through the answers, my awareness of those two categories makes it easier to spot misleading answers.

4. When I asked myself why I got particular questions wrong, in most cases I picked a choice because it seemed to fit a vague memory of something I had from the passage. But that doesn't cut it. I've learned to refer back to the passage whenever I can't remember something exactly. And referring back actually saves time; when I look to the passage for an answer, I can usually find it quickly and then move on to another question; but if I don't refer back and just sit there agonizing over what to do, I tend to waste far more time.

5. On hard questions I seem to usually end up with two answer choices that are very similar. The wrong one can be wrong just for using a single word in a bizarre way. I've learned that the test writers are very precise with correct answers, and so if a word seems misusued even slightly in an answer choice, it's probably wrong.

I hope this is helpful to some of you out there. I recommend going back through old pratice tests and identifying exactly why you missed questions, and then develop strategies to not miss them for the same reason the second time around. It's working for me.

Josh

jayhawk

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Re: RC - Summarize paragraphs?
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2004, 01:55:11 AM »
^^ Scampura gives some great advice.  :)

RC was my worst section as well, primarily because I'm a passive reader.  Often, when I read material that is boring (like LSAT passages) I don't really focus on it, so after I read it I am still not really sure what it's about.  On the LSAT, summarizing each paragraph after reading it really helped me.  However, I definitely wouldn't recommend going so far as writing down sentences about them; just do a quick little recap after each paragraph to make sure that you understand exactly what it is saying.  If you don't understand, read the paragraph again.  I guarantee you, the time you use rereading, if necessary, is better spent that way than reading the questions at the end and then having to go back and search through the entire passage for the answer. So, I think the key is just to read actively.


Garbled

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Re: RC - Summarize paragraphs?
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2004, 01:57:38 AM »
Josh,

Thanks for the long post and the great advice, and congrats on your score!. Going back through tests and using that same method has really helped me on the LR section, so it is good to know that it can work on the RC section as well. In the LR section spotting the wrong answers has become pretty much a routine.

Reading isn't my strong point, and i haven't concentrated much on the section, but i'm going to forge ahead in the same manner as I did on LR after reading your post and successes. I'm not sure why RC seems so much more daunting to me...

THanks!

Garbled

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Re: RC - Summarize paragraphs?
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2004, 01:59:24 AM »
^^ Scampura gives some great advice.  :)

RC was my worst section as well, primarily because I'm a passive reader.  Often, when I read material that is boring (like LSAT passages) I don't really focus on it, so after I read it I am still not really sure what it's about.  On the LSAT, summarizing each paragraph after reading it really helped me.  However, I definitely wouldn't recommend going so far as writing down sentences about them; just do a quick little recap after each paragraph to make sure that you understand exactly what it is saying.  If you don't understand, read the paragraph again.  I guarantee you, the time you use rereading, if necessary, is better spent that way than reading the questions at the end and then having to go back and search through the entire passage for the answer. So, I think the key is just to read actively.



more good advice. thank you!

laur0212

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Re: RC - Summarize paragraphs?
« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2004, 01:55:47 PM »
Reading actively is very good advice.  But don't get all hyped up about it.  Or, alternately, don't be too nonchalant about it.  RC had been my best section on practice tests but it ended up being my worst section in the actual test.  I think it was part nervousness and partly that I wasn't worrying about doing well on RC, but I was still READING the last passage when the 5 minute warning was called.  I had to rush through it and try to get all the questions done.  Just think, if I hadn't taken my time, I could have ended up with a 165 or better (not that I'm AT ALL unhappy with my 163--it was better than I had ever scored on my practice tests, and I'm pretty sure 90th percentile doesn't look bad, no matter what some people on this board may tell you).