Law School Discussion

RC Strategies

RC Strategies
« on: November 12, 2008, 11:03:46 AM »
What is your strategy for RC and why do you find it most effective?

Strategy A: Read the entire passage, then go to the questions.
            Advantage: You have a full grasp of the passage when you get to the questions.
            Disadvantage: Takes a long time and the passage is mind numbing.

Strategy B: Read the 1st paragraph, the 1st sentence of each paragraph thereafter, and the conclusion 
            sentence, then hit the questions.
            Advantage: You get to the questions quicker with some grasp of the passage main points.
            Disadvantage: Doesn't really work in a two giant block passage (best with multiple
            paragraphs)and requires some time going back into the passage to locate issues you missed.

Strategy C: Screw the passage, on to the questions and dive into the passage as necessary to answer
            Advantage: Well, you hit the questions before anyone else!
            Disadvantage: Difficult to then gain an understanding of tone or main point. Lot of time
            spent searching the passage for key words. 

Strategy D: ? - If you employ some other method, throw it out there for review.

I'm looking for ideas as to how to move more efficiently through reading comprehension. Strategy A isn't working well for me, as I tend to lose focus getting through the 65 line wall of text.

Re: RC Strategies
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2008, 01:16:29 PM »
I go with strategy D:

I read the questions (but NOT the answer choices), then read the entire passage, taking notes as I go. I summarize the main point of each paragraph in my own words as it seems to help me retain the information better. Then I attack the questions.

Advantages: I know what the questions are when I start reading the passage. The active note-taking has helped reduce the mind-numbing effects of the passage while giving me a firm understanding of the passage. Once in a while I'll come across the answer to one of the questions and stop reading the passage to mark the answer (for example, "the word 'quixotic' in line 53 most likely means...").

Disadvantage: Takes a long time to get through the passage, but this should be offset by quick response times on questions.

Good luck!


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Re: RC Strategies
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2008, 09:25:46 PM »
After much experimentation, I've settled on using strategy A, I teach (more or less) mackler's strategy D as an alternative, because it works better for lots of people.  People read, comprehend, and retain information so differently, that it's hard to prescribe a one-size-fits-all method like I can in games and RC.

I'd say strategy B is generally good for GMAT and GRE, but not so good for LSAT which has somewhat denser passage--not a whole lot you want to skip.