Law School Discussion

My way to improve RC?

Re: My way to improve RC?
« Reply #20 on: September 14, 2005, 04:49:42 PM »
I'm not saying that the past LSAT passages should not be read, that would be ridiculous. My point of view is that they should be saved for actually doing the exercises and answering the questions in a timed drill atmosphere rather than just being read over and over again because this method would exhaust the practice material.

Agreed. That's why I said "previously used" RC passages.

Since the issue at hand here is that the RC needs alot of improvement, the best way to go about that would be to read the original sources of the texts and use that to familiarize yourself with the dense language of the passages and save the acutal passages to practice what you've learned to see if you're actually improving or not.

I don't think it would be the best way to go about improving the reading skills.

As in music, the best way to develop technique is to play scales over and over. As soon as you can handle the basics, you get to play more complex tunes. Trying to play a music tune without the ability to do has a lot of negative consequences. One of them is that it's easier for your mind to learn how to play wrong than to unlearn the bad habit.

Of course, you can argue that learning music has nothing to do with learning how to approach the LSAT. But I think the same principle applies in many other fields of study (in sports, for example.)

You stated that you felt reading the articles was not a good idea, which I believe is incorrect.

No, I think reading is a very good idea. However, the amount of material read is not proportional to improvement on the RC section. There's simply no correlation, unless your advice concerns those people who start preparing for the LSAT years in advance. In that case, the reading skills have no choice but to improve dramatically after several years of reading.

Re: My way to improve RC?
« Reply #22 on: September 21, 2005, 08:39:43 PM »
By the way, it is a good method to repeat reading RC passages in LSAT, the second business-related master degree I am working on now didn't help me much for LSAT RC, I still need to do tons of reading though.

Russian Beauty

Re: My way to improve RC?
« Reply #23 on: October 14, 2005, 07:17:35 AM »
Give it up! RC is a hard thing to improve on.  You're outta luck!

I am not a quick reader at all but I always do well in this section. In my last 2 practice tests I haven't gotten any RC questions wrong (although I almost always go down to the last minute), so I'll tell you what I do, but I'm not sure if it will help you out since everyone is different. I don't think I do anything special or unusual so I don't know how helpful I'll be. I go in to the passage with the mindset that I'm not going to read a single sentence twice my first time through it. This entails complete focus on what you are reading. Unless you are an abnormally slow reader, if you are reading every line only once then you shoudl have plenty of time for the questions. Besides paying attention and grasping everything that I just naturally grasp by reading and taking in information, I want to take away a few things from that first reading: I want to know the main point, and I want to know the author's position towards the subject, and I want to get a feel for how the passage proceeds. Does he compare two things, is a claim presented with examples to back that up, etc. Nothing too concrete. Then the first question or 2 are usually about the main point or central idea. There is usually a question about the author's attitude or whether you think the author would agree with this or that proposal. These are things that would be time consuming to try to answer because they are more global questions involving the whole passage, and it's a waste of time to read the whole passage again--so I get a sense for how to answer these global questions the first time through. Then there are several local questions that would be extremely difficult not to refer to the passage. Thankfully these questions usually refer you right to the pertinent lines or the paragraph, so I usujally read a few lines before and after where it points me to and the answer is right there. If there is a passage heavy with scientific terminology, I don't let it bother me. I still just try to focus on reading every line only one time and get a feel for it as best I can... I'm always surprised how often the questions dance around the scientific terminology. It is just in there to slow your reading time so you can't get to the questions. If you try to understand these nearly foreign passages perfectly the first time around, you are going to be reading a lot of lines two or three times and that is a waste. IF the questions refer to one of these scientific terms, it's pretty easy to find the first time that word is used in the passage and read a few lines and understand by context what the definition is. Other than that, I recommend being an English major, as I was. Good luck.

I agree with underdog.  I'm terrible at RC, but I recently noticed that using the same idea as ryan described has helped me in RC.

Re: My way to improve RC?
« Reply #24 on: October 14, 2005, 10:23:45 AM »
Let me start by saying RC is my best section. Rarely get more than 1 or 2 wrong. Probably helps that I work in publishing and am used to trying to find the bones of a document.

Anyway, what really helps me is not to read the passage in absolute detail. I read the first sentence in a paragraph, scan the rest (kind of like taking a mental photo of key words), and then move on to the next paragraph. As I do this I draw a roadmap of key words and ideas beside the paragraph. My theory is that once I get to the questions, I'm going to read pertinent parts of the passage in more detail anyway. My little map points me to the appropriate part of the text and saves time.

Another thing is not to be duped by short passages. Short ones can be killers. Don't automatically jump to them.

Re: My way to improve RC?
« Reply #26 on: October 14, 2005, 05:30:26 PM »
Undeniably, English is my second language, and I started using it on the daily base 3 years ago.  But in june's test, I only missed one question in the reading section.  The reason for that is I have acquired the proficiency in the english language and I have read a bunch of good magazines for over a year before the test.  I think the OP should try to improve his/her basic language abilities to the level of native speaker while being an avid reader.  Personally I found reading the times and the economist very helpful, especially the latter, because of highly condensed articles.  When you read an LSAT passage, delibrately picking up your speed will not do you any good, since the speed beyond your comfortable level can decrease the retention rate which is THE thing the LSAT tests you. So dont try to read too fast. Secondly, you should always try to figure out the backbone of a passage, its main idea, and methods used in it, and author's attitude ( if any). And you should also make yourself familiar with some common structures that the lsat passages usually utilize.


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Re: My way to improve RC?
« Reply #27 on: October 14, 2005, 06:16:06 PM »
I recommend reading lots of legal texts--briefs, legal research, reports, anything you can get your hands on. I have a low level job at a law firm but it has helped me out with dense RC passages, being able to read these things frequently.