these two tests you took -- were they recent tests (i.e. from 2003 - 2006?) or test from a while back (i.e. 1995-1998?). the best advice i can give to people about RC is that where the older tests were basically rote "what did the author say in the passage/what did the author say this for in the passage" questions, the more recent tests have questions that are a lot more difficult because they ask you to delve much, much deeper into precisely what the passage means and, on top of that, the answer choices are often very difficult to tell apart from one another. very frequently, you'll have 3-4 answer choices that are very appealing but it turns out that 3 of those answer choices are wrong because they have a slight word or phrase that is different from the meaning of the passage, thereby making them wrong. just keep practicing, making sure to get as firm a grasp on precisely what the passage is saying before getting into the questions.
I agree. Reading Comp has definitely become more difficult since the '03 tests, and for a long time, was the section that gave me the most trouble. But by carefully looking at what the testmakers are trying to get at I've developed a few strategies that have helped me improve my RC score a lot.
1) don't look at the questions first. This is a waste of time. On the more recent tests they've been asking pretty much the same questions -- author's main point, passage structure, what a certain line in the passage means or its relation to a particular part of the passage, one or two "According to the passage" detail questions, and two or three author's perspective/author most likely to agree/disagree questions, which are the bane of my existence. The latter are probably the most challenging, because there are going to be probably be three choices that seem plausible, that the author might agree/disagree with something, but gradually one must learn to be able to eliminate the other two knowing that they are a bit of a stretch. Usually you'll find a line in the passage that almost exactly matches one of the answers - but you have to look carefully and quickly. Because time is of the essence, I find that making a roadmap of the passage is quite helpful.
2) Make a "roadmap" of the passage - I just draw a line to separate the paragraphs and I number them. This comes in handy when a q asks you to refer to a specific paragraph. Next to each para, I jot down a few details about what the point of the paragraph was -- to introduce, to support, to argue, to offer an alternative, etc. This also comes in handy for the passage structure questions - because you know what happened and what did not. Also, keeping scope in mind is very important. Often, the wrong answer choices will shed light on a view that is either opposite of what the author said, OR, not mentioned at all. When tackling the author's perspective/agree/disagree questions, I find it helpful to go through the choices and ask myself, "is there anything in the passage that would lead me to believe that the author thinks X?" If not, the answer choice is probably not one you want to pick.
3)Keeping themes in mind. They've tried to make reading harder by making the passages longer and more dense, and also having 28 questions. But I've found that generally there is a particular "theme" to each passage, and if you get what that theme is, you'll find that the correct answer to many of the questions often draws upon that theme. What first comes to mind was the dreaded "maize" passage from the June 06 test that took everyone by surprise. But just keeping a few fact straight (ie, what the role of rubisco is, for example) will help you plow through those questions in no time! In short, reading comp has become more challenging, but that definitely doesn't mean it's become impossible. In my opinion, they've changed it to the way it is now to seem more like a "law" test -- one that better tests skills of interpretation.