But your approach is similar to Kaplan
's. You are suggesting that we paraphrase the passages in our own words, so we will need to read the passage anyway!!!
No, thats not what I'm saying - I think you the issue is how you understand skimming.... . I'm saying PARAPHRASE THE FIRST PARAGRAPH and THE FIRST SENTENCE OF EACH PARAGRAPH. Thats it. Not the entire passage. DON'T EVEN READ the other paragraphs, just skim and write down names or dates in case they come up in the exam. If you are good at skimming text to look for names - you can do what I do, dont even bother skimming the paragraphs. Just read the first paragraph and the first sentence of each paragraph.
Secondly, what do you mean by skimming? If I have to understand what I'm reading, there's no difference between skimming and reading. Secondly, if I don't understand anything and still read it anyways, what's the point of skimming? I very well can leave the text alone altogether!
By skim, all I mean is GLANCE. I don't read sentences.
For example: (dont read it yet, read my notes first, then try it)
If the second paragraph said:
"Though the basic concept of the strip is straightforward, Herriman always found ways to tweak the formula. Sometimes, Ignatz's plans to surreptitiously lob a brick at Krazy's head succeed; other times Officer Pupp outsmarts the wily mouse and imprisons him. The interventions of Coconino County's other anthropomorphic animal residents, and even forces of nature, occasionally change the dynamic in unexpected ways. Other strips have Krazy's simple-minded or gnomic pronouncements irritating the mouse so much that he goes to seek out a brick in the final panel."
Paraphrase first sentence: (I'll time myself)
"Strip straightforward, but author found ways to tweak. " That took me about 20 seconds.
NOW, DO NOT READ THE REST OF THE PARAGRAPH. GLANCE OVER IT, JUST LOOKING FOR KEY WORDS. NAMES, DATES, THINGS OF THE SORT. (I'll explain why in a minute)
All I would write is: (I'll time myself again)
Herriman, Ignatz, Krazy, Officer Pupp, mouse, Coconino, residents, Krazy.I did that in about 15 seconds.
. I know that sounds crazy, but try it - just glance over it looking for names, dates, or otherwise things that might appear important - anything in capital letters for example. This includes scientific names. So if you see something like "proto-plasmic neurons" in the middle of a passage, scribble it down.
I haven't read the above paragraph, and to be honest I have no idea what it says.
In order to understand why this works you have to understand the two types of RC questions that come up.
Type 1 is general. These are questions that ask things like "The author is most concerned with" or "the primary purpose of hte passage is" or "the author would most agree with..."
IN ORDER TO ANSWER THESE YOU ONLY NEED TO KNOW THE GENERAL POINT OF THE PASSAGE. THIS POINT IS ALWAYS MADE DURING THE FIRST PARAGRAPH AND TOPIC SENTENCES (FIRST SENTENCE) OF EACH SUBSEQUENT PARAGRAPH. THATS IT. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO KNOW ANYTHING
ABOUT THE DETAILS BEHIND THE GENERAL POINT. IN FACT, USUALLY, KNOWING THESE DETAILS THROWS YOU OFF BECAUSE YOU'LL SEE AN ANSWER THAT LOOKS REALLY SIMILAR TO SOMETHING YOU JUST READ.
Thats type 1. Type 2 is the SPECIFIC QUESTION. These are things like "Dr. Neilsen agrees that ...." or "In 1914, the primary differences between colonial europe and the americas were... " or "The author states what about proto plasmic neurons?"
In every single case, these questions will boil down to a sentence, or at most two sentences, SOMEWHERE in the passage.... thats it. So, if you scribbled down key words, it should take you a few seconds to figure out what paragraph the answer is in and another few seconds to read the setnence it's in. The answer is always there - plus or minus one sentence.
The key to understanding this methodology is: you are not trying to understand the passage. You only need understand the first paragraph, and first sentence of each piece.
We'll do one more together.
I'll time myself and try to write down details of what I read and did not read.It's attached at the bottom.
Time taken to read and take notes: 1 minute 20 seconds
My notes: Solar ponds circulation incomplete + high salt concentration that increase w/ depth. This traps heat. Low water traps heat, higher water insulate. Heat thus retained at depth.
Time taken to read first sentence and paraphrase: 27 seconds.
My notes: Artificial pond made in dead sea to test its ability to convert heat to electricity.
Second paragraph SKIMMING:
Time taken to SKIM and write down key words: 17 seconds.
My notes: water. solar ponds, chemicals, penetration, algae
(NOTE how quickly that was done. SKIM SKIM SKIM)
Time taken to read first sentence and paraphrase: 9 seconds.
My notes: Algicide proposed to control algea.
Third paragraph SKIMMING: 16 seconds.
My Notes: Dead sea, chemcials, lucrative, tourist, contaminated.
Fourth paragraph first sentence: 15 seconds.
My notes: Recent exp more promising for controlling algea
Fourth paragraph skim: 24 seconds.
My notes: repress, distortion, bouyancy, storage layer, destroyed , evaporation, diluted, algea.
Total time taken: 3 MINUTES 20 SECONDS
Thats pretty decent, maybe even a bit slow - but notice how quickly I ate up the remaining paragraphs. I skimmed paragraphs 3 and 4 in under a minute....
Its not about READING the paragraphs. Just skimming. You may have noticed that my skim notes are out of order - words that come later are first... the reason this is the case is because I let my eyes see a word, write it down, if it then sees another word that I didnt see, even if its before, i write it down. I know that finding the word again will take me a few seconds - if you can write them in order, all the better. I found that I can be much faster if I just glance and write - even if its out of order.
How did I do it so fast? I have not read a single sentence (other than the first sentence) in paragraph 2,3 or 4. I have no idea what details are in there - but I do know what they generally talk about BECAUSE I WROTE DOWN THE FIRST SENTENCE, WHICH ALWAYS INTRODUCES THE PARAGRAPH'S TOPIC. That's all I need to know to answer a question like:
"What is the author primarily concerned with?"
Well, without even looking at answer choices, I know he's primarily concerned with salt water ponds and their suitability to generate electricity.
I know this because he introduces them in the first paragraph, mentions an expirement in #2, cites a possible solution to some problem in #3, and then says theres a better solution in paragraph #4. I know all this just by reading hte first setnence of each paragraph. I do NOT know WHY or WHAT the better solution is - but if I get asked, I know where to look. (It'll be somewhere in paragraph #4)
QUESTION: The primary purpose of the passage is to:
(a) discuss ways of solving a problem that threatens to limit the usefullness of an energy source.
(b) explain the mechanisms by which solar heat may be converted into energy
(c) detail the processes by which algae colonize highly saline bodies of water
(d) report the results of an experiment designed to clean contaminated bodies of water
(e) describe the unique properties of solar ponds in the dead sea.
Can you see which one it is?
Look again at the first sentences and the first paragraph.
(1) Solar ponds retain heat
(2) Artificial pond made in dead sea to test its ability to convert heat to electricity.
(3) Algicide proposed to control algea.
(4) Recent exp more promising for controlling algea
What story is this telling? There are some ponds, there's one in the dead sea, theres some problem with it, algicide is one solution, but there is a better one. Look again at the answer choices.
Do you see it?
(b) explain the mechanisms by which solar heat may be converted into energy ------- Well no, that doesnt really jibe with the topic sentences... He mentions it, but the topic sentences aren't describing a mechanism, they decribe a problem.
(c) detail the processes by which algae colonize highly saline bodies of water ---- No, again, theres not much discussion of processes in the topic sentences. The guys talking about a problem.
(d) report the results of an experiment designed to clean contaminated bodies of water --- Possibly, but this is really only part of the passage probably. I dont know for sure, because I haven't read it, but again if you look back at the notes, he's not so much reporting as much as suggesting something.
(e) describe the unique properties of solar ponds in the dead sea. - Well, definetly not. For starters, i dont remember it saying solar ponds in the dead sea were the only ones that existed, plus, again, the word Dead Sea doesnt come up much in the topic sentences.
(a) discuss ways of solving a problem that threatens to limit the usefullness of an energy source. - Hmm ok, that makes sense. There is a pond, there is an experiment to check it as an energy source, there are some solutions to that problem, but one solution is better. Yea, thats exactly what he's saying.
Now say you got a specific question:
"According to the passage, the growth of algae was considered a threat to the sucess of the artificial pond near the dead sea beacuse the algae..."
(a) produce excess oxygen that lowers water temperature
(b) restrict the circulation of the pond
(c) enable heat to escape through the upper level of the pound
(d) prevent light from penetrating to the lowest level of hte pond
(e) prevent accurate measurement of the heat collected in the pond.
How do you solve this given that YOU HAVENT EVEN READ THE PASSAGE?
Just find where Algae and Dead sea come up. Dead sea comes up first in the second paragraph - we know this because I wrote it in my SKIM NOTES for the second passage.
Did the word algae come up?
Lets go look at what I wrote as my SKIM notes for paragraph two.
My notes: water. solar ponds, chemicals, penetration, algae
Yea, there it is. If your notes are lucky, you might notice that I wrote down the words algae and penetration... gives you a pretty huge hint what it might be, but thats kind of dumb luck... so lets pretend I didnt write that down.
How do we find the answer?
Find the sentence with algae in the second paragraph, because that's where we first saw Dead Sea."An immediate threat to the sucess of the venture was the growth of algae".
Ok, that doesnt give us the answer, what about the sentence right next to it. "Water in solar ponds must be kept maximally transparent to allow penetration of light to the deep storage area."
Ok, look back at the answer choices.
The answer should jump out at you now. It's D.
It's not A because theres NO MENTION of oxygen.
Its not B becuase theres NO MENTION of circulation.
It's not C becuase theres NO MENTION of heat
Its not E because theres NO MENTION of measurement.
The only answer that even has words that match words in that sentence is D.
Now how much did you read to answer that? TWO SENTENCES.
How long did it take you to find them? 10, maybe 20 seconds. Tops. 20 more seconds to read them. You've answered the question in under a minute.
How long do you think it would have taken to find that answer otherwise? I mean, all the other options SOUND reasonable right? Circulation was mentioned in paragraph 1, heat definetly came up somehwere, and there might even be a mention of oxygen somewhere I missed.
the point is this:
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO READ THE PARAGRAPHS TO GET THESE RIGHT. ONLY READ THE FIRST PARAGRAPH AND FIRST SENTENCE. SKIM THE REST. AND BY SKIM, I MEAN 20 SECONDS, KEY WORDS, DONT EVEN READ THE SENTENCES, JUST WRITE DOWN SCRIBBLES.
With time, you can get really really fast at it.
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