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How to improve my RC accuracy?

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How to improve my RC accuracy? [#permalink] New post 17 Jul 2011, 02:05
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Hi,

I have hit a roadblock with RC questions. I use the strategy of reading the passage first, taking simple throw away notes for each paragraph. But so far my accuracy is stuck in 70-80% correct range. The imply, inference questions hurt me the most.

Any refining tips would be greatly appreciated.

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Re: How to improve my RC accuracy? [#permalink] New post 18 Jul 2011, 03:50
Hi Crick - the accuracy of 70-80% is quite good. As you may know its not only accuracy that will determine your score, its mainly about with this accuracy what difficulty level questions are you able to handle. I dont think you should be focussing on accuracy now (as it seems quite good), its better to tackle difficult RC passages and see if you can maintain this.
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Re: How to improve my RC accuracy? [#permalink] New post 18 Jul 2011, 04:04
dam it i wrote a long reply to this clicked submit and got a 303 error!!
let me type it out again =(
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Re: How to improve my RC accuracy? [#permalink] New post 18 Jul 2011, 04:53
303 or 404 error?

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Re: How to improve my RC accuracy? [#permalink] New post 18 Jul 2011, 07:06
Hi Aximili85 - pls share your response. its always good to hear to some tips on improving RC.
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Re: How to improve my RC accuracy? [#permalink] New post 18 Jul 2011, 12:22
even i would love to hear some tips (though i read them everyday,it feels good when i read them at a different time and from a different member)..

My accuracy in RC is pathetic to say the least- 50% (the best among my MGMAT CATs) :( ,whereas with the other Verbal sections,the accuracy is around 60-70%.. :-|
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Re: How to improve my RC accuracy? [#permalink] New post 19 Jul 2011, 18:10
Hi,

Thank you for the responses and encouragement. My accuracy of 70+% is actually on low to medium level passages, so I feel some improvement is imperative. Would have loved to see Aximili's response..

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Re: How to improve my RC accuracy? [#permalink] New post 20 Jul 2011, 03:13
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I don't know what the problem is, can't post anything from home ("503 Error" I checked this time) but it works from the library I'm currently holed in. This time i saved as a draft in my gmail heh, hope these help!!

Hi Crick

Regarding RC, I was acing this section in my previous attempt last year but have neglected it this time and its my main weakness in Verbal. Here's what I did last time and am trying to ramp up this time as well.
Some things I don't recommend you do:
1) Taking para notes: I had joined the Princeton Prep center in New Delhi - they advocate jotting down quick notes like you're currently doing for each para so you can refer back quickly for questions. I tried this on my first attempt, all I can say is its a bad idea. It slows you down and caused me to have timing issues (I almost never have timing issues now on Verbal). This is an individual preference though. To reach that point where you can quickly summarize paras in your head required reading practice (let me get to that below).

2) Falling for a trap answer: I've noticed RC will very often list an answer which has a direct text quote, you'll think "hm that's corroborated right there I'll pick it" in a rush, whereas the answer is a bit more subtle or elusive. Being constantly weary of these trap questions during RC and double checking whether that specific answer meets all the demands of the question is crucial.

3) Second guessing not always good: That said, if you always second guess you might miss an obvious answer because you tell yourself its too easy! Practice will cure that. OG 12, 11 or 10 is a MUST do. On top of that, I haven't bought extra books but I have taken Manhattan tests and done some of the free online ones.

4) Picking options which state 2 points: These are more subtle traps. I noticed in the OG verbal supplement answers, for a question I got wrong, that I'd picked an option which was only half right. It made two claims, one of which was substantiated and the other which was bogus. Be careful of answers which state more than two things.

What you should be doing:
These strategies would differ from person to person, but RC in general is the hardest section to improve upon for most of us, and may not simply involve blind practice:
1) If you have some time before you write, get into the habit of reading newspapers/good magazines. When somebody who'd scored well first recommended this, I didn't value its importance since its an obtuse approach. Do it like this: Read a newspaper article, build your redaing speed over time, ensure after a while that yuo do NOT need to re-read to absorb info, as you go from one para to another, summarize the previous para real quick in your head, maintain flow of info between paras. This overall approach has helped me greatly.

2) Core strategies for different passage types: My colleague who just got a 740 recommended having core strategies, i.e. categorizing the passage into "science" vs "business" vs "humanities/art". I need to pick her brain a bit more on this, but she mentioned that if its science, the majority of questions tend to be literal, therefore, don't read the passage too much in depth. Science passages are meant to bog you down with detail. Read one quickly and summarize paras in your head e.g. para 1 introduced hypothesis on enzyme function, para 2 talked about alternative enzyme etc., so when the question asks "How does enzyme A inhibit.." you'll know where to go back and check. Humanities/arts: These are generally a tougher read, require more time, and have more "inference based questions. Spend more time on these understanding overall point, what is the tone of the author, has he taken a side on the argument etc. Business/econ: Not so sure about these ones. Read in depth too I guess as they generally involve concepts.

3) Beware of questions that start with "According to the author/passage": Alarm bells should go off when it says that, I just finished RC from t he supplement today, and I got one of these wrong. When I checked the answer, it literally took a direct quote which I'd missed to substantiate the answer.

4) Make notes on answers you got wrong. Do you have an answer sheet for OG practice? What I do is I keep one sheet with numbers. Recently for RC, every questions I get wrong, I'll make a quick note on it as to why I got that wrong. That means reviewing the OG answers in depth, which is key!!, and which also really pushes lazy people like me who hate to read in depth into answers.

5) Read the first question quickly before diving into passage: This is a mixed one. Try it, see if it works, sometimes its one of those "by saying ABC in para 2 does the author mean"/"Which one of the following is NOT a benefit the author mentions" or something, which makes you focus during the read on that point.

6) Practice OG questions in sets of 3/4 passages each under a timer (~1:45 per question). Doing a lot of RC in one go takes endurance., which the GMAT will of course test you on. I feel anymore than that number in one go and your wasting your time. Analyze mistakes IN DEPTH. Make notes for types of errors you made, on that sheet for back reference (i JUST started this as Im exhausting my OG resources ).

7) Timing: Referring to the timing point above, I checked my per questions RC time on Manhattan, and I was spending between 2:30 - 3:20 minutes on the first RC question (as I was reading the passage), and then above 1 min on the rest. To have more time to read the tougher passages, you need to perfect SC/CR so you minimize time there. This one's obvious I wont elaborate.

I hope this helps. RC is subjective I feel and has to vary from person to person, depending on how familiar they are with quickly summarizing/analyzing large amounts of text. Try some of the above points, and keep in mind good prep material is hard to come across for RC, so use the OG stuff well.
Aximili
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Last edited by Aximili85 on 22 Jan 2013, 08:29, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: How to improve my RC accuracy? [#permalink] New post 20 Jul 2011, 03:17
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One more thing, another colleague who recently got a 760, but is not that great at english, recommended one strategy which I'm still working on: she said that EVERYTHING is contained somwhere in 2 maximum 3 lines, you just need to read properly. I'm not so sure about this, but then she did get a 760 (sure she did as she brought the transcript to office afterward!)!
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Re: How to improve my RC accuracy? [#permalink] New post 20 Jul 2011, 08:07
Aximili85.. Thanks for jolting down the entire stretch of startegies!!
Lets ace the RC!!
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Re: How to improve my RC accuracy? [#permalink] New post 20 Jul 2011, 08:45
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Thanks a bunch Aximili85 .

+1 Kudos to you.

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Re: How to improve my RC accuracy? [#permalink] New post 22 Jul 2011, 08:29
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I think these strategies are working, just wrote the free Knewton CAT, 43 in Verbal, 1 RC wrong. That said, it was simpler compared to MGMAT
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Re: How to improve my RC accuracy? [#permalink] New post 22 Jul 2011, 08:30
man im such an idiot for not doing Manhattan SC Guide last year =(
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Re: How to improve my RC accuracy? [#permalink] New post 23 Jul 2011, 00:56
Thanks for the strategies Aximili85
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Re: How to improve my RC accuracy? [#permalink] New post 23 Jul 2011, 13:44
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I studied RC to the point where I ended up mastering it and have a few pointers I can give you. I put my strategies into video and a PDF - so if you want to check out the PDF which is free, here it is:
http://www.gmatpill.com/ebook/GMATPill' ... eworks.pdf

The RC strategies that Aximili85 mentioned can be a starting point. Let me try to break down some strategies and pitfalls.

1. After reading an RC question you have a choice. Do you
A) start reading through the answer choices
B) start looking through the passage
C) a combination of both?

2. How do I read the RC Passage on first pass?

3. I pick an answer that is right and seems right to me, but then when I check it, I'm wrong! What am I doing wrong?


So these are common issues and I've given detailed explanations on my thinking process to help you get through all of this. I think video is the best way to communicate. RC Questions with text explanations just don't correct me on the spot. I can figure out what I did wrong afterward...but it will never change how I think as I read through that passage for the first time.

So, my answer:
1. Categorize the RC question into two types. If the question is general with no specific details mentioned in the question, you should READ THRU the answer choices FIRST.

Quote:
"The author's argument in the passage is based on which of the following assumptions."


Very general question. For these questions, you should draw upon your first read and the "connecting dots" that tell the story, and use that to directly read through answer choices A thru E to get your answer.

Quote:
"The author's argument concerning the effect of the official sale of duplicate artifacts on illegal excavation is based on which of the following assumptions."


This is a detailed question. Notice that the question replaced "in the passage" with "<lots of details>". When the question refers to a specific detail, you want to dive directly to the specific part of a passage where that detail is talked about.

What Aximili85's friend who scored a 760 said is partially correct. He/she said all the answers were within 2 or 3 sentences for all the RC questions. True but not for all types of RC questions because I've seen all types. Some times, there will be multiple references of the topic in the passage and so while you might think the answer choice is B from reading about the *first* instance where that topic is mentioned, if you keep on reading and you read over the *second* and *third* instance of that topic, your answer might change to C. So it's very important that for these detailed questions, you do a quick scan of the passage and pinpoint all locations in the passage where that detailed topic is mentioned. Then draw on those "3 connecting dots" to derive your answer. I know it's hard to comprehend so I show you exactly what I'm doing and where my eyeball is in the RC Pill videos (there are several free ones you can take a look at).


2. When reading the RC Passage on the first read, you've got to follow 4 simple rules.

1) Emotions! Pretend to be super excited about the passage even though the passage is boring!
2) First Sentence Focus - Get main idea, skim the details
3) Cut The Fluff - reduce complex sentence structures into simple subject+verb formats, will increase comprehension tremendously
4) Focus on Transitional Phrases (However, Moreover, Ironically, etc) and determine direction that author is taking. Every passage ALWAYS has a direction - explaining a concept, refuting a theory, providing support to a way of thinking, etc. What is it? Figure it out!
5) Connect the Dots

These are the steps. The BIG question is how to apply them. Again, rather than show you by text, you can check out my video explanations here
http://www.gmatpill.com/practice-questi ... -guide-rc/

3. "I pick an answer that is right and seems right to me, but then when I check it, I'm wrong! What am I doing wrong?"

I've gotten this a lot actually. This is because you're not fully reading the entire question. Your answer might be right, but it's not right in the context of the entire question that is asked. In other words, based on 80% of what a question asks, answer A might be the obvious answer. But answer A doesn't fully answer the remaining 20% of what that question is asking, therefore it CANNOT be correct. These are the traps that Aximili85 mentioned and they are very common for the "detailed" type questions. Because certain detail might fit, but not 100% of the answer choice will be correct, only most of it. And so GMAT test folks LOVE to trick you up here.

The foundation for all RC questions will always be the 10 seconds you take to CONNECT THE DOTS of the passage. You use the summary of your CONNECTING THE DOTS to answer all main idea questions, and to guide you where to direct your cannon firepower - pararaphs 1 and 2? or just specifically at the end of paragraph 1? All time efficiency decisions can be aided when you've CONNECTED THE DOTS properly.
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Re: How to improve my RC accuracy? [#permalink] New post 23 Jul 2011, 21:42
whoah, this looks great, thanks a lot! Going to review this properly in the evening.
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Re: How to improve my RC accuracy? [#permalink] New post 27 Jul 2011, 11:31
gmatpill wrote:
I studied RC to the point where I ended up mastering it and have a few pointers I can give you. I put my strategies into video and a PDF - so if you want to check out the PDF which is free, here it is:
http://www.gmatpill.com/ebook/GMATPill' ... eworks.pdf

The RC strategies that Aximili85 mentioned can be a starting point. Let me try to break down some strategies and pitfalls.

1. After reading an RC question you have a choice. Do you
A) start reading through the answer choices
B) start looking through the passage
C) a combination of both?

2. How do I read the RC Passage on first pass?

3. I pick an answer that is right and seems right to me, but then when I check it, I'm wrong! What am I doing wrong?


So these are common issues and I've given detailed explanations on my thinking process to help you get through all of this. I think video is the best way to communicate. RC Questions with text explanations just don't correct me on the spot. I can figure out what I did wrong afterward...but it will never change how I think as I read through that passage for the first time.

So, my answer:
1. Categorize the RC question into two types. If the question is general with no specific details mentioned in the question, you should READ THRU the answer choices FIRST.

Quote:
"The author's argument in the passage is based on which of the following assumptions."


Very general question. For these questions, you should draw upon your first read and the "connecting dots" that tell the story, and use that to directly read through answer choices A thru E to get your answer.

Quote:
"The author's argument concerning the effect of the official sale of duplicate artifacts on illegal excavation is based on which of the following assumptions."


This is a detailed question. Notice that the question replaced "in the passage" with "<lots of details>". When the question refers to a specific detail, you want to dive directly to the specific part of a passage where that detail is talked about.

What Aximili85's friend who scored a 760 said is partially correct. He/she said all the answers were within 2 or 3 sentences for all the RC questions. True but not for all types of RC questions because I've seen all types. Some times, there will be multiple references of the topic in the passage and so while you might think the answer choice is B from reading about the *first* instance where that topic is mentioned, if you keep on reading and you read over the *second* and *third* instance of that topic, your answer might change to C. So it's very important that for these detailed questions, you do a quick scan of the passage and pinpoint all locations in the passage where that detailed topic is mentioned. Then draw on those "3 connecting dots" to derive your answer. I know it's hard to comprehend so I show you exactly what I'm doing and where my eyeball is in the RC Pill videos (there are several free ones you can take a look at).


2. When reading the RC Passage on the first read, you've got to follow 4 simple rules.

1) Emotions! Pretend to be super excited about the passage even though the passage is boring!
2) First Sentence Focus - Get main idea, skim the details
3) Cut The Fluff - reduce complex sentence structures into simple subject+verb formats, will increase comprehension tremendously
4) Focus on Transitional Phrases (However, Moreover, Ironically, etc) and determine direction that author is taking. Every passage ALWAYS has a direction - explaining a concept, refuting a theory, providing support to a way of thinking, etc. What is it? Figure it out!
5) Connect the Dots

These are the steps. The BIG question is how to apply them. Again, rather than show you by text, you can check out my video explanations here
http://www.gmatpill.com/practice-questi ... -guide-rc/

3. "I pick an answer that is right and seems right to me, but then when I check it, I'm wrong! What am I doing wrong?"

I've gotten this a lot actually. This is because you're not fully reading the entire question. Your answer might be right, but it's not right in the context of the entire question that is asked. In other words, based on 80% of what a question asks, answer A might be the obvious answer. But answer A doesn't fully answer the remaining 20% of what that question is asking, therefore it CANNOT be correct. These are the traps that Aximili85 mentioned and they are very common for the "detailed" type questions. Because certain detail might fit, but not 100% of the answer choice will be correct, only most of it. And so GMAT test folks LOVE to trick you up here.

The foundation for all RC questions will always be the 10 seconds you take to CONNECT THE DOTS of the passage. You use the summary of your CONNECTING THE DOTS to answer all main idea questions, and to guide you where to direct your cannon firepower - pararaphs 1 and 2? or just specifically at the end of paragraph 1? All time efficiency decisions can be aided when you've CONNECTED THE DOTS properly.


Thanks for providing the pdf
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Re: How to improve my RC accuracy? [#permalink] New post 27 Jul 2011, 21:54
would any of you know how your MGMAT verbal scores tally with the actual GMAT verbal? Hard to tell I know, but I'm writing this coming Wednesday, and I've been getting V43 - 45 on MGMATs, and wrote the GMAC 2 exam yesterday and dropped to V42. I'm wondering if I can pull up that up by even one point for D-Day.

That said, I think GMAC's verbal is tougher than Manhattan's, but I was wondering if anybody else had any experience with this.
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Re: How to improve my RC accuracy? [#permalink] New post 28 Jul 2011, 06:30
Aximili85 wrote:
would any of you know how your MGMAT verbal scores tally with the actual GMAT verbal? Hard to tell I know, but I'm writing this coming Wednesday, and I've been getting V43 - 45 on MGMATs, and wrote the GMAC 2 exam yesterday and dropped to V42. I'm wondering if I can pull up that up by even one point for D-Day.

That said, I think GMAC's verbal is tougher than Manhattan's, but I was wondering if anybody else had any experience with this.


Hi Aximili,

I would not read too much in the "drop" in GMAC score. 42 is still an excellent verbal score !! If you are comfortable with timing in the verbal section, especially with respect to the RC's, then i think you will do great in the real test.

Best of luck for your exam. Put the GMAT to to the mat :).

Crick
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Concentration: Healthcare, International Business
GMAT 1: 640 Q V0
GMAT 2: 710 Q42 V45
GMAT 3: 740 Q48 V42
GMAT 4: Q V0
GMAT 5: Q V0
GPA: 3.3
WE: Research (Consulting)
Followers: 10

Kudos [?]: 63 [1] , given: 134

GMAT Tests User
Re: How to improve my RC accuracy? [#permalink] New post 05 Aug 2011, 06:48
1
This post received
KUDOS
Hey all, wrote on Wednesday - 710!
M 42, V 45
The RC strategies worked :-D
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How to improve your RC score, pls Kudo if helpful! http://gmatclub.com/forum/how-to-improve-my-rc-accuracy-117195.html
Work experience (as of June 2012)
2.5 yrs (Currently employed) - Mckinsey & Co. (US Healthcare Analyst)
2 yrs - Advertising industry (client servicing)

Re: How to improve my RC accuracy?   [#permalink] 05 Aug 2011, 06:48
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