How to improve with MAIN IDEA rc question : GMAT Reading Comprehension (RC)
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# How to improve with MAIN IDEA rc question

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How to improve with MAIN IDEA rc question [#permalink]

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28 Oct 2009, 11:22
Hi everyone,
I have problems with verbal RC and CR assumption questions.From what i have analysed i go wrong in 90 % of main idea questions.
I am done with OG 11 and have been practising RC from OG verbal review.Things are getting slightly better with practise,maybe from 90 % wrong to 70 % wrong in main ideas,but i am sure with some stratergies from you guys i can def improve on it.Please tell me what materials i should practise for MAIN IDEAS in particular and also some statergy.
A reply at the earliest would be of great help
If you have any questions
New!
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Re: How to improve with MAIN IDEA rc question [#permalink]

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28 Oct 2009, 19:41
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Hi sathana87 one way (and the best way) to improve RC is to just practice and practice.
In RC i believe that If a particular technique is working out good with a person X. it need not suite you (i mean the way you comprehend and your reading speed differs).So would suggest to work out your own way.

and about the Main Point Questions: Generally when a Passage of 3-4 para is written.

The author takes care that in the initial Para he gives a very wage idea/brief abt wat is he going to tell in the complete passage.

The middle passages would be something supporting to his idea like stating examples or supporting his view.

and in the last passage he will summarize all the points and conclude.

We can also Find passages where the First Para of the Passage gives information which is not at all related to the passage(Back ground information). In this case the author will start the actual theme from the second para.

So if we observe properly

The Main Theme of the Passage would lie some where in

1st Para First Line.
or
1st para last line
or
Last para Last line
or
2nd para opening line

You should be in a position to make out where does the Main theme of the Question lie (this comes with only practice again).
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Re: How to improve with MAIN IDEA rc question [#permalink]

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28 Oct 2009, 19:46
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If we take the below RC
rc-anthropologist-84078.html

Anthropologist David Mandelbaum makes a distinction between life-passage studies and life-history studies which emerged primarily out of research concerning Native Americans. Life-passage studies, he says, “emphasize the requirements of society, showing how groups socialize and enculturate their young in order to make them into viable members of society.” Life histories, however, “emphasize the experiences and requirements of the individual, how the person copes with society rather than how society copes with the stream of individuals.” Life-passage studies bring out the general cultural characteristics and commonalities that broadly define a culture, but are unconcerned with an individual’s choices or how the individual perceives and responds to the demands and expectations imposed by the constraints of his or her culture. This distinction can clearly be seen in the autobiographies of Native American women.
For example, some early recorded autobiographies, such as The Autobiography of a Fox Indian Woman, a life passage recorded by anthropologist Truman Michelson, emphasizes prescribed roles. The narrator presents her story in a way that conforms with tribal expectations. Michelson’s work is valuable as ethnography, as a reflection of the day-to-day responsibilities of Mesquakie women, yet as is often the case with life-passage studies, it presents little of the central character’s psychological motivation. The Fox woman’s life story focuses on her tribal education and integration into the ways of her people, and relates only what Michelson ultimately decided was worth preserving. The difference between the two types of studies is often the result of the amount of control the narrator maintains over the material; autobiographies in which there are no recorder-editors are far more reflective of the life-history category, for there are no outsiders shaping the story to reflect their preconceived notions of what the general cultural patterns are.
For example, in Maria Campbell’s account of growing up as a Canadian Metis who was influenced strongly, and often negatively, by the non-Native American world around her, one learns a great deal about the life of Native American women, but Campbell’s individual story, which is told to us directly, is always the center of her narrative. Clearly it is important to her to communicate to the audience what her experiences as a Native American have been. Through Campbell’s story of her family the reader learns of the effect of poverty and prejudice on a people. The reader becomes an intimate of Campbell the writer, sharing her pain and celebrating her small victories. Although Campbell’s book is written as a life history (the dramatic moments, the frustrations, and the fears are clearly hers), it reveals much about ethnic relations in Canada while reflecting the period in which it was written.

1. Which one of the following is the most accurate expression of the main point of the passage?
(A) The contributions of life-history studies to anthropology have made life-passage studies obsolete.
(B) Despite their dissimilar approaches to the study of culture, life-history and life-passage studies have similar goals.
(C) The autobiographies of Native American women illustrate the differences between life-history and life-passage studies.
(D) The roots of Maria Campbell’s autobiography can be traced to earlier narratives such as The Autobiography of a Fox Indian Woman.
(E) Despite its shortcomings, the life-passage study is a more effective tool than the life-history study for identifying important cultural patterns.

The first para Last line clearly states the Main Theme
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Re: How to improve with MAIN IDEA rc question [#permalink]

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28 Oct 2009, 19:51
In the above Questions its directly stated but generally we need to pick the answer option which generally talks in similar tone.

Hope this helped
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Re: How to improve with MAIN IDEA rc question [#permalink]

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29 Oct 2009, 05:45
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Sathana-

You say you have trouble with assumption questions on the RC and CR, but also that you have trouble with "main point" questions. Remember, these are very DIFFERENT types of questions.

Main point questions do not need assumptions, or even major inferences, to be answered correctly. The biggest problem for most students on main point questions is that they pick answer choices that do one of three distinct things. Here are three tricks from Knewton, which increase the chance of choosing the correct answer significantly.

1) Avoid answer choices that focus in on only one detail or paragraph of the passage, and do not express the main idea as a whole. Remember, the "main idea" of a passage carries throughout the entire passage. One paragraph might be a very detailed explanation of a model, theory, strategy, or scientific phenomenon, but you must ask yourself WHY the author includes these details, and how they fit in to the bigger picture. RaviChandra's example contains a great example of an answer choice that is far too narrow to be the main point:

(D) The roots of Maria Campbell’s autobiography can be traced to earlier narratives such as The Autobiography of a Fox Indian Woman.

2) Avoid answer choices that are overly extreme. Its rare that the main point of a passage is absolute, so choices that state things in absolute terms are almost never correct. RaviChandra's example also contains a great example of an extreme answer choice that is HIGHLY unlikely to be correct:

(A) The contributions of life-history studies to anthropology have made life-passage studies obsolete.

3) Avoid answer choices that distort details of the passage. These are the hardest to spot, but they are almost always there. They often include an extra reversal (saying that two things are similar, when the passage says they are different, like the example below), or include a word that sounds like something from the passage, but isn't actually there (if a whole passage is about "nuclear physics," any answer about "atoms," "science" or "physics" would not be correct).

(B) Despite their dissimilar approaches to the study of culture, life-history and life-passage studies have similar goals.

Hope this helps! Main point questions can be conquered through the process of elimination, as well as by reading the passage with the author's intentions in mind.
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Re: How to improve with MAIN IDEA rc question [#permalink]

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29 Oct 2009, 07:53
Wow thanku Alex this is really Helpful Thanku so much.
Hope we can get ur valuable suggestion on many more topics
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Re: How to improve with MAIN IDEA rc question [#permalink]

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29 Oct 2009, 10:21
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thanks all.Is there a way to eliminate the (E) option.I am sure the tips given by u all will be of great help.
Is it always reliable to use
1) para first line or last line
0r 2 nd para first line
or last para last line to find conclusion?
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Re: How to improve with MAIN IDEA rc question [#permalink]

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29 Oct 2009, 10:41
Quote:
(E) Despite its shortcomings, the life-passage study is a more effective tool than the life-history study for identifying important cultural patterns.

E is another example of an element of the passage that may be true, but is too narrow in scope to be the "main point" of the passage. Think about it this way; if (E) were really the right answer, what would the passage really look like? Or, another way to look at it is: if you were given choice (E) as a prompt for an essay, what would you write?

Well, you might start by explaining the difference between the two types of studies, as this passage does. You might include this sentence, as the passage does: "Life-passage studies bring out the general cultural characteristics and commonalities that broadly define a culture, but are unconcerned with an individual’s choices or how the individual perceives and responds to the demands and expectations imposed by the constraints of his or her culture." But THEN you would very clearly explain why one is more "effective" than the other in certain circumstances. You would illustrate the cultural patterns that life-passage studies can identify, and that life-history studies cannot. Perhaps a whole paragraph would be devoted to the "shortcomings" of the life-passage study.

But you would NOT use one example after another about studies of Native American women. You would NOT include vague sentences like this, which compare the two types of studies without making any clear comparison between them in terms of "effectiveness": The difference between the two types of studies is often the result of the amount of control the narrator maintains over the material; autobiographies in which there are no recorder-editors are far more reflective of the life-history category, for there are no outsiders shaping the story to reflect their preconceived notions of what the general cultural patterns are.

Basically, you would write a different essay.

Quote:
(C) The autobiographies of Native American women illustrate the differences between life-history and life-passage studies.

Yes, this is just the essay you would write. It explains and compares the theories, using Native American autobiographies to exemplify each. Perfect fit.
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Re: How to improve with MAIN IDEA rc question [#permalink]

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11 Jul 2016, 21:18
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