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I am struggling with RC a lot. Right from timing to

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I am struggling with RC a lot. Right from timing to [#permalink] New post 08 Feb 2013, 01:18
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I am struggling with RC a lot. Right from timing to understanding of main point, everything. Tried various strategies to deal with passages but all in vain. All I am doing is to make random guesses for the answers.
Please anyone help me out!
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Re: Help Required on RC [#permalink] New post 08 Feb 2013, 01:46
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Hey Sonie,

I am not much of an expert but let me give you a few tips here:
1) Improve your reading speed- The average reading speed is about 120-150 wpm but you should increase it to say 350-400 wpm. This mainly happens because we are not interested in reading or are not avid readers and we directly jump on to doing RC questions. Read a lot of articles(from newspapers or magazines) and just read passages and calculate your wpm. After you have achieved a better wpm move on to solving RCs.

2) Bad reading habits- When you read comprehensions you try to take in all the information. Instead of understanding what each and every line in the RC means, try to just read through the RC, take in most of the information, like the summary, main point of each paragraph. Now read the questions and solve.

3) I have already said this but develop a habit of reading so that you can understand the context in which a text is written. While you are reading, you should constantly think, evaluate, judge, reason out, and correlate with what has already been read.

4) Of course, a good vocabulary would enable you to understand the nuances and grasp the meaning of various issues discussed in the passage. You should also be able to zero in on the central theme of the passage. This can only be developed through extensive reading.

5) Do not read the questions first and the passage later unless you are at the exam center and have 2 minutes left to solve a complete RC.

6) Making a table (probably on excel) marking the date, topic(e.g. Political, Economic, Sciences etc.), reading speed of each passage you read. Also, see if you understand the tone(like aggressive, analytical, biased etc. , of the passage).
Develop 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.

7) 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.

8) 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.

9) 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.

10) Finally, OG 12 or OG 13 is a must.

Hope this helps!
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Re: Help Required on RC [#permalink] New post 08 Feb 2013, 02:41
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Hi Sonie,

Have you gone through the below post on various RC strategies and suggestions.

all-rc-strategy-official-q-by-experts-legendary-club-members-145027.html

From your query, it seems that you are struggling on RC in general.

I would be able to help you better if you provide me with the following details. Answers to these questions would allow me to understand the specific issues that you are facing.

How long have you been preparing for GMAT, especially the verbal sections and which study material/ questions have you solved?
What strategies have you tried so far?
How is your performance and level of understanding in SC and CR?
If you have taken a practice test, what is your Verbal score and total score? Or how would you rate your general verbal ability?
How are your reading habits? How frequently do you read standard English material?

Vercules
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Re: Help Required on RC [#permalink] New post 08 Feb 2013, 08:59
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Hey Verculus,
I tried all the strategies listed in the link, but none of them clicked for me. I even tried taking brief notes for the passage, but while answering questions, I didn't really required it because every time, I have to refer back to the passage and so while drawing conclusions, I miss the actual meaning of the relevant text.
So, finally I decided to read the complete passage without taking any notes (as I remembered the place where I will find the answer) and try to understand what is being told by the author. The main issue what I am facing is I cannot figure out what the passage is actually all about. So, if I don't understand the passage, I screw in answering the inference questions.
Epitomizing above things, I primarily face problems in following things: (For info, I practiced from OG Verbal Suplement, Kaplan Premier 2012 and my accuracy in answering questions was 60%)
1. In understanding intended meaning of some passages.
2. Answering Inference and Application questions (as I referring back to the passage and not knowing what is going on the passage makes me randomly guessing the answers)
3. Timing problems

I started my Verbal Prep about 3 weeks ago, and I completed studying SC and right now struggling with RC. I am using OG 12, Verbal Supplement 2nd Edition, Manhattan Guides, Kaplan Premier 2012, Grail series for prepping.
In relation to my performance with SC, my accuracy is around 75%(practiced from Grail SC, Kaplan Premier 2012 and OG Verbal Supplement. Yet to try OG12). I haven't started with CR yet.
Regarding my verbal ability, I can say it is fair. Though I am non-native, still I am well-versed with English.
My reading habits are good. I regularly read literature and novels.

Thanks in advance for your kind help.
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Re: Help Required on RC [#permalink] New post 08 Feb 2013, 09:02
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Hey dhruvd,
Thanks a lot for your help.
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Re: Help Required on RC [#permalink] New post 08 Feb 2013, 09:50
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soniedarshan wrote:
Hey Verculus,
I tried all the strategies listed in the link, but none of them clicked for me. I even tried taking brief notes for the passage, but while answering questions, I didn't really required it because every time, I have to refer back to the passage and so while drawing conclusions, I miss the actual meaning of the relevant text.
So, finally I decided to read the complete passage without taking any notes (as I remembered the place where I will find the answer) and try to understand what is being told by the author. The main issue what I am facing is I cannot figure out what the passage is actually all about. So, if I don't understand the passage, I screw in answering the inference questions.
Epitomizing above things, I primarily face problems in following things: (For info, I practiced from OG Verbal Suplement, Kaplan Premier 2012 and my accuracy in answering questions was 60%)
1. In understanding intended meaning of some passages.
2. Answering Inference and Application questions (as I referring back to the passage and not knowing what is going on the passage makes me randomly guessing the answers)
3. Timing problems

I started my Verbal Prep about 3 weeks ago, and I completed studying SC and right now struggling with RC. I am using OG 12, Verbal Supplement 2nd Edition, Manhattan Guides, Kaplan Premier 2012, Grail series for prepping.
In relation to my performance with SC, my accuracy is around 75%(practiced from Grail SC, Kaplan Premier 2012 and OG Verbal Supplement. Yet to try OG12). I haven't started with CR yet.
Regarding my verbal ability, I can say it is fair. Though I am non-native, still I am well-versed with English.
My reading habits are good. I regularly read literature and novels.

Thanks in advance for your kind help.


Hi soniedarshan,

From your reply, I think that you have good verbal ability and can improve a lot in RC. Moreover, you have a good grasp of English and good reading habits. My situation was also somewhat similar to yours. I was also reading a lot of standard English stuff and reading quality nonfiction but, I was stuck around 34 in verbal. What I did was to regularly practice RC and practice the note taking strategy. I practiced it for almost 50 - 60 passages and then gradually I found my scores increase. At the later stage of my prep I didn't need to take notes and was able to follow the flow of thoughts without writing anything. My accuracy was around 90%. I am not advocating the note taking strategy, but emphasizing the importance of practice. Give a few more weeks to your study and you will definitively see an increase in your accuracy. Pick a strategy try it on a few passages for some time and then choose the one which you are most comfortable with. Once you have picked a strategy, stick to it and practice it to internalize.

You have just started your prep three weeks ago, give some time and you will improve in RC. RC usually takes longer time to improve than CR or SC. 60% accuracy in the initial phase of your study is not bad at all. Keep on practicing...

Vercules
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Re: Help Required on RC [#permalink] New post 08 Feb 2013, 21:19
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Vercules wrote:
soniedarshan wrote:
Hey Verculus,
I tried all the strategies listed in the link, but none of them clicked for me. I even tried taking brief notes for the passage, but while answering questions, I didn't really required it because every time, I have to refer back to the passage and so while drawing conclusions, I miss the actual meaning of the relevant text.
So, finally I decided to read the complete passage without taking any notes (as I remembered the place where I will find the answer) and try to understand what is being told by the author. The main issue what I am facing is I cannot figure out what the passage is actually all about. So, if I don't understand the passage, I screw in answering the inference questions.
Epitomizing above things, I primarily face problems in following things: (For info, I practiced from OG Verbal Suplement, Kaplan Premier 2012 and my accuracy in answering questions was 60%)
1. In understanding intended meaning of some passages.
2. Answering Inference and Application questions (as I referring back to the passage and not knowing what is going on the passage makes me randomly guessing the answers)
3. Timing problems

I started my Verbal Prep about 3 weeks ago, and I completed studying SC and right now struggling with RC. I am using OG 12, Verbal Supplement 2nd Edition, Manhattan Guides, Kaplan Premier 2012, Grail series for prepping.
In relation to my performance with SC, my accuracy is around 75%(practiced from Grail SC, Kaplan Premier 2012 and OG Verbal Supplement. Yet to try OG12). I haven't started with CR yet.
Regarding my verbal ability, I can say it is fair. Though I am non-native, still I am well-versed with English.
My reading habits are good. I regularly read literature and novels.

Thanks in advance for your kind help.


Hi soniedarshan,

From your reply, I think that you have good verbal ability and can improve a lot in RC. Moreover, you have a good grasp of English and good reading habits. My situation was also somewhat similar to yours. I was also reading a lot of standard English stuff and reading quality nonfiction but, I was stuck around 34 in verbal. What I did was to regularly practice RC and practice the note taking strategy. I practiced it for almost 50 - 60 passages and then gradually I found my scores increase. At the later stage of my prep I didn't need to take notes and was able to follow the flow of thoughts without writing anything. My accuracy was around 90%. I am not advocating the note taking strategy, but emphasizing the importance of practice. Give a few more weeks to your study and you will definitively see an increase in your accuracy. Pick a strategy try it on a few passages for some time and then choose the one which you are most comfortable with. Once you have picked a strategy, stick to it and practice it to internalize.

You have just started your prep three weeks ago, give some time and you will improve in RC. RC usually takes longer time to improve than CR or SC. 60% accuracy in the initial phase of your study is not bad at all. Keep on practicing...

Vercules


Hi Vercules,
Thanks for your advise.

Need a bit of more help regarding RC. :|

By following my approach for long passages, I'm able to nail most structure questions. Here i don't read the whole long passage but first paragraph and first sentence of following paragraphs or 1 more sentence if purpose is not clear and also look for idea transitions.

But when I'm presented with a detail questions, I consume too much time as i have to do this initial reading to get a feel of the passage and then look for detail.

Questions that specially trouble me are the ones where i need to match many details with the passage. And here i get confused as to read the full passage or do the initial reading and then use POE to answers.

For example, if the passage asks for thing that the author won't agree with. I need to know 4 things that he will agree with and those may be scattered through out the passage.

This is where I am making mistakes in long passages.
For long passages, I also use note taking strategy.

And for short passages, I read the complete passage without taking notes and then answer questions. As I am now familiar with the passage after reading it, I know where the answer is in the passage and answer accordingly. This strategy really works for me well and I don't face any timing issues with the short passages. It is only long passages that are troubling me.
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Re: Help Required on RC [#permalink] New post 09 Feb 2013, 02:19
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Hey dhruvd,
I am really finding your points very effective while implementing in my prepping for CR.
Can you elaborate more on your point no. 6? After practicing some passages, I am finding that categorizing the passages with respect to their domains is somewhat helping me. Please advise me what to do when one encounters certain passage type?
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Re: Help Required on RC [#permalink] New post 09 Feb 2013, 06:35
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Hey Sonie,

Thank you so much I am so happy that some of what I said helped you.

If you are encountering problems with a certain passage type say sciences try reading as much as you can from sources on the internet or other books/magazines. This way you will become familiar with a lot of topics in that field and you might understand the terms in a passage easily. The best way is to work through it. It is not a task you should aim to accomplish within a few days.

If you need any other help, do let me know.

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Re: Help Required on RC [#permalink] New post 09 Feb 2013, 12:33
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Hi Sonie,

For longer questions also it requires longer time than an average sized or small passage. I am sure that like me and you, others also have the same issue. I would advise you to take time and read the whole passage. I too tried the initial reading method, but found that for a lot of questions such as detail as you said took more time. For me reading the whole passage initially works well. If I find a detail question then I have an idea as to where to look for in the details the passage. You can squeeze the extra time by solving the SC and Small passages in lesser time.

Moreover, as you read it is more important to recognize the structure of the passage than just the meaning. For example, this is how my thought process goes while reading a passage. --- First sentence background, then introduction (ohh got it seems like a descriptive scientific passage), ahh a keyword this is contrasting opinion, ohh there are opinions of two groups - one supports and other doesn't. Second paragraph details - blah blah blah ok fine, next another opinion, author supports the first opinion, got it. Well, the above thought process is just an example, you should try to find out how your thought process and understanding develops.

At GMAT you will be better served if you do active reading. You should not only try to understand the meaning of the sentences but also try to understand its structure.

You should attempt to recognize structural elements such as.

-- what are opinions and what are facts
-- what is being disussed - Scientific fact, General observation, Historical event, Business phenomenon etc etc.
-- is the passage a descriptive or argumentative or evaluative
-- what opinions are present in the passage apart from that of author's
-- what part each of the passage plays in the passage.

You have not discussed your test scores in any of your posts. If you have not taken your initial GMATPrep test then do so as soon as possible. If you have taken, then let me know your score.

Hope that helps

Vercules
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Re: Help Required on RC   [#permalink] 09 Feb 2013, 12:33
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