RC timing & Strategies We've had stickies helping with : GMAT Reading Comprehension (RC)
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# RC timing & Strategies We've had stickies helping with

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Director
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24 Oct 2005, 16:09
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RC timing & Strategies

We've had stickies helping with SCs and CRs but not for RCs so I'm topping this one because it has some discussions about reading strategies. Please add to it if you have found any other strategies that have helped you for RC questions.

Hong

Guys,
I just did a RC passage on molecular biology (40 words) with 8 questions. Not very twisted, but not too simple either! Got all of them right - but I took 14 minutes......what do you guys think about the time.....im still learning the trick in RC!
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Cheers, Rahul.

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24 Oct 2005, 17:05
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well..I may have found the holy grail regarding the RC strategy...

you have to practice for it...

I used to have strike rate of 60% on RC compared to 95% on CR and 85-90% on SC....but lately I noticed I started doing real well on RC...why

well..first of you got get involved with the passage...i mean really feel that you want to read it...read it with tenatious tanacity....read it like a hungry tiger ripping thru its prey...get in that frame of mind when reading the passage...see if it makes the difference for you...it did for me...
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24 Oct 2005, 16:14
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40 words? wow I would love if it appear in real test

well, 14 mins for 8 ques isn't bad, IMO. Also depends if passage was from one of your interest area(alot of passages i read in RC simply doesn't seem interesting to me), how many generic/specific questions it has etc.

I am still to find any good strategy for RC. Its pure luck. Sometimes i get most of them right, if I was able to get gist of the passage. Otherwise, its all "what seems right".
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25 Oct 2005, 17:57
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Yes, merely reading it and really reading it is different. I got the lesson from when I was in high school. I was reading a part of a story to the class. The first part was scenries (smoke rises from rivers etc). I wasn't interested in those kind of things at all at the time and I always skipped it when I read novels. Then I really got into it when it gets to the part with people's interactions with each other, making the class laugh and etc. Then the teacher commented, "You didn't seem to be into it for the first part." It struck me deeply and I realized that how to read does make a great difference.

When you simply read the words, you don't understand anything and you don't remember anything. (The best example was the next student who read after me. She worked in a radio station and had a beautiful voice. She also made people laugh, but it was because she read the typos as if there was no error, and we all noticed that it didn't make sense at all.) If you really read the passage, you'll see where the author was coming from and how he was going about it. You'll understand why he says this or that.

If you can reach this level, then answering the questions would be a breeze for you. It won't take you much time at all.
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01 Dec 2005, 23:52
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Quote:

----------
Hi Guys,
Taking the test next week. Sick of the waiting so I decided to take the plunge.
I believ that I made some headway into RC. Here is my strategy.
1. Read the first question before you start the passage, it's right beside the passage. So when you start reading, you are looking for the answer. Usually you can get the answer before you complete the passage. Answer it.
2. Now you are on the second question and you have saved some time.
3. Get involved in the passage.
4. When I start loosing it, i.e. when it starts getting intricate, I assume I will be asked questions on that part. If it is too dense, I jot down a note, if not I read it again to understand that piece. 100% of the time this has come true. Once I find something fuzzy, lo bhold, there is a question or two on it.
5. Cursory reading as suggested did not cut it.
6. Tough Detail questions take the most amount of time, especially when you have to go in search of the details and especially if the question is on an assumption/inference based on those details. For e.g. "Based on the results of the experiment in para 2 (the results are details and because para2 is mentioned GMAT doesn't give the line#s) which among the following are most likely to happen (inference)?"
7. Practice develops intuition on detail questions.
8. If in a few seconds you are not confident you can answer, again practice tells you when to determine this, start eliminating immediately.
9. I practice in bunches of 30 questions each-about 4 to 5 passages from the OG. I ALWAYS time myself.
10. I have stopped using Kaplan. Most of their answers to tough question do not make sense. You can train yourself to think like them but believe me there is no method to their madness and it will not help you to learn dubious logic when answering GMAT questions. From my experience I have found GMAT's logic to be devious but rarely dubious. Once you learn to traverse their logic, the explanations are quite clear and soon you will be racing away with the right answers. But Kaplan is god for some techniques.

Anyway there it is.
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24 Oct 2005, 16:18
this is OK...typically give yourself 2 min for each question..so 8 questions you have 16 minutes to read the passage and answer the question...

i would say spend less than half the time reading the passage...

btw..good if you are doing well on RC..thats what kills most people on the verbal...like me...
Director
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24 Oct 2005, 16:28
molecular biology and my interest area....not in a million years!
Im comfortable only with business passages and the ocassional philosophy passages....everything else freaks me out!
But i have realized that i do better when i read the entire passage at one go with quite in detail rather than when i just skim tru as suggested by PR!!
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Director
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24 Oct 2005, 17:56
Well, frankly, this is one of the most elusive conepts if you will, that is beyond me.....getting involved in a passage.....
If only I knew how to get involved!!
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Cheers, Rahul.

Director
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25 Oct 2005, 19:02
Thanks Hong for that rather visual explanation of involved reading!
As always, you are an inspiration!!

In fact I have started doing exactly what you say......and it has benefited me a lot...so much so, that in most of the passages that i solve, I rarely refer back to the passage while answering....and still get most of them correct!!

But then, there are sane passages and there are passages on molecular biology, enzymes, or discussion about the subtelties of DaVinci's paintings.....now somehow, I have not reached a level where these kind of passages stop freaking me out.....
In addition to practice, any other do-able suggestion for developing a liking towards these wierd passages??
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25 Oct 2005, 21:46
In this kind of situations I would say a quick glance over the questions before you start reading may help you to focus on the points that you need to focus.
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26 Oct 2005, 02:41
You guys take notes on RC passages? wonder if that's of any use. I tried both ways but taking notes eats up my time and I do not get more questions right...

I'm working on RC as well, because they are weak. I have exactly this problem mentioned above. I read a passage, and it just flows by... I'm able to read two pages of a book without knowing the content! well, its not really a thing to be proud of..

Anyways, my error log told me, I make most mistaks at specific and detail questions. That was, because I do not refer back to the test. My strategy was, to read the entire passage thoroughly (takes+4mins) and then just answer everything out of memory... but that leads to a lot of detail mistakes.

Now I'm trying, to read thoroughly a little faster, and always check back at detail questions in the passage. This strategy gives a higher hit rate, but is extreeeemly time-consuming. Gotta speed up at the other sections then...

donno if that helps.
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26 Oct 2005, 18:15
Skimming thru the topic as suggested in some books does not work for me. Infact, if you see you need to improve in the RC section, you should try out a few techniques and select the one that you feel most comfortable with or the one that is most effective. For me, i read the whole passage and understand what's going on - otherwise, it simply wouldn't work. Taking notes, well (hard-pressed for time), I don't think it is a good idea.

Read the Kaplan approach for tackling RCs. That is really good and I think that is the best way to approach RCs. Like HongHu said - 'being an active reader is very important'. If concentration/focus is the problem - it is very important to work on correcting it. Otherwise...
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11 Nov 2005, 20:52
GSR... very true on the following statement:

" If concentration/focus is the problem - it is very important to work on correcting it. Otherwise... "

Couldn't agree more...

So here's a dumb question or a milliion dollar question for me:

How do you correct the concentration/focus problem? I have noticed that if I loose my concentration some time, I almost take 3 to 4 mins on a question that should have taken 2 mins to begin with.

Thanks.
Director
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11 Nov 2005, 21:35
Well, that's a good question. Only you have control over it. Here are a few things that you may try -
1. Always be aware of what you are doing. Be determined. If you think you are drifting, steer back in.
2. Read the passage with interest (science or literature or history...). Don't develop aversion to particular type of passages. That will not help.
3. Read thru the stuff on this site - tips, strategies.... Ex. this thread!
I'll post some more links soon. Pick those that you are most comfortable with and follow them.
4. I am not an expert here, I don't know , you may try stuff like meditation or yoga to improve concentration/focus.
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11 Nov 2005, 21:49
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06 Dec 2005, 06:39
good tips and startegies guys, it also helps to read science and business magazines as prep. Forbes, Fortune, Inc, Time, Scientific America, National Geographic they have really good articles which have helped me improve my RC.
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13 Dec 2005, 04:05
I was searching for kind of RC strategies which improves my hitrate. I think i landed on correct place. Well guys! just yesterday i started practicing RC's.Some RC's i was able to answer all (as i understood the gist) and for some RC's my hitrate was 40%.

I will try to apply ur strategies and here on i will start reading like a voracious tiger. let me see if my hitrate increases. Will return back again to report my hitrate after couple of days.
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16 Dec 2005, 12:51
Guys, I think timing is one reason while the GMAT percentile per score is much lower for Verbal.

QUAN section has no reading comprehension, just 37 math problems one after the other. I was very bad in Math. I set a goal:

75 min/37 questions = 2 min/question. I worked day and night until I hit that rate, and now score well in math.

Yet, I have a BIG problem in Verbal. I can't monitor my progress as I'm working on the test. For example, in Quan section. I know that after 10 minutes I should have finished 5 problems, 20 minutes 10 problems, and so on...

In verbal, you follow a similar rate as you start with sentence correction, then BOOM you get hit with a reading passage, that's when I lose track of time in Verbal and eventually screw up (a score of 29 at the moment).

Any strategies on how I can monitor progress/time for the Verbal section? I was thinking maybe....say 2 min/question. The moment you get hit with the first reading passage add an offset of 5 minutes to your current progress vs. time.. I don't know... lol... Any suggestions would be highly appreciated!!!!!

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27 Jan 2006, 15:36
A good strategy for RC is to make yourself believe that the subject is interesting.
You can also pretend that you are discussing the subject with somebody and that you need to gather all necessary information to object something.

You have to put yourself in the right state of mind...

It works for me.
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One trick for boring passages... [#permalink]

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30 Jan 2006, 18:27
Guys, I agree that the best approach for RC is being active reader. But in some cases you are hit with the most boring passages, where you cannot get the summary into your mind while doing the first reading. One strategy might help in such cases: while you are going through the passage jot down some "keywords" from passage which might contribute a "big" message. Do this for each para and when you are done, go through these keywords (Usually you would end up with 10-12 words for the entire passage. ) and you will be surprised with the amount of understanding you develop from those keywords.

One trick for boring passages...   [#permalink] 30 Jan 2006, 18:27

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