RC - Your Best Strategy - That worked...! : General GMAT Questions and Strategies
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# RC - Your Best Strategy - That worked...!

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05 Nov 2007, 22:42
Hi Folks,

This is to people who are working towards their GMAT exam and also to those who are successfully through it...!

I would like to ask you:

What has really worked for you in developing RC skills?

What ever I have read from formal text (like OG & Princeton Review etc.) so far, I have personally found it to be less appealing. So together with your help I would like to develop something that has worked for most?

May be this has been done to death in this forum in the past, but I have not found anything solid yet... if there is good thread already available on the forum could please point it to me....

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05 Nov 2007, 22:57
I'm deeply interested on this one too.

My right/bad answer percentage is ok, but it takes me more than 2 mins. to answer each question.

I tried the skimming technique suggested by PR, but I was making me do a lot of mistakes on general passage questions, just because I was missing important words, so I started reading slower and it has worked, but that doesn't help timewise.

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06 Nov 2007, 00:42
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I guess the Princton Review/Kaplan approach and some other approach is to:
2) Skim through and note the key words

Easier said than done... it never worked for me.

1) Take a deep breath
2) Read each paragraph carefully. Take note of key words, especially for those science passages

For instance:

Paragraph #1
- Neurons
- Protoplasm

Paragraph #2
- Cellular division

3) After reading each paragraph, just make a mental note what that paragraph is about

Try this out on 10-20 passages to get used to the idea. I personally find it good because you don't skim too fast and have no idea at the end what the passage is about. You know which pragraph to zoom into when you are asked about a certain term. You also will have a good idea of the flow and should be able to tackle general questions like what a certain paragraph is trying to emphsis.
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06 Nov 2007, 01:23
ywilfred: this is what I've been doing lately. I've discovered it helps me a lot more than just skimming.

It's helped to the point that sometimes I don't have to look back at the passage to answer the questions. But sometimes I do have to go back into the passage and that makes me waste a lot of time.

Did you face the same problem? Did you gained speed after a while?

I have not been doing the keyword list, but that sounds like a good idea.
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06 Nov 2007, 02:41
passionateflair wrote:
Hi Folks,

This is to people who are working towards their GMAT exam and also to those who are successfully through it...!

I would like to ask you:

What has really worked for you in developing RC skills?

Practice with LSAT RCs
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06 Nov 2007, 04:57
RC is my bane as well and I am a native English speaker
For some reason even when I was in undergrad I would have to read things a couple of times to get them to sink in..I read very fast but takes me a few tries to comprehend-not sure what the disconnect was
I think I could have gotten a 45+ in verbal instead of a 40 if I was only able to get things into my short term memory on first try.
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06 Nov 2007, 12:18
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jamesrwrightiii wrote:
RC is my bane as well and I am a native English speaker

Me too! I can't concentrate on anything I am not interested in. But here goes my strategy:

1. Trick yourself into thinking you enjoy the topic. For me, it was easier with a passage about women's suffrage than a passage about sub-molecular enzymatic reactions. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

2. Read to understand. If it takes you 6 minutes, as opposed to the suggested 2-4, then take 6 minutes! If you need to read the passage twice, read it twice! You cannot answer the inference questions by skimming the passage; inference questions separate the boys from the men.

3. Speed up your sentence correction. You didn't think you were going to get extra time on RC for free, did you? Learn to knock out the short ones in less than a minute.

4. If you suck at RC, then do a RC passage EVERY NIGHT.

5. Read -- not Maxim, not Men's Health, not Clive Cussler, but the Economist, TIME, Newsweek.

Last edited by kidderek on 07 Nov 2007, 05:38, edited 1 time in total.
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06 Nov 2007, 12:54
I'd also read some science journals. There's nothing that tests your reading comprehension skills more than something you don't understand to begin with.
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06 Nov 2007, 17:40
asdert wrote:
ywilfred: this is what I've been doing lately. I've discovered it helps me a lot more than just skimming.

It's helped to the point that sometimes I don't have to look back at the passage to answer the questions. But sometimes I do have to go back into the passage and that makes me waste a lot of time.

Did you face the same problem? Did you gained speed after a while?

I have not been doing the keyword list, but that sounds like a good idea.

Hey, it's the same with me. I find that there are some questions that you don't have to even refer to the passage to answer. For some other questions, you might have to refer back because they were either referring to a certain line, or they were asking how many examples given in the passage relates to a certain event....

I used the key words only when I run into science passages because the terms used in these passages can be quite long and unwieldy. For the rest like social politics or business passages, I can go without noting the terms down.

It takes about 5-6 minutes to read the passage, but if you understood it well and practices, that would be your only time spent. The questions from there on should take you at most a minute and a half... keep trying and keep practising!
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06 Nov 2007, 18:37
ywilfred wrote:
asdert wrote:
ywilfred: this is what I've been doing lately. I've discovered it helps me a lot more than just skimming.

It's helped to the point that sometimes I don't have to look back at the passage to answer the questions. But sometimes I do have to go back into the passage and that makes me waste a lot of time.

Did you face the same problem? Did you gained speed after a while?

I have not been doing the keyword list, but that sounds like a good idea.

Hey, it's the same with me. I find that there are some questions that you don't have to even refer to the passage to answer. For some other questions, you might have to refer back because they were either referring to a certain line, or they were asking how many examples given in the passage relates to a certain event....

I used the key words only when I run into science passages because the terms used in these passages can be quite long and unwieldy. For the rest like social politics or business passages, I can go without noting the terms down.

It takes about 5-6 minutes to read the passage, but if you understood it well and practices, that would be your only time spent. The questions from there on should take you at most a minute and a half... keep trying and keep practising!

I agree w/ this approach. Just practice and ul eventually get ur timing down. Even if it takes u 8min or so, if get everything correct isnt that better than spending 5-6min getting most of the questions wrong?

Practice will let ya know if u can afford the extra time on difficult passages.
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06 Nov 2007, 21:32
Thanks Folks,

Appreciate your thoughts and if you think there are more, please do chip in. Your feedback is important.

My limited experience with RC has been, that I am either all right on the money or I am so far off... and when I am off... I am usually answering with 'my view' on it then what is being asked...! If I minus my view on it and I get much high percentage correct.

So for now I reckon part of the regime is to practice with your feedback.

Thanks again.

PF
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07 Nov 2007, 08:46
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I bought a stop watch last night and found out I am trying to read the passage at the most for a minute-minute and a half before answering questions. That may be my problem-I may need to spend a little extra time on the passage and then hopefully that will cut down on the time necessary to answer questions and increase my hit rate. I didn't realize I was spending so little time on the passage, and I didn't realize others spent 3-4 minutes reading a passage..I was trying to rush everything through..
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07 Nov 2007, 08:57
jamesrwrightiii wrote:
I bought a stop watch last night and found out I am trying to read the passage at the most for a minute-minute and a half before answering questions. That may be my problem-I may need to spend a little extra time on the passage and then hopefully that will cut down on the time necessary to answer questions and increase my hit rate. I didn't realize I was spending so little time on the passage, and I didn't realize others spent 3-4 minutes reading a passage..I was trying to rush everything through..

You may have taken the advice of PR and prob Kaplan as well. They reason that since you get points for answering questions and not reading the passage, the bulk of your time should be spent on the questions and not reading the passage.

That, my friends, is the dumbest logic anyone can tell you about reading comprehension. What these prep companies fail to realize is that the better you understand the passage, the more quickly you can answer a question.

If you fully comprehend the passage, you end up framing an answer before reading the choices. When you skim through the passage, you see the question and start eliminating the answer choices. There's a huge timing difference between the two approaches.

This works for people who stink in RC. Some people can breeze through the passage and answer the questions lightning fast, no sweat. I hate those people. =P
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14 Nov 2007, 18:17
I found the following stratergy to help a great deal. I was pretty bad at RC and now i routinely get 95% right.

There are 2 kinds of RC - short and long. These require 2 diff stratergies.

Short:
Read the 1st para with great detail and sketch it - brief desc, Keywords
For the other para just write down some keywords

Long:
Read the 1st para and sketch all sentences + keywords
1 line sketch for each subsquent paras.

Writing down stuff really helped me with RC.

passionateflair wrote:
Hi Folks,

This is to people who are working towards their GMAT exam and also to those who are successfully through it...!

I would like to ask you:

What has really worked for you in developing RC skills?

What ever I have read from formal text (like OG & Princeton Review etc.) so far, I have personally found it to be less appealing. So together with your help I would like to develop something that has worked for most?

May be this has been done to death in this forum in the past, but I have not found anything solid yet... if there is good thread already available on the forum could please point it to me....

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15 Nov 2007, 11:51
I agree with a lot of what's being said here, especially the idea that one careful reading is better than skimming. But I do think it's important to go back to the passage for most questions. If you read the passage and took notes, you should be able to locate the relevant part of the passage quickly. And relying on your memory leaves you open to traps based on subtle points of wording.

Reading comprehension is not really a test of reasoning ability so much as it's a test of your ability to process text (& of your vocabulary). One of the biggest problems test-takers have, I think, is a tendency to over-think RC answers. The best antidote to this is sticking closely to the text itself.
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16 Nov 2007, 03:09
there is no magic formula but here is what helped me:

Read first paragraph carefully, try to get the main idea (probably also a question)

start reading second and immediately try to connect the first to the second one. Is it an examplified paragraph, opposed, support, etc...

continue with the next one and get that roadmap in your head. Insert some fulff wheer needed . Re-read sentences you feel did not sink in properly and will be needed to get full comprehension!

Spending 2 minutes more on reading the passage can save you more than that while answering the questions.

my 2 cents
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20 Nov 2007, 16:33
I took the LSAT and did quite well on the RC portion of the exam. I took the TestMasters prep course, and they recommended making a little note after each paragraph read so you can keep things in order, and know where to look if you need to go back. This really worked for me. Also, I think the test creators know how long it should take to complete the entire exam. If you take longer than a few minutes to read the paragraph because it is particularly difficult, then you can probably make it up on another RC that is on the easier side if you complete it under time.
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20 Nov 2007, 18:19
VictoryMBA wrote:
I took the LSAT and did quite well on the RC portion of the exam. I took the TestMasters prep course, and they recommended making a little note after each paragraph read so you can keep things in order, and know where to look if you need to go back. This really worked for me. Also, I think the test creators know how long it should take to complete the entire exam. If you take longer than a few minutes to read the paragraph because it is particularly difficult, then you can probably make it up on another RC that is on the easier side if you complete it under time.

This is precisely the method I used, and it worked beautifully for me, and helped me immeasurably with my recall. Nice thing about RC is that the main idea of the entire RC is ALWAYS in the first paragraph, and often the first sentence in the paragraph. Subsequent paragraphs are set up in the same manner - main idea of each paragraph is usually in the first line. Scribbling down just a few key words from each paragraph can be enough to save you precious seconds when you have to search for specific details - you at least have an idea of where to look, and a decent idea of the RC's reasoning structure as well.
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20 Nov 2007, 18:19
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