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Very very scared of RC

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Very very scared of RC [#permalink] New post 15 Nov 2004, 10:50
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Hi everyone,

Im another GMAT taker who is very scared of RCs. My performance varies according to the content of the passage. I jsut cant do Science passages, everything goes above my head. IT takes up too much time also. I can manage almost everything else. I dont take much time to answer the questions IF I have understood the passage. On an average, it takes me abt. 45 secs to answer each question in RC. But the time spent in reading the passage varies between 3-6 mins. Skimming the passage doesnt work for me. I have seen that if i take down notes, I loose lots of time and most of the times, I dont even look at my notes. I read the passage for any sort of confusion. So its not like notes are helping me.

Can someone please tell me how much of time should be spent in reading the passage?? What is the best approach for me?

Help will be really appreciated. :oops:
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 [#permalink] New post 15 Nov 2004, 11:23
Oops, the dreaded RC's. Ruhi, I doubt if there is any silver bullet solution to getting RC's right. The emotions you have outlined is the most heard from one and all I have met thus far. Eventually, I think all of us develop a model that will suit their need.

Few tips seem good though
1. Read paragraph wise, Find what flows from para1 to the next to the next
2. Read at your highest pace
3. Close your eyes(for less than 15 secs) after reading each para to quickly assimilate what you have read
4. Read the question that you will see to find the answer while you read.
5. Any keywords - however, on the other hand, contrary, paradox, firstly, secondly, etc may be looked little more carefully
6. Skip details. How will u find them -parenthetical element, anything that you think is a 'description', that is only adding additional info can be neglected. This is not easy though - practice is key.
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 [#permalink] New post 15 Nov 2004, 11:40
Hi venksune

That was really helpful. Thanks a ton. Lemme put them in practise and see. but can you tell me about the amount of time that I can spend while reading a passage of 50-60 lines??
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 [#permalink] New post 15 Nov 2004, 12:48
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You might try Hjort's Polite Conversation Rule. Whenever you are reading a passage approach it as you would a polite conversation with a high ranking boss or elder. Do not think of it in terms of what interests you but what interests the speaker (ie the author). Whatever the boss says interests you and you better be listening closely enough so that if the boss asks you what s/he was just talking about you can provide a rapid summary.

It sounds dumb but it actually works . . .

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 [#permalink] New post 15 Nov 2004, 13:55
I think 250 words per minute is supposedly the international avg. Doing some math, it would mean that a GMAT RC line would have say 6 to 10 words per line and if there are 50 lines, then its nearly 500 words (max) - meaning under 2 minutes one should read a convoluted RC passage. Practical. Maybe. I think this is just a guideline or a thumb rule for whatever worth it is. I am just giving some numbers for easy interpretation.
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 [#permalink] New post 15 Nov 2004, 14:04
Hey ruhi, indeed, RC is the most dreaded topic of the GMAT. It is difficult to score good without a good mastering of this aspect. Did you go through the OG in detail? When you analyze the answers, do not just move on and say "oh yes, I got this one right" or "oh, so it is C instead of B". You have to find exactly where the answer is in the passage. Go through the OG in detail first. Next, although they may be more difficult, LSAT passages did me some good. It did keep my concentration to a maximum level because the passages are just very long, much longer than GMAT passages. It will give you good practice. You may want to read this link as it will give you further advice: http://www.gmatclub.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=11274
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 [#permalink] New post 15 Nov 2004, 14:31
Thanks Hjort , Venksune and Paul. :-D Im in the process of going through the OG. I simply hate the science passages ( Have to start loving them Paul right??). Havent touched the LSAT material yet, but I have heard a lot about them. So ill start of with that once Im done with the OG thoroughly. Yes I do read the explanations in detail and analyze my mistakes ( am I proud :) ). I think practise( under timed conditions) is the key word here too.
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 [#permalink] New post 15 Nov 2004, 14:41
Hi ruhi - I had similar problems with RC. The Kaplan strategy of skimming through passages didn't work for me.

So, based on some advice from this forum members, I changed the strategy

1. Started reading in detail
2. Taking notes for each paragraph - really scribbling down few key words or concept in the passage. It made a big difference in dealing with complex passages
3. And as others have indicated, after reading the passage, think about it - because definitely there will be some questions about the central theme.
4. Practice at least 2-3 passages from OG or Kaplan 800 everyday. Make it a routine.

See if you want to try this approach.

Towards the end, I used to take about 3.5 - 4 min reading the science passages and 2.5 - 3.5 min for 3-4 questions.
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 [#permalink] New post 15 Nov 2004, 15:41
Thanks guys! Hjort, I am going to try your method as it sounds interesting. I do not exactly mind RCs but I cannot stand the long science passages and well if I am honest, I hate them mainly becos they are sooooooooooooo BORING :!: Again guys thanks for advice :lol:
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 [#permalink] New post 15 Nov 2004, 18:00
Hi, I just have to agree to aspire that the Kaplan and PR skimming method did not work for me neither. Those books told us to skim through the passage but before, go to the first question first and then look right away for the answer in the first reading. The problem with that method is that you will do a first reading with that narrow perspective in mind in that you are looking for a specific answer. You really need to broaden up your view and make sure that you have an overall understanding of the passage, its tone and intent. Hence, I would suggest not to stick to that method. Do not read the first question outright. Read the whole passage but as Venksune said, paraphrase. After each paragraph, pause for a few seconds and get the main ideas. What did the intro wanted to let you know about? Were there two theories being presented and one is being refuted or is there a third theory which now prevails?

I remember that caffeine RC from the OG with neurotransmitters binding on nodes. The first time I read that 1.5 year ago, I had no clue what I was reading! When I went over that 1 month ago, I really nailed that passage. What I did in those science passages is not getting bogged down by delusive science words and replaced them by X, Y or Z. Also, I stopped after paragraphs and told myself, what the hell did I just read? I tried to mentally picture those neurotransmitters actually binding to the nodes as a gift wrap around a present box. Make it sound simple and picture what you are reading. Do not rush through it too quickly simply because you want to have read it as fast as possible as you could miss some crucial information. But again, do not get bogged down by details. Only practice will tell you the fair amount of time that you need to put in to get a good grasp of those dreaded science passages.
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Arts/SocialScience/Anthropology passages.... [#permalink] New post 16 Nov 2004, 17:00
My problem is different. Usually, science passages I handle pretty well. May be because I am an engineer and when you talk about the hard science facts, I can grasp them very well.

But, I usually have tough time reading social science, anthropology, arts passages. I can not (I dont want to give in by saying this... but there is no other way) understand sh*t after reading these passages. I get the feeling of OMG thats oh my god... sweet jesus....ohhh moses or ya allah.... what happened just now?

Paul, if I use the strategy discussed here, that is to summarize after each paragraph, how can I adopt that to these passages I have most difficulty with. If someone does not understand anything what he read after 'reading' the passage/paragraph, how in the hell you summarize it?

I am lost and need a few words of encouragement and a few techniques/strategies.

Anything you say will be highly appreciated.

-Lost :?
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 [#permalink] New post 16 Nov 2004, 17:15
Awesome thread. Made it a sticky. god bless all of you who volunteer to help :)

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 [#permalink] New post 16 Nov 2004, 22:19
Apsire and Paul, thanks a ton!! I'll owe my improvement in RC's to you two guys. And I feel happy now to have asked for some serious advise in this forum. I thought that people would laugh at me seeing my case. But now I feel its the best to open up and simply say what the problem is. :-D

PAul, can u believe it - the caffeine passage was my first RC practise passage. And I got only one right!!!!! I was so depressed, so depressed that I thought that I dunno how to read, which came quite as a shocker to me since Im an avid reader of fictitious and non- fictitious subject matter.

But now I realise that GMAT reading is extremely different from the normal reading habits.

Aspire, Im gonna practise atleast 3 passages everyday. I think practising each day is the only way to improve. Thanks a lot for your advise. :-D

Thanks everyone. :-D
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 [#permalink] New post 17 Nov 2004, 07:50
Budweiser, your reaction and experience with those type of RC is typical of most test takers vis-a-vis science passages. Your struggle with social science passages stems from the fact that you have a total disinsterest for those passages and easily lose focus while reading them, especially long and convoluted ones. LSAT passages will give you plenty of those :) Knowing your weakness, you will have to pound on it. As I previsouly mentioned, you HAVE to read it with the writer's intent in mind. You have to tell yourself that you LOVE the topic and want to read more about it. This is the only way to keep your concentration level at a maximum. Clear your mind and do not think about anything else that could make you lose focus. Sometimes, in those long passages which I hated, I would tend to think about what I would have done that night after that brutal study session or where I would have been instead of studying in that coffee shop. Don't! Under no circumstance should you think about anything else. In the end, no matter what I say, you know that the burden all lies on your own shoulders but what we can do here is give you very general tips that often times test takers may overlook.
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 [#permalink] New post 07 Dec 2004, 06:50
Where can I get LSAT reading passages?. Please let me know. Thanks
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 [#permalink] New post 07 Dec 2004, 09:08
praveen_rao7 wrote:
Where can I get LSAT reading passages?. Please let me know. Thanks

The two LSAT books I used are ARCO LSAT and Peterson LSAT. I found ARCO LSAT to be very realistic questions whereas Peterson's LSAT is very abstract and I wonder if it can be compared to real LSAT or GMAT material. Peterson's RC is also brutal. Since I did not work with Official LSAT guide, I cannot tell you how representative the latter is. IMO, ARCO LSAT is good enough and will give you a good backbone for CR.
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 [#permalink] New post 08 Dec 2004, 20:23
I agree with Bara, test yourself with standardized questions types. The official
LSAT superprep and 10 Actual prep tests from LSAC are great to work with.

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 [#permalink] New post 08 Dec 2004, 20:41
Thanks Paul for your input
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Speed Reading [#permalink] New post 03 Feb 2005, 09:47
Guys I posted this on the testmagic website.

Over the past week I have started doing the Kaplan verbal workbook review and felt confident until I took the first practice set. I totally bombed it and scored less than 50%! It took me 31 minutes when Kaplan said it should only take 25 minutes. Then today I started reviewing the RC forums and found out that my biggest problem is time management. I always read slow and careful and find that time runs out on me. My mind wonders off a little because it takes too much time to read the passage. So I started reading about other people having the same problems and found out that speed reading is the key!!

http://www.testmagic.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12306

The link above that was started by jamesbond007 provided "tips for increasing your reading speed". I read all the attached files and found that the tips helped me out very much. Keep your reading eyes big, don't sound out the words, read 2 to 3 words at the same time. Basically reading fast does not let your mind get bored so you can comprehend information better and faster. It works! I tested it out on the Kaplan practice sets 2 and 3 and came out with a 14/18 score for both sets! In fact, I finished both with plenty of time left. I could have even got a 16/18 on the last set, but made stupid mental errors on VERY EASY questions. So there is hope in the world. Try the link above and see if helps in your RC quest!

P.S. I know that I only just started, but at least I'm on the right track!
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Re: Speed Reading [#permalink] New post 11 Nov 2005, 17:18
NICOLASSW1 wrote:
Guys I posted this on the testmagic website.

Over the past week I have started doing the Kaplan verbal workbook review and felt confident until I took the first practice set. I totally bombed it and scored less than 50%! It took me 31 minutes when Kaplan said it should only take 25 minutes. Then today I started reviewing the RC forums and found out that my biggest problem is time management. I always read slow and careful and find that time runs out on me. My mind wonders off a little because it takes too much time to read the passage. So I started reading about other people having the same problems and found out that speed reading is the key!!

http://www.testmagic.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12306

The link above that was started by jamesbond007 provided "tips for increasing your reading speed". I read all the attached files and found that the tips helped me out very much. Keep your reading eyes big, don't sound out the words, read 2 to 3 words at the same time. Basically reading fast does not let your mind get bored so you can comprehend information better and faster. It works! I tested it out on the Kaplan practice sets 2 and 3 and came out with a 14/18 score for both sets! In fact, I finished both with plenty of time left. I could have even got a 16/18 on the last set, but made stupid mental errors on VERY EASY questions. So there is hope in the world. Try the link above and see if helps in your RC quest!

P.S. I know that I only just started, but at least I'm on the right track!


The new link for the above Testmagic URL is:

http://www.urch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12306
Re: Speed Reading   [#permalink] 11 Nov 2005, 17:18
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