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# Experts' Topic of the Week, 5/22/17: Ultimate RC Guide for Beginners

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Re: Experts' Topic of the Week, 5/22/17: Ultimate RC Guide for Beginners [#permalink]
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This is pure gold !!! GMATNinja I have been ardently following your explanations in SC and CR and they have been the single biggest reason sir for my improvement in CR and SC prowess.. I need your expert approaches in RC as well..Have tried looking everywhere for your inputs on RC passages (on the RC thread) but couldnt find any . Could you please help me with a couple of links having your explanations on the RC passages..Thanks a million !!
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Re: Experts' Topic of the Week, 5/22/17: Ultimate RC Guide for Beginners [#permalink]
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This is pure gold !!! GMATNinja I have been ardently following your explanations in SC and CR and they have been the single biggest reason sir for my improvement in CR and SC prowess.. I need your expert approaches in RC as well..Have tried looking everywhere for your inputs on RC passages (on the RC thread) but couldnt find any . Could you please help me with a couple of links having your explanations on the RC passages..Thanks a million !!

Thank you so much for the kind words, garimamadas10! I'm glad that our explanations have been helping.

You can do a forum search with "GMATNinja" in the "Search for author" field and "Reading Comprehension (RC)" in the "Search in forums" field. That should give you plenty of options (500+ results, holy ****!).

Here are few good ones to get you started:

I hope that helps a bit, and have fun reading!
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Re: Experts' Topic of the Week, 5/22/17: Ultimate RC Guide for Beginners [#permalink]
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GMATNinja wrote:
This is pure gold !!! GMATNinja I have been ardently following your explanations in SC and CR and they have been the single biggest reason sir for my improvement in CR and SC prowess.. I need your expert approaches in RC as well..Have tried looking everywhere for your inputs on RC passages (on the RC thread) but couldnt find any . Could you please help me with a couple of links having your explanations on the RC passages..Thanks a million !!

Thank you so much for the kind words, garimamadas10! I'm glad that our explanations have been helping.

You can do a forum search with "GMATNinja" in the "Search for author" field and "Reading Comprehension (RC)" in the "Search in forums" field. That should give you plenty of options (500+ results, holy ****!).

Here are few good ones to get you started:

I hope that helps a bit, and have fun reading!

Dear GMATNinja I am aspiring for a 760+ and a score of 42+ in Verbal and I badly need your help in specific areas in the Verbal section. I have been preparing and training myself in CR and SC exclusively for the past 6 months. I was not so strong in CR initially but after immense practice in different types of Q, I have become adept at identifying the gaps in an argument more often than not.

But when it comes to mocks, I go into a completely different zone altogether. Example - When I am given a CR Q, I am unable to read naturally, I reread parts of the argument and find it difficult to synthesize the ideas in the argument to arrive at what the author is trying to say quickly and efficiently, so I end up either misunderstanding/misinterpreting what the author is trying to say and hence the gap in the argument and end up selecting the wrong answer. However, when I see the same Q outside the test, I read the argument in a single sweep understand what the author is trying to say correctly, pre-think and walk out with the correct ans 85 - 90% of the time.

Same thing with SC - I take much longer in the exam to interpret the intended meaning/identifying complicated modifier structures whereas outside the test, I end up doing my SC Q's correct 90% of the times with an average timing of 1.3 minutes many times even under a minute. I really dont know what to do about this. I am taking as many mocks as I can but to no avail. I want to fix this problem for good. My Verbal score is stuck at 38 and I want to push it to 44+

Kindly help me !

Thanks - Garima
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Re: Experts' Topic of the Week, 5/22/17: Ultimate RC Guide for Beginners [#permalink]
Thank you!

Originally posted by HWPO on 17 Jul 2020, 16:26.
Last edited by HWPO on 22 Jan 2021, 09:20, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Experts' Topic of the Week, 5/22/17: Ultimate RC Guide for Beginners [#permalink]
DanielEMZ wrote:
Hi, I have a question: do we always get 4 passages on the exam? I have read somewhere about it and wasn't sure if that was 100% true.

Thank you!

Its not hard and fast rule of 4 passages. But yes, do expect 4 passages, 2 long ,1 medium and 1 short. and 2 long will probably come towards start of exam, shorter one towards end. I am telling as it happened in my exam.
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Re: Experts' Topic of the Week, 5/22/17: Ultimate RC Guide for Beginners [#permalink]
it is awesome!Especially those tips for the non-English speakers.

Thanks!
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Re: Experts' Topic of the Week, 5/22/17: Ultimate RC Guide for Beginners [#permalink]
GMATNinja : I am a non-native and thus I started with RC first as I knew approx. 40% of the questions are RC. I started with LSAT and right now I write a full LSAT RC set in about 1.5 Hours, I am focusing on Accuracy first over the timing. But for last several sets (I usually do a full set of 27 questions) I am stuck between 75%-80%. I am usually getting LSAT Level 4 or 5 Questions wrong.

Everyday I am also doing Fast Reading exercise using SwiftRead Chrome Extension, this is a game changer as I have raised by speed from 200 Words Per Minute (WPM) to 350 WPM, I usually do this 3x/day and write down the summary of whatever I read in a notebook.

I also do focus exercise, randomly pick an object and keep my thoughts revolving around it for 3-5 minutes, also do it when no one is around as well as when I am in public (being the weirdo) or when I am in the living area (Freaking out my gf).

Plus, I read around 5000 Words as a part of my bedtime routine.

I finished reading LSAT Superprep I RC strategy guides (These were very helpful) + Your RC Videos (Got most questions right in your videos) + I did all Khan Academy Free LSAT resources (These are gem!)

Anyways, long story short, How to take my LSAT accuracy from 80% to 90-100%? At present, I get around 21/27 (-6) per LSAT RC Set.

Thanks.
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Re: Experts' Topic of the Week, 5/22/17: Ultimate RC Guide for Beginners [#permalink]
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IN2MBB2PE wrote:
GMATNinja : I am a non-native and thus I started with RC first as I knew approx. 40% of the questions are RC. I started with LSAT and right now I write a full LSAT RC set in about 1.5 Hours, I am focusing on Accuracy first over the timing. But for last several sets (I usually do a full set of 27 questions) I am stuck between 75%-80%. I am usually getting LSAT Level 4 or 5 Questions wrong.

Everyday I am also doing Fast Reading exercise using SwiftRead Chrome Extension, this is a game changer as I have raised by speed from 200 Words Per Minute (WPM) to 350 WPM, I usually do this 3x/day and write down the summary of whatever I read in a notebook.

I also do focus exercise, randomly pick an object and keep my thoughts revolving around it for 3-5 minutes, also do it when no one is around as well as when I am in public (being the weirdo) or when I am in the living area (Freaking out my gf).

Plus, I read around 5000 Words as a part of my bedtime routine.

I finished reading LSAT Superprep I RC strategy guides (These were very helpful) + Your RC Videos (Got most questions right in your videos) + I did all Khan Academy Free LSAT resources (These are gem!)

Anyways, long story short, How to take my LSAT accuracy from 80% to 90-100%? At present, I get around 21/27 (-6) per LSAT RC Set.

Thanks.

Apologies for our slowness on this!

Sadly, it's really hard to diagnose what, exactly, is going wrong with your RC based just on forum threads or emails. It's always possible that you've bumped into the limits of your reading skills, and further improvements to your process won't necessarily help.

But I'm going to cheat a little bit, and quote your post from another thread:
IN2MBB2PE wrote:
Hello GMATNinja aka Bossman Charles: I am currently stuck at 70% accuracy with LSAT RC (Did over 300 questions), that too untimed, with timing I end up around 60%. I usually do a full-set in one go to test my endurance.

I am reading National Geographic, WSJ, The Economist (2- articles/day), as I read those I am comprehending and doing recall exercise at the end of couple paragraphs as they run 3-4 times than a regular passage. I also recall all articles and passage I read the very next day to improve recall function of my brain (if there's such things ....)

I have watched lots of RC videos to fix any technique and did few trail and error. This is what my approach is now:

1. Focused reading that is interactive
2. Comprehend each sentence and paragraph, summarize the paragraph at the end
4. Try to do the general global questions without looking back to the text, sometimes do go back
5. I Go back to the passage for reference questions
6. Always use POE

I wonder if there's any book you can recommend to understand or dig further for each question type. My accuracy is really low for "Main point/Purpose" question, like around 50%, Inference about 70%

First of all, your reading routine is really, really impressive! And so is the general improvement from ~40% to 70-80%. Seriously: that's one heck of an achievement already, and I'm not just saying that to be nice.

Now for some bad news: frankly, I don't think there's a ton of value in obsessing over specific question types on RC. When we work with our private tutoring students, we teach them a general approach to reading passages more effectively (basically, a personalized version of the ideas found in our beginner's guide to RC here on GMAT Club, and also in our RC videos). Once a student puts those ideas into practice effectively, we very rarely see any disproportionately weak performances by question type, other than maybe inferences -- and any disproportionate struggles on inference questions are usually easy to fix (more on that in this video).

Other than that, if you're disproportionately missing a particular question type, odds are decent that it's a problem with how you're reading the passage itself. And that's even more true if you're struggling disproportionately with main idea questions.

I can't generally give a granular, accurate diagnosis without actually watching you work through a passage, but here's my hunch: when you say that you're "summarizing" each paragraph, I'd bet that you're not quite fully digging into WHY the author wrote each paragraph. There's a really subtle distinction between understanding the topic or main points or key facts of each paragraph, and REALLY understanding their purpose, and how the author has constructed his or her overall argument.

Again, I can't be sure, but everything you're saying suggests that the disconnect has something to do with the fact that you're probably still too engaged in the facts, and you're not quite driving to the heart of the author's purpose. So then you're very likely to miss the big-picture questions a bit more often. If my hunch is right, then your lack of a grasp of the author's purpose and structure probably hurts you a bit on some of the other questions, too.

This is a really tough thing to improve on. I say quite a bit about it in some of those RC videos, but I know that it's really, really hard to feel the difference between deeply engaged reading -- in which you're thoroughly grasping the author's overall purpose -- and reading that's basically accurate, but is still operating at the "fact fact fact fact fact" level.

I have no idea if that makes any sense, and I don't know if it helps at all. But I'm pretty sure that I'm barking up the right general tree, for whatever little that's worth.
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Re: Experts' Topic of the Week, 5/22/17: Ultimate RC Guide for Beginners [#permalink]
Hey Charles! You guys at GMAT Ninja are my favourite and so damn amazing. Your lectures are out of the world awesome

I just had one little doubt. Since you mentioned read for purpose and other gimmicks to avoid in note-making. what exactly should be an ideal note-making approach? I remember you saying that it is personalized and the explanation of disengaged reading but as per you how to go about taking notes? Like the one where you just write the big picture or anything else?
I hope you got my question and apart from this, you're just pure amazing!
Cheers!
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Re: Experts' Topic of the Week, 5/22/17: Ultimate RC Guide for Beginners [#permalink]
KabxW wrote:
Hey Charles! You guys at GMAT Ninja are my favourite and so damn amazing. Your lectures are out of the world awesome

I just had one little doubt. Since you mentioned read for purpose and other gimmicks to avoid in note-making. what exactly should be an ideal note-making approach? I remember you saying that it is personalized and the explanation of disengaged reading but as per you how to go about taking notes? Like the one where you just write the big picture or anything else?
I hope you got my question and apart from this, you're just pure amazing!
Cheers!

Thank you so much for the kind words, KabxW! I'm honored that you've enjoyed the YouTube videos.

I think you kind of answered your own question about the note-taking. It's definitely all about figuring out what works best for YOU. Some people really don't need to take notes at all; other test-takers do wonderfully if they just write down a short (8-12) snapshot of the author's purpose for each paragraph, and that's it. I worry when students write much more than that, because it's usually a slippery slope to writing down a disengaged "factfactfactfactfact" sort of thing, but for some rare individuals, a mountain of stream-of-consciousness notes really does help. But it's exceedingly rare.

If you have to start somewhere, the short, purpose-driven summaries that I write down during those RC videos (all videos are here for anybody who hasn't stumbled across them) is a decent starting point, but if you can engage in the author's purpose -- and the connections between paragraphs -- without writing anything at all, that's totally fine.

I realize that my answer is kind of a nothingburger, but I hope it helps a bit! And thank you again for being a fan.
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Re: Experts' Topic of the Week, 5/22/17: Ultimate RC Guide for Beginners [#permalink]
Hi GMATNinja,

Thank you for all your resources and help.

I find myself performing better on LSAT RC and CR questions than GMAT questions of similar difficulty. I understand most people find LSAT questions to be tougher. I am wondering why this might be happening. In what way are GMAT questions different and what aspect should I focus on more?
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Re: Experts' Topic of the Week, 5/22/17: Ultimate RC Guide for Beginners [#permalink]
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Bhu750 wrote:
Hi GMATNinja,

Thank you for all your resources and help.

I find myself performing better on LSAT RC and CR questions than GMAT questions of similar difficulty. I understand most people find LSAT questions to be tougher. I am wondering why this might be happening. In what way are GMAT questions different and what aspect should I focus on more?

LSAT CR and RC questions are a bit tougher than GMAT CR and RC questions on average, but there is variability in how difficult individual questions are. One thing to think about is how you're measuring the difficulty levels of the questions -- there really isn't that much published data to cleanly compare a given LSAT question to a given GMAT question. And if the GMAT questions aren't official, the data is pretty meaningless.

That aside, there are a few things that differentiate LSAT and GMAT questions, and these things might make LSAT questions seem easier to you:

• LSAT LR questions test formal logic a bit more tightly than GMAT CR questions. This can make LSAT LR feel a bit more formulaic than GMAT CR. However, the same approach will work equally well on both tests -- it might just feel bit different.
• Along the same lines, LSAT questions might fall more cleanly (but not perfectly) into question "types," whereas GMAT questions can be a bit more one-off or random.
• LSAT RC passages are all roughly the same length. If you get used to that length of passage, you might get thrown off of your game by the more varied length of GMAT passages.

So, what should you do about the above differences? Honestly, don't worry about it too much and work on perfecting your technique -- which should work equally well for GMAT and LSAT questions. If you read every question carefully, then you won't get caught off guard by weird GMAT questions. If you think about every RC paragraph structurally, then the length of the passage shouldn't matter that much.

We generally recommend using LSAT materials heavily at the beginning of your studies, and folding in GMAT material as you get closer to your test date. That should give you the benefit of tons of reps on LSAT stuff, and also the chance to feel the small differences on GMAT questions before it counts.

I hope that helps!
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Re: Experts' Topic of the Week, 5/22/17: Ultimate RC Guide for Beginners [#permalink]
Thank you GMATNinja this post is very insightful.
I usually can't keep my focus on long RC passages.
Re: Experts' Topic of the Week, 5/22/17: Ultimate RC Guide for Beginners [#permalink]
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