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# How to improve my RC accuracy?

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Senior Manager
Status: Prep started for the n-th time
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How to improve my RC accuracy?  [#permalink]

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17 Jul 2011, 03:05
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Hi,

I have hit a roadblock with RC questions. I use the strategy of reading the passage first, taking simple throw away notes for each paragraph. But so far my accuracy is stuck in 70-80% correct range. The imply, inference questions hurt me the most.

Any refining tips would be greatly appreciated.

Crick
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Joined: 15 May 2011
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Location: Costa Rica
GMAT 1: 710 Q42 V45
GMAT 2: 740 Q48 V42
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How to improve my RC accuracy?  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 22 Jan 2013, 09:29
70
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71
Hi Crick

Regarding RC, I was acing this section in my previous attempt last year but have neglected it this time and its my main weakness in Verbal. Here's what I did last time and am trying to ramp up this time as well.
Some things I don't recommend you do:
1) Taking para notes: I had joined the Princeton Prep center in New Delhi - they advocate jotting down quick notes like you're currently doing for each para so you can refer back quickly for questions. I tried this on my first attempt, all I can say is its a bad idea. It slows you down and caused me to have timing issues (I almost never have timing issues now on Verbal). This is an individual preference though. To reach that point where you can quickly summarize paras in your head required reading practice (let me get to that below).

2) 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.

3) Second guessing not always good: That said, if you always second guess you might miss an obvious answer because you tell yourself its too easy! Practice will cure that. OG 12, 11 or 10 is a MUST do. On top of that, I haven't bought extra books but I have taken Manhattan tests and done some of the free online ones.

4) Picking options which state 2 points: These are more subtle traps. I noticed in the OG verbal supplement answers, for a question I got wrong, that I'd picked an option which was only half right. It made two claims, one of which was substantiated and the other which was bogus. Be careful of answers which state more than two things.

What you should be doing:
These strategies would differ from person to person, but RC in general is the hardest section to improve upon for most of us, and may not simply involve blind practice:
1) If you have some time before you write, get into the habit of reading newspapers/good magazines. When somebody who'd scored well first recommended this, I didn't value its importance since its an obtuse approach. Do it like this: Read a newspaper article, build your redaing speed over time, ensure after a while that yuo do NOT need to re-read to absorb info, as you go from one para to another, summarize the previous para real quick in your head, maintain flow of info between paras. This overall approach has helped me greatly.

3) 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.

4) 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.

5) Read the first question quickly before diving into passage: This is a mixed one. Try it, see if it works, sometimes its one of those "by saying ABC in para 2 does the author mean"/"Which one of the following is NOT a benefit the author mentions" or something, which makes you focus during the read on that point.

6) Practice OG questions in sets of 3/4 passages each under a timer (~1:45 per question). Doing a lot of RC in one go takes endurance., which the GMAT will of course test you on. I feel anymore than that number in one go and your wasting your time. Analyze mistakes IN DEPTH. Make notes for types of errors you made, on that sheet for back reference (i JUST started this as Im exhausting my OG resources ).

7) Timing: Referring to the timing point above, I checked my per questions RC time on Manhattan, and I was spending between 2:30 - 3:20 minutes on the first RC question (as I was reading the passage), and then above 1 min on the rest. To have more time to read the tougher passages, you need to perfect SC/CR so you minimize time there. This one's obvious I wont elaborate.

I hope this helps. RC is subjective I feel and has to vary from person to person, depending on how familiar they are with quickly summarizing/analyzing large amounts of text. Try some of the above points, and keep in mind good prep material is hard to come across for RC, so use the OG stuff well.
Aximili

Originally posted by Aximili85 on 20 Jul 2011, 04:13.
Last edited by Aximili85 on 22 Jan 2013, 09:29, edited 2 times in total.
Manager
Joined: 15 May 2011
Posts: 249
Location: Costa Rica
GMAT 1: 710 Q42 V45
GMAT 2: 740 Q48 V42
GPA: 3.3
WE: Research (Consulting)
Re: How to improve my RC accuracy?  [#permalink]

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20 Jul 2011, 04:17
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One more thing, another colleague who recently got a 760, but is not that great at english, recommended one strategy which I'm still working on: she said that EVERYTHING is contained somwhere in 2 maximum 3 lines, you just need to read properly. I'm not so sure about this, but then she did get a 760 (sure she did as she brought the transcript to office afterward!)!
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Re: How to improve my RC accuracy?  [#permalink]

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23 Jul 2011, 14:44
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I studied RC to the point where I ended up mastering it and have a few pointers I can give you. I put my strategies into video and a PDF - so if you want to check out the PDF which is free, here it is:
http://www.gmatpill.com/ebook/GMATPill' ... eworks.pdf

The RC strategies that Aximili85 mentioned can be a starting point. Let me try to break down some strategies and pitfalls.

1. After reading an RC question you have a choice. Do you
B) start looking through the passage
C) a combination of both?

2. How do I read the RC Passage on first pass?

3. I pick an answer that is right and seems right to me, but then when I check it, I'm wrong! What am I doing wrong?

So these are common issues and I've given detailed explanations on my thinking process to help you get through all of this. I think video is the best way to communicate. RC Questions with text explanations just don't correct me on the spot. I can figure out what I did wrong afterward...but it will never change how I think as I read through that passage for the first time.

1. Categorize the RC question into two types. If the question is general with no specific details mentioned in the question, you should READ THRU the answer choices FIRST.

Quote:
"The author's argument in the passage is based on which of the following assumptions."

Very general question. For these questions, you should draw upon your first read and the "connecting dots" that tell the story, and use that to directly read through answer choices A thru E to get your answer.

Quote:
"The author's argument concerning the effect of the official sale of duplicate artifacts on illegal excavation is based on which of the following assumptions."

This is a detailed question. Notice that the question replaced "in the passage" with "<lots of details>". When the question refers to a specific detail, you want to dive directly to the specific part of a passage where that detail is talked about.

What Aximili85's friend who scored a 760 said is partially correct. He/she said all the answers were within 2 or 3 sentences for all the RC questions. True but not for all types of RC questions because I've seen all types. Some times, there will be multiple references of the topic in the passage and so while you might think the answer choice is B from reading about the *first* instance where that topic is mentioned, if you keep on reading and you read over the *second* and *third* instance of that topic, your answer might change to C. So it's very important that for these detailed questions, you do a quick scan of the passage and pinpoint all locations in the passage where that detailed topic is mentioned. Then draw on those "3 connecting dots" to derive your answer. I know it's hard to comprehend so I show you exactly what I'm doing and where my eyeball is in the RC Pill videos (there are several free ones you can take a look at).

2. When reading the RC Passage on the first read, you've got to follow 4 simple rules.

1) Emotions! Pretend to be super excited about the passage even though the passage is boring!
2) First Sentence Focus - Get main idea, skim the details
3) Cut The Fluff - reduce complex sentence structures into simple subject+verb formats, will increase comprehension tremendously
4) Focus on Transitional Phrases (However, Moreover, Ironically, etc) and determine direction that author is taking. Every passage ALWAYS has a direction - explaining a concept, refuting a theory, providing support to a way of thinking, etc. What is it? Figure it out!
5) Connect the Dots

These are the steps. The BIG question is how to apply them. Again, rather than show you by text, you can check out my video explanations here
http://www.gmatpill.com/practice-questi ... -guide-rc/

3. "I pick an answer that is right and seems right to me, but then when I check it, I'm wrong! What am I doing wrong?"

The foundation for all RC questions will always be the 10 seconds you take to CONNECT THE DOTS of the passage. You use the summary of your CONNECTING THE DOTS to answer all main idea questions, and to guide you where to direct your cannon firepower - pararaphs 1 and 2? or just specifically at the end of paragraph 1? All time efficiency decisions can be aided when you've CONNECTED THE DOTS properly.
Attachments

GMATPill's RC Frameworks.pdf [223.04 KiB]

Manager
Joined: 15 May 2011
Posts: 249
Location: Costa Rica
GMAT 1: 710 Q42 V45
GMAT 2: 740 Q48 V42
GPA: 3.3
WE: Research (Consulting)
Re: How to improve my RC accuracy?  [#permalink]

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27 Jul 2011, 22:54
would any of you know how your MGMAT verbal scores tally with the actual GMAT verbal? Hard to tell I know, but I'm writing this coming Wednesday, and I've been getting V43 - 45 on MGMATs, and wrote the GMAC 2 exam yesterday and dropped to V42. I'm wondering if I can pull up that up by even one point for D-Day.

That said, I think GMAC's verbal is tougher than Manhattan's, but I was wondering if anybody else had any experience with this.
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Re: How to improve my RC accuracy?  [#permalink]

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28 Jul 2011, 07:30
Aximili85 wrote:
would any of you know how your MGMAT verbal scores tally with the actual GMAT verbal? Hard to tell I know, but I'm writing this coming Wednesday, and I've been getting V43 - 45 on MGMATs, and wrote the GMAC 2 exam yesterday and dropped to V42. I'm wondering if I can pull up that up by even one point for D-Day.

That said, I think GMAC's verbal is tougher than Manhattan's, but I was wondering if anybody else had any experience with this.

Hi Aximili,

I would not read too much in the "drop" in GMAC score. 42 is still an excellent verbal score !! If you are comfortable with timing in the verbal section, especially with respect to the RC's, then i think you will do great in the real test.

Best of luck for your exam. Put the GMAT to to the mat .

Crick
Re: How to improve my RC accuracy?   [#permalink] 28 Jul 2011, 07:30
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