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Senior Manager
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03 Aug 2009, 18:01
Does anyone have a subject that the Reading Comp passages often cover that they're particularly weak in?

For me when I got something about the natural sciences, I almost always end up bombing that set of questions. Give me economics, business, politics etc. I usually understand those passages and would get most answers right. Usually if I get a wrong answer it's because of a tricky answer choice that tripped me up. However, whenever I read something about science, it's like I'm reading French. How do I answer questions about a passage that I didn't understand at all? I mean am I now supposed to try to improve my science skills too? They have so much technical terminology that I don't understand, that I don't know how I can do that even if I wanted to.
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03 Aug 2009, 18:21
GmatNY86 wrote:
Does anyone have a subject that the Reading Comp passages often cover that they're particularly weak in?

For me when I got something about the natural sciences, I almost always end up bombing that set of questions. Give me economics, business, politics etc. I usually understand those passages and would get most answers right. Usually if I get a wrong answer it's because of a tricky answer choice that tripped me up. However, whenever I read something about science, it's like I'm reading French. How do I answer questions about a passage that I didn't understand at all? I mean am I now supposed to try to improve my science skills too? They have so much technical terminology that I don't understand, that I don't know how I can do that even if I wanted to.

Well, I don't think you have to improve your science skills. It's a standardized test. You are know tested on your background knowledge. As for the technical terms, you can just use the capital letter for substitute.

For me natural science passage is actually not a big problem. But I hate hate social science passages, especially those deal with histories. But I think that is more about my attitude towards the passage. Once I encounter a social science passage, I just don't feel like I want to read it.
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03 Aug 2009, 18:28
nevergiveup wrote:
GmatNY86 wrote:
Does anyone have a subject that the Reading Comp passages often cover that they're particularly weak in?

For me when I got something about the natural sciences, I almost always end up bombing that set of questions. Give me economics, business, politics etc. I usually understand those passages and would get most answers right. Usually if I get a wrong answer it's because of a tricky answer choice that tripped me up. However, whenever I read something about science, it's like I'm reading French. How do I answer questions about a passage that I didn't understand at all? I mean am I now supposed to try to improve my science skills too? They have so much technical terminology that I don't understand, that I don't know how I can do that even if I wanted to.

Well, I don't think you have to improve your science skills. It's a standardized test. You are know tested on your background knowledge. As for the technical terms, you can just use the capital letter for substitute.

For me natural science passage is actually not a big problem. But I hate hate social science passages, especially those deal with histories. But I think that is more about my attitude towards the passage. Once I encounter a social science passage, I just don't feel like I want to read it.

What do you mean by "you can just use the capital letter for substitute"?
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03 Aug 2009, 22:34
You need to slow down and summarize the passages as you read. Some of the stranger ones require more attention.

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04 Aug 2009, 17:00
bb wrote:
You need to slow down and summarize the passages as you read. Some of the stranger ones require more attention.

I don't really have one, except for these types of passages, just reading and answering usually works ok.
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04 Aug 2009, 21:08
GmatNY86 wrote:
nevergiveup wrote:
GmatNY86 wrote:
Does anyone have a subject that the Reading Comp passages often cover that they're particularly weak in?

For me when I got something about the natural sciences, I almost always end up bombing that set of questions. Give me economics, business, politics etc. I usually understand those passages and would get most answers right. Usually if I get a wrong answer it's because of a tricky answer choice that tripped me up. However, whenever I read something about science, it's like I'm reading French. How do I answer questions about a passage that I didn't understand at all? I mean am I now supposed to try to improve my science skills too? They have so much technical terminology that I don't understand, that I don't know how I can do that even if I wanted to.

Well, I don't think you have to improve your science skills. It's a standardized test. You are know tested on your background knowledge. As for the technical terms, you can just use the capital letter for substitute.

For me natural science passage is actually not a big problem. But I hate hate social science passages, especially those deal with histories. But I think that is more about my attitude towards the passage. Once I encounter a social science passage, I just don't feel like I want to read it.

What do you mean by "you can just use the capital letter for substitute"?

For example, if the science passage talks about Angiogenesis, you don't need to know what Angiogenesis is. You can just tell youself that the author mentioned A. What you need to know is did the author have a hypothesis about A. Is the hypothesis right or wrong?
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05 Aug 2009, 00:49
GmatNY86 wrote:
bb wrote:
You need to slow down and summarize the passages as you read. Some of the stranger ones require more attention.

I don't really have one, except for these types of passages, just reading and answering usually works ok.

Thought so. You have to follow a strategy unless you want to be studying biology and a lot of other things for the next 10 years.
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05 Aug 2009, 05:59
+1 with bb's response.

You need a structured approach. For some people, simply reading and answering questions can work. For the rest of us, we need an approach to figure out what the best answer is, and how to re-visit the passage w/o re-reading the whole thing again.

Part of this is being an active reader, and the other part is taking notes or knowing what is where in the passage (easy to refer back and find the answer).
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05 Aug 2009, 16:24
mohater wrote:
+1 with bb's response.

You need a structured approach. For some people, simply reading and answering questions can work. For the rest of us, we need an approach to figure out what the best answer is, and how to re-visit the passage w/o re-reading the whole thing again.

Part of this is being an active reader, and the other part is taking notes or knowing what is where in the passage (easy to refer back and find the answer).

Thanks guys. What exactly is being an active reader?
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05 Aug 2009, 19:18
GmatNY86 wrote:
mohater wrote:
+1 with bb's response.

You need a structured approach. For some people, simply reading and answering questions can work. For the rest of us, we need an approach to figure out what the best answer is, and how to re-visit the passage w/o re-reading the whole thing again.

Part of this is being an active reader, and the other part is taking notes or knowing what is where in the passage (easy to refer back and find the answer).

Thanks guys. What exactly is being an active reader?

Being active reader means when you are reading the passage, think of why the author want to write this, what is the author trying to tell us, and what kind of tone does the author use....
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05 Aug 2009, 19:35
nevergiveup wrote:
GmatNY86 wrote:
mohater wrote:
+1 with bb's response.

You need a structured approach. For some people, simply reading and answering questions can work. For the rest of us, we need an approach to figure out what the best answer is, and how to re-visit the passage w/o re-reading the whole thing again.

Part of this is being an active reader, and the other part is taking notes or knowing what is where in the passage (easy to refer back and find the answer).

Thanks guys. What exactly is being an active reader?

Being active reader means when you are reading the passage, think of why the author want to write this, what is the author trying to tell us, and what kind of tone does the author use....

Thanks. I'm taking Kaplan courses right now and hopefully we go over this in more detail. Kaplan has helped me with some things so far (RC and tricks for PS) but not others (DS). But I only had 3 sessions and one of them was a diagnostic test. We shall see.
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06 Aug 2009, 14:48
For me personally rhyme's RC strategy - verbal-rc-help-30247.html#p205035 worked like a charm. It takes some time to master this approach though.... BUT Now whenever I take any kind of a language test my RC section is the strongest one.))

Also there is a discussion on scientific RC passages here - science-rc-passages-22863.html
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06 Aug 2009, 16:53
For me personally rhyme's RC strategy - verbal-rc-help-30247.html#p205035 worked like a charm. It takes some time to master this approach though.... BUT Now whenever I take any kind of a language test my RC section is the strongest one.))

Also there is a discussion on scientific RC passages here - science-rc-passages-22863.html

Haha, I thought that rhyming was involved until I realized the poster's handle is rhyme. Thanks for the links and thanks to rhyme.
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06 Aug 2009, 17:16
timetrader, now my question is do you write down more than proper names (and dates) when writing down keywords? If so how do you know what to write down? Like in his example "mouse" and "residents", how do you know not to skip that?
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06 Aug 2009, 18:46
Fair question! I would not necessarily have mouse in that list. But I do write down more than just proper names.
One thing I can say it comes with practice. You'll develop your way of spotting keywords.
I usually note specific names like "phonetic approach" or "spectral range", or "space dust". I also note superlatives like "most efficient". Some words act as red flags that something important is coming like - concluded.
Maybe this approach works for me so well cuz I used to skim a lot through various texts while studing at my university and reading bunch of books with lots of blah, blah
Also sometimes my notes won't have the answer but for me it is much quicker to get back to the place (and I'm gonna know were it is by looking at keywords) at find the answer in a text then to read everything and try to remember it...cuz i know I won't remember every detail... but that's for me.

So note that I don't say that this is "the only" right method. There are others that might work better for you. Like Gin's RC strategy where you read every word...

So try and see what works for you. Good luck on mastering the RC!
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06 Aug 2009, 19:00

I read every word as it stands now. I find that usually I'm ok. However the problem is that I end up rereading a lot of anyway (and often I don't even remember where the info is from). However I've never been good at skimming (I either end up reading or just don't retain information, usually the former). That said, if it's just to jot down keywords rather than skim and try to retain information, maybe it can work this way. It is a little scary, seems like you may be leaving yourself vulnerable.

P.S. Are you from Kiev (Kyiv)? I was born there.
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