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Annotating passages with details

dedicatedstudent
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For passages that are full of details, how should I annotate them?

I am able to get the big picture and purpose as I am reading but find that questions and answer choices usually depend on details. If I keep going back to the passage, I run out of time.

When annotating, I jot down a few words for each paragraph but this doesn't seem to working for the passages that contain lots of details. Any suggestions?
Dave Killoran
PowerScore Staff
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Hi Dedicated,

For passages like this, you can't over-notate them otherwise it takes too long and the details are just too difficult to track. So, I would instead simply bracket section like this, attempt to understand the general picture, and then worry about the details when you are asked about them. Does that require you to return to the passage? Yes, but honestly there's no other way to make it work. The reason they cram some passage with details is to see how you will react, and since you can't learn them all and remember them the first time reading, you have to go back, but the nice thing is you only have to go back when asked :-D

Please let me know if that helps. Thanks!
Dave Killoran
PowerScore Test Preparation
Follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/DaveKilloran
My LSAT Articles: http://blog.powerscore.com/lsat/author/dave-killoran
dedicatedstudent
LSAT Novice
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2017 1:35 pm
Points: 4

Thanks! I have been trying to do that.

In terms of questions for such passages, you do you prephrase before looking at the choices? I find it hard to prephrase because I can't remember the details.
Dave Killoran
PowerScore Staff
PowerScore Staff
 
Posts: 2518
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2011 1:18 pm
Points: 2,515

I think it depends of the nature of the questions. "Which one of the following must be true?" is going to be nearly impossible to prephrase whereas "What does the author think about the effects of the proposal?" is going to be much easier. But, part of this goes back to the earlier issue we were discussing, so let me expand a bit on my prior answer to you, if you don't mind.

To me, the key to reading comp is to manage your understanding of the location of information. We know we can't remember every detail of the passage, right? Well, the best news about that is that they won't ask us about every detail either. So, the weakness that we all have is counterbalanced by the fact that sometimes we catch a break and we aren't tested on those "blind" spots. Thus, right from the outset you can dispense with worrying about trying to know everything or remember every detail. What you should focus on instead, then, is trying to create a mental map of where everything is. This is the essence of ViewStamp, which tries to help you remember the main features of the passages as well as the structure (which is really just a map of where everything is).

Now, to help organize all that information, one of the tools at your disposal is diagramming and marking. My personal rule is to only diagram as much (or as little) as you feel will help you remember what's going on. If you are marking something and thinking, "Umm, I don't know if this is helping" then stop, and don't continue :-D If you aren't sure, err on the side of diagramming less.

Adding a good mental map of the passage to some judicious notations allows you to look at questions slightly differently. If you don't know the exact answer (that is, you don't have a great prephrase), your goal should be to know where you'd go in the passage to find the right info. This reduces your search time and allows you to solve the question more quickly.

What about the idea of going back to the passage in general? Does everyone do it? The answer is Yes! I consider myself extremely good at RC, and if you watched me do a passage what you'd see would be me going back and forth between the questions and the passage. I'm constantly confirming what I think is the case against the passage, and there's no shame in going back to make sure you are right!

Please let me know if this helps. Thanks!
Dave Killoran
PowerScore Test Preparation
Follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/DaveKilloran
My LSAT Articles: http://blog.powerscore.com/lsat/author/dave-killoran