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General questions relating to LSAT Reading Comprehension.
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 desiboy96
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#89155
Hello so inference questions are by far my weakest question type in RC. While I am able to keep an author's or another person/ group's main point or viewpoint in my head, or am easily able to locate them if I need to, I find that a common reason why I'm getting these questions wrong is that they will use very attractive language that lines up with what the people in the passage said but I won't realize that one word or subject about a specific detail maybe off.

Do you guys have any tips to avoid this error especially when doing timed sections?

Thank you for reading this :-D
User avatar
 atierney
PowerScore Staff
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  • Joined: Jul 06, 2021
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#89190
Hello,

Yes, I would say a couple of things:

Firstly, I really believe that if you treat the inference questions too differently from all the other questions on the RC section, then you've already lost part of psychological battle. I think you want to maintain the same "can do" mindset that you have for all RC questions, and really focus on the particular aspects within each specific inference question rather than alter your general strategy for them in some manner.

Secondly, in terms of approaching inference questions generally, you want to tie to pay attention to the type of reference utilized for the question: inference questions can be specific reference, concept reference, or global reference, and regardless of which tier of reference they are, focus on the extent to which whatever answer choice you select ties together both the Main Point of the passage and the author's/subject's perspective addressed within the question.

So, to exemplify this, if you are asked a very open-ended general reference inference about what can be "inferred from the passage," you want to choose an answer choice that has direct support from the passage itself, as a line or a couple of lines that you could specifically point as your evidence for choosing the particular answer choice as the best answer. This direct reference back to the passage will obviously entail possibly portions of the passage to "confirm" the answer choice, but doing so will help to eliminate the attractive gotcha shell-type answers that use similar language, but may be off in some way.

Now, another point you raise is that you might not have time, or it appears that you might not have time to go back and reread the passage as carefully as the question would require in a timed RC section; however, I can assure you that the test is designed to be at a length that allows takers to go back and examine the passage where necessary, if not for a majority of the RC questions, for at least these particular inference questions where getting the wording correct is at a premium.

Let me know if you have further questions on this.
User avatar
 rocketman16
  • Posts: 11
  • Joined: Jul 26, 2021
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#89206
Hello again Desi!

I feel like you and I have a lot of similar strengths and weaknesses on this test based on our previous exchanges, so maybe I can help out a little too.
First, I'll say that such inference questions are usually weak points for me as well. RC in general tends to be my weakest section right now because I think it may be the hardest to complete on time (accurately). That said, I've read/seen/done a few things that have made such questions a little easier.
One of the big points goes back to what atierney just said: An inference question will have direct support! The unfortunate aspect of that is that you won't find direct quotes that line up with any of your answer choices, so it may require a little more "digging through the passage" than usual. I may be wrong, but your issues here sound similar to the issues you said you have with long LR questions. Inference questions on RC go fastest when you can retain a good amount of information from the passage and therefore spend less time digging to find the support you need for the correct answer. Fortunately, I find that most inference questions like that come at the end of a passage when you have likely already looked back through the passage a few times for previous questions, and so your eye for the passage should be a little more refined than it was during the first questions. What I usually do first, before I even look back through the passage, is to eliminate answers that are clearly wrong. If you have a good understanding of the passage, you should be able to eliminate at least 2-3 without issue. As far as options that are clearly wrong go, I'll refer back to my previous post about LR by saying that any answers that make you think "Huh?" should be quickly axed. From there, I approach the remaining options similarly to how I would a LG question: I'll check the options against the text to see what fits. Again, if you have acquired a refined eye for the passage, it should not require re-reading the entire passage to do this.
As far as your issue with misreading/misunderstanding one particular word that throws you off, I TOTALLY get that! It was one of my biggest struggles when I first started doing timed work on both LR and RC. The solution to correcting that problem is simple but not necessarily easy: You need to remind yourself to pay close attention. I'm guessing that you are very good at doing that in untimed conditions, but once the pressure is on, your eyes get ahead of your brain and you miss things (same thing happened to me). What really helps with this is (again going back to my post on LR) is taking your time to get comfortable with the pacing. Once you know how fast you need to go and get comfortable at that pace, you won't stress as much when reading and can slow down your internal clock.
I'll also refer back to what I recommended before about using a pencil/pen to track your reading as you do the passage or a longer question like that (you could theoretically use the cursor on the computer for this in the digital format). I adopted that method purely for the purposes of reading the passages faster in RC, and as I go I will underline key points in the passage to make referring back to it later a faster process. If you can get through the passage faster (without sacrificing understanding), you have so much more time to tackle the questions, especially tough/long ones like inference questions.

Again, RC is a weak point for me, so I may not have the best advice ever on this subject, but these things have helped me out. Good luck :-D
User avatar
 desiboy96
  • Posts: 42
  • Joined: Jan 20, 2021
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#89243
All these are great tips! Thank you both for taking the time to help me :-D
User avatar
 mehmetkal
  • Posts: 2
  • Joined: Sep 09, 2021
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#90249
@atierney It is a guide article. I am grateful to you. :roll:

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