Overcoming an RC score Plateau!
Oct 17, 2019
time students often come up to me with either of these two complaints
a) Scores are not improving and even b)
Scores are going down!
When I started teaching I was naturally bewildered at what could be
behind the enigmatic-decrease-in-scores-despite-multiple-inputs phenomenon .
Yesterday one of our brighter kids sat down and wrote a mock with me. Observing him made me realise that thinking
you are following the rules and actually following the rules are two
different things. Hence this blogpost where I share the top 6 reasons and solutions for a Score
Plateau at this stage.
Each reason will be in question form. Ensure you ask yourself the
question before you move forward, or the whole point of this blog post will be
lost. Here goes!
1) Are you comprehending the passage?
Or only reading through with limited comprehension?:- The first hint that you
have not understood the passage is if you are having to reread multiple times. Reading
the passage multiple times like a scared rabbit helps no one and only wastes
time. Ask yourself the following questions
you pausing every few lines and PARAPHRASING/MENTALLY SUMMARIZING what came prior?Slow down if you are not, you might be reading
Paraphrasing/Mentally Summarizing is essential. After every paragraph/
concept given in the passage STOP and
mentally recap the major IDEA given
above. Try and speak the same in simpler language. Do NOT Memorise Facts or worry about minor ideas.
you able to grasp the MAIN IDEA of each paragraph?
the end of the entire paragraph are you briefly recapping the IDEAS given in the passage?
not START doing so immediately! The biggest reason for low scores is attempting the questions without comprehending the passage.
2) Are you reading silently? Or are you
sub-vocalizing?:- Sub-vocalization refers to lip syncing the words while you
read. This slows your reading down
immensely and eats up at least 50% time. You could easily attempt 10 more questions if you eliminated this flaw.
Some techniques to do so
is very school marmish but try keeping your finger on your lip while reading to try and get rid of this habit. At
least initially. ( And needless to say do it in private when no one is around)
your breath till you complete a sentence! Again a weird solution but works. The
logic behind both these techniques is that the brain can do only one major task
at a time and adding another conscious
task ( to reading) ensures you don’t have the mental bandwidth to sub-vocalize
3) Are you eliminating properly?:-This is
the most important of all the points in this blogpost. Are you using the BEEN technique? That is eliminating
options which are
Too BROAD?- ( Signals are words like All,
EXTREME? ( Signals are extreme
opinions which are controversial/ disputable)
in EXTERNAL information? ( Which is not given in the passage)
NARROW? ( Signals are words like Only)
4) Are you noting contrast words which show change of opinion?
Contrast words- Alternatively,
although, apart from, but, by contrast, contrary to that, conversely, despite,
even though, however, in contrast, in spite of this, nevertheless, nonetheless,
notwithstanding, on the other hand, regardless, some … but others, still, then
moment you see these words you should understand there is a SHIFT
Are you solving questions from memory? You
should not. Always, always go back to the passage and cross verify each word
given in the option.
Do you recognize common TRAP OPTION TYPES which seem tempting but which are actually traps?Such
a. Which state something which is TRUE
according to the passage but does not answer the ACTUAL question. E.g. the
question asked was about the “Author’s Opinion”, the given option is stated in
the passage but is actually made by the author’s adversaries and hence not the
something stated in the passage as an inference. An inference is never
explicitly stated in the passage
c. Which use keywords/jargon lifted directly
from the passage but change the meaning ever so slightly but are very tempting
because the language seems familiar
d. Which invert cause and effect. For
E.g if the passage says alcoholism
causes depression the option says depression causes alcoholism
option relies on an assumption which is common knowledge and hence seems
tempting but which is actually not given in the passage. Remember the rule of
Occams razor taught in class?
All these are some basic
principles which if followed can easily increase your score by a good 10-30
marks. Some of them are quite easy to follow (Points 3,4,5 and 6). Some of them will
require considerable hard work on your part ( Points 1 and 2). AnkGanit students
can reach out in person if they need any more guidance!!