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How do people remember all the major points of each paragraph? I feel like I understand what was generally said in a paragraph, but by the time I get to the end, I can't remember what was said in every paragraph. I know some people recommend mapping/outlining, but that doesn't seem to capture all the major points of each paragraph and it seems to waste a lot of time if there is a passage with small paragraph (like 1-2 sentences). Basically, for someone that's doing well in CARS or who has done well in CARS, what do you remember by the time you have finished reading a passage, while still taking 4-5 minutes to read the passage?
 

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How are you reading the passages? If you're not able to remember the information it seems like you're doing a lot of passive reading, where you're reading the words without digesting the material. I think if you're practicing active reading, you should be able to remember the material without it taking that much more time. One thing I did was write down one word per paragraph as I read through it. I would read a paragraph, process it, and figure out how to best distill it into one word.
 
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You need to spend more time digesting the materials. In my case, I was able to remember the thesis and how it's connected to the main point of each paragraph from memory. Start by taking as much time as possible reading the materials and mapping out the passage in your head. It can take as long as you want, but you want it to eventually go down to 4-6 minutes. In my case, it took me about 5-7 minutes to digest each passage. However, once I did that, I was able to fly through 5-6 problems related to that passage in 1-2 minutes.
 

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The point of mapping isn't to capture every point of the paragraph. Writing a 1 sentence summary of each paragraph serves to create an outline of the passage so that when you are answering questions, you have some sort of framework that allows for you to go back and find the answer to a question. It also serves to make sure that you're actively reading- many times, students will read a paragraph or even an entire passage only to realize that they didn't process anything they actually read. Writing a summary sentence after each paragraph helps keep you on your toes.

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Nov 6, 2019
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How are you reading the passages? If you're not able to remember the information it seems like you're doing a lot of passive reading, where you're reading the words without digesting the material. I think if you're practicing active reading, you should be able to remember the material without it taking that much more time. One thing I did was write down one word per paragraph as I read through it. I would read a paragraph, process it, and figure out how to best distill it into one word.
I am either highlighting as I read or mapping the passage paragraph-by-paragraph. I try to do active reading and if you asked right after I read a paragraph what the paragraph was about, I could answer every question you asked. However, it is when I get to paragraph 7, that I have trouble recalling all the major points in paragraph 1, or some of the earlier paragraphs. If you wrote down a word per paragraph, what did you do when you did passages that had short paragraphs involving 1-2 sentences? It seems like that would take up a lot of time.

You need to spend more time digesting the materials. In my case, I was able to remember the thesis and how it's connected to the main point of each paragraph from memory. Start by taking as much time as possible reading the materials and mapping out the passage in your head. It can take as long as you want, but you want it to eventually go down to 4-6 minutes. In my case, it took me about 5-7 minutes to digest each passage. However, once I did that, I was able to fly through 5-6 problems related to that passage in 1-2 minutes.

The problem seems to be trying to keep those mental maps, as I am analyzing new paragraphs. I like the idea of having mental maps, since my mental summaries of each paragraph involve incorporation of all the major points (i.e. this paragraph talked about Pluto's work, arguments that it helped society, arguments that it didn't help society, and that specific groups of people are associated with a particular argument). Also, what about passages where you don't really get the entire thesis, until you've read all the paragraphs?

The point of mapping isn't to capture every point of the paragraph. Writing a 1 sentence summary of each paragraph serves to create an outline of the passage so that when you are answering questions, you have some sort of framework that allows for you to go back and find the answer to a question. It also serves to make sure that you're actively reading- many times, students will read a paragraph or even an entire passage only to realize that they didn't process anything they actually read. Writing a summary sentence after each paragraph helps keep you on your toes.

Kevin W, MCAT Tutor
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How does one manage to get through reading a passage in 4-7 minutes, if they are writing a sentence summary about each paragraph? That would seem like that would take quite a bit of time, in addition to needing to refer back to the passage with certain questions.
 
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Also, what about passages where you don't really get the entire thesis, until you've read all the paragraphs?
My trick was to read through the passage first and then close my eyes. If i couldn’t conjure up the mental map, then I would re-read or at least skim. Close my eyes again, and repeat. Again, this took me about 2 months of CARS practice everyday to acquire. Also, never start problems without knowing the thesis. It will just confuse you even more as you do the problems.
 
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