Does reading scientific articles daily actually improve your RC score?

htorres89

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Hey y'all,

So I see some mixed reviews of people who say reading scientific articles everyday improved their RC score and some who said its a waste of time to do that and to focus more on a strategy instead. What's your take? What do you guys think worked best? I need to seriously improve this RC score, and by a lot too!


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hdkyu10

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It can only help. I think with around 3-6 practice DAT RC tests, you'll have a solid strategy down after trying them all out. But it helps to do this closer to your test date!
 

orgoman22

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Hey y'all,

So I see some mixed reviews of people who say reading scientific articles everyday improved their RC score and some who said its a waste of time to do that and to focus more on a strategy instead. What's your take? What do you guys think worked best? I need to seriously improve this RC score, and by a lot too!


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Most students avoid reading scientific articles because by and large they are boring. I have had great success through the years advising students to just read, books, magazines, news papers, etc. Read things that interest you, do it every day at the end of your day for at least 30 minutes. Go back to old school type reading from a book or magazine. Put them near your bed and turn off all electronics before bed and read. It will accomplish 2 things at once, relaxation and through time it will increase your speed and comprehension levels. I worked with a student a few months ago who took this advice and after only being in the country a few years scored a 22 in reading. Taking a few timed tests is not enough for most students, unless they are strong readers to begin with. If you have good reading skills any passage will be doable.

Hope this helps..

Nancy
 
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Crithu

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I agree with Nancy, just reading anything helps. Find something that you enjoy and keep on reading. It may not be the same style of right8ng, but it'll still get your brain prepared for reading.

I did not read a single scientific article (besides ones for school) and I ended up getting a 26. As long as you build up your endurance to be reading for an hour, that'll help. Ag least fory exam, there weren't too difficult of questions on the technical material.
 
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htorres89

htorres89

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Sep 15, 2014
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Most students avoid reading scientific articles because by and large they are boring. I have had great success through the years advising students to just read, books, magazines, news papers, etc. Read things that interest you, do it every day at the end of your day for at least 30 minutes. Go back to old school type reading from a book or magazine. Put them near your bed and turn off all electronics before bed and read. It will accomplish 2 things at once, relaxation and through time it will increase your speed and comprehension levels. I worked with a student a few months ago who took this advice and after only being in the country a few years scored a 22 in reading. Taking a few timed tests is not enough for most students, unless they are strong readers to begin with. If you have good reading skills any passage will be doable.

Hope this helps..

Nancy
Great advice! Thanks a lot Nancy. I appreciate it. I will definitely use that helpful information.


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htorres89

htorres89

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I agree with Nancy, just reading anything helps. Find something that you enjoy and keep on reading. It may not be the same style of right8ng, but it'll still get your brain prepared for reading.

I did not read a single scientific article (besides ones for school) and I ended up getting a 26. As long as you build up your endurance to be reading for an hour, that'll help. Ag least fory exam, there weren't too difficult of questions on the technical material.
Thanks for your advice!!


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Charles_Darwin

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Yes in my opinion! I read daily scientific American articles and treated them like I was going to answer DAT questions and got a 25 RC


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fit2

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As an international student and non native speaker, I agree with posts that you have to work a little harder than just read a few scientific articles a month before the exam.
My #1 tip is read all the time: that's how I got better at reading comprehension for the SAT and I managed to score a 750 which I thought was crazy for me ...an international student. I didn't have time to read for 2-3 months as I was prepping for the DAT so u're going to have to be more efficient. More than just taking practice tests to see how you'd score, take the practice tests....maybe don't even time the first ones and find out what strategy works best. Maybe try to see if reading the whole passage first work, or whether reading the text along with questions, or maybe just even search and destroy. After you find out the best strategy, stick to that and perfect it unti lthe exam day.

Good luck!
 
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htorres89

htorres89

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As an international student and non native speaker, I agree with posts that you have to work a little harder than just read a few scientific articles a month before the exam.
My #1 tip is read all the time: that's how I got better at reading comprehension for the SAT and I managed to score a 750 which I thought was crazy for me ...an international student. I didn't have time to read for 2-3 months as I was prepping for the DAT so u're going to have to be more efficient. More than just taking practice tests to see how you'd score, take the practice tests....maybe don't even time the first ones and find out what strategy works best. Maybe try to see if reading the whole passage first work, or whether reading the text along with questions, or maybe just even search and destroy. After you find out the best strategy, stick to that and perfect it unti lthe exam day.

Good luck!
Thanks for the helpful advice! This seems really beneficial to me. I appreciate it!!!


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okiedokeartichoke

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I'm going to be the opposite one to say that reading practice didn't help me all that much. I have always read news articles every day for fun or any blog entries that would pique my interest whether it be science related or not, even before prepping for the DAT. I also enjoy reading novels, but my score didn't really reflect my reading ability. I would say focus on your strategy and stick with it. When I was taking the exam and the RC passages showed up, I was internally freaking out (inner me was saying omgomgomgomgomg as time quickly passed by and it also didn't help that I had to pee) which I believe tripped me up. I had to S&D everything and frantically search like my life depended on it, and to my surprise, the questions weren't exactly in order like everyone said it was for my version of the exam so I was disappointed :( I didn't do terribly (19 RC), but I could've done better had I stayed calm and emptied my bladder to the last drop :p
 
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orgoman22

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I'm going to be the opposite one to say that reading practice didn't help me all that much. I have always read news articles every day for fun or any blog entries that would pique my interest whether it be science related or not, even before prepping for the DAT. I also enjoy reading novels, but my score didn't really reflect my reading ability. I would say focus on your strategy and stick with it. When I was taking the exam and the RC passages showed up, I was internally freaking out (inner me was saying omgomgomgomgomg as time quickly passed by and it also didn't help that I had to pee) which I believe tripped me up. I had to S&D everything and frantically search like my life depended on it, and to my surprise, the questions weren't exactly in order like everyone said it was for my version of the exam so I was disappointed :( I didn't do terribly (19 RC), but I could've done better had I stayed calm and emptied my bladder to the last drop :p
I agree but all the strategy in the world will not help if you read at a snails pace and can't comprehend. You need a balance of strategy and skill.
 

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Definitely read a combination of scientific articles and anything else you enjoy. I took the DAT yesterday and Reading Comprehension, at least for me, was the most intensive section, especially towards the end where you're reaching mental fatigue and have to focus on reading that article as fast as possible. All three articles were science based and dull/boring.

I made it a habit to read the most boring 1-2 Scientific American articles I could find every morning and read an hour of a leisure book before going to bed. I was able to score a 22.
 
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shwayne

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Check out Scientific American-the articles are very similar to the breadth and format of those in the RC section. Published literature is less representative and will require more time/effort. In short, don't over prepare for the RC section.
 
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orgoman22

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Check out Scientific American-the articles are very similar to the breadth and format of those in the RC section. Published literature is less representative and will require more time/effort. In short, don't over prepare for the RC section.
I do agree Scientific articles are good but it all depends on the student, and the passage they are presented on the exam. Not all students have the same skills and not all DAT reading passages are the same. After working with thousands of students I don't think I have ever had a student state they over prepared for the reading, just the opposite. If English is a 2nd language more effort will be needed, than a English speaking student with a 4.0 GPA from Harvard. Just so many factors to consider. The reading is a VERY important part of the exam and dental school want a decent score in this section.

BTW shwayne, what did you score on the reading? What method did you use? Every little bit of info helps another student.

Just my 2 cents

Nancy
 

shwayne

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I do agree Scientific articles are good but it all depends on the student, and the passage they are presented on the exam. Not all students have the same skills and not all DAT reading passages are the same. After working with thousands of students I don't think I have ever had a student state they over prepared for the reading, just the opposite. If English is a 2nd language more effort will be needed, than a English speaking student with a 4.0 GPA from Harvard. Just so many factors to consider. The reading is a VERY important part of the exam and dental school want a decent score in this section.

BTW shwayne, what did you score on the reading? What method did you use? Every little bit of info helps another student.

Just my 2 cents

Nancy
Thanks for your thoughts, @orgoman22 , I couldn't agree more. I scored a 20 on the RC section but have plans of retaking sometime soon-hopefully I'll come back with a 30!

To prepare, I used Scientific American as a model study tool for the RC. I've worked in research labs since freshman year of college so I felt comfortable deciphering scientific literature, hence why I believed that reading literature specifically to prepare for the RC section was overkill in my case. However, I can see how students without this background may also benefit from reading both academic publications and more leisure scientific articles, such as SA.
 
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LuckBloodandSweat

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Thanks for your thoughts, @orgoman22 , I couldn't agree more. I scored a 20 on the RC section but have plans of retaking sometime soon-hopefully I'll come back with a 30!

To prepare, I used Scientific American as a model study tool for the RC. I've worked in research labs since freshman year of college so I felt comfortable deciphering scientific literature, hence why I believed that reading literature specifically to prepare for the RC section was overkill in my case. However, I can see how students without this background may also benefit from reading both academic publications and more leisure scientific articles, such as SA.
Don't tell me you're retaking the DAT for that? What were your other scores lol
 
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sarriball

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If you're not used to reading scientific articles then I wouldn't start when you begin to study for the DAT. It'll give you a headache. If you have some research under your belt you more than likely have read a few articles/letters/manuscripts so you should have a jump start. The most important thing for your RC score is to find a technique that you're comfortable with and run with it.

Edit: I just realized we're referring to Scientific American... Not like PubMed/Nature/etc... My bad, lol. SA is a little bit more bearable to read than the dense research journals. But my advice on a technique still stands.
 

orgoman22

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If you're not used to reading scientific articles then I wouldn't start when you begin to study for the DAT. It'll give you a headache. If you have some research under your belt you more than likely have read a few articles/letters/manuscripts so you should have a jump start. The most important thing for your RC score is to find a technique that you're comfortable with and run with it.

Edit: I just realized we're referring to Scientific American... Not like PubMed/Nature/etc... My bad, lol. SA is a little bit more bearable to read than the dense research journals. But my advice on a technique still stands.
Great advice..would you mind sharing your technique Rekker, you received a 24 in reading , that is a very respectable score..Would you also share what you would do different if anything for the reading. Thanks for always contributing to SDN.

Nancy
 
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sarriball

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Great advice..would you mind sharing your technique Rekker, you received a 24 in reading , that is a very respectable score..Would you also share what you would do different if anything for the reading. Thanks for always contributing to SDN.

Nancy
Sure! It's a spin-off of BYU4u's technique. I pasted the description from my breakdown below.
I would not have taken the 2009 RC... Caused me some anxiety leading into the actual DAT. Other than that, I really would not have done anything else differently. Just get as much practice as you can with whatever technique you use. If you are confident, you'll have an easier time focusing on the passage which will translate into a better score.

"I first take a look through the passage to see how many paragraphs it has... I generally give the first two paragraphs (and title) a good read so I have an idea of where the author is going to take the passage. I then pick up the pace up until the halfway point. Normally, all paragraphs are roughly the same in length, but make sure you balance out the half-way point if they are not.

If the essay is filled with detailed info: after I would finish each paragraph I would quickly skim back and make sure I remember what each paragraph was generally about. Pretty much a mental map of the paragraph, if need be. If I find myself not having a hard time remembering details then I just read until the half-way point. You'll know if you have to do that or not. I then go through all the problems answering them one at a time. If you read a problem and you have never seen any of the words then it is definitely in your second-half read and skip it. Once you get through all the questions for the first half you should have roughly 10+ minutes for the second half quick read and answering the remaining questions. Save the tone/what does the author think about this statement questions for the end. If you are under 10 minutes then you'll have to pick up the pace or S&D, but if you practice this enough you should easily get through the first half and associated questions in 10 mins."
 

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Since I have done quite a bit of research and read my fair share of scientific articles, I elected to focus on technique/strategy rather than refining my analytical reading skills.

It really depends on the person. If you have difficulty with reading and comprehension, perhaps it would be of some benefit to read articles. However, if you don't, I think reading scientific articles would result in diminishing returns.
 
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htorres89

htorres89

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Sure! It's a spin-off of BYU4u's technique. I pasted the description from my breakdown below.
I would not have taken the 2009 RC... Caused me some anxiety leading into the actual DAT. Other than that, I really would not have done anything else differently. Just get as much practice as you can with whatever technique you use. If you are confident, you'll have an easier time focusing on the passage which will translate into a better score.

"I first take a look through the passage to see how many paragraphs it has... I generally give the first two paragraphs (and title) a good read so I have an idea of where the author is going to take the passage. I then pick up the pace up until the halfway point. Normally, all paragraphs are roughly the same in length, but make sure you balance out the half-way point if they are not.

If the essay is filled with detailed info: after I would finish each paragraph I would quickly skim back and make sure I remember what each paragraph was generally about. Pretty much a mental map of the paragraph, if need be. If I find myself not having a hard time remembering details then I just read until the half-way point. You'll know if you have to do that or not. I then go through all the problems answering them one at a time. If you read a problem and you have never seen any of the words then it is definitely in your second-half read and skip it. Once you get through all the questions for the first half you should have roughly 10+ minutes for the second half quick read and answering the remaining questions. Save the tone/what does the author think about this statement questions for the end. If you are under 10 minutes then you'll have to pick up the pace or S&D, but if you practice this enough you should easily get through the first half and associated questions in 10 mins."
Thanks for your strategy! Appreciate it!


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Rand627

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I got a 27 on RC so I'm somewhat qualified to answer your question. The biggest thing is just being comfortable reading. I hate hate hate scientific articles and didn't read a single one in prep. I love reading in general though (just finished red rising, awesome books) and I actually found myself enjoying what I was reading during the DAT.

So enjoy your reading, be comfortable with it, and have fun!
 
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orgoman22

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I got a 27 on RC so I'm somewhat qualified to answer your question. The biggest thing is just being comfortable reading. I hate hate hate scientific articles and didn't read a single one in prep. I love reading in general though (just finished red rising, awesome books) and I actually found myself enjoying what I was reading during the DAT.

So enjoy your reading, be comfortable with it, and have fun!
Thank you, thank you, thank you! I agree 100 percent and have stressed exactly what you stated for years. It often falls on deaf ears but by far the best advice.

Take care..Nancy
 

krisnocaries

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Great advice! Thanks a lot Nancy. I appreciate it. I will definitely use that helpful information.


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I agree, after a stressful day of studying... I read a good book just to get my mind off all the science. I just read a few pages/chapters here and there and my scores have improved when taking practice tests.


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