Reading Comprehension strategy? How to understand articles better

Jun 27, 2020
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My DAT is in 10 days but I'm very worried about RC. I've done all 15 practice tests in bootcamp, and I just got qvault's reading comprehension tests. I've been pretty much using just the search and destroy method, but many times if the article is too difficult to understand, I have trouble answering the questions. There would also be times where I would finish answering the questions but still haven't understood the article. So far I've been getting at least 20s, but I feel really unconfident as I'm taking the tests cand I'm worried one difficult passage on the real DAT will throw me off.

Does the real DAT have the complicated articles that bootcamp can have? And what was the best strategy that you've used? I've tried to read the first two paragraphs and then skim half of the article before answering questions, but just skimming doesn't help me remember what I read so it's like I wasted my time. However, actually reading takes too long so I'm not sure what to do
 

S_Diamond_DDS

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Jun 24, 2015
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Yes the real DAT has complicated passages, which doesn’t usually allow you to rely solely on S&D. Here’s my strategy (below), the others comments are helpful too:
 
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Jun 27, 2020
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Thanks for your strategy! I did try it before where I would read part of the passage before answering questions, but for harder articles I would get hung up on fully understanding what I read, and thus lose a lot of time. Was your reading more akin to skimming or did you fully comprehend the 2/3rds of the passage that you read? Was the reading more for being able to know where the answers would be located?
 
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S_Diamond_DDS

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Jun 24, 2015
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Thanks for your strategy! I did try it before where I would read part of the passage before answering questions, but for harder articles I would get hung up on fully understanding what I read, and thus lose a lot of time. Was your reading more akin to skimming or did you fully comprehend the 2/3rds of the passage that you read? Was the reading more for being able to know where the answers would be located?
It was reading as fast as I can where I can still comprehend the general ideas of the passage (Not the minute details, you can s&d this stuff). And yes, in doing so you find where the majority of the answers are located.
 
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0Mik3cho

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Thanks for your strategy! I did try it before where I would read part of the passage before answering questions, but for harder articles I would get hung up on fully understanding what I read, and thus lose a lot of time. Was your reading more akin to skimming or did you fully comprehend the 2/3rds of the passage that you read? Was the reading more for being able to know where the answers would be located?
Don't obsess with 100% comprehension. That will slow you down a lot. As long as you get the general idea the author is trying to convey and understand the role each paragraph plays in support that idea, you will be fine. By reading, say, half the passage before answering questions, you will remember where everything is. You will be able to quickly look back at the passage and locate a specific phrase or keyword if you need it to answer a question. Don't go into this trying to memorize everything the author is trying to say. You can see my strategy in the thread S_Diamond_DDS posted too.
 
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May 13, 2020
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I usually just read the entire passage and highlight key information as I go. I just took my DAT and I found the reading section to be a lot easier than bootcamp's.
 
Jun 27, 2020
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How long were your passages? And by easier do you mean the passages weren't filled with lots of scientific jargon?
 
May 13, 2020
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How long were your passages? And by easier do you mean the passages weren't filled with lots of scientific jargon?
I remember them all being around 8 paragraphs and not as long as bootcamp's. The passages still had scientific jargon, but the questions they asked were easier. Just more straightforward and less complicated.
 
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Jul 21, 2020
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I also just took my DAT and I found that the first two passages that I got were extremely easy to use the S&D method. However, the last passage I got had completely comprehension based questions. It required you to fully understand the passage and be able to answer questions based on it (aka none of the answer choices were directly located in the passage).

The best thing to do, in my opinion, is exactly what everyone else is saying. Read the 1st 2-3 paragraphs in detail, don't skim it. Highlight important parts of those paragraphs. Then, skim through the last few paragraphs, highlighting key words that stand out to you and words that explain what that specific paragraph is talking about. Therefore, if a question asks about a specific word, you can go back and locate the exact paragraph that talks about that.

Another tip is to skim through the questions of each passage first. Determine what kind of questions they are (fact based or not) and that will give you an idea of how much you really need to focus on comprehending the passage, rather than just locating where the answers are.
As far as similarity to bootcamp, the questions were a bit easier, however, the passages were closer in difficulty to the RC practice tests 1-4 on bootcamp.
Best of luck to you, I am sure you will do great!
 
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Jun 27, 2020
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Thank you! And congratulations for finishing your DAT!

I've been doing the practice RC tests by the strategy that everyone else here as said, and I find that I'm not as lost when I'm answering the questions than before. I guess I'm just still a bit worried that skimming may cost me time, but if the articles aren't as long as the 20 paragraph ones on qvault then I hope then I'll be fine
 

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