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Reading Speed

Discussion in 'DAT Discussions' started by David1991, Aug 1, 2011.

  1. David1991

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    From the threads that popped up it seems like any form of speed reading generally results in a decrease in comprehension. I've definitely noticed this myself trying to skim over stuff in the past, I understand it but it doesn't stick at all. Having said that I tend to be a very slow test taker. Since high school I've always scored top of the class but am almost always one of the last people finishing a test. It's not that I care about finishing first (in fact, I always found it funny how some of the students getting C's and D's were the ones finishing first) but it has hurt me in the past on big exams such as the SAT and ACT.

    I'm definitely concerned my scores will suffer because I will feel rushed and/or won't be able to complete all of the sections of the DAT. Reading speed is part of it, most people I know who read something along side of me finish before I do (maybe not enough reading as a child, I don't know) so that's probably the main problem. But even in science courses I generally finish near the end.

    Any thoughts? How much of an issue is time for most people and are there tips such as reading on parts of the verbal passages that could help?

    Thanks!
     
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  3. nondescriptive

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    I think since there is about 17 questions per passage and you have about 20 minutes, try to see if you can read around 8 minutes a passage and then answer the question. Practice and see how that goes. On the DAT, especially QR, its all about speed. I blaze through the test cause I feared I would run out of time. The DAT really is a strategy test, and strategy can change + or - a point. Comprehension is important but realize too that its almost impossible to comprehend everything 'cause its a long passage. As long as you know where you read a question, you can go back and S&D.
     
  4. David1991

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    I've heard "search and destroy" mentioned a few times. Is this where you read the question ahead of time and then go through the passage looking for it? And is this what is generally recommended?

    Are the answers to the questions generally in the order of the questions themselves so you can go one at a time or is it random where you'd need to read all of the questions first and then look at the passage?

    I think part of my problem is I tend to stay on a question until I've either gotten what I think is the answer or I've accepted that I have no idea...I tend to linger. I think I should probably focus on giving a certain amount of time and then moving on, but with a test like this I get worried I won't have time to make it back.
     
  5. nondescriptive

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    No, Im not telling you to start of S&D. Thats a bad strategy. Read and try to comprehend first. The questions are not in order. I'm saying try to blaze through the questions so you get enough time to answer the harder ones. Don't linger on any problem. This is just to be on the safe side, at least thats what I did.
     
  6. David1991

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    So the general strategy being briefly read over it, answer what you can based on that, and then for ones that you don't know go back over the passage if you have time near the end and try to find the specific answers?
     
  7. nondescriptive

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    Well I never had this problem when I was taking the RC section. But if at the 19 minute mark and I had a few questions that I couldnt find, I'd take my best guess and mark and move on. If I had time I'd go back to it. The most important thing in the DAT is to complete and not leave any blank. If you can read a passage under 8 minutes you'll be fine. I read it in about 4 minutes and finished the entire RC with 15 minutes. Practice and find out. I think you'll be fine. You sound like a smart kid.
     
    #6 nondescriptive, Aug 1, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2011
  8. LetsGo2DSchool

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    Just read dude. Actually you can read faster without losing comprehension just by focusing really hard. I know it's easier said than done. Also, assume that during the exam, your adrenaline will be pumping, especially after the break, that you will naturally focus more in RC. That seems to be the consensus for most test takers.
     
  9. David1991

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    Could be, but I can't say it was that way for my SAT or ACT back in high school. I could be wrong but I think I didn't finish some of the SAT. And I specifically remember doing really well on the ACT overall and verbal (or reading, however it's split up) but somewhat poorly on science because I literally finished about half of the section. Hopefully my test taking skills have improved significantly since then..
     
  10. jonishere5

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    you also have to remember though that when you read and time yourself and test yourself on comprehension your reading comprehension just naturally goes up. I use the search and destroy method last year when I took the DAT I got a 19. I was scoring about a 19 on the practice tests on crack DAT. Now I'm trying to Kaplan method and him scoring about 21 on crack DAT. so I'm going to stick with that method
     
  11. David1991

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    Could you explain the difference between search and destroy and the "kaplan method"? sorry for the ignorance lol I think I have an idea but want to be clear on it.
     
  12. jonishere5

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    well my modified method of the search and destroy method is to read the first and last paragraph and see if I can come up with a purpose or a tone that the authors trying to convey. From there I go straight to the questions and try to find the answers to the questions within the passage.

    My modified version of the Kaplan method consists of writing down key terms were key ideas and terms and statistics from each paragraph making sure I number each of these that correspond with each paragraph. I read all the paragraphs.this helps me reference back to paragraphs that may contain a question. Writing stuff down also helps me remember key terms are key statistics does I end up reading them two or three times usually those key terms or statistics are mentioned in the questions. It takes a while to develop your speed on the Kaplan method but once you get it down you end up scoring a little bit better than using search and destroy in my personal experience good luck!
     
  13. David1991

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    OK cool so basically reading everything first, interesting...I would think reading the questions first would give any advantage. And you didn't find writing that much down prevented you from finishing? By the way it was mentioned you have 20min for a passage, so i guess there are 3 total passages?

    I noticed you're lifting one of those Atlas stones in your avatar, I'm big into lifting as well...hopefully I'll have time while prepping for the DAT lol.
     
  14. David1991

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    So I took a practice reading comprehension test last night...damn :( As I'm going through the questions I'm thinking this is pretty easy, the answers are told to you. but then by the 3rd passage I had to literally just glance over the words because there just wasn't enough time and had to guess on over half of the 3rd passages questions. I ended up getting a 19 which isn't terrible considering no prior practice but I feel like RC section is one that will have a smaller improvement because it's not really knowledge-based.

    Any thoughts/suggestions? My reading speed is literally as fast as I can say the words to myself out loud/in my mind, any faster and I feel like I wouldn't comprehend it. I feel I can definitely improve and will look through my Kaplan book but I'm always interested in what you guys here have to say.
     
  15. lol105

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    I am in an EXACT situation as you are, except my test is next week. On Achiever, Kaplan and Topscore I've been getting 18-21 (mostly 19-20). If the passage is familiar to me, I can read it fairly quickly, but if it is something I lack knowledge in, I read super slow -__-.

    I've tried both S&D and slowly + fully reading the passage, and I got to say mix is the best. Try to read the whole passage in 6-8 minutes while writing down keywords on each paragraph and getting the gist of the whole passage. Then for 12-14 minutes, I try to answer 16-18 questions or how many questions assigned to that passage. I usually don't finish 1-2 problems on one passage. However, I somehow save 1-2 minutes on the other passages, allowing me to come back to unfinished problems. And when you skip, pick a reasonable answer and MARK the questions that you skipped.

    It took me a few passages to get used to it, and it personally works best for me since I'm a super slow reader + English is my second language :(

    Oh, and I somehow didn't find Achiever tests harder in RC compared to Topscore.... I think the reason is that Topscore has more detailed passages than Achiever does. Also, Achiever asks you tone questions which allows me to answer the questions without going back to the passage to S&D = saves me time!!
     
  16. LetsGo2DSchool

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    Not finishing an exam section on time is similar to arriving to a party late when all the booze and food is gone (and hot women too) and you're stuck with the unwanted scraps. Such an empty feeling.
     
  17. shinywisdom

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    I'm in the same boat. Guess what, my doc told me it's a skill that must be developed over a period of time, not something you can learn over night. For DAT purpose, I'm going to use SnD, since a lot of people succeeded with it, you could be too. Good luck.
     
  18. wired202808

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    I scored a 25 in RC. my method includes a modified search and destroy. I always read the first and last paragraphs n then i attack the questions right away. The point of the test is to quickly grasp what you read, not to memorize it and recall it back. Its a lot easier to grasp something when you read it and respond to a question right away, thats why S&D is the most useful technique.

    Reading the whole passage and then answering questions, is like memorizing directions to an unfamiliar route, only to realize 5 minutes later that you forget most of the steps. I believe you should read questions in the order you get so if something is asked about question 2, find it in the passage read the paragraph its in and then read the the paragraph after it. This way you read the passage, but in a useful context, rather than reading the whole thing and not having a "mental link" to its contents. This method also allows you to answer other questions that will come up later w/o having to go back n read that particular passage.
     
  19. shinywisdom

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    Excellent points. Thank you.:thumbup:
     
  20. David1991

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    Does "search and destroy" simply entail searching for keywords within the paragraph? That seems like the "normal" method to me, how else would you find the answers? I guess with this method you don't read as carefully the first time through?

    For the record when I did it I didn't write anything down.

    Well it seems like a decent number of questions are about specifics within the entire article. About half of the questions I answered (on the first 2 when I had time to read the whole thing) without looking back and then got the rest by quickly looking back to where I remembered it was (rather than having no idea where to look).

    Also if you do what you said and read a paragraph the answer was in and the paragraph after that wouldn't you end up reading the entire thing anyway since there are ~15 questions per article? In the Kaplan book there were 2-3 page articles so it seems like you'd read the entire thing anyway doing that, no?
     
  21. nondescriptive

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    I guess we will have to disagree on this one. I don't S&D when I read a fictional book so I don't understand why I would on the exam. I don't S&D when I read CNN. I guess I read alot; but to each his own. I also got a 25 by reading normally. I guess it also depends on the passage.
     
  22. David1991

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    Did you find you had to go back a lot to find the answers? I guess you finished everything with adequate time? Like I said for me I was reading as fast as I could say the words to myself and it apparently wasn't fast enough.
     
  23. nondescriptive

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    Yeah I went back to make sure the answer was right. I read the passage to comprehend it so I can answer the tone and inferences. It also makes S&D much quicker because you know where the answers are. I guess thats where the difference is; S&D without reading the passage is difficult because you have to skim the passage, sometimes 20 paragraphs long, for one question. If you read it you will have an idea where to find it. But like I said, depends on the passage too.
     
  24. David1991

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    Thats my feeling on it as of now, it seemed way easier to go back and find the answer when I had read through it all, but as I said by the time I got to the 3rd passage I didn't even have time to read it :(
     

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