Prep test 63 RC Passage 3 #18 (ocean magnetism)

    • May 10, 2016 at 7:37 pm #1827

      i really can’t stand “according to the passage questions” lol ok so I’m really focusing on looking at the forest (the structure of the passage) rather than the trees (the details) However, when I got to this detail question as I often do, I was stumped.  I broke the passage down as saying:

      p1: ocean ground has changed overtime

      p2: theory of the mid ocean ridge that scientists believe

      p3 support for the theory of the mid ocean ridge

      so then good ol question 18 talks about….”mineral grains”???? Lol. Well I just freeze up because I don’t remember reading something about mineral grains, and the paragraphs for me doesn’t  help to give me a clue in regards to where I should look. This is basically my struggle on most identification problems lol. (Although I have gotten a little better since I sought mike’s advice on how to get better on the overall test)


      Anyway, could you brilliant guys/gals  up here give me advice on how I can better handle identification problems like this one specifically, and on others using the structural approach to RC? How do you experts handle this?  No opinion will be turned away Lol.

    • May 15, 2016 at 10:44 am #1837

      I know you guys are busy, so I thought I would try to bump this up so it could get a little attention. Wouldn’t mind anyone’s input…thanks.

    • May 15, 2016 at 11:31 am #1839
      Mike Kim

      hey buddy — sorry for the delay — don’t have my books w/me now, but I’ll get you an answer up by early tomorrow if no one else has responded b4 then – mk

    • May 15, 2016 at 11:48 am #1841

      Thanks Mike

    • May 16, 2016 at 2:38 pm #1842
      Mike Kim

      Hey —

      So I just tried the passage and q, and took a look at what you wrote —

      Here are some thoughts —

      As always, obviously I can’t read into your mind, so if any of this is not relevant to you, please feel free to ignore it —

      First, some general thoughts about the reading process —

      1) Per what you wrote, I think the main points you focused on were strong — the next step is to make sure you are reading to understand how the entire passage is structured around those main points (again, you may be doing this already so please feel free to ignore all this if u r) —

      To use a movie analogy (as I often do) — your job isn’t just to correctly recognize the main points/scenes of the film, but to try and see as clearly as you can how the director organized the structure of the movie in relation to those key points —

      In terms of the passage in question, the author gives the main point of the first paragraph right at the beginning, and then he spends the rest of the paragraph providing support for that point — the main crux of that support has to do with “basalt….contains magnetite….” — I have no idea what basalt and magnetite are, but I know that the purpose of this part is to act as some of the evidence that led to the original main point given.

      Those thoughts are what made it so that when I read the stem for Q 18, I knew to look in Paragraph 1 — I also did a quick scan of the other p’s just to make sure magnetite isn’t discussed elsewhere, and I couldn’t find it in the other paragraphs.

      Again, if I was just focused on main points it would probably be less likely I would have remembered seeing magnetite in the first paragraph — I think the relating of the support to the main point gave me a better chance of recollecting it.

      2) Though I certainly understand the instinct, make sure you are not expecting to find one main point for each paragraph — that’s not how LSAT passages are designed (again, not sure if this is something u are doing but thought I’d mention it).

      So now, in terms of the specific problem —

      In my opinion, this is a very difficult question — about as difficult an “according to the passage” problem as you are likely to see —

      What makes this extreme and unusual is that in order to arrive at the right answer, you have to bring together information from parts of the passage that are very far apart from one another — the vast majority of the time, “according to the passage” q’s will instead require you to bring together or understand information from just one isolated and limited part of the passage.

      Because of this, I did not find the right answer very attractive the first time I looked at it, and, personally, needed to rely heavily on my elimination skills before I could figure out what was actually going on.

      Fortunately, like many difficult RC q’s, most of the wrong answers were fairly obviously incorrect and easy to eliminate —

      With all that said, here’s the play-by-play solution —

      Read Q Stem — don’t remember seeing “grains” but remember magnetite from first P — go back to it and read it again carefully — notice “grains of magnetite” and know I’m looking in right place —
      Quickly scan other paragraphs to see if there were other mentions of magnetite I missed — don’t see any — return to P1 and read again carefully —

      My basic understanding is that these magnetite grains are what in the “basalt,” and these magnetite grains have the same polarity that the earth’s magnetic field had when the grains first came to be. (This sameness is what will be used to support and explain the key findings/theories discussed in the following paragraphs) —

      So, with that in mind, I go into the answers

      A) Seems consistent with what I read/understood — but it seems far more like an inference than something actually stated. It also seems to match more what is stated in the final P (about young rocks). Still, I didn’t see a way to eliminate it and I left it.

      B) Most of this answer sounds great, but the “most but not all” catches my eye. Still, close enough to leave for closer inspection.

      C) I don’t remember this being discussed, and can’t imagine why it would have been — whether they could be found in other types of rock or not would not impact the author’s point — I do a quick scan and don’t see anything related to this and cut it.

      D) Similar to C — I don’t remember this being discussed and can’t imagine why it would be — I do another quick scan and eliminate it.

      E) Similar to C and D — don’t need to read passage again because I just checked for size info and know that it’s not there.

      Okay, so I hate that a right answer didn’t jump out at me, but I am down to just two — I look them over again carefully, starting w/the one I was most suspicious of — (B) —

      (B) claims something very specific — “most but not all” and I don’t remember seeing this anywhere. On closer inspection, (B) is, in addition to relating to the part, “in magma…grains of magnetite….align themselves with…,” also seems to be connected in a way to the statement — “…some basalt…same polarity…” but that would be a false connection to make, and, regardless, there is no match for “most but not all.” (B) is not something true according to the passage —

      I move on to (A) hoping I can see why it is correct —

      So, looking back over the first paragraph, I can see why (A) is fairly easily inferrable — we are told in the first P that the magnetite grains in basalt rock align with polarity of the earth when the basalt rock is formed, and it makes sense, thus, that the youngest besalt would match the current polarity of the earth.

      But, there’s a slight itch at the back of my head — how do you define youngest?

      It’s a small thing, but again, the q is asking for what the passage actually states, not what I can infer from it, and the first paragraph doesn’t give us a definition of “youngest” that tells us for sure that the rocks in this category have the same magnetic polarity as the earth currently does.

      In addition, I clearly remember reading about “youngest” in the final paragraph — and that’s where I get the final key piece of evidence — “youngest rocks all have normal polarity.” — the rocks in question are basalt(!), and so this information coupled with what we’ve been told of magnetite in the first P allows me to confirm (A).

      Whew! Hundreds of words to describe what was probably less than a minute of thought — sorry for the length and I hope that made sense — I’m too lazy to edit it all down now — anyway, if you have any follow-up q’s, just let me know —


    • May 16, 2016 at 4:50 pm #1843

      Thank’s Mike, the long explanation is good because I’ll be reading it a few times just to wrap everything around my mind. In general for “according to the passage” questions,  would you think about it in basically the same way? Find how/where the arguments are and really focus on extracting the point/ support relationships in each paragraph. I haven’t really been thinking about it that way, but it makes a lot sense. I had been focusing mainly on the points and how they all related. That’s kinda illustrated in my summary of the paragraphs as well


    • May 17, 2016 at 12:18 pm #1846
      Mike Kim

      Hey —

      The suggestions I made for reading process apply not only to “according to the passage” q’s, but rather to your initial, overall, reading process —

      The entire time you are reading, you want to be focused on trying to determine how different parts of the passage relate to one another.

      In terms of looking for an “argument” — (sorry to always turn simple things into complex) — I think it’s very important to understand a subtle but very, very important difference between how you ought to read LR problems and RC passages —

      Like you said, an argument contains a point and support for that point —

      LR stimuli and RC passages that contain arguments also tend to include counterpoints, background info, descriptions, etc.

      Here’s the critical difference I want to point out —

      For LR, it’s to your great advantage to separate out and focus in on just the argument itself — the point and the support, in large part because that’s what most questions are specifically telling us to do. And focusing in on those parts means putting everything else (background info, etc.) into a secondary position.

      For RC, that’s not our job —

      For RC passages, our job is not to extract just the main points, or just the main points and support, but rather to see how the entire passage is structured — which parts are meant be main points, which parts support, which parts counter, which parts background —

      And so, while your focus on LR should be on isolating and focusing in on certain parts, for RC it should be much more important to pay attention to relating parts to one another (what I discuss in the book in terms of reading for reasoning structure) —

      One of the very best ways to focus on reasoning structure is to constantly ask yourself, assess, and reassess, as you are reading, “why is the author telling me this?” and, by the end of the passage, you want to be able to scan through it completely and be able to explain “oh, this is here to give me some context, this is her main point, this is the counter-evidence to her main point, this is her response to that counterpoint…” etc. — the better and better you get at this, the easier and easier it will be to answer both general q’s, and specific q’s that ask you to find a specific detail, etc.

      I hope that helps a bit — sorry for adding even more length — MK

    • May 17, 2016 at 2:08 pm #1850

      If I could, I want to just push back on a little on what you said . (BTW I totally realize that I’m questioning an LSAT GIANT LOL) I believe that’s what I do in respect to the larger conclusion of the entire passage. I always think about the structure and how they relate to the larger point of the passage. However, it seems that I get lossed in the generality of it all. I’ll say somthing like this is support, this is the point of the paragraph, this is just background and context.  By the time I’m heading into an according to the passage question, It’s almost like I don’t really know what good that has done. So I guess other than the fact that the evidence said “mineral”, I don’t understand what about the general passage structure  led you thinking “ah ha..the first paragraph is where to go for the question”. It seems to me as if you relied more on your memory of where the word mineral was than the overall structure of the passage.  My question above came from the belief that maybe identification questions come from the evidence part of a passage more times than not, but maybe not. Maybe I’m just overthinking, which I tend to do lol. In any case, thank you for the time. You could be doing something else instead of taking the time to answer ALL of my overthought questions lol.

    • May 19, 2016 at 10:50 am #1873
      Mike Kim

      Hey — more than happy to go back and forth as much as you’d like, and I think I understand where you are coming from (but you could let me know if I’m off) —

      1) In terms of according to the passage q’s, I do not recommend that you anticipate that the parts in question play a particular role, such as conclusion or support, etc. The test writers have no incentive to create such a tendency, and in my research I haven’t seen any evidence of such tendencies. They can ask about details from any part of the passage — and, if you put yourself in the shoes of the test writers, I think it’s actually more understandable to assume that, should you want to make a particular detail q harder on students, you’ll pick a detail they are less likely to remember.

      2) This is a very technical point, but I just want to make sure we’re on the same page — when I use terms to describe the passage such as “‘this’ is support” or “‘this’ is a main point,” during the actual read, the “this” is replaced with the actual subject matter being discussed — so, in reading that passage, I’m saying to myself that the besalt/magnetite stuff is the support, not that “this” is (if that makes sense) —

      To see examples of this, check out the real-time thoughts I model on pages 522, 526, and 532.

      3) Reading for reasoning structure doesn’t guarantee that I will be able to remember the detail they ask about. Fortunately, this is not a memorization test (I have a horrible memory).

      4) Reading for reasoning structure does mean my brain has a (practiced and habitualized) method for organizing the information I’ve read. It makes it easier for it to retain more of the read, and, just as importantly, it makes it easier to scan through the passage to find the relevant information, just like knowing the layout of a house makes it easier to scan it to find your keys.

      In the case of this q, I happened to remember magnetite, and in my explanation what I was trying to do was model how reading for reasoning structure gave me a better chance to remember it, and remember it in the right way, but there are plenty of times when I can’t recall seeing the term or terms they ask about. In those cases, my understanding of reasoning structure puts me in a better position to evaluate which answers might be attractive and which ones aren’t, and makes it easier to more quickly scan through the passage to find relevant info.

      5) I realize reading for reasoning structure isn’t having quite that same effect for you, and especially if you aren’t used to doing it, I can see how it can slow you down and make things feel fuzzier. I do encourage you to try to keep at it — if you take a look at any collection of q’s for an RC passage, and really break down what the q’s as a whole are asking of you, you can argue that the challenges, again and again, run to three main areas — a) understanding the author’s purpose in writing the passage b) how he/she structures the passage in relation to that purpose and c) carefully matching and being correct about specific wording issues — reading for reasoning structure is extremely beneficial relative to these challenges, and so, as frustrating as it might be, I encourage you to maybe try approaching it from different perspectives, but keep at it.

      So those are some thoughts — I can keep going but I’ll stop myself there — again, if you want to keep going back and forth more than happy to — MK

    • May 19, 2016 at 11:17 am #1874

      No, i think you answered it perfectly. I def. see how structure helps you on other questions. I was just having trouble reconciling how that would necessarily help me on those questions. The funny thing is, I was re-reading your comments yesterday, and I actually put the pieces together in my head. I thought to myself that reading for structure on RC isn’t necessarily about directly finding the right answer (especially on according to the passage questions), maybe it’s about having  a structured way of memorizing more of the passage than you would have, which in turn helps you on those questions. It sounds like that’s what you’re describing.

    • May 20, 2016 at 11:36 am #1882
      Mike Kim

      Right – exactly – glad we worked that out — not sure if you are taking in June or later, but reach out if you need me for anything else — MK

    • May 20, 2016 at 11:59 am #1884

      Absolutely, looking to shoot for the fall exams

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