Vicviper Reading Comprehension Strategy

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Reviewed by
Dr. Joel Meyerson
Key Takeaway
Table of Contents

    This is a popular method a pre-dental student used to score a 30 on the RC section of the DAT. It is a version of the search and destroy method. In summary, it involves looking for keywords in all of the questions, and then browsing the passage to search for all of those keywords at once. When you find a keyword, you go to that question and answer it. Below is their strategy in full:

    Huge Obligatory Disclaimer:

    This is a method I (Vicviper) used and it worked for me, but it very well may not work for you. It is also very risky because it can take a significant amount of time if you get stuck. Being a fast reader also really helps with this strategy. Please don’t go into the DAT and use this without trying it out and seeing if it actually works for you first, and then practicing with it if it does. I REPEAT, it worked for me, and it may or may not work for you!

    That said, search and destroy works most of the time, but you need to find a search and destroy method that works well for you.

    Here’s what I did, but it’s really risky because it can take a ton of extra time, and it didn’t work for every question, but the first practice test I tried this on I got a 29, and on the actual DAT I got a 30 (Though I was lucky on getting 1 passage I was already familiar with). First, you need to be able to read through and only focus on key terms, that is the most important thing, as most everything else is filler.

    1. Look through ALL the questions for a passage, and look for any word that could POSSIBLY resemble a key term, any names of muscles, chemicals, enzymes, places, names, etc. Put these terms in the back of your head.
    2. Start BROWSING through the passage carefully looking for any word that might be a key term, and every time you come upon an important looking key term, read the sentence it’s in closely, and then go through ALL of the questions for that passage and see if that term is used in any of them. If it is, you should be able to easily answer the question, as most often key terms are only used in the paragraph where they show up, and the one after it.
    3. Continue to go through the passage slowly, and if you need to, go through the questions again to refresh your memory of what terms to be looking for.
    4. Keep going through all of your remaining questions for that passage whenever you come across a key term, and as you are going through, make a mental sketch of how the passage is laid out.
    5. Once you’ve gone through the entire passage, you should have maybe 3 or 4 questions left. Go back and look at them, and then focus on 2. Start skimming through the passage again, looking for those key terms, and if you see key terms related to some of the other unanswered questions, jot their location down on your paper.
    6. At this point, focus on any questions that do not work for search and destroy – often these are question which asks “Which of these is not mentioned” or the ones which give a statement, and asks you if it is true or false, and if the reasoning given in the question is proof of the statement.
    7. Go onto the next passage, and if you’ve spent more than a third of your time, know that you’re going to need to either a) speed up, b) not be as through, or C) Use a backup strategy.

    Like I said, this worked well for me, but on the actual test I was 2 minutes over on my first two passages – I consider myself a fast reader, and it is still very risky. This isn’t for everyone, try it if you like, but then if it doesn’t work on your practice tests, use a different SnD method. RC is definitely a good part practice and skill, but luck also plays a big part in it.

    If you’re more of a visual learner, Joel breaks this strategy down in RC Academy. You can find this video here:

    We also have other strategies that aren’t included in this blog post. You should watch our other videos to figure out which strategy works the best for you! Here’s a link to Joel breaking down the other strategies (shown in the image below):

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    Hannah Brein, DAT Bootcamp Student