April 7, 2014

LSAT Reading Comprehension

LSAT’s reading comprehension questions will no doubt look familiar to you. You’ll find their structure is similar to reading comprehension question sets in other standardized tests you have taken through the course of your education. There are four passages in the reading comprehension section. Each passage is about 500 words in length and is followed by five to eight questions. In total, there are 25 to 28 reading comprehension questions.

It might seem logical to assume the LSAT reading comprehension passages are related to the law in some way, but this is not necessarily the case. The LSAT reading comprehension questions are relatively complex, and generally cover topics related to natural science, legal issues, social science, and the humanities. A variety of writing styles are presented. For example, one passage may be neutral in tone, comparing and contrasting two items or events that share some similarities but not others. Another passage might be strongly assertive in tone, arguing for or defending a specific belief or point of view. If you have sufficiently studied for the logical reasoning (argument) portion of the LSAT, then the reading comprehension problems will be easier. The possible answers listed in the reading comprehension section share similarities with possible answers listed in the logical reasoning (argument) section. In both cases, some problems may have two or even three choices that seem sufficient. It is your job to choose the one that most fully resolves the problem.

Basically, the LSAT reading comprehension section is designed to reveal a candidate’s capabilities in three areas:

  1. The examiners expect a candidate to anticipate the content or purpose in a later portion of the composition that is unavailable. The candidate must develop an understanding of the author’s style and purpose to make an assumption.
  2. Alternatively, the question may be about structure: How was the composition put together? To answer a structural question successfully, the candidate does not necessarily need to understand the content of a freestanding passage, but rather the composition as a whole. Consider the passage’s form, rather than its content.
  3. The candidate might be asked to analyze a point the author makes in a passage, which requires a substantial understanding the subtleties of the passage’s content and meaning.

To succeed in the LSAT’s reading comprehension section, you must be able to read the passages quickly but without loss of comprehension. A good strategy is to read through the text, jotting notes as you go, so you won’t have to backtrack and re-read blocks of texts as you search for a particular point.