Reading Comprehension is often the most overlooked part of LSAT preparation. Many takers figure that if they can pass a college English or history course, they will do well on this portion of the test. However, it’s not as easy as that! The LSAT is looking for you to approach the reading comprehension section in a very deliberate way. Here are some LSAT reading comprehension tips to help you if you are struggling with this section!
LSAT Reading Comprehension Tips
1. Figure out the overall point of the reading selection.
This may seem self-explanatory, but many students skip this step in their rush to get through a passage. In order to answer the questions about the passage successfully, you need to understand the idea the passage is trying to get across. LSAC makes this difficult by often having selections with multiple points, or that present and then attack or strength an idea. Identifying the overall point of a reading selection is pivotal to answering pretty much any of the follow-up questions correctly. So read the passage, and then really try to identify the main point of the selection.
2. Shortly state the main point(s) of each paragraph.
For students who struggle with reading comprehension, this is my first suggestion. Students often start circling and highlighting key words or ideas before they even understand the purpose of a specific paragraph. Writing the main point next to each paragraph can save you valuable time when a question calls back to a specific point. If, for example, you know the third paragraph rebuts the main claim of the passage, it will be much easier to find information to answer questions revolving around this if you clearly mark what each paragraph is about. The 10-15 seconds you spend writing down the main point of each paragraph can save you minutes of rereading later.
3. Keep any underling, circling, or highlighting to a minimum.
Often, prep courses and books want you to underline what you perceive to be key passages, arguments, transition words, and conclusions. The only problem is, many students end up underlining, circling, or highlighting almost the entire reading passage! This not only defeats the purpose of trying to indicate key information, but it most likely will slow you down if you need to find a specific point in the passage.
I like to keep things simple. After identifying the main point of the passage and indicating what each paragraph is about, I try to keep further markings to a minimum. I would suggest only adding additional underlining or circling if there are, for example:
- 1. Multiple pieces of evidence/support in a paragraph.
- 2. A change of position mid-paragraph.
- 3. Information that sets up a paragraph later in the text.
Otherwise, additional markings are redundant. If you know that, for example, paragraphs 2 and 3 differ in view point, why circle transition words if you have already noted the main point of each paragraph already? This both wastes time and clutters any rereading you may have to do.
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