The LSAT comes with specific requirements when it comes to testing your reading comprehension. The better you understand these requirements, the better your chances of arriving at the correct answers. Here are some LSAT Reading Comprehension tips to help you perform well on this portion of the exam.
Start with the Question in Mind
To boost reading comprehension, it helps to know what you’re supposed to be looking for. The LSAT Reading Comprehension questions tend to fall in specific categories, so make sure that you know which question is being asked. For example:
- If you encounter a central idea/primary purpose question, you know that you have to look for an overarching theme, which means you should scan the topic and concluding sentences.
- If you’re asked a specific recall question, you have to go back to the passage and scan it for specific details—in which case the tips below will help.
Specific Recall Tip: Skim through the question first to get a sense of what you’ll need to find in the passage. The enemy of the reading comprehension section is ambiguity. You want to get clear about what you’re supposed to find—and then set about finding it.
Divide & Conquer
Most reading passages on the LSAT are structured in a straightforward way, with paragraphs delineating between topics. If you understand what each paragraph is about, you’ll have no trouble identifying which one might have the answer to a specific question.
When you practice for the LSAT, practice the “divide-and-conquer” strategy: write one brief summary sentence next to each paragraph to get a sense of what it means. You can then use this reference to guide you with any questions that deal with specific details you may have already forgotten.
Read for Structure as Well as Content
Many of us consider “reading comprehension” to be a simple matter of memorizing a passage cold. But unless you have a photographic memory, this is simply too unrealistic for test-taking purposes.
But you can replicate these results if you know how to read for structure. If you can get an inherent grasp of the skeleton of each reading passage, you’ll grasp major themes and details with ease. Here are some tips:
- Give priority to topic and summary sentences. Topic sentences are there for a reason. They’ll guide you to the bare bones of the passage, giving you a shortcut to answering questions.
- Watch for contrasting words. “But.” “However.” “Although.” These words can often precede important details that might go against a topic sentence and change the meaning of the passage.
Prioritize Your Reading
The LSAT Reading Comprehension section is as much about time management as it is about reading comprehension. Try to stick to your best subjects in the early portions of the exam so you can work on the more difficult ones later. This helps ensure that you don’t get “stuck” on any one passage at the expense of the rest of the exam.
Work With A Tutor
As you practice, it doesn’t hurt to have someone in your corner. Work with our professional LSAT prep tutors at Jantzi Tet Prep to ensure that you approach the exam with preparedness and confidence.