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Tips to Make LSAT Reading Comp Not Feel Like Pulling Teeth

  • by Laura Santoski
  • May 03, 2013
  • Advice on Reading Comprehension, LSAT

When given a choice between doing an LSAT Reading Comp section and getting a root canal, many LSAT-takers would opt for the dental work without hesitation.

This notorious section can be dense, dull and difficult, and as the June LSAT approaches, you may find yourself frustrated because your Reading Comp scores refuse to budge. Fear not. Just as with the rest of the LSAT, practice makes perfect, and with these tips you’ll find yourself inching ever closer to your goal score. And all without novocain!

Tip #1 to Ease the LSAT Reading Comp Pain: Change how you look at LSAT Reading Comp

One of the reasons RC is so reviled is that many LSAT test-takers think there’s not a “right answer” for RC questions, but rather several answers that could all be right, requiring test-takers to magically intuit the correct one.

This misconception could not be further from the truth. In fact, you can think of an RC passage as a Logical Reasoning question with a really long stimulus. Any answer choice you pick for RC must be 100% true based on the stimulus, and the other four are completely wrong. If you think two answer choices could both be right, it’s not because LSAC made a mistake; it’s because you are missing something.

Tip #2 to Ease the LSAT Reading Comp Pain: Perfect your mark-ups and tagging

It’s always beneficial to take note of which question types you’re getting wrong. You may notice that you screw up on questions that ask about the author attitude, or on questions that ask about a specific example. If there’s a trend among the questions you’re missing, adjust your mark-ups and tagging accordingly.

Tip #3 to Ease the LSAT Reading Comp Pain: Predict the questions before you even read them

No, I’m not telling you to become a mind-reader before the LSAT, so put that crystal ball away. However, the LSAT is extremely predictable in terms of what questions are asked based on certain features of a Reading Comp passage. If the author has a strong opinion, you can bet there will be questions asking about with what he’d agree. If a study or example is cited, there’s probably going to be at least one question about it. Start noticing what details lead to questions so that when you see those details on future passages, you’ll be prepared for a corresponding question.

Tip #4 to Ease the LSAT Reading Comp Pain: Take your time on the passage so you can fly through the questions

Many students have a bad habit of rushing through the passage because they’re afraid they’ll run out of time for the questions. This habit leads to misunderstandings and mistakes. Instead, take your time reading the passage. You’ll find that the questions go much more quickly because you have a strong understanding of the passage, and you’ll get more questions right.

Tip #5 to Ease the LSAT Reading Comp Pain: Troubleshoot

If, after practicing all of these LSAT Reading Comp tips, you’re still struggling to finish all four passages in 35 minutes, you may want to consider a different strategy. For some people, it makes sense to focus on three of the four passages, skipping whichever of the last two passages has fewer questions. This strategy gives you about 11 minutes to spend with each passage, so you have plenty of time to understand them.

With whatever time is remaining, you can guess on the LSAT Reading Comp passage you skipped; if you have a little extra time, it’s helpful to read the first and last sentence of each paragraph in the passage and pick answer choices based off that. You may find that focusing on three passages will improve your score because your accuracy rate is higher for the questions you attempt.

LSAT Reading Comp may not be your favorite section, but when approached the right way, it doesn’t have to suck, either. Give these tips a try and soon you’ll be completing passages in less time than it takes to floss.

If you floss, that is.

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