Reading Comprehension

 

Every LSAT is going to have one reading comprehension section (two if one of them is the experimental, unscored one).  And this is basically the same reading passages that we’ve been seeing since grade school, of course the difference being that these passages are going to be denser and more difficult.  There will be about four passages of about 400 – 500 words in length and one of them will be a double passage.  It will consist of two shorter, related passages.  The passages will be followed by 5 – 8 questions that test your understanding of the passage(s).  The point of this section is to test your ability to read and comprehend dense material.  Lawyers and law students need to be able to consume large amounts of information and to have a good idea of what they’ve read.

The passages generally deal with a topic in history, humanities/literature, the law, and science.  The specific content of the passage is not important since the questions will deal with your understanding of the structure and arguments in the passage and not the details.  The test doesn’t assume that you have any previous knowledge or any in-depth knowledge of the topic.  The information in the passage is simply a vehicle for the test to evaluate your ability to read carefully and understand dense material.  The important thing to pay attention to in the passage is the structure and the reasoning, not the narrative or the aesthetic.  You’re not evaluating how well it’s written or how artistically it’s written.  You’re mainly paying attention to the point that the author is trying to make and the arguments and structure of reasoning that the author uses to make that point.

This section is difficult primarily because you’re going to be dealing with dense reading passages and learning how to critically evaluate those is not just a question of learning the right approach but you also need to develop concentration abilities and mental stamina.  And that isn’t something that’s learned like algebra or history but you actually have to spend a significant time practicing.  That being said, there is a right way and wrong way of analyzing the reading passages and these articles will outline it for you.

And in addition, if you don’t have a solid grasp of arguments and the logic and reasoning behind them you should go over those articles first because reading comprehension builds heavily on what you learn when you learn to do the arguments.  You can think of the passages as a set of interconnected arguments, and the questions are going to be roughly similar to the questions in the arguments section.

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