How to identify ‘Main Idea’ questions: Some typical phrasings for Main Idea questions are:
- What is the main point of the passage?
- What argument is the author making?
- The author is primarily concerned with advancing which of the following points?
- What is the main idea?
- Which of the following best summarizes the author’s argument?
Keep an eye out for words like main, general, summarize, and argument.
How to tackle them: If you follow the Five Steps strategy, you should be able to easily locate the main idea. Next, translate your conception of the main idea into something that matches one of the answer choices.
Passages on the LSAT are relatively short. Therefore, the answer to a main idea question cannot be too general or too specific. Main ideas tend toward medium focus. If stuck, eliminate the options that are at the extremes of specificity: either very general or very detailed. This may leave you with one – probably, the right – answer; even if it leaves you with more than one, you have still improved your chances of guessing correctly.
Guessing Drill: What is the main idea of the passage?
(Note: you are answering this question without seeing the question and are just evaluating answer choices to make a best guess).
A) The Native Americans of Wichita have a long and rich cultural history.
B) Native Americans have traditions.
C) Chief Running Horse of the Wichita Native Americans enjoys the traditional New Year’s dance because he likes to watch his neighbor, Lone Tree, dance.
D) People have traditions.
E) The Native Americans of Wichita use dance in many of their traditions.
Now analyze the answer choices, looking for super-specific or super-general wording. Which choice is the most general? Which is the most specific?