The LSAT Reading Comprehension section will feel familiar because there is large overlap between it and the SAT and ACT exams (and many other standardized tests). The general strategies are similar. The LSAT is distinct in that it focuses on disputes and arguments more than other standardized tests (the legal process is based on an adversarial trial process, so this makes sense), and the question types are more challenging.

This course will teach you to “read between the lines.” We teach what you should have learned in school, but didn’t. Much of the reading techniques we discuss was already covered in our Logical Reasoning chapter, so we suggest that you review Logical Reasoning first. The Reading Comprehension section is much like Logical Reasoning, but with a longer attention span for its 450+ word passages.

This is an official video from LSAC (the organization that makes the LSAT).

The Challenge: evaluate perspectives

View reading comprehension passages as if they were a reality TV show where you have been dropped in a rain forest with no clues where you are or how to proceed. On the LSAT, a reading passage will be dropped in front of you and you will have no background on it whatsoever:

  • You don’t know what the title is.
  • You don’t know who the author is.
  • You don’t have enough time to fully read it.
  • You can’t see the paragraphs before or after the essay.
  • You don’t know when or where it was published.
  • The content is dense, boring, esoteric, and jargon-filled and covers a topic about which you have little knowledge (or interest).

….And your mastery of those 450 words will determine your future law school and career options.

Next LSAT: January 26

#1 Strategy: Look for Perspectives

This is a good video, but the last 30 seconds after the content ends is a commercial.

Reading comprehension essays are just long arguments with two or more opposing positions. The key process to understanding the essays and solving the questions is to discern the conflicting arguments.

Reading for a Purpose
The passages are intentionally jargon-filled and dense. In school you were taught to read for detail, but on the LSAT you would run out of time doing that. In order to perform well on this test, you will have to re-learn how to read.

Most traditional financial-market analysis studies ignore financial markets’ deficiencies in allocation because of analysts’ inherent preferences for the simple model of perfect competition.

That’s just one sentence. You will have to process and parse through sentence after sentence like this while also preparing for the questions that follow. If you know beforehand, however, what to look for, what to cue in on, and what to ignore in a passage, you will be able to stay in control and not get bogged down.

You are not reading the passages for pleasure or to acquire knowledge; you are reading for the singular purpose of answering the questions as efficiently and accurately as possible. To help you do this, we’ve created a five-step methodology.

Next LSAT: January 26