The LSAT Reading Comprehension section is similar to that of the SAT and ACT exams but more challenging. LSAT passages tend to focus upon disputes and arguments (the legal process is based on an adversarial trial process, so this makes sense).
This course will teach you to “read between the lines.” Many of the reading techniques were already covered in our informal logic discussion, so you should review Logical Reasoning first. LSAT Reading Comprehension passages can be generalized as just informal logic arguments that stretch out into 450+ word passages.
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 as to 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 it 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.
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.
If you correctly analyze the tone, style, and content of the essay, you’ll be able to discern the dispute, the arguments, and what the author is trying to accomplish. That’s what we teach in this chapter.
Next LSAT: Week of June 12
- 00:45 – Reading Comprehension overview
- 01:19 – What makes passages easier or harder?
- 03:00 – The Reading Comprehension process has 4 steps: (1) Actively read, (2) Identify the main point, (3) Create a passage map, and (4) Read the questions.
- 08:35 – There are 3 main types of LSAT Reading Comprehension questions: Inference, Purpose, and Assumption.
- 11:31 – The Reading Comprehension topics include humanities, law, science, and society.
- 12:53 – The LSAT has 3 passages in a standard format and 1 passage in a comparative format.
- 14:00 – Trap answers
- 17:45 – Summary
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 wade through and process sentence after sentence like that 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 single purpose of answering the questions as efficiently and accurately as possible. To help you do this, we’ve created a five-step methodology discussed on the next page.
Next LSAT: Week of June 12