LSAT Reading Comprehension

The LSAT Reading Comprehension section contains four sets of reading questions; each set consists of a selection of reading material followed by five to eight questions. A lot of students have difficulty finishing all four reading comprehension sets on time. Or maybe able to complete all the passages, but feel rushed and uncertain about the answers picked.

LSAT Reading Comprehension Strategies

As you’ve probably already figured out, reading for the LSAT is a lot different than any other reading you’ve done. To make sure you have enough time to read and answer everything, you only have about 3 minutes to read each passage. You have to work quickly. To help you increase your competence, here are LSAT reading comprehension tips and common mistakes you should take note:

Reading Strategy

In every passage, concentrate on answering the following questions:

  • What is the big picture?
  • What is/are the conclusion(s) of the author?
  • Are there other opinions that agree or differ with the author’s conclusion(s)?
  • How is the passage ordered?

Questions Strategy

When encountering the reading comprehension questions, your main goals should be :

  1. Get the gist of the matter.
  2. Expect answers.
  3. Eliminate wrong answers that don’t fit the scope of the passage

Section Strategy

Your primary goals in approaching the reading comprehension section as a whole must be:

  • To order the passages from easiest to hardest.
  • To ensure to get through all the passages.
  • To stay focused.

Common mistakes test-takers commit:

  1. Underlining/Highlighting

Underlining/highlighting doesn’t give any sense when answering the questions. However, encircling structural keywords does, especially those showing contrast (“but,” “however,” “although,” etc.), point of view (“some say…”, “critics argue…”, etc.), and author opinion/emphasis (“very significant”, “more trouble”, “terrible”, etc.). By encircling these keywords, you’ll be able to grasp the key targets for questions.

  1. Too much re-reading

Minor details of the text are often more confusing than the main ideas. Learn to skim through certain parts of the passages. Slow down keywords that indicate contrast, point of view, or author’s opinion/emphasis as this is where you need to read more carefully. If you need them for a question, you can always go back to the passage. If you don’t, they aren’t relevant to the big picture.

  1. Excessive time spent reading

You have 3-4 minutes to read each passage, so don’t waste time. Pause at the end of every paragraph, jot down some notes, and continue. Use the first sentence in each paragraph to help you figure out what is important to remember then read for those items.

  1. Getting the main idea wrong

Make sure you keep an eye on two things: 1.) the author’s main idea and purpose, and 2.) answer. Wrong answers often deviate outside the scope of the text.

  1. Answering from memory

On easier passages, you might get to the correct answer based on your stocked knowledge, but relying on your memory as a constant strategy limits you from getting the gist of the section as a whole. Instead, use your notes to guide you where to look for answers. Anticipate which information will be relevant when you get to the questions.

  1. Inference questions

Inference questions inquire about the definition of a line, paragraph, or even an entire passage. These can encourage test takers to wrongly look for answers that could be possible given in the passage presented. Watch out for extreme wording and keep an eye on the big picture—the right answers are often safely worded and refer back to the main idea or overall scope.

  1. Bad decision on passage order

Remember, the LSAT is testing you on what kind of management choices you make in each of the sections. Ordering the passages based on the subject matter is one of the biggest mistakes of test-takers. Instead, order the passages from easiest to hardest based on keywords, structure, and authorial voice—not what the passage is about.

  1. Not getting to the final passages

Look for ways to cut down time spent on reading, then strategize your approach with the questions. Do the easy questions first before doing the tough ones. This way, you can make it to the final passages and answer the rest of the items.

  1. Losing focus

Reading the passage is not enough; it requires focus and active thinking of the possible questions and answers. Do not focus on the subject matter. Instead, focus on how the author put the passage together.

To help you improve on your LSAT Reading Comprehension, you can also look for practice tests, sample passages, and prep books online by searching:

  • LSAT Reading Comprehension Practice
  • Free LSAT Reading Comprehension Passages
  • LSAT Reading Comprehension PDF
  • LSAT Reading Comprehension Bible
  • LSAT Reading Comprehension Passage Type Training

Moreover, you can also visit LSAC’s webpage at LSAT Prep Books & eBooks for more reference on LSAT prep books and eBooks. Any of the prep books published on LSAC’s website can be made available in accessible formats upon request.

Frequently Asked Questions

What study materials do you recommend for the LSAT?

A high score on the LSAT will ideally start your law career. Moreover, it will lead to admission to the best law schools and increase your chance of acquiring a scholarship. Acing the LSAT is not impossible with the right guide. Here are the top recommended books by tutors and lawyers:

  • The LSAT Trainer: A Remarkable Self-Study Guide For The Self-Driven Student
  • 10 New Actual, Official LSAT PrepTests
  • The PowerScore LSAT Logic Games Bible
  • The PowerScore LSAT Reading Comprehension Bible Free Download
  • The PowerScore LSAT Reading Comprehension Passage Type Training
  • The PowerScore LSAT Logical Reasoning Bible
  • Manhattan Prep’s LSAT Strategy Guide Set
  • Kaplan Publishing’s LSAT Logic Games Unlocked
  • Mometrix Test Preparation’s LSAT Prep Books 2019-2020: LSAT Secrets Study Guide
  • APEX Test Prep’s The LSAT Tutor: LSAT Prep Books 2019-2020
How many practice LSAT tests can I get access to?

The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) produces over 60 complete, real LSAT tests available for purchase, including one free test and an extra 20 or so tests to be authorized to tutoring companies.

Could reading more books help my LSAT score?

As far as LSAT comprehension is concerned, reading lots of books can be done if one has a habit of reading a different stream of news, journals, magazine, and the like.

Learn About LSAT Scores, How They’re Calculated, And More!
How to improve reading comprehension in LSAT?

The LSAT has four passages in the Reading Comprehension section, including three single passages and one set of dual passages. You only have 3 minutes to read each passage that is why you need to answer quickly and correctly. To improve your reading comprehension, here are some tips:

  1. Quickly skim through the passages and decide the order you’d like to answer them.
  2. Jot down some notes after every paragraph.
  3. Decide your order again.
  4. Read and understand the question.
  5. Repeat.

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