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   LSAT Center Reading Comprehension Introduction

This is a breakdown of how to read in an effective manner. You can find out what the author is really saying by reading between the lines while looking for implied statements.

A typical LSAT test will include three Reading Comprehension passages that are straightforward essays follow by questions and one pair of "dual passages", also called "comparitive reading".

Dual passages feature two passages on a similar or related subject. The passages may agree with each other or may take different sides of an issue. Or, passage pairs may have complex relationship where one passage articulates a set of principles while another applies those principles.

Introduction to Reading Comprehension

Video Courtesy of Kaplan

Reading Comprehension Strategies

Video Courtesy of Kaplan

   The Challenge

View reading comprehension passages as if they were a reality TV show where you are dropped in a rain forest with no clues about 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.

1. You don't know who the author is.
2. You don't know what the title is.
3. You don't have enough time to fully read it.
4. You can't see the paragraphs before or after the essay.
5. You don't know when or where it was published.
6. The content is dense, boring, esoteric and jargon-filled.

….And your mastery of these 300 words will determine your future law school and career.

You're going to need a compass!

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. This means that you have to re-learn how to read.

Financial-market analysis studies ignore deficiencies because of analysts' inherent preferences for perfect rationality.

You will have to process through sentences like that while preparing for the questions that follow. If you know what to look for, what to cue in on, and what to ignore in a passage, you stay in control and not get think clearly. You are not reading the passages for enjoyment or acquisition of knowledge; you are reading for the purpose of answering the the 11 question types (below) as efficiently and accurately as possible.
Macro Questionsgeneral issues (macro is Greek for large or "big picture")
1. Main idea
2. Purpose of the passage
3. Tone
4. Organization of the passage
5. Category of Writing (Advanced)
6. Identity of the author (Advanced)

Micro Questions—refer to specific elements of the essay
7. Detail of the passage
8. Definition of a term or phrase
9. Support for a premise – Where’s the proof?
10. Function of part of the passage (Advanced)

11. Inference

A: Reading Comp Introduction
B: The Five Steps
C: Question Types
D: Tips for Finding the Right Answer

Continue to Chapter 2.B: The Five Steps

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