Who doesn’t love Reading Comprehension? It is perhaps the most exciting part of the LSAT. Well, that’s probably true only if you find answering difficult questions about species extinction, literary theory, and dead legal scholars to be “exciting.” So perhaps Reading Comp is less “exciting” and more “horrific.” But it doesn’t have to be so. Here are five tips to help make RC less of a waking nightmare and more of a wet dream.
1. Get Excited for Reading Comp on the LSAT – Doing well on RC starts before you even begin. Upon turning the page and seeing those tedious, tiresome passages, you may feel many things – despair, dread, existential ennui. But if you go in feeling pessimistic, you’re going to do poorly. If you can get yourself excited, however, you can really do a lot better. It’ll allow you to be more engaged in the passage, which will in turn increase both your comprehension and speed. So remind yourself that you’ll be learning something new, and convince yourself that it’s interesting, and your score will thank you.
2. Review the Passage – When you’re done reading a reading comp passage on the LSAT, it’s easy to get so bogged down in details that you forget what the whole thing was actually about – missing the forest for the trees, as it were. To prevent this, look back through the whole passage one more time after you read it. Don’t actually reread the thing, but go over your tags to make sure you’ve got the whole picture. You should be able to rattle off the Main Point, Purpose, and Author’s Attitude prior to hitting the questions. If you can’t, then you probably didn’t understand the passage well enough.
3. The Speed Comes on the Questions – One of the hardest parts of RC is getting it done in time, but the place to shave time is more in the questions than in the passage itself. You need to make sure you have a good understanding of what you read – if you don’t, you’ll be hemorrhaging points left and right. You’ll gradually get faster at getting through them, but where you should really push yourself is in the questions – if you truly understand what you read, then you should be able to go through them quickly without sacrificing accuracy.
4. Review Your Misses – This is one of the biggest things people neglect to do, but it’s absolutely necessary. If you don’t understand why you made your mistakes, you’ll be doomed to make them again. Go over every question you get wrong, figuring out why the one you picked is wrong and why the right one is right. You’ll start to see patterns to your misses that you can then work on fixing.
5. Keep Practicing – This is the most important and most inescapable way to get better at Reading Comp on the LSAT. Yes, you need to be engaged, you need to understand the passage, you need to use good methods – but all of these are pointless if you don’t practice. The more you do reading comp, the better and faster you’ll get. So get out there, break into a nice Reading Comp section, and say hello to dinosaurs, Willa Cather, and Jeremy Bentham. They’re all waiting for you.