Category Archive: Advice on Reading Comprehension

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Tackling Comparative Reading Passages on the LSAT

Reading Comprehension is probably the most ignored section of the LSAT. People tend to think something like, “I’ve been reading since I was five. If I can’t get it by now, I’m just gonna have to live with it.” But, Reading Comp isn’t reading as usual, so putting in the practice does pay off. Reading Comp’s peculiarities are most evident from the Comparative Reading passages. You get two passages and a single set of questions related to one or both passages. When’s the last time you had to go through something like that reading, say, the Huffington Post?

In case you’ve been struggling with Comparative Reading passages, we’ve got your back. Here are some of the strategies our students find helpful.

Step 1: Tag the crap out of the first passage

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Last-Minute Tips: Reading Comprehension

With less than three weeks until the June LSAT, it’s time to buckle down on studying. This week we’re offering one important last-minute tip for each LSAT section. Today, we talk about Reading Comprehension; stay tuned for Logic Games and Logical Reasoning!

Reading Comprehension is the most familiar section on the LSAT. Everyone taking the test already knows how to read (I assume). They answered reading questions on the SAT. They read the newspaper (kidding). So, as most people start studying for the LSAT, they feel like RC is one area they don’t have to worry too much about.

Which is good, of course. But the tradeoff is that people often feel like there are few good ways to improve. Fatalism about your RC score tends to set in, especially as your test day approaches.

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Reading Comprehension: Focus on Structure or Content?

The Reading Comprehension section of the LSAT is all about…reading comprehension. With that tautology aside, many students find it difficult to strike the proper balance between reading for detail and reading for structure.  Striking this balance is essential for the kind of comprehension that the LSAT tests students on. This post is dedicated to helping you develop the skills to quickly gain both a macro and micro understanding of the stimulus, which will allow you to work through the questions effectively and efficiently.

1. Know What You’re Looking For
If you’re just starting out on the LSAT, this first tip is probably a little bit frustrating because it’s not immediately apparent.

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Conquer LSAT Reading Comp This Columbus Day

Wouldn’t it be great if everyone could just get along? If we could all bake cakes filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone would eat and be happy?

Unfortunately, that’s not always going to be the case — there will be disagreements. On the LSAT, this means antithesis passages in Reading Comprehension.

An antithesis passage is a passage where there are two opposing viewpoints. These are the most common type of LSAT passage, so it’s important to understand their format and how having multiple viewpoints affects the structure of the passage. Since today is Columbus Day, a holiday that has become increasingly controversial in recent years, what better way to discuss antithesis passages than by using an example based in reality? (Who says the LSAT isn’t applicable to real life?!)

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Let Tolkien Help You Desolate LSAT Reading Comprehension

“Don’t be hasty.”

If you’re familiar with the sprawling fantasy epic that is J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, then you probably recognize those wise words from Treebeard the Ent. (You probably know that today is Tolkien Reading Day, as well.) What you may not as readily recognize is the applicability of this quotation, and of reading The Lord of The Rings, to the Reading Comprehension section of the LSAT.

LSAT Reading Comprehension passages are often dry and dense, and thus many students find this section particularly daunting. Whether the subject is a scientific analysis of a platypus’ bill or a historical description of the cakewalk, it is often difficult to unpack these passages in order to effectively answer questions about them.

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Tips to Make LSAT Reading Comp Not Feel Like Pulling Teeth

When given a choice between doing an LSAT Reading Comp section and getting a root canal, many LSAT-takers would opt for the dental work without hesitation.

This notorious section can be dense, dull and difficult, and as the June LSAT approaches, you may find yourself frustrated because your Reading Comp scores refuse to budge. Fear not. Just as with the rest of the LSAT, practice makes perfect, and with these tips you’ll find yourself inching ever closer to your goal score. And all without novocain!

Tip #1 for LSAT Reading Comprehension Domination: Change how you look at LSAT Reading Comp

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Four Quick Fixes for LSAT Reading Comprehension

LSAT Reading Comprehension is a fickle mistress. You could be blessed with a difficult passage on the same topic as your senior thesis, or you could be cursed with a science passage that has nearly as much Latin as English.

You could have one RC section slotted in third, early enough that you’re still fresh but late enough for you to have built up some momentum. Or you could have back-to-back RC sections to start off the test.

Whatever the gods of fate (LSAC) are going to throw your way on LSAT test day, you need to be prepared. But so many people feel that they’re limited in how much they can improve in RC. While it’s certainly a different process than Logical Reasoning and Logic Games, there is a process to improve.

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5 Websites that Will Help You on LSAT Reading Comp

Success on LSAT Reading Comprehension depends a great deal on one’s reading ability (I know, you don’t need to be a prophet to arrive at this stunning revelation). But how do you become a “better” reader? You presumably mastered reading in middle school, so it may seem that by the time you reach adulthood your reading skills are as good as they’re going to get.

The truth of the matter, however, is that you can significantly improve your reading speed and comprehension by simply reading more. People who regularly read books and articles will not only read faster, but also have better retention of what they read. This is because ample reading literally improves your short-term memory, allowing you to retain content more accurately and for a longer period of time.

So if you are having trouble finishing LSAT Reading Comp passages in a timely manner, you know what you have to do—read more!

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LSAT Reading Comp Book Club V: Wrap-Up

Dan McCarthy is a veteran Blueprint LSAT Prep instructor. This is his final post in a series on improving one’s reading skills for the LSAT reading comprehension section.

We have finally reached the end of the first edition of the LSAT Reading Comp Book Club. My motivation in writing these posts has been to provide an answer to one of the most common questions my students ask me: What can I read to get additional practice for LSAT reading comprehension? If you’ve been reading these posts faithfully, you now have three solid starting points.

If you haven’t been reading them faithfully (tisk tisk), here’s your chance to catch up:

LSAT Reading Comp Book Club I: The Introduction

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LSAT Reading Comp Book Club IV: Books About Law

The focus for today’s LSAT Reading Comp Book Club is law. Each LSAT typically includes one passage on a law-related subject, and if you’re taking the LSAT, I’d hope you’re interested in the subject. Instead of talking about just one book, I’m going to give you three different works to consider this week.

My first two recommendations are non-fiction stories about how the law actually works. These stories are meant to be entertaining, but also realistic. Sort of like The Devil’s Advocate, except that the Al Pacino character isn’t literally the devil. Actually, there’s no Al Pacino character at all. If you’re reading a book about law and you realize that someone is saying something that sounds like an Al Pacino speech, that’s not what we’re going for here.

First up is A Civil Action by Jonathan Harr.