Category Archive: Advice on Reading Comprehension

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LSAT Reading Comp Book Club III: The Ancestor’s Tale

Science!

The word alone is enough to strike fear into the hearts of many LSAT takers. One of the reasons many people go to law school is that they’re not very good at science – maybe even afraid of it. For the most part, that’s fine. The LSAT is one of the only big standardized tests where you can get a perfect score without having a working knowledge of the Pythagorean theorem. If you can handle a couple of logical reasoning questions discussing basic concepts of numbers and percentages, you’re in the clear.

With one exception.

Just about every LSAT has one reading comp passage that deals with a scientific subject.

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LSAT Reading Comprehension Book Club II: 1491

This post is the first in a series of reviews of books by veteran Blueprint instructor Dan McCarthy that may help you improve your LSAT reading comprehension skills.

In my LSAT Reading Comprehension Book Club introduction last week, I said that now is a great time to work on your LSAT reading comprehension skills. Today, I’ll give you a concrete suggestion of a book that can help you develop those skills.

That book is 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles Mann. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book more perfectly designed to help you improve your LSAT reading comprehension skills. In some ways, the book is almost like a 400-page LSAT reading comprehension passage.

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LSAT Reading Comp Book Club I: The Introduction

Dan McCarthy is a veteran Blueprint LSAT Prep instructor who scored a 180 on his LSAT. This is the first installment of his multi-week guest series on the reading comprehension section of the LSAT.

One of the myths about the LSAT is that it’s impossible to improve your score on reading comprehension. That’s just not true. I’ve seen many students dramatically improve their reading comp performance, just as with every other section of the test. You just need some hard work and the right techniques.

That said, every myth is based on some form of truth. A significant part of what the LSAT tests in reading comp is your ability to, you know, read. And that’s something that’s built up over the long term.

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5 Tricks to Make Reading Comp on the LSAT Bearable

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.

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How to Stack Up in LSAT Reading Comprehension

As my class for the October LSAT progresses, I am running into a common enemy: Reading Comprehension.

For some reason I will never understand, students do not always enjoy practicing their Reading Comprehension skills. Even when I explain to them that a good score in this section will inevitably lead to a deep understanding of the hidden mysteries of the universe and a better-looking spouse in the future, I just do not see the determination in their eyes.

All joking aside, acing the Reading Comp on the LSAT is very important and, with good practice, very possible. Too many students stumble along and don’t really improve because of a lack of good practice in this area.

I very often find that students are bad at diagnosing their own problems.

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Diagnosing Weaknesses in Reading Comp

Reading comprehension can be one of the most frustrating sections of the LSAT. Since it often appears to be less black-and-white than games, for instance, people oftentimes feel disoriented and at a loss for how to improve. But reading comp is actually a lot more concrete than it at first appears, and by diagnosing your specific weaknesses you’ll be able to address them, then fix them.

First, see if you can find any specific trends pertaining to your misses. Often people miss a certain question type again and again, so go over many recent RC passages to see if that’s true for you. If you find that you’re getting a lot of main point and purpose questions wrong, you might be missing the forest for the trees, as it were. Getting bogged down in the details, and forgetting about the big picture.

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Getting Started: Early Issues with Reading Comp

During the last few lessons I’ve spent with my current class (whom I love unconditionally), a few issues have arisen as we worked through Reading Comprehension passages. The culmination was the moment when I was asked the following question:

“If I don’t understand the words, what should I do?”

You might assume that there is no answer to such a question, but you would be wrong. Over the years of teaching the LSAT, I have found that there is an answer to every question, a solution to every problem that students confront.

So here are a few tips that deserve repeating.

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Trouble with Reading Comprehension for the June 2011 LSAT? What to Do.

Today, we are three weeks from the LSAT.  This should be frightening, but exciting.  Over the last few months you’ve been learning how to do all the different problems on this terrible test, but now is about the time that the review phase of studying is going to start.  Now you start translating the skills you already have into higher scores.  You have to get used to doing problems out of order, working with time pressure, getting used to doing hours-straight of work, etc.  The more you practice, the better you’ll get.  Sometimes, though, it can seem like you hit a wall in any given section.  One of the sections this most commonly happens on is reading comprehension.

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Tackling the Early Issues with Reading Comprehension

During the last few lessons I’ve spent with my current class (whom I love unconditionally), a few issues have arisen as we worked through Reading Comprehension passages. The culmination was the moment when I was asked the following question:

“If I don’t understand the words, what should I do?”

You might assume that there is no answer to such a question, but you would be wrong.  Over the years of teaching the LSAT, I have found that there is an answer to every question.

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Through the Interwebs with Sophia: The Trials of Reading Comprehension

Improving on my reading comprehension has been tough lately. When I first encountered reading comp, I was actually excited to get away from heavy diagramming and scenarios, at least for a bit. I obviously know how to read, and I’ve been tested on my comprehension in school since I can remember. Putting this skill to the test didn’t scare me at first. I figured I could just bank on my natural ability to decipher reading passages. But, my unabashed confidence quickly exposed my Achilles heel. With logic games and logical reasoning, I am very methodical and detail-oriented from start to finish. In those questions, the fine details usually make the difference in sifting out the correct answers. With reading comprehension, getting lost in the details can cause you to miss the forest, as Trent Teti would say. As the passages and their respective questions have become more difficult, my number of incorrect answers has begun to increase as well.