The Last Push: Reading Comprehension

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The clock is ticking on the final countdown to the June LSAT, and the pressure is on. If you already feel 100% prepared and like there is no room for improvement, then this post is not for you. But if you wouldn’t mind improving by a point or two, then read on.

We’ve already discussed some last-minute tips for improving your score for the Logical Reasoning and Logic Games sections, but the fun doesn’t stop there; today we’ll talk about quick wins for your Reading Comprehension score.

1. Refine your strategy

Each Reading Comprehension section generally has two easier passages (usually the first two), and two harder ones. In general, you should plan on doing those first two passages, unless you start one and realize that it’s pretty tricky.

Then, when faced with those last two passages, you should decide which to attack first. It usually makes the most sense to start with the one that has more questions, but if you know you tend to struggle with passages about quantum physics and realize that one of the passages is about string theory, it would be fine to skip that one and come back to it. Of course, the other school of thought is that you should attack the hardest passages first, when your mind is more fresh. So depending on your personal preference you may want to go that route.

Either way, make sure you go into the test with a clear plan for how you’ll handle the Reading Comprehension section.

2. Keep track of your mistakes

Although keeping a list of the errors you’ve made may sound terribly depressing, it can be really helpful for avoiding those mistakes in the future. Blueprint contributor Alex outlined his approach in a past post about improving on Reading Comprehension, but the short version is that you should keep a (physical or digital) list of the questions you got wrong and why you got them wrong, and you should read over that list pretty regularly. Even a simple awareness of mistakes you’ve made previously can help with avoiding those same mistakes in the future.

3. Don’t mindlessly underline

At this point, I’m convinced that it’s basic human instinct to underline stuff that seems important. That might serve you just fine in other arenas, but it’s unhelpful for Reading Comprehension because—although you’re recognizing that something seems important—you’re not taking the extra step of thinking about why it seems important.

So when you’re reading a passage and you start feeling that itch to underline a certain sentence, resist the urge and instead jot down a few words describing why that sentence stood out to you. You’ll find that you have a much clearer picture of the passage.

(There are two exceptions: we typically recommend underlining the author’s conclusion, if there is one, and any words or phrases that reveal the author’s attitude. But limit your underlining to those two things, so that it’s easier to look back at them.)

There’s still time to snag a few extra points on your Reading Comprehension, so keep practicing, and try implementing these tips. There are just a few more days until you never have to read about Thurgood Marshall or obscure 19th-century authors ever again!

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