The Best Reading Comp Advice I’ve Ever Heard

I know some you may be cringing at the title of this blog entry, but I must tell you, my dear LSAT test studiers, the Reading Comprehension section is the only section on the LSAT that puts all the answers directly in front of you. Now, trust me, I never thought I’d be sitting at this screen typing away suggestions to others of looking forward to the Reading Comprehension section; but, here I am. So that’s proof to you that there is a light at the end of the LSAT prep tunnel.

Some of you who have been with the blog from the beginning may know that I studied English Literature in undergad. So, my head was a tad inflated going in to the Reading Comp section of the test. I scoffed at it. Welcomed it with rolling eyes. I thought, bring it on. And so it did. My worst section was consistently that darned Reading Comprehension section. Time and time again I’d read each passage diligently and meticulously, noting tone and pattern so that I could analyze and read between the lines. You see, we English Lit elite were taught year after year how to look beyond the words on the pages of our text, and to get to the underlying meanings of the authors. We connected thought-out word after word to take steps forward on an invisible path the author had laid out for us. The path led us to "A"s on our papers and honors theses. I was very good at pinpointing these transparent breadcrumbs. Therefore, I thought I’d be amazing at the Reading Comprehension section. What more could it be than comprehending the reading in front of me?

Silly, pre-LSAT me. The great and underhandedly evil thing about the Reading Comprehension section is that it is so very blunt. There is no “reading between the lines” in the Reading Comprehension section. There is no “see beyond the page.” Your answers lay neatly in the words in front of you. That’s what I didn’t understand. I kept trying to connect unspoken point after point. But, I’m here to tell you that the Reading Comprehension section is very straightforward. And that is exactly what makes it difficult for the humanities majors in us all.

Something my LSAT instructor said to me during my LSAT prep was that every Reading Comprehension answer can be underlined in one or two sentences in the passage (other than main point questions of course!). If you cannot find the exact answer in a sentence in the passage, then it is not your correct answer. So, one day I sat down with over a dozen Reading Comprehension sections and took my time finding the corresponding sentence in each passage for each correct answer. And by golly, there it was! Every single correct answer had a sentence corroborating it in the passage. It’s really the best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten on the Reading Comprehension section.

If I had a dime for every time I heard a student say, “Every time I do a Reading Comprehension question, I come down to two answers and I always choose the wrong one,” then I’d be a very rich lady. Next time you come down to two answers, take a moment to see if you can find a sentence that matches one of your options. Whichever you can do that with is your winner. Try it out and get back to me.

Happy Studying!