1. Don’t ignore reading comprehension!
Students are often tempted to overlook reading comprehension on the LSAT. It feels familiar. You had reading comprehension on the PSAT, the SAT, and every other standardized test you’ve ever taken. The LSAT can’t be any different. So why bother studying for it? My time is better spent on logic games or logical reasoning. I’ll wing reading comprehension.
Don’t skip preparing for reading comprehension! Spend time getting comfortable with the reading comprehension section. Even if you feel you know it already. Always take the reading comprehension section when doing LSAT practice tests. The more you do, the faster you’ll get at this part of the exam. There are LOTS of points to pick up! Don’t lose them by blowing off studying for reading comprehension. A good reading comprehension score is the key to securing a solid LSAT score.
2. Don’t get lost in the details. Look for the big picture.
Students often feel overwhelmed when faced with a LSAT reading comprehension on a complex scientific topic or a dry historical topic. The topic doesn’t matter! What the LSAT is mostly testing is your ability to pick up on the big picture. Why did the author write this passage? What’s the main point to each paragraph? How does each paragraph fit into the overall passage? The vast majority of questions focus on the bigger ideas, not the small complicated details.
3. Take notes.
As you read through the passage, write on it. Take side notes. Write or highlight the main point of every paragraph. This will serve as your outline. It’ll help you locate where things are should questions ask for it. Also, putting things in your own words will help you both remember what you read and make sense of it.
4. Look up words you don’t know.
While the LSAT is not a vocabulary test, if you hit a word you don’t know, look it up. The LSAT repeats vocabulary frequently. So it is worth your time to look up any words that are unfamiliar to you. This will help you feel comfortable if you hit that word on test day.
5. Read the passage!
Read the passage first. Do not read the questions. The majority of questions are about the main point of the passage, so reading the questions first is just a waste of time. Rather, spend this valuable time on the passage itself. Read carefully and be sure you understand the main point to the passage before moving on to the questions. This comfort with the passage will make answering the questions much easier.
6. Practice reading faster.
The first time you take a timed LSAT reading comprehension section, you may not make it threw all the passages and questions. That’s ok. As you practice, set goals for yourself. Try to make it through an extra question, or passage, with each new LSAT test you take. Remember, you just need to be comfortable with the big concepts in the passage, so it’s ok if you don’t remember every detail you read. You don’t need to remember that stuff. The goal is to read just slowly enough that you know the main point to each paragraph and the overall thesis of the passage.
About the Author
Jayeeta Kundu is one of MyGuru’s most senior LSAT tutors. She’s been an in-person LSAT tutor in Chicago for the past several years while obtaining her law degree from the University of Chicago. Her undergraduate degree is in Physics and Economics from Reed College, and she holds a M.S. in Technology from MIT as well. She’s worked at several of the larger, well known national test prep companies, tutoring for the SAT, GRE, GMAT, and of course, the LSAT. She is also currently an academic counselor at the University of Chicago law school.