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LSAT: Reading Comprehension

Section Strategy
The most effective and efficient order approach the section:
choose your passage # of questions and degree of difficulty
Read the passage strategically
Identify the Question Type
Research the Relevant Text
Make a Prediction
Evaluate the Answer Choices
• Identify the topic
• Scope
• Purpose
• Main idea
Question Types
• Global
• Detail
• Inference
• Logic Function
• Logic Reasoning
Global Questions
• Identify the question type: "Main idea", "Purpose", "Organization"
• Task: Think big picture, Review T/S/P/MI, Consult you roadmap
• You should be able to predict an answer to most Global questions
• Do global questions first
• Global questions are usually the first and next to last questions
Detail Questions
• Identify the question type: "According to the author", "The passage states", "the author mentions"
• Task: Research the relevant text
Inference Questions
• Identify the question type: "the author implies", "the passage suggests", "likely to agree"
• Task: Read between the lines, Perhaps combine statements, Identify what must follow from the passage
• Inference means "must be true". It's a statement that must be true if everything in the stimulus is true.
• Inference questions require you to paraphrase the relevant text or make a deduction
• Common wrong answer choices; 180, faulty use of detail, extreme, out of scope
• Answer inference questions after you've already picked up points with Global and Detail questions
• The correct answer to an inference question doesn't require any information that isn't included in the stimulus
• Valid inferences aren't necessarily mind-blowing
• Beware of extreme wording in inference answer choices
• The correct answer doesn't have to take the entire stimulus into account
Logical Function Questions
• Identify the question type: "the author...primarily in order to", "primary purpose of the first passage", "best describes the function of"
• Task: Looks at the context of the detail or paragraph and ask why the author put it there
• Common wrong answer choices; 180, distortion, faulty use of detail
Logical Reasoning Questions
• Identify the question type: Will mimic LR question types, including
o strengthening / weakening - "supports" / "undermines"
o Principle - "principle"
o Parallel Reasoning - "analogies"
• Task: Use the appropriate LR strategy
Common Logical Reasoning & Reading Comp Wrong Answer Types
• Extreme Language
• Faulty use of detail
• Outside of scope
• 180
• Distortion
• Half Right, Half Wrong
• Irrelevant Comparison
Reading Strategically
Whatever strategy you choose, you should give the passage or pair of passages at least one careful reading before answering the questions. Try to distinguish main ideas from supporting ideas, and opinions or attitudes from factual, objective information. Note transitions from one idea to the next and identify the relationships among the different ideas or parts of a passage, or between the two passages in Comparative Reading sets. Consider how and why an author makes points and draws conclusions. Be sensitive to implications of what the passages say.
Roadmap the Text
You may find it helpful to mark key parts of passages. For example, you might underline main ideas or important arguments, and you might circle transitional words—"although," "nevertheless," "correspondingly," and the like—that will help you map the structure of a passage. Also, you might note descriptive words that will help you identify an author's attitude toward a particular idea or person.
• Always circle colon
• Always circle a question mark
Locate and use keywords
• Logic - Evidence and Conclusion (Therefore..., Since...)
• Contrast (However...)
• Continuation (Moreover...)
• Illustration (Examples of...)
• Emphasis / Opinion (Critics, Voices, Even)
• Sequence / Timing (Frame of reference, Dates, More Recently)
Contrast Keywords
But Despite
Yet Although
However Even So
Nevertheless Whereas
On the other hand Conversely
Emphasis Keywords
Remarkable (more / most) important
Compelling Substantial
Even more than
Opinion Keywords
Believed by Thought to be
Asserts Some maintain
Argues that According to
As X sees it The astronomers assumed
Contrast Keywords
; In addition
Also As well
Similarly Likewise
Illustration Keywords
: In contrast to
For example
Temporal Keywords
Since Until recently
Recent developments In the past
Historically Traditionally
Numerical Keywords
Three possible explanations There are two reasons for this
Abrams describes a fourfold structure
Evidence Keywords
Because Since
This is clear from
Conclusion Keywords
Thus Clearly as a result
And so
Words that reveal the author's viewpoint - Negative
Doubtful Unconvincing
Unlikely Danger
Words that reveal the author's viewpoint - Positive
Cogent Completing
Words that reveal the author's viewpoint - Uncertainty / Qualification
Seems Appears
Use the clues
• Proper Nouns & Names; look for same key word in the text or margin notes
• Line Reference; context is key. Look at the surrounding paragraph (+/- 2 sentences)
• Direct Quotes; context is key. Who is quoted (author, critic) Associated Keywords
• Paragraph References; consider paragraph in totality. Consider paragraph in context of larger argument
• Content Clues; word or phrase of the text. What paragraph. Look for associated key words
Comparative Reading
• Two short passages
• 6-8 questions
Testing Strategy
• Expect questions that reward your ability to identify points of agreement and disagreement between the passages