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Tips for LSAT Reading Comprehension

Following is a list of LSAT test-taking tips that apply specifically to Reading Comprehension — one of four scored sections on the exam. Also available at this site is a Reading Comprehension tutorial that expounds on some of the tips provided below.

  1. Read all of the question stems before you read the passage. Before you begin reading the passage, read all of the question stems (the questions themselves, but not the answer choices). By doing so, you can read more actively — with an eye out for the information you'll need to answer the questions.

  2. Read the entire passage straight through, with pencil in hand. As you read, annotate words and phrases in the passage that convey key ideas and points, or jot down the passage's key points in the form of a bullet list or rough outline. Your annotations or notes can help you locate details as you tackle the questions and can help you recall passage details without re-reading significant portions of the text. Do not interrupt your reading to attempt any of the questions; doing so is likely to break your concentration.

  3. Think thesis. After reading the entire passage, review your notes and take about 15 seconds to sum up the passage in one or two sentences — a thesis statement of sorts. Doing so can be worthwhile because some questions will undoubtedly focus on the passage's central idea or primary purpose. In any event, no matter the question type eliminate any answer choice that runs contrary to the overall thesis.

  4. Beware sucker-bait answer choices. Look out for answer choices that provide accurate passage information but don't answer the question at hand. Also look out for answer choices that introduce information or ideas beyond those stated or implied in the passage. Finally, if the passage's author expresses his or her own viewpoint on the topic but discusses other points of view as well, beware answer choices that attribute a viewpoint to the wrong source.

  5. Review all your answers before leaving a question set. Once you attempt all of the questions in a set, you'll probably have a more complete understanding of the passage than when you started. With a better grasp of the entire passage you may very well change your mind about one or two of your answers, especially for earlier questions. So be sure to review those answers before moving ahead to the next question set.