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READING COMPREHENSION

A Comprehensive Guide to LSAT Reading Comprehension 

RC Perfection is the complete guide for LSAT Reading Comprehension. With more than 20 chapters and over 500 pages long, it offers a comprehensive look at passage analysis, questions arranged by type, answer choice ranking, and passage-specific strategies.

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Struggling with reading comprehension? It’s time to work smarter, not harder. RC Perfection is the LSAT student’s advanced guide for improving critical reading and time management skills. 

Reading for Structure

Reading for structure is a necessary skill that students must develop to succeed at RC.
Remember that an LR stimulus argument is comprised of a main conclusion, premises, and auxiliary information; it’s helpful to think about a RC passage in a similar way. For every paragraph you read, ask:

  1. What is the main point/conclusion of this paragraph?
  2. How does the rest of the text support this idea?

Repeat the process for the entire passage. This time ask:

  1. What is the main point of each paragraph?
  2. How do all the main points form a coherent argument in support of the passage’s main conclusion?

Reading for Details

Once you are proficient at detecting the argument structure of an entire passage, it’s time to focus on the details. Keep an eye out for key words that reflect the author’s opinion, certain dates, definitions, and perspectives of different individuals, scholars, groups, or schools of thought.  

Using RC Questions to Guide Your Thinking

Four types of questions make up the majority of RC questions on the LSAT.  

  1. Main Point
  2. Purpose
  3. According to the Passage
  4. Inference

Each of these question types correspond very closely to a specific LR question type. Other than these four main types of questions, there’s a myriad of less common questions like Continue the Passage, Analogy, Organization, Author’s Attitude, Exemplify, Strengthen, and Weaken questions. We’ll talk about these in depth in RC Perfection. 

Main Point Questions

Main Point questions correspond closely to Main Conclusion questions in LR. It’s important to note that Main Point questions are not summaries of the passage. This is often confusing for many students. We are not looking for a regurgitation of what happened in each of the paragraphs but an answer that could work as the passage’s main conclusion. Ask:

  • Why is the author writing this passage?
  • Is he or she trying to convince us of something?
  • Is he or she trying to defend a point of view, attack another viewpoint, or explain a similar phenomenon?

Purpose Questions

Purpose questions ask us to identify the purpose of a word or sentence in a paragraph. Or, they might ask us to identify the purpose of a paragraph in the entire passage. These questions are very similar to Role Questions. For these questions, it is helpful to ask:

  • What is the relationship between the specified word/sentence and the main point of the paragraph/passage? Is it used to explain a concept? Is it to provide an example of support?

“According to the Passage” Questions 

All questions beginning with “According to the passage” can be solved by going back to the passage for explicit textual support. In other words, the correct answer choice must have direct proof from the passage. These questions often have answer choices backed up by hard-to-find details, so it’s crucial to hone your reading skills to the point of being able to quickly grasp the structure of the argument.

“According to the Passage” questions are similar to “Must be True” LR questions, in the sense that they can be proven via the passage.

Inference Questions 

Questions that ask you to infer something, such as which answer the author would most likely agree with, often cannot be fully backed up by textual evidence in the passage.

One tip is to think about these questions like “Most Strongly Supported” questions. Ideally, we would like to select an answer that is fully supported by the passage, but in the event that we are not 100% c ertain, choose the answer that has the most textual support. And just like MSS questions, we need to rank the answers in terms of their suitability.

Ranking Answers and Keyword Extraction 

Because the RC section has so many infer/MSS questions, it’s important to be extra careful with the answer choices. The goal is to find support in the passage, rank the answers, and utilize Keyword Extraction (noting the key nouns, verbs, and adjectives/adverbs). You can refer to the two Core Habits chapters in LR Perfection if needed.  

Time Management Strategies 

Practice RC with a sense of urgency. One strategy that works for me is to keep the time spent reading within 3-4 minutes (depending on the difficulty of the passage in question) and to devote the rest of your allotted time to the questions.
Like LG, the first two RC passages will be easier than the latter two. Try to finish the first two passages in 15 minutes so that you have the last 20 minutes for the harder passages.

Another strategy is to start with the most time-consuming passage (usually passage 3 or 4 has the most questions) and push yourself to finish that in 10 minutes. It sounds impossible, but if you are able to do that, I’ve found that a sense of accomplishment lends to greater confidence and therefore stronger momentum.

RC Perfection

RC Perfection is the advanced guide for LSAT reading comprehension. It builds on the core reasoning skills represented in LR Perfection, focusing on techniques for memory retention, critical reading, time management, and more.