The LSAT is one of the last things standing in the way for most students who want to enter law school. It’s an intense exam that tests your ability to form arguments, read, and make accurate assessments of situations. Ultimately, the LSAT is an exam that prepares law students for the intensity of the courses provided by the law school. Without a high LSAT score, it’s challenging to get into the best law schools.
The test is broken down into several parts. That said, our focus today is the reading comprehension section of the LSAT exam. The reading comprehension section is one of the most time-consuming, so maximizing your time and speed will help you succeed. We’ll take you through what to expect and how to succeed below.
What Is the LSAT Reading Comprehension Section?
The LSAT reading comprehension section is not the same as other multiple-choice sections on the test. Instead of multiple choice answers, test takers must read about 60 lines of text before getting to a group of questions. In many cases, the LSAT reading questions don’t even pertain to law, which is why it’s more challenging for law students who are more prepared for law-focused questions. The good news is that they give you enough information about the topic to answer the questions.
What Topics Are on the LSAT Reading Comprehension Section?
The LSAT reading comprehension section has a handful of topics. These topics are random and depend on the test that you’re taking. However, the most common categories include natural sciences, law, humanities, and social sciences. So, don’t worry; you won’t have to answer any questions about physics or math.
How Long Is the LSAT Reading Comprehension Section?
The LSAT reading comprehension section is 35 minutes long. It includes four sets of readings and questions, which gives students limited time to make it through the section. Students should spend between eight and ten minutes on each question within the reading comprehension section.
How Is the LSAT Reading Comprehension Section Scored?
Every question in the reading comprehension section of the LSAT exam is worth one point, which is the same as other multiple-choice questions. Depending on the exam, expect to find between 26 and 28 questions within the reading comprehension section.
What Types of Questions Are on the Reading Comprehension Section of the LSAT?
The reading comprehension section of the LSAT exam has a few types of questions. Like other sections of the test, questions vary in structure and amount based on the test. The question types on the LSAT reading comprehension include synthesis, inference, and identification. Each question type is designed to encourage students to pull data from the text.
More on each type is below.
Synthesis questions on the LSAT are some of the hardest you’ll find in the reading section. What makes synthesis questions challenging is that test-takers must expand on the story or what they read. So, for example, students may need to come up with a conclusion about the reading and explain how they got there.
Another challenging part of the reading comprehension section, inference, focuses on finding a relevant section of the text and expanding on it. It’s different from synthesis because students only have to come up with a conclusion based on a small paragraph or two. Otherwise, the way the question is answered is similar to the synthesis section.
The identification questions are usually the most straightforward questions within the reading comprehension section of the exam. Identification questions are less challenging than other questions because the answers are within the text. So students can comb through the text to find the answers they need. For these reasons, these questions should be quick to answer.
Tips for the LSAT Reading Comprehension Section
The LSAT reading comprehension section doesn’t have to be impossible. Following a few of our tips will help you take your LSAT score to the next level. What’s more, these tips will also help you in other sections of the exam. While we list some of the best tips to prepare for law school and the reading comprehension section of the LSAT below, we always recommend signing up for LSAT prep as well.
Always take notes on the reading comprehension section of the LSAT. Taking effective notes will help you find relevant information quickly. Make sure you take notes on your first read-through. Doing so takes less time and will give you a spot to return to when you get to the questions. Also, keep notes of every 3-4 lines of text. Doing so ensures that you maximize your time.
Skimming may seem like a necessity when you only have about 8-9 minutes per question and about 60 lines of text to read. That said, make sure you avoid skimming. Skimming will cause you to only get pieces of the story, which isn’t enough when answering LSAT questions. It’s better to slow down and make sure you do at least one complete read before going back to skim.
Look at the Big Picture
The big picture is everything when it comes to the LSAT exam. So whether you’re looking for details about a paragraph or the whole story, make sure you’re looking for themes, a thesis, and arguments within the details. Details are important, but you always have to connect them and form a bigger picture in the reading section of the LSAT exam.
Watch Out for Concessions
Concessions are when the author of a passage refers to an opposing argument. While this may seem relevant, in most cases, it has nothing to do with the bigger picture. Instead, it may just be the author giving respect to an opposing side. Always consider the bigger picture and use information that’s relevant to the author’s thesis.
Success is the only option for prospective law students who want to get into top law schools. However, the LSAT is known to stand in people’s way and cause problems. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be an impossible obstacle. Being prepared, using the right tutors, and following our tips will help you succeed on the LSAT exam.
Many of the tips we provided are not specific to the reading comprehension portion of the exam. You can also use many of the skills you learn here in other sections of the exam as well.