LSAT Reading Comprehension Guide
The LSAT has one Reading Comprehension section containing approximately 27 questions. Test-takers have 35 minutes to complete the whole section. In the Reading Comprehension section of LSAT, you will have to read three individual passages and one pair of shorter passages. Each passage, including the pair of passages, will be followed by 6-7 questions. This section aims to test the ability to read and understand complex materials of different topics.
The pair of passages you will be introduced with while completing the LSAT Reading Comprehension section is known as Comparative Reading. The Comparative Reading questions deal with the relationships between two passages (Passage A and Passage B) and test the candidates’ ability to understand their relationships. The Comparative Reading section within Reading Comprehension was introduced in June 2007 for the first time.
The following LSAT Reading Comprehension guide will give you an idea of what the RC questions might look like and what they focus on.
Reading Comprehension Sample Questions
During the LSAT, you will be introduced to one Reading Comprehension scored section. This section will provide you with three reading passages (of up to 460 words) of different topics, including law, science, history, or the humanities, and one pair of passages of the same topics. Each section will be followed by up to seven questions relevant to the passage, testing your understanding of the passage.
The following 12 questions are real examples of questions on the previous LSAT administrations, such as the September 2019 and November 2018 administrations (published by the LSAC).
After reading a passage of up to 460 words, test-takers will have to answer up to seven questions similar to the following:
- Which of the following most accurately describes the main point of the passage? (5 options)
- Based on the passage, the relationship of [something/someone] is most analogous to the relationship between _______. (5 options)
- Which one of the following most accurately describes the author's attitude regarding [something]? (5 options)
- Which one of the following most accurately describes the relationship between the final paragraph and the first paragraph? _______. (5 options)
- According to the passage, which one of the following was true of [a place’s] agricultural system? (5 options)
- The passage provides information that is most helpful in answering which one of the following questions? (5 options)
- It can be inferred from the passage that which one of the following best explains the discrepancy in the findings reported in the last sentence of the second paragraph? (5 options)
- Which one of the following is most strongly supported by the passage? (5 options)
- Which one of the following most accurately expresses the main purpose of the final paragraph of the passage? (5 options)
- The passage suggests that [person] most likely holds which one of the following views regarding [a situation]? (5 options)
- The author would be most likely to agree with which of the following statements? (5 options)
- Which one of the following most accurately describes the organization of the passage? (5 options)
These questions ask about the main point/purpose of the given passage, the relationships between people within the passage, and the relationship between two different paragraphs within the passage. The author’s attitude toward a certain situation and their views on particular issues are also important to understand while reading the passage. The questions listed above are not inclusive and vary depending on the given passage and topic.
Comparative Reading Sample Questions
Comparative Reading includes two different (and shorter) passages, where test-takers are required to compare and contrast the passages, specifically their purpose, tone, or the author’s point of view. The questions you will see in this subsection of Reading Comprehension, are similar to the ones within the section. However, the 5-7 questions of the Comparative Reading subsection deal less with the details and more with comparing and contrasting.
The following 6 questions are real examples of questions that appeared on the previous LSAT administrations, such as the November 2018 administration (published by the LSAC).
After having been given two passages each up to 250 words, test-takers are asked to answer questions similar to the following, regarding the relationship between the two passages:
- Both passages are primarily concerned with answering which one of the following questions? (5 options)
- Which one of the following most accurately describes the attitude of the author of passage B toward the type of argument presented in passage A? (5 options)
- The meaning of the phrase [specific phrase] (line 30) as it is used in passage A is most closely related to which one of the following concepts in passage B? (5 options)
- It is most likely that the authors of the passages would disagree with each other about the truth of which one of the following statements? (5 options)
- Which one of the following, if true, would cast the most doubt on the argument in passage B? (5 options)
- Which one of the following conforms to the policy advocated by the author of passage A but not advocated by the author of passage B? (5 options)
Your Reading Comprehension Success Plan
Keep in mind that all the passages presented in each Reading Comprehension section follow a similar structure, including approximately three to four paragraphs. Each paragraph focuses on a main idea, supported by opinions, facts, and other supporting details. While studying for the LSAT Reading Comprehension section, practice and strategy development are essential for success. Take a look at the following tips:
Read Intentionally and Actively: It is important to think critically about the text you are reading. Think about what might show up on the questions and understand the main idea of the passage. Stay active by jotting down some quick margin notes regarding the passage’s main and supporting ideas. Note/circle any information that appears important, such as dates or percentages. Additionally, circle words like the ones that indicate contrast (“but,” “although,” etc.) or the words that express the author’s opinion on significant matters.
Answer Questions You Know First: There is no harm in answering the questions you know first and not spending too much time on questions that you are struggling with. It is important to know that you have approximately 8 minutes to both read one passage and answer up to seven questions. You should answer the questions you know first and go back to the other ones later for the remainder of your 8 minutes. Whatever you do, make sure you go to the end of the whole section by the time the 35 minutes are up.
Check the Details in the Answer Options: You will notice while you are practicing or during the LSAT that many answer options tend to be quite similar to one another. Usually, it is not immediately obvious what the difference between them is. Make sure you break down the questions and look for the details and specifics. The difference is often in the wording. Eliminate the answers that appear to be wrong and, instead, work your way through fewer options. If all else fails and time is running out, go with your gut feeling.