General Strategy for Reading Comprehension

For some, the Reading Comp section can be a walk in the park, and for others, it can be a nightmare. The good news is that the skills needed to ace this section are totally learnable, and with the right practice you’ll get better over time. This brief guide will walk you through what your general strategy should be for each reading passage. If you practice and get good at working through reading passages in this way, you should eventually be able to perfect your score on this section.

  • How you should read the passage

Your first order of business is to read through the passage. Your two goals should be 1) to understand and digest all of the information as you read it, and 2) to commit the overall structure of the passage to memory.

This means you’re not simply skimming the passage, but it also means you’re not memorizing small details, names, and examples. Just read through everything and make sure you generally understand what you’re reading.

The reason it’s pointless to try to memorize details is that that’s the stuff you’ll have to check back for anyway as your answering the questions. The main thing is to remember where everything was in the passage so that you’ll know where to check back when you’re asked about something specific. In other words, know what each paragraph was about. That way, when you’re asked about, say, the benefits of nuclear power over solar power, you’ll know to check back to paragraph 3, and so on.

In general, it’s best not to worry about the clock until you’ve mastered the test. However, just so you have a ballpark for what your ultimate goal should be, it should eventually take about 3-3.5 minutes to read a passage this way. That’s enough time to understand everything and memorize the overall structure (what the main points of each paragraph were). Your memory works better when you shelve things off – having a different shelf in your memory for each paragraph will enable you remember the unique points of each one more easily.

  • Be sparing with marking up the passage

Don’t take too many notes, if any at all. Writing things down is somewhat pointless since the passage is all right there so you’re just wasting time rewriting stuff that’s already on the page. The most it could ever make sense to do would be to sum up each paragraph in one or two words or an abbreviation (ex. “Tom’s research”, “berries vs. melons”), but truthfully, even this is unnecessary if you get good at memorizing what each paragraph’s main point was, as stated above (you’re essentially doing this in your head instead of on the page).

The only thing I recommend is underlining key words to help enforce your visual memory of the passage. Also, underlining doesn’t take any extra time since you can do it as you’re reading. It can help to underline main points, or transitional words/phrases like “moreover” and “on the other hand”, in order to break up the passage and see where all the main points were made.

Sometimes, I find it also useful to use parentheses around parts of the passage that were brought as examples, or were otherwise supplementary. Often, the only novel point in a paragraph is made in the first sentence, and the rest of the paragraph is just examples illustrating that main point. It could be helpful to underline that main point, and then put each of the supplementary examples in a separate set of parentheses, in order to be able clearly see the structure of the paragraph when you’re checking back in order to answer questions.

  • Why you should read the passage first

Some people think that it makes sense to look at the questions first, figure out what they’re asking and only then read through the passage, looking specifically for the answers to them. I’m opposed to this for a couple of reasons.

First of all, whenever possible, I prefer doing the LSAT as organically as possible – do things in the order they appear on the page without getting too creative. Keeping things simple allows you to divert all of your mental energy towards answering the questions correctly without thinking about skipping ahead, coming back, etc. Each passage has a handful of questions – that’s a lot of things to keep in your mind as you’re reading the passage. You’ll likely forget what one or two of them were, look back at the questions, take a second to find your place again in the passage… why not just keep it simple and do things in order?

The other thing is that it won’t always be obvious what info you’ll need to answer a question until you’ve read and understood the whole passage. Sometimes the evidence for the answer to a question will come from more than one place in the passage. It’s much more effective to first have a big-picture, “macro” understanding of the passage, and then check back for the details necessary to answer the questions.

  • Don’t be afraid of science-related stuff

Many people get freaked out by scientific passages. For me, scientific passages are somewhat relieving because I’ve noticed that when the concepts are very technical, the authors of the test seem to compensate by making the logical structure of the passage simpler, and the logical structure of the passage is really all that matters.

The thing to remember here is that you only need to understand things to the extent they are presented to you. So, if a passage mentions photosynthesis as the way that plants convert CO2 into food, then all you need to know about photosynthesis is that it’s the way plants convert CO2 into food. You don’t need to understand exactly how it works (unless the passage describes how it happens). You just need to understand, very generally and superficially, what photosynthesis is, and how it was relevant to the passage.

Some of my students get hung up trying to make sense of complicated concepts that were mentioned in the passage but not fully explained. Remember – if something is not fully explained, you only need to understand it to the extent that it is explained. You can ace an entire passage even if there was a point made within it that you don’t fully understand, as long as you understand why it was made and how it played into the overall logical progression of the passage.

  • Remember: the answer to each question is in there somewhere, in black and white

After you read the passage in the way described above, answering the questions should be easy, since you should know roughly where each of the various topics were in the passage, so whatever a question asks you, you should think “OK, this topic was discussed in the first half of paragraph 2, so that’s where I have to check back for the answer”.

The key here is that the proof for the answer is in there somewhere. More so than on the other sections, Reading Comprehension questions can often seem murky and subjective. Often, a question can seem as if more than one of the answers are possible, especially when the questions ask you to infer something from the passage. For example, “It can be inferred that the author of the passage would agree with which one of the following statements?” can have you thinking “I don’t know the author personally – how on earth should I know?”

However, there is always evidence in the passage proving whatever the right answer is, and it can usually be traced to a specific sentence or phrase. You just have to hunt for where that sentence or phrase is (and because of your structural memorization of the passage that should be easy). Maybe the author chose a particular word at one point that proves that he/she agrees or disagrees with a point of view. The point is – the proof is in there somewhere. And more importantly, that proof is not there for the 4 wrong answer choices. So don’t go with your gut – look for the actual proof and go with the definitively correct answer.

  • Comparative reading passages are no different

Comparative reading passages, which present you with two short passages instead of one longer one, started appearing on the LSAT in 2007, and should be treated in exactly the same way. Read through the passages one at a time, understand all of the main points, commit their structures to memory, and then work through the questions. (You’ll probably automatically notice the places where the two authors agree or disagree with each other, and it can help to take note of that.)

Personally, I find the comparative reading passages easier than the longer individual passages, since even though there are two of them, they are shorter and tend to be more bite-size and one-dimensional, with simpler logical structures. Remember, as stated above, logical structure is what matters most on this section.

So there you have it – this is how you should approach every reading comp passage you ever see. If you keep working through more and more passages like this, and practice your speed-reading, you’ll perfect this section and eventually be able to confidently find the answer to every question.

Also, in order to have full clarity on very tough reading comp passages, check out my LSAT Course.


  1. Les Dys says:

    Because the old saying goes, inside of the specialist’s thoughts there are few scenarios, however for an individual possessing a learner’s mind, the world is open up.

  2. gamefly says:

    Fine way of telling, and pleasant post to take data regarding my presentation subject, which i am going to deliver in academy.

  3. Incredible! This blog looks exactly like my old one! It’s on a entirely different topic but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Superb
    choice of colors!

  4. gamefly says:

    My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find a lot of your post’s to be precisely what I’m looking for.
    Would you offer guest writers to write content for you personally?
    I wouldn’t mind publishing a post or elaborating on most of
    the subjects you write concerning here. Again, awesome

  5. gamefly says:

    hello there and thank you for your info – I’ve certainly picked up
    something new from right here. I did however expertise a few technical issues using this site, since I experienced to reload the site lots of times previous to I could get
    it to load correctly. I had been wondering if your web host is OK?
    Not that I am complaining, but slow loading instances times will sometimes affect your placement in google and can damage
    your high quality score if advertising and marketing with Adwords.
    Well I am adding this RSS to my e-mail and can look out for a lot more of your respective interesting content.
    Ensure that you update this again soon.

  6. It’s an amazing piece of writing designed for all the online
    people; they will obtain benefit from it I am sure.

  7. I am sure this post has touched all the internet people, its really really pleasant article on building up new weblog.

  8. Whats up are using WordPress for your blog platform?
    I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get
    started and set up my own. Do you require any html coding
    knowledge to make your own blog? Any help would be greatly

  9. I am not sure where you’re getting your information, but good topic.
    I needs to spend some time learning more
    or understanding more. Thanks for great information I was looking
    for this information for my mission.

  10. g says:

    Excellent weblog right here! Also your site a lot up fast!
    What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate hyperlink to your host?

    I desire my web site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  11. g says:

    I got this web page from my buddy who informed me about this web
    site and at the moment this time I am visiting this web page and
    reading very informative posts here.

  12. g says:

    I have been surfing online greater than three hours today, but I
    never found any fascinating article like yours. It’s pretty
    price sufficient for me. In my view, if all webmasters and bloggers made excellent content material
    as you probably did, the net might be a lot more helpful
    than ever before.

  13. g says:

    Have you ever thought about publishing an ebook or guest
    authoring on other websites? I have a blog based upon on the same topics you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information. I know my readers would appreciate your work.
    If you are even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me
    an email.

  14. One of the best manufacturers of stair carpet exclusive invites you to a special occasion.

  15. Incredible quest there. What happened after? Take care!

  16. Hi to every one, the contents existing at this website are in fact amazing for
    people experience, well, keep up the nice work fellows.

  17. It’s in fact very difficult in this busy life to listen news on Television, therefore I simply use world wide web for that reason, and take the newest news.

  18. I was pretty pleased to discover this website. I want to to thank you for your time for this particularly wonderful read!!
    I definitely enjoyed every part of it and i also have you saved as a favorite
    to look at new things on your website.

  19. Greetings! I’ve been following your site for a while now and
    finally got the courage to go ahead and
    give you a shout out from Atascocita Texas! Just wanted to tell you keep up the good job!

  20. This is a topic which is close to my heart…
    Take care! Where are your contact details though?

  21. Hi I am so grateful I found your blog, I really found you by mistake, while
    I was browsing on Yahoo for something else, Nonetheless I am here now and would just like to say cheers for a marvelous post and a all round enjoyable blog (I also love the theme/design), I
    don’t have time to read through it all at the moment but I have bookmarked it and also included your RSS feeds, so
    when I have time I will be back to read more, Please do keep up the superb b.

  22. I think that is one of the most significant info for me.
    And i’m satisfied reading your article. But want to commentary on some
    normal issues, The site taste is ideal, the articles is actually great : D.

    Just right process, cheers

  23. Hello, i think that i noticed you visited my weblog thus i came to go back
    the want?.I’m trying to find issues to improve my website!I assume its adequate to make
    use of some of your ideas!!

  24. This is very fascinating, You are an excessively professional
    blogger. I have joined your feed and stay up for in the hunt for extra of your wonderful post.
    Additionally, I have shared your site in my social networks

  25. I have read so many content regarding the blogger lovers however this post is actually a nice post, keep it up.

  26. It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d definitely donate
    to this brilliant blog! I suppose for now
    i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed
    to my Google account. I look forward to fresh updates and will share
    this website with my Facebook group. Talk soon!

  27. Excellent goods from you, man. I have understand
    your stuff previous to and you’re just extremely wonderful.
    I really like what you’ve acquired here, certainly like what you are saying and the way in which you say it.
    You make it entertaining and you still care for
    to keep it wise. I cant wait to read far more from you.
    This is really a great website.

  28. Today, I went to the beach with my children. I found a sea shell and gave
    it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and screamed.
    There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is entirely off topic but I had
    to tell someone!

  29. Hello! This is kind of off topic but I need some guidance from an established blog.

    Is it very hard to set up your own blog?

    I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty
    fast. I’m thinking about creating my own but I’m not sure where to start.
    Do you have any tips or suggestions? Cheers

  30. backlink says:

    Hi to all, because I am actually keen of reading this web site’s post to be updated
    daily. It includes nice stuff.

  31. Hi there! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading through this article reminds me of my previous roommate!

    He always kept preaching about this. I’ll forward this article to him.
    Pretty sure he’ll have a good read. Thank you for sharing!

  32. ps4 games says:

    A person essentially help to make severely posts I’d state.
    This is the very first time I frequented your website page and up to now?

    I surprised with the analysis you made to create this actual post extraordinary.
    Great task!

  33. fantastic post, very informative. I ponder why the other experts of this sector do not realize this.

    You must continue your writing. I’m sure,
    you have a great readers’ base already!

  34. Good replies in return of this question with solid arguments and describing everything regarding that.

  35. When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox
    and now each time a comment is added I get several e-mails with the
    same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service?
    Thanks a lot!

  36. Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Thanks, However I am encountering issues
    with your RSS. I don’t understand the reason why I can’t join it.
    Is there anyone else having the same RSS issues? Anyone who knows the answer can you kindly respond?

  37. Excellent beat ! I wish to apprentice at the same time as
    you amend your website, how could i subscribe for a weblog web site?
    The account aided me a applicable deal. I were a little bit familiar of this your broadcast offered vivid transparent concept

  38. Does your website have a contact page? I’m having a tough time locating it but, I’d like to send
    you an email. I’ve got some recommendations for your blog you might
    be interested in hearing. Either way, great site and I look forward to seeing it expand over time.

  39. quest bars says:

    I was curious if you ever considered changing the page layout of
    your site? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people
    could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or 2 images.
    Maybe you could space it out better?

  40. You could definitely see your enthusiasm in the work
    you write. The arena hopes for more passionate writers like
    you who are not afraid to say how they believe. At all times go after your heart.

  41. Remarkable things here. I am very glad to see your article.
    Thank you a lot and I’m taking a look ahead to touch
    you. Will you kindly drop me a e-mail?

  42. We are a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community.
    Your site offered us with useful information to work on. You have performed a formidable process and
    our whole group can be grateful to you.

  43. Unquestionably believe that which you stated. Your favorite reason seemed to be on the net the simplest
    thing to take into accout of. I say to you, I
    definitely get irked while folks consider issues that they just do
    not know about. You controlled to hit the nail upon the top as well as outlined out the entire thing without having side-effects , people could take a
    signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thank you

  44. This post is truly a nice one it helps new internet visitors, who are wishing in favor of blogging.

  45. Hello, Neat post. There’s an issue with your website in internet
    explorer, might test this? IE still is the market leader and a
    large element of people will leave out your fantastic writing
    because of this problem.

  46. It’s hard to come by knowledgeable people in this particular
    topic, however, you seem like you know what you’re
    talking about! Thanks

  47. Highly descriptive article, I enjoyed that a lot.
    Will there be a part 2?

  48. Hi i am kavin, its my first time to commenting anyplace, when i read this piece of writing i thought i
    could also create comment due to this brilliant piece
    of writing.

  49. Hi would you mind letting me know which web host you’re utilizing?
    I’ve loaded your blog in 3 completely different web browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot quicker then most.
    Can you recommend a good hosting provider at a honest price?

    Thanks, I appreciate it!

  50. My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find many of your post’s to be just what I’m looking for.
    can you offer guest writers to write content for you?
    I wouldn’t mind publishing a post or elaborating on a few of the subjects you write
    related to here. Again, awesome website!

  51. Greate post. Keep posting such kind of info on your blog.
    Im really impressed by your site.
    Hey there, You’ve performed a fantastic job. I will
    certainly digg it and individually recommend to my friends.
    I’m sure they will be benefited from this site.

  52. Hello there! I simply want to offer you a big thumbs
    up for the great information you have here on this post. I’ll be returning to your blog for more soon.

  53. Hola! I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and
    give you a shout out from Houston Tx! Just wanted to say keep up the fantastic job!

    pof natalielise

  54. Hi there, after reading this amazing article i am also
    happy to share my knowledge here with friends.

  55. Hi there I am so delighted I found your site, I really found
    you by accident, while I was researching on Askjeeve
    for something else, Anyhow I am here now and would just like to say thank you for a remarkable post and a all round enjoyable
    blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to go through it all at the minute
    but I have book-marked it and also included your
    RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a
    great deal more, Please do keep up the excellent jo.

  56. I don’t even know how I finished up here, however
    I thought this publish was once great. I do
    not recognize who you are but definitely you’re going to a well-known blogger when you are not already.

  57. says:

    That is a great tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere.
    Short but very precise info… Thank you for sharing this one.
    A must read article! pof natalielise

  58. It’s the best time to make some plans for the longer
    term and it is time to be happy. I have learn this publish and if I may just I wish to counsel you few fascinating things or suggestions.

    Perhaps you can write next articles regarding
    this article. I want to read even more things approximately it!

  59. I really like your blog.. very nice colors
    & theme. Did you design this website yourself or did you
    hire someone to do it for you? Plz respond as I’m looking to design my own blog and would
    like to know where u got this from. thanks

  60. Your style is really unique in comparison to other people I have read stuff from.
    Thanks for posting when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess I’ll just bookmark this blog.

  61. When some one searches for his essential thing, so he/she
    wishes to be available that in detail, therefore that thing is maintained over here.
    natalielise pof

  62. I was wondering if you ever considered changing the page
    layout of your blog? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.

    But maybe you could a little more in the way of
    content so people could connect with it better.
    Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or 2 pictures.
    Maybe you could space it out better?

  63. I loved as much as you will receive carried out right here.
    The sketch is tasteful, your authored subject matter stylish.
    nonetheless, you command get got an edginess over that you wish be delivering the following.
    unwell unquestionably come more formerly again as exactly the same nearly
    a lot often inside case you shield this increase.

  64. Roslyn says:

    We’re a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community.
    Your web site offered us with valuable information to work on. You have done a
    formidable job and our whole community will be thankful to you.

  65. I’m really enjoying the theme/design of your weblog. Do you ever run into any web browser compatibility problems?

    A few of my blog visitors have complained about my site not working correctly in Explorer but looks great in Chrome.
    Do you have any solutions to help fix this issue?

  66. Great blog you have got here.. It’s difficult to find high-quality writing like yours nowadays.
    I seriously appreciate people like you! Take care!!

  67. Somebody essentially lend a hand to make significantly posts I’d state.
    This is the very first time I frequented your website page and to this point?
    I amazed with the analysis you made to create this actual post amazing.
    Great activity!

  68. I will right away seize your rss as I can not to find your email subscription hyperlink or newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly permit me realize in order that I may subscribe. Thanks.

  69. I constantly emailed this web site post page to all my
    contacts, since if like to read it after that
    my links will too.

  70. Pretty! This has been an incredibly wonderful post. Thank you for providing this info.

  71. Hi terrific blog! Does running a blog like this take a lot of work?

    I’ve very little understanding of computer programming however
    I had been hoping to start my own blog soon. Anyways, if you have any recommendations or tips for new blog owners please share.
    I know this is off subject but I just needed to ask.

  72. It’s remarkable to pay a visit this web page and reading
    the views of all mates about this paragraph, while I am also keen of getting

  73. Hi! I realize this is kind of off-topic but I needed to ask.
    Does building a well-established website such as yours require a massive amount work?
    I’m completely new to running a blog but I do
    write in my journal daily. I’d like to start a blog so I will be able to share my personal
    experience and views online. Please let me know if you have
    any ideas or tips for new aspiring bloggers.

  74. Pretty component of content. I just stumbled upon your website and in accession capital to say that I
    get actually loved account your blog posts.

    Any way I’ll be subscribing for your feeds and even I achievement you get admission to consistently quickly.

Leave a Reply

Scroll to top