How long should I spend on LSAT passages?
You’ve probably heard of LSAT passages, and depending on your study journey, you’ve probably encountered multiple practice passage questions.
But how long should you spend on each LSAT passage?
Spending an average of two minutes on each question is a good rule-of-thumb number to use.
How do I read LSAT passages faster?
Understanding the passage structure
You’ll notice that LSAT passages all follow a set format.
There are three or four paragraphs in each passage. A theme usually runs through each paragraph. If you know the subject of each paragraph, you can track where information is located. This helps you find line references if needed quickly.
Knowing the purpose of each paragraph may help you think about the passage more clearly. The most common LSAT reading comprehension mistake (which is very similar to what many students stumble on other tests such as the SAT) is to go on to a question without having comprehended the material. Thinking about the topic of each passage might prevent you from making this mistake.
Some questions require you to describe the passage’s structure. For each of the five answers, there will be a sentence for each paragraph. Knowing passage structure will obviously aid with these sorts of questions, but the existence of such questions is an encouraging indication that knowing passage structure will assist you on all questions.
Spaced repetition and rereading
The spaced repetition technique is a kind of memory training. It’s quite successful for long-term and short-term memorization. Spaced repetition may also help you learn information faster by allowing you to memorize it instantly.
The goal of spaced repetition is for us to recall information better the more times we see it. And there are optimal time gaps between exposures to information.
The repetition intervals are as following: 5 seconds, 25 seconds, 2 minutes, 10 minutes
If you’ve seen information once, you’ll forget most of it after the five-second mark. If you see it again at that time, though, you’ll remember it longer, up to 25 seconds. You’ll remember it for up to two minutes if you see the information again at the 25-second mark.
You will retain the information for ten minutes if you see it again at two minutes. As a result, you’ll remember the material for as long as you’re reading the passage. This technique works wonderfully.
Now, of course, you can’t read the passage at precise intervals. However, by using the information above, you may approximate the repetitions. Here is how you mimic the timing: basically, take every opportunity to reread. Rereading is significantly faster than reading for the first time.
If you don’t understand a line, I reread it (roughly five-second mark)
If you don’t understand a paragraph you read, or if you forgot the paragraph, reread it. (Roughly 25-second mark)
After you finish a passage, skim over everything. Slow down to reread anything you have forgotten. (Roughly two-minute mark)
Both better understanding and memory of the passage improve reading speed. Try using the method outlined above to rehearse a passage, and see if your reading speed and comprehension improve.
Returning to the passage
The answers to reading passages require line references – you can prove or disprove most answers to passages by pointing to a line.
There’s no need to worry about responses. Simply go to the passage to verify them correct or incorrect. The majority of incorrect answers are meaningless phrases intended to mimic what the passage says (but actually does not).
Most students take 30 seconds or so to find a line reference if they just go about it the normal way, which is too slow for the test.
But by using the techniques mentioned above, you could be able to find the line reference in mere seconds. You don’t have to scan the entire passage in order to discover a line. You may just search the paragraph where you expect the line to be.
What is the author's main point?
Always ask why the author is trying to convey.
If you can find the reason why the LSAT passage is saying what it is, it becomes a lot easier to interpret.
There are a few responses that appear appealing, but if you know the author’s goal, you’ll see it would have been impossible for the author to provide one.
Assume that the author is a real person. What is the motivation for telling you all of this? How does each paragraph help to illustrate what they’re talking about? If you can see through the author’s argument, you’ll be able to evaluate answers much more quickly.