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Kaplan's 5-Step Method for Reading Comprehension
- 1. Read the Passage Strategically
- 2. Read the Question
- 3. Research the Relevant Text
- 4. Think Critically About the Answer (make a prediction)
- 5. Evaluate the Answer Choices
How to read thet passage strategically
- 1. Identify Topic, Scope, Purpose, and Main Idea
- 2. Creat a passage Road Map
- 3. Circle key words
How to identify the topic of a reading passage
The topic is the broad subject matter of a passage. It is usually found within the first few sentences of the first paragraph.
Example: World hunger
How to identify the scope of a reading passage
The scope narrows down the more general topic and identifies the piece of the topic that the author wishes to address. It is usually found within the first paragraph.
Example: New technology to solve world hunger
How to identify the purpose of a reading passage
The purpose refers to why the author is writing the passage. This can be found anywhere throughout the passage -- even at the very end.
Example: to describe a new technology and promising uses
The purpose might be to argue, explain, illustrate, rebut, advocate, describe
How to identify the main idea of a reading passage
The main idea is where the purpose takes the author - the point the author is arguing, explaining about the topic. This can be found anywhere within the passage -- even at the very end.
Example: biochemical engineering helps address world hunger in a variety of ways
How to create a passage road map
Briefly summarize each paragraph and write it next to the paragraph itself.
How a road map helps you in test taking
1. to anticipate where an author is going with an argument or line of reasoning
2. to locate and mark the critical portions of the text
3. to anticipate where in the passage the test makers will draw their questions
4. to research correct answers quickly and confidently
Circling key words
- 1. Logic: words or phrases that indicate a) evidence
- examples: because, since, for
- and b) conclusion (therefore, consequently, it follows that, thus)
- 2. Contrast: Words or phrases that indicate a difference of opinion or shift in ideas
- examples: but, however, although, by contrast, despite
- 3. Continuation: words or phrases that show agreement or additional support for a thought
- examples: further, oreover, likewise, additionally, also
- 4. Illustration: Words or phrases that mark examples and illuminate a thought
- examples: for example, in the case of
- 5. Emphasis/Opinion: words or phrases that indicate a point of view and the information's level of importance
- examples: most of all, especially, very, argued that, unfrotunately, critically
- 6. Sequence/Chronology: Words or phrases that outline steps or indicate timing
- examples: in the 19th century... but today, first... second... finally, before
Types of questions in the Reading Comprehension segment of the LSAT
- 1. Global questions
- 2. Detail questions
- 3. Inference questions
- 4. Logic questions
Identifying Global questions
Questions about the whole passage: the main idea, purpose, and organization
- Which one of the following best states the main idea of the passage?
- The main purpose of the passage is to ...
- Which one of the following best describes the contents of the passage?
Identifying Detail Questions
Questions that ask for specific information stated in the passage and can be answered directly from the text
- According to the passage, the council was divided on the issue of...
- According to the author, the flu virus cannot occur in the absence of which one of the following?
- The passage states...
- The statement declares that...
Identifying Inference Questions
Questions that ask you to read between the lines of the passage, not outside them.
- It can be inferred from the passage that ...
- The passage suggests that ...
- The author implies that ...
- The critics would most probably agree with which one of the following statements?
Identifying the 'reasoning' type of Logic Question
Similar to logical reasoning section. These include assumption, strengthen, weaken, principle, and parallel reasoning questions
Identifying the 'function' type of Logic Question
Ask you to identify what role or function a phrase, example, quote, etc.. serves in the passage
- The Obama example is included primarily in order to...
- The experiment described in paragraph 2 serves to...
- The author discusses conflict for the purpose of...
Five different clues related to Logic Questions
- 1. Proper names and nouns
- - demonstrate an attitude or a point of view
- 2. Line references
- - read the line in context
- 3. Direct quotes
- - think about who said the phrase (author or someone else?) and what purpose does it serve in the passage
- 4. Paragraph references
- - consider the gist of the paragraph and the context of that paragraph in the passage as a whole
- 5. Content clues
- - descriptive words and phrases that highlight a point of emphasis or opinion from the passage
Reseraching the Relevant Text
Global: Review the critical elements you identified in step 1: Topic, Scope, Purpose, Main Idea
Detail: Use the clues in the question to direct you back to the relevant part of the passage. The answer can be quite close or a summary of the information you find
Inference: Remember that the answer must follow from the passage. Read between the lines and combine statements as necessary.
Logic: Use the appropriate Logical Reasoning strategy and check the context of the identified part of the text and ask yourself why the author put it there