Reading Comprehension Questions in LSAT

How to approach Reading Comprehension Questions in LSAT The purpose of LSAT—India Reading Comprehension questions is to measure the ability to read, with understanding and insight, examples of lengthy and complex materials similar to those commonly encountered in law school. The Reading Comprehension section of the LSAT—India contains four sets of reading questions, each set consisting of a selection of reading material followed by five to eight questions. The reading selection in three of the four sets consists of a single reading passage; the other set generally contains two related shorter passages. Sets with two passages are a variant of Reading Comprehension called Comparative Reading.

Reading selections for reading comprehension questions are drawn from subjects such as the humanities, the social sciences, the biological and physical sciences, and issues related to the law. Reading comprehension questions require you to read carefully and accurately, to determine the relationships among the various parts of the reading selection, and to draw reasonable inferences from the material in the selection. The questions may ask about the following characteristics of a passage or pair of passages:

  • the main idea or primary purpose;
  • the meaning or purpose of words or phrases used;
  • information explicitly stated;
  • information or ideas that can be inferred;
  • the organization or structure;
  • the application of information in a passage to a new context; and
  • the author’s attitude as it is revealed in the tone of a passage or the language used.

Suggested Approach
Since reading selections are drawn from many different disciplines and sources, you should not be discouraged if you encounter material with which you are not familiar. It is important to remember that questions are to be answered exclusively on the basis of the information provided in the selection. There is no particular knowledge that you are expected to bring to the test, and you should not make inferences based on any prior knowledge of a subject that you may have. You may, however, wish to defer working on a set of questions that seems particularly difficult or unfamiliar until after you have dealt with sets you find easier.

Strategies

In preparing for the test, you should experiment with different strategies and decide which work most effectively for you. These include:

  • reading the selection very closely and then answering the questions;
  • reading the questions first, reading the selection closely, and then returning to the questions; or
  • skimming the selection and questions very quickly, then rereading the selection closely and answering the questions.

Remember that your strategy must be effective for you under timed conditions.

Reading the selection.
Whatever strategy you choose, you should give the passage or pair of passages at least one careful reading before answering the questions. Try to distinguish main ideas from supporting ideas, and opinions or attitudes from factual, objective information.

Note transitions from one idea to the next and examine the relationships among the different ideas or parts of a passage, or between the two passages in comparative reading sets. Consider how and why an author makes points and draws conclusions. Be sensitive to implications of what the passages say.

You may find it helpful to mark key parts of passages. For example, you might underline main ideas or important arguments, and you might circle transitional words— “although,” “nevertheless,” “correspondingly,” and the like—that will help you map the structure of a passage. Moreover, you might note descriptive words that will help you identify an author’s attitude toward a particular idea or person.

Answering the Questions

  • Always read all the answer choices before selecting the best answer. The best answer choice is the one that most accurately and completely answers the question being posed.
  • Respond to the specific question being asked. Do not pick an answer choice simply because it is a true statement. For example, picking a true statement might yield an incorrect answer to a question in which you are asked to identify an author’s position on an issue, since here you are not being asked to evaluate the truth of the author’s position but only to correctly identify what that position is.
  • Answer the questions only on the basis of the information provided in the selection. Your own views, interpretations, or opinions, and those you have heard from others, may sometimes conflict with those expressed in a reading selection; however, you are expected to work within the context provided by the reading selection. You should not expect to agree with everything you encounter in reading comprehension passages.

Sample Reading Comprehension Question

The two passages discuss recent scientific research on music. They are adapted from two different papers presented at a scholarly conference.

Passage A
Did music and human language originate separately or together? Both systems use intonation and rhythm to communicate emotions. Both can be produced vocally or with tools, and people can produce both music and language silently to themselves.
Brain imaging studies suggest that music and language are part of one large, vastly complicated, neurological system for processing sound. In fact, fewer differences than similarities exist between the neurological processing of the two. One could think of the two activities as different radio programs that can be broadcast over the same hardware. One noteworthy difference, though, is that, generally speaking, people are better at language than music. In music, anyone can listen easily enough, but most people do not perform well, and in many cultures composition is left to specialists. In language, by contrast, nearly everyone actively performs and composes.
Given their shared neurological basis, it appears that music and language evolved together as brain size increased over the course of hominid evolution. But the primacy of language over music that we can observe today suggests that language, not music, was the primary function natural selection operated on.
Music, it would seem, had little adaptive value of its own, and most likely developed on the coattails of language.

Passage B
Darwin claimed that since “neither the enjoyment nor the capacity of producing musical notes are faculties of the least [practical] use to manthey must be ranked amongst the most mysterious with which he is endowed.” I suggest that the enjoyment of and the capacity to produce musical notes are faculties of indispensable use to mothers and their infants and that it is in the emotional bonds created by the interaction of mother and child that we can discover the evolutionary origins of human music.
Even excluding lullabies, which parents sing to infants, human mothers and infants under six months of age engage in ritualized, sequential behaviors, involving vocal, facial, and bodily interactions. Using face-to-face mother-infant interactions filmed at 24 frames per second, researchers have shown that mothers and infants jointly construct mutually improvised interactions in which each partner tracks the actions of the other. Such episodes last from one-half second to three seconds and are composed of musical elements—variations in pitch, rhythm, timbre, volume, and tempo.
What evolutionary advantage would such behavior have? In the course of hominid evolution, brain size increased rapidly. Contemporaneously, the increase in bipedality caused the birth canal to narrow. This resulted in hominid infants being born ever-more prematurely, leaving them much more helpless at birth. This helplessness necessitated longer, better maternal care. Under such conditions, the emotional bonds created in the premusical mother-infant interactions we observe in Homo sapiens today—behavior whose neurological basis essentially constitutes the capacity to make and enjoy music—would have conferred considerable evolutionary advantage.

Questions

Both passages were written primarily in order to answer which one of the following questions?
(A) What evolutionary advantage did larger brain size confer on early hominids?
(B) Why do human mothers and infants engage in bonding behavior that is composed of musical elements?
(C) What are the evolutionary origins of the human ability to make music?
(D) Do the human abilities to make music and to use language depend on the same neurological systems?

Each of the two passages mentions the relation of music to
(A) bonding between humans
(B) human emotion
(C) neurological research
(D) the increasing helplessness of hominid infants

It can be inferred that the authors of the two passages would be most likely to disagree over whether
(A) the increase in hominid brain size necessitated earlier births
(B) fewer differences than similarities exist between the neurological processing of music and human language
(C) brain size increased rapidly over the course of human evolution
(D) the capacity to produce music has great adaptive value to humans

The authors would be most likely to agree on the answer to which one of the following questions regarding musical capacity in humans?
(A) Does it manifest itself in some form in early infancy?
(B) Does it affect the strength of mother-infant bonds?
(C) Is it at least partly a result of evolutionary increases in brain size?
(D) Did its evolution spur the development of new neurological systems?

Which one of the following principles underlies the arguments in both passages?
(A) Investigations of the evolutionary origins of human behaviors must take into account the behavior of nonhuman animals.
(B) All human capacities can be explained in terms of the evolutionary advantages they offer.
(C) The fact that a single neurological system underlies two different capacities is evidence that those capacities evolved concurrently.
(D) The behavior of modern-day humans can provide legitimate evidence concerning the evolutionary origins of human abilities.

Which one of the following most accurately characterizes a relationship between the two passages?
(A) Passage A and passage B use different evidence to draw divergent conclusions.
(B) Passage A poses the question that passage B attempts to answer.
(C) Passage A proposes a hypothesis that passage B attempts to substantiate with new evidence.
(D) Passage A expresses a stronger commitment to its hypothesis than does passage B.

Answers
C
B
C
D
C
A

LSAT India

The LSAT is one of the most reputed law entrance exams. A number of colleges use the LSAT India scores for admission to their law schools in India. To ace the exam is no mean feat. The points given here, you must keep in mind while facing the RC section of LSAT India. Best of luck for your exam!

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