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improve the reading speed

cofactorcofactor Yearly Member

I am reviewing the RC section of the core curriculum. I was wondering if anyone could give me some suggestions about how to improve the reading speed. As a non-native English speaker, I had hard time finishing reading the full text of some passages (e.g. PT33 Sec 2) within 3.5 minutes. While I tried to speed up the reading, I had hard time grasping the gist, and thereby decreased the accuracy of the answer choices.


  • Cant Get RightCant Get Right Yearly Member Sage 🍌
    25555 karma

    No!! Don’t speed up your reading speed! If anything it looks to me like you need to slow it down.

    I am a native speaker. I have a degree in English Literature. I scored -0 on RC on my official LSAT. I will be completing my JD from Northwestern in a few weeks. Take your pick: I’m as qualified at this as it gets. It takes me 4 minutes, on average, to properly read an LSAT passage.

    In reading the passage, your priority must be on understanding the passage. If your comprehension of the reading is compromised, you have absolutely no justification for any expectation to perform well on something purporting to test your comprehension of that reading.

    There are obviously limits to how much time you can spend. But 3:30 is comfortably in range. Even if you average out at 4:30, you’re fine. I’ve even had a couple students average out at 5:00 per passage. Not ideal at that point, but we found the outcomes were still stronger by taking the needed time to understand the passage. Without understanding the passage, everything is kinda futile. You have to adjust your time management strategy in the Q/A’s to be increasingly aggressive as your read times go up, but you will always do better being aggressive with a strong read than you will being cautious with a weak read.

  • CH888888-1CH888888-1 Alum Member
    18 karma

    I second reading slowly and attentively! I am also a non-native English speaker. My diagnostic was around -10 for RC. After actually taking time to read and understand the passages, my RC greatly improved--I averaged -2 RC on practice tests before taking the LSAT and ended up with 175+.

    The only additional "techniques" I used were highlighting keywords/sentences and occasionally briefly scanning through a passage after a thorough read to identify passage structure. For the most part I just made sure to read carefully and understand each sentence before moving on.

    I usually took more time than the "target time" reading the passages, but spent less time answering the questions. A thorough read allowed me to answer most questions without having to refer back to the passage. One thing I noticed with this strategy was I had to trust my memory and instinct when answering questions. I didn't have time to cross-check each answer choice and actually found that spending too much time dwelling on answer choices after I'd already identified one that I was fairly certain was correct messed with my memory (repeatedly reading some of the random terms they threw into the incorrect answer choices created self-doubt). On a side note, I do not have an impressive memory and frankly do not remember much from the passages now. A good "memory" in the traditional sense is not required. Taking time to fully understand a passage will naturally build a robust short term memory sufficient for answering questions.

    For questions that I couldn't answer from memory and seemed difficult even after I referred back to the passage, I would flag and skip. The correct answer would often pop up after I went back to it later. I limited myself to max 1:30 in the first round for these questions. Spending a chunk of time on these questions the first round never worked for me--my brain simply refused to break out of its incorrect neural circuit.

    As someone who also struggled with RC, hopefully this helps a bit! Don't be discouraged by people saying it's not possible to improve RC. Keep on practicing/blind-reviewing and it will get better. Good luck!

  • cofactorcofactor Yearly Member
    40 karma

    @"Cant Get Right" and @CH888888 Thank you very much for sharing your experiences. That's very helpful. I will keep practicing these skills.

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