LSAT and Law School Admissions Forum

Get expert LSAT preparation and law school admissions advice from PowerScore Test Preparation.

General questions relating to LSAT Reading Comprehension.
  • Posts: 14
  • Joined: May 05, 2020

I have gathered that the supposed key to mastering reading comprehension is not to read the passages once thoroughly and then rely on your memory to answer the questions, but to mark them up as you read to create a kind of “roadmap” that you can later use to quickly locate and extract information when necessary.

Now, in the absence of being able to create digital annotations it seems you are left with a few options. First, you could create the “roadmap” on paper; I.e,. scribble “paragraph 1: tone/argument, paragraph 2: viewpoint” and so on and so forth. Second, as I have seen suggested by a Powerscore instructor on this forum, you could underline instances/indicators of structure, tone, arguments, and main point and highlight changes of viewpoint. Third, and I believe lastly, you could use different colours to highlight the different aforementioned features/indicators.

Regarding the first method, I believe it is entirely too cumbersome. Between looking up at your monitor and then down at your paper and picking up and dropping your pencil it seems you would waste far too much time. Not to mention the actual scribbling of the annotations themselves.

Regarding the second method, it seems that the purpose of creating the “roadmap” is to be able to quickly locate important features of the passage; however, by using an underline to denote four distinct features (structure, tone, arguments, and main point) it seems this purpose is frustrated. This is because, upon reflection, you cannot immediately recognize when your underline represents say, tone, and when it represents say, structure. Thus, you are required to spend time demarcating between the meanings of your various underlines.

Finally, regarding the third approach, I believe that the reasons for rejecting it go without saying.

Thus, all-in-all, it seems that insofar as reading comprehension is tested digitally there is no effective method by which one can create a “roadmap.” This is leaving me very frustrated and discouraged; any thoughts?

Kind regards,

 Adam Tyson
PowerScore Staff
  • PowerScore Staff
  • Posts: 3694
  • Joined: Apr 14, 2011
Note-taking in RC is for sure more challenging in the digital test than it was on the old paper exam, Falcon! After much experimentation, my favorite method is a version of the first one you listed - after each paragraph I pause briefly to jot down what that paragraph contributed to the overall passage (definitions, a problem, author viewpoint, etc.) I no longer even try to take any on screen notes, because the tools they provide in their software have been unreliable.

But ultimately, how you take notes is a personal choice. You need to explore and try different methods until you find what works best for you, as I did. Think about creating an index on paper that will tell you where the key info is, so that when you go back to the passage to answer questions (which you should be doing for most of the questions - do NOT trust your memory) you will know where to look. Even if you never again look at your notes, the act of taking them can help you to understand how the passage is organized.

In short, practice until you find YOUR best method.

Get the most out of your LSAT Prep Plus subscription.

Analyze and track your performance with our Testing and Analytics Package.