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General questions relating to LSAT Reading Comprehension.
 Ryan Ashburn
  • Posts: 7
  • Joined: Jun 22, 2020

I am looking for advice on perspective reading comp questions. I take the August LSAT and as part of my final week of studying I've been reviewing my question tracker as well as all the tests I've taken to look for patterns. I consistently miss 3-5 on reading but I noticed that a fairly high percentage of missed question are AP or AP/SP questions. They are usually harder question (lower than 60% correct rate) and usually are some variation of "The Author (or author and subject) would agree with which of the following statements"

My approach is to first reference the authors viewpoint/tone and additionally refer to the specific lines for SR and CR questions. I try to prephrase something general but its hard to do anything specific with these type questions. Then I try to eliminate answers based on viewstamp and or the fact test. On the questions I am missing, this usually eliminates 2-3 answer choices. Where I am having issues is the remaining 2-3 answer choices are some combination of viewpoint type answers but without a clear or strong tone, and more factual statements like inferences and assumptions that could conceivably be true based on the authors argument. But either none of the remaining choices seem great, or multiple seem like the author would agree. Also, I usually do not eliminate the correct answer, but instead choose the wrong answer of the two or three I left as contenders.

In this type of situation, is there a better way to eliminate wrong answers and/or better identify the correct answer?

Thanks for the help and I would appreciate any sort of guidance/advice even if there is no definite answer
 Luke Haqq
PowerScore Staff
  • PowerScore Staff
  • Posts: 274
  • Joined: Apr 26, 2012
Hi Ryan!

I can try to make some suggestions. One thing I wasn't clear one was when you were relying on VIEWSTAMP. As I understood, you apply it when you're uncertain on a given question. While that might be helpful, it's also important to pause after reading a passage and use the VIEWSTAMP acronym at that point. Many people move straight from reading a passage into the questions, which is understandable given the time pressure. However, it's worth taking a moment after having read a passage to reflect on what you just read--and the VIEWSTAMP acronym provides a great structure for doing so. This certainly doesn't need to be as long as one would spend on logic games in the process of diagramming and finding inferences. Rather, even if you spent 15 seconds after reading a passage to digest and organize it, that can give you a significant leg up when you start on the questions.

Additionally, given that LSAT administrations are currently in the LSAT-Flex format, I've suggested to some of the students I tutor that they might find it helpful to draw a box for each paragraph on their scratch piece of paper. This is because marking up key aspects of the passage (definitions, enumerated lists, examples, etc.) is important for being able to find what you're looking for quickly, when you're doing the questions. Since all one is able to do on the LSAT-Flex is highlight text (as well as flag questions), drawing a box for each paragraph allows you to make much more nuanced notations if you want to. So, for example, if a new viewpoint is given at the bottom of the first paragraph, then on the scratch paper, you could write a "Va" or "Vx" (for "author's viewpoint" and "Person X's viewpoint") next to the bottom of the first box on your scratch paper.

In my opinion, both of these pointers are especially critical for perspective questions. After reading, it can be very easy to blend the different perspectives that one reads together, and also likely that some of the questions might try to capitalize on a lack of clarity or separation between viewpoints. You're certainly right to draw on the tone of a passage in seeking to have greater clarity on the viewpoints/perspectives being presented--if the author introduces several perspectives on a particular topic (such as experts opining about a recent finding), and you can also glean that the author has a positive or negative view about those experts, then in such a case tone can be a great way for getting more clarity and distinction between the various viewpoints being presented (after ascertaining if the author's tone is positive, negative, or neutral, it is then helpful to consider the degree or extent of the author's positivity/negativity--e.g., "reasoned critique," or "cautious optimism"). It also seems important for the sake of efficiently managing time to make sure you leave some sort of notation, as suggested above, so that you immediately know where to look in the passage when answering a question.

Lastly, when you're left with 2-3 answer choices as contenders, my best advice would be to make sure to go back to the passage and find support for the answer you ultimately choose. Many times people will waste too much time reading and re-reading contender answer choices, in hopes of finding something wrong with the incorrect answers, but without going back to the passage. This process of confirming one's answer (which I believe is valuable to do even if you are confident in eliminating four answers and selecting the right answer) might seem like it is wasting time, but it can help you have more confidence in eliminating wrong answer choices and also selecting the correct ones.

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