LSAT PrepTest Question Explanations for Reading Comprehension (a free sample!)

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These are just for the second Reading Comprehension passage of LSAT PrepTest 52:

Section 4 (Questions 7-12)

These are comparative reading passages. It is important to focus on the general topic of both, the specific topic of each, and how they relate.

Passage A opens with a discussion of the joy of reading in general, and contrasts this with the lack of joy created by academic historians. The author follows with a colorful description of how these historians “sap the vitality of history.”

The second paragraph discusses the trend towards change in the writing style of historians, specifically towards narrative. The author then says that most historians still fail at accomplishing the goals of narrative.

Passage B is also about narrative, and criticizes legal writing in the same way that the author of passage A criticizes the writing of academic historians. The sentence in lines 34-36 is similar to passage A’s criticism of how academic historians “leave little to the imagination.”

The second paragraph discusses the tradition of legal writing; how “lawyers write as they see other lawyers write,” in much the same way that passage A discusses how historians “visit on students what was visited on them in graduate school.” This is followed by a description in a trend towards narrative, just as in passage A.

The third paragraph here diverges from passage A in that it provides hope for the future of narrative and implies the legitimacy of the movement towards narrative, whereas passage A lacks such hope.

7. Tests your ability to find attitudes justified by each passage.
A) The effectiveness of teaching methods isn’t really mentioned in either passage.
B) This is also unmentioned in either passage.
C) Too extreme to be justified by either passage (“cannot be”.)
D) Correct. This can be inferred from the second paragraph of passage A, and can be inferred from the last paragraph of passage B.
E) Quite the opposite. Both passages look to narrative fiction, another discipline, as a way of rectifying the problem they see in their respective fields.

8. An inference question about both passages.
A) “I started teaching,” in line five of passage A is enough to negate this choice. The term “we” in passage B would also be enough to negate this choice.
B) Correct. For the same reasons choice A was wrong, choice B is right.
C) This choice is half right, but we already found justification for the author of passage B being a member of the profession he discusses.
D) Passage B is about law, passage A about history. While these disciplines are related, they are certainly different.
E) Passage B does not even mention history, the topic of passage A.

 9. This question requires you to understand the tone of both passages. In addition, it tests vocabulary. It is not an easy question.
A) Correct. “Abstract” is mentioned in line 10 and again in in line 49.
B) Hyperbole is a literary technique employed in narrative fiction.
C) “Subversive” is mentioned in passage B, but as referring to the movement toward narrative. It is not in passage A.
D) Narrative is discussed as atypical, not typical.
E) Imagination is currently lacking in both disciplines discussed.

10. This question asks about the difference between the two passages.
A) Passage A does not do this.
B) Both passages make evaluative claims.
C) Correct. See lines 20-25 in passage A; there are no examples in passage B.
D) Both passages criticize the writing in their respective professions.
E) Both passages discuss narrative theory.

11. Method of argument.
You need to find the correspondence between two lines in analogous arguments. “Sap the vitality,” is a criticism of the current standard of writing in the author’s profession. The author of passage B discusses the same topic with regard to his profession in lines 34-38. Let’s look for a choice that quotes something in those lines.

A) Not a criticism.
B) Correct. This choice matches what we were looking for.
C) In the right area of passage B, nonetheless the criticism of this trend is later in those lines.
D) This is analogous to a completely different part of passage A.
E) This indicates hope for the future, not criticism of the present.

12. Inference.
We are asked to infer the author’s expectation of the current prevailing standards of legal writing. This is discussed in lines 34-36; let’s look for something similar to that.

A) Poorly written perhaps, but that would be according to the professors’ advice.
B) Quite the opposite according to the lines we reread.
C) “Well crafted” contradicts “write badly.”
D) Correct. If you join the lines referenced above with lines 48-49, the choice becomes clear.
E) This may actually be true of legal writing.

Authored by Robert Brind

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