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Author Topic: Reading hard material, unrelated to LSAT, as practice?  (Read 2069 times)

scruffy89

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Reading hard material, unrelated to LSAT, as practice?
« on: March 17, 2009, 01:44:31 AM »
In the past, people here have mentioned that they read difficult things like The Economist and the WSJ as practice for the LSAT. Do you guys agree? Or do you think it's a waste of time?

If you think it's wise, what publications would you suggest besides the two I've mentioned?

Basically my plan is to just do a lot of reading (books, newspapers, magazines, etc.) and a LITTLE untimed, slow practice this month to get my brain working. Next month, I start a Powerscore full-length class.

Thanks!

Scentless Apprentice

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Re: Reading hard material, unrelated to LSAT, as practice?
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2009, 02:17:12 AM »
There have been lots of opining on this topic. Personally, I think reading as much as you can will only help you, but mostly for the endurance factor of the test. I've had subscriptions to both the WSJ & the Economist. I read the WSJ for almost 2 years..and I recently stopped due to the ridiculous right-wing slant of the paper, but regardless, I've ultimately come to the opinion that it really isnt that helpful as far as the LSAT is concerned. While I do agree that the paper has great writers, 75% of the paper is not "difficult" or persuasive material (Marketplace, Money & Investing, Personal Jounal). As far as the Eocnomist, it's perfect if you're getting ready to take a nap.

I don't think you can find material similar to LSAT passages. RC passages are designed for the purpose of testing your ability to analyze an argument, make inferences based on whats presented, determine the main point, and evaluate the structure of a certain paragraph. Most articles are simply NOT designed to test you on these skills. Take an editorial in the WSJ..while it's certainly presenting an argument, the author is not trying to test your ability to make an inference, or your ability to follow changes in scope.

So, as far as reading 'difficult things', I don't think it makes that much of a difference. To me, what will make a difference, is cementing in your head pages 40 - 62 of Superprep, and then doing PT's.

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EarlCat

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Re: Reading hard material, unrelated to LSAT, as practice?
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2009, 11:06:08 AM »
I think people who have been avid readers for years have an advantage on the LSAT, but I'm not sure that can be made up with a few months browsing the Economist.  Not that reading extra stuff will hurt you, but I don't know if it will have that much benefit.  For one thing, while you may find thick, difficult reading material, you're not forced to analyze it--you don't have to explicitly point out the inferences or the main point or the purpose of a certain phrase.

musil.the.muse

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Re: Reading hard material, unrelated to LSAT, as practice?
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2009, 11:30:14 AM »
Practicing with official RC sections is certainly the most efficient means to improvement. I would second what Apprentice said and say that dense material fosters the kind of concentration that is needed to do well in RC. No, a typical dense text isn't structured in the way that an RC passage is (RC passages are dense passages that have been rewritten so as to be "testable"), but I still think it's a good practice to read regularly (regardless of whether one is prepping for the LSAT).

jbow

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Re: Reading hard material, unrelated to LSAT, as practice?
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2009, 12:46:34 PM »
I would suggest reading Harper's. It is hands-down my favorite and for the most part, it keeps you on your toes.

lsatprofessor

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Re: Reading hard material, unrelated to LSAT, as practice?
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2009, 01:00:23 PM »
Simply reading dense things, as others have mentioned, is not likely to be very effective.  However. remember, YOU can make any reading experience better practice if you so choose by simply forcing yourself to analyze the material.  After you have finished reading something, ask yourself: "What is the main point? What are the inferences?  Assumptions?"

If you do this while reading, you will help to hone those skills.

Good luck!

EarlCat

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Re: Reading hard material, unrelated to LSAT, as practice?
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2009, 02:49:45 PM »
After you have finished reading something, ask yourself: "What is the main point? What are the inferences?  Assumptions?"

Don't just think these things in your head.  You must be able to put your finger on the answer or at least on your justification for the answer.

One thing you might try asking yourself is what things did the author not want to say or try to bury in his article?  i.e., did he subtly concede anything that seemed to go against his thesis?  These are sometimes the answers to inference or most-likely-agree questions, and tend to be among the harder answers to spot.

eslite119

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Re: Reading hard material, unrelated to LSAT, as practice?
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2009, 05:32:58 PM »
I think everyone here made some good points.  I have to agree that WSJ or The Economist are considered to be difficult or dense reading.

From my personal experience, reading some regulations or other legal materials (you know those documents that are really dense?) prepared me for the RC.  I work in the financial sector and I keep myself updated with things like memorandums issued by the Fed and other regulatory agencies.  After reading through some of those boring and convoluted documents, RC passages were more enjoyable to read, which ultimately resulted in a better score.

DerekShiHarvard

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Re: Reading hard material, unrelated to LSAT, as practice?
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2009, 09:00:10 PM »
Yes, yes, and yes. If you immerse yourself in reading from now until your LSAT, you will score higher. I am, of course, speaking from my own experiences. But I believe you can train your brain to read more quickly and understand the point of passages better if you read more often.
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vasion

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Re: Reading hard material, unrelated to LSAT, as practice?
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2009, 06:06:11 AM »
I am an econ major and i have been reading econ and politically dense material for 4 years now. I think the economist is not dense enough to help you. The financial times editorials are, but they are too industry specific.  However, i recently started browsing Scientific American. It almost always emerges you in an unfamiliar field and the writing is governed by the "geek-to-geek" principle, so you will be forced to make some assumptions and skip terms you dont understand... just like on the LSAT.


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