Once you have a basic grasp of the LSAT, it's time to dig deeper. Read more about each LSAT section, discover which LSAT administration is right for you, and set the record straight about the notorious LSAT curve.
Every so often, the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) decides to give a facelift to certain LSAT questions, altering LSAT prep along with it. The LSAT Reading Comprehension section underwent one of these transformations in 2007 when LSAC changed RC LSAT questions.
Older LSAT prep students had to worry about four long passages in LSAT Reading Comprehension. When the LSAT Reading Comprehension greets today’s LSAT prep students, it features three long passages and two shorter passages. The two smaller LSAT Reading Comprehension passages are collectively equal in length to the old passage. Although some of the LSAT questions target only one of the shorter passages, most of the LSAT questions ask about the way in which the passages interact.
Blueprint LSAT Prep brought the issue of new LSAT questions to James Vaseleck, the Executive Assistant to the President of Law Services. Here’s the reasoning behind the new LSAT Reading Comprehension section:
Current long LSAT Reading Comprehension passages “measure the ability to read with understanding and insight” and prepare students for law school by having them read “lengthy and complex materials similar to those commonly encountered in law school work.”
In contrast, the shorter LSAT Reading Comprehension passages will test LSAT prep students’ abilities to “[apply] skills of comparison, contrast, generalization, and synthesis to different texts.”Translation: you read a lot in law school. (Even more than in LSAT prep.)
Mr. Vaseleck continued: “The new [LSAT Reading Comprehension] material was field tested in 2002-2003 with appropriate populations and numbers of students. This field testing provides the statistical information needed to introduce the new material into the test.”
Before we answer that, let us explore for a moment the purpose of LSAT questions.
As GPAs differ between schools and majors (how does a History major from NYU with a 3.0 compare to a Math major from OSU with a 3.5?), LSAT questions provide a way for law schools to evaluate LSAT prep students from standardized criteria.
The solution is to have tests that are as similar as possible to each other and whose micro-level differences are normalized through a statistical process called equating (similar to a curve). Hence, LSAC is committed to ensuring that the difficulty levels of LSAT questions across tests don’t vary widely.
As Mr. Vaseleck puts it: “The field-test trials of comparative reading in 2002– 2003 indicated that comparative reading is of approximately the same difficulty as traditional reading comprehension.”
In other words, don’t worry that you would’ve answered more LSAT questions correctly before 2007. And if you’re an LSAT prep student and wondering how you should model your LSAT prep for the new LSAT Reading Comprehension section, you’re in luck: The change in LSAT questions for LSAT Reading Comprehension occurred in 2007, so most LSAT prep books (including Blueprint’s) have made the necessary changes.
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