This is a continuation of a series of posts exploring the June 2007 LSAT in detail. My goal is to demonstrate where hidden opportunities lie; then, using these analyses as a template, you can find those hidden opportunities in other practice tests. And, of course, find them on test day! Why the June 2007 LSAT? Because this is the LSAT all potential test takers can freely access; this is where most test takers probably begin their prep. And I want to give you some help from the ground up, so to speak!
So, last time we discussed the idea of speeding up your read of the passage, and applied that to the first passage in the June 2007 LSAT. Today, let’s take a look at the questions.
Last time, we were focused on speed. Today, our central question is:
How do we develop accuracy?
The challenge to efficiency in RC questions is, I think, in deciding what you’re looking for: one right answer, or four wrong answers? And for me, the distinction is fairly predictable: if I can find a line to reference before I look at the choices, I’m looking for the one right answer. If not, I’m looking to put four X’s on my page.
If you don’t have the passage open in a different tab, the rest of this post will be gibberish! I’ve tried to somewhat simulate the way I think when I’m tackling the questions and answers, which means I haven’t put in much or any of the actual text from the answers, just descriptions of that text. So yeah, let’s get that tab open, and have the first question of the first passage up.
Ready? Let’s crack through these questions one by one!
- A main point question: no single specific line, just the scale. Eliminate choices that don’t mention the change from a sharp division between poetry and fiction to a mixing/blending of poetry and fiction. C and E are the only candidates; D is close, but it’s really about the techniques, not the genres themselves. And when choosing between C and E, only E actually mentions poetry and fiction. I’d say we’re done! E!
- I can find a line here: the last sentence. “In short, Dove bridges the gap…by fusing the two genres within individual works.” How did I know to look at this line? It’s that nice summation phrase—“In short”—on the paragraph that discusses aspects of Dove’s work. So which choice looks most like fusing two genres in an individual work? Dances that combine elements of both ballet and jazz. Choice A is fairly close, but methods and ingredients is not as close to two genres of art as ballet and jazz.
- This one could take a little longer, because I can find what appears to be the best line match to the question (widely held view = widespread attitude in line 6), but the only choice which seems to match that line (choice E) is about European literary cultures. (Important side note—choose a choice because you like it, not because it’s the choice that remains!!) And “European literary cultures”…doesn’t really fit? The line in question is about US views, not European views.
So maybe there’s a better line? The only other place I can think to look is in the first paragraph. Perhaps “current conventional wisdom” in line 8? Ah, now I see it! Choice A is the flip of line 10-11. If character and narrative are relegated to fiction, then poetry (according to the “rift” conventional opinion) should not have these.
- I love, love, love author’s attitude questions! I know the author dislikes this rift. So probably not perplexity or astonishment, and definitely not ambivalence. And the author’s optimistic that the rift can be overcome. Disapproval? Matches the idea the author dislikes the rift, so sure. Attitudes underlying the rift? Also seems to fit. Let’s choose E and move on!
- Line 15 is a great match to the question: “The answer lies in…” is perfect cause and effect language. And choice D is a fantastic paraphrase of line 16. Done.
- Ok, well the line reference is given…which means we need to be careful. The LSAT doesn’t normally give things away. The line referenced discusses how German authors mix genres more commonly than US authors. Choices A and B are both worth holding, since they both address whether poetry and fiction can overlap. I don’t like “strengths…derive…from” (the author tells us Dove is highly acclaimed, but never actually says why), “human interest appeal” (what?! I don’t see this anywhere), or “origin of her opposition” (similar to the problem in C: she opposes the separation, but the author doesn’t tell us the origin of this opposition). How do we choose between B and A? We need to look at the function of the line in context of the paragraph as a whole: the paragraph is Dove’s point of view as revealed by her conference speech. Which of A vs B is more about Dove’s point of view? B.
- No specific line for this question, so let’s see which choices are wrong first. B suggests that the author would appreciate the separation of poetry from fiction, and we know that’s the opposite. C: “without precedent”? D: Narrative superior to poetry? No. E: “drama”? Does choice A work with the passage? The author does specifically describe Dove’s poetry as poetry, and fiction as fiction—line 40 and 52. Sure.
- Interestingly, this question could refer to line 21: the use of the verb “is diminishing” indicates a possible prediction about the near future. And choice A is the only choice that addresses writers that write both poetry and fiction. I think we have our choice!
What’s interesting about this isn’t really the fact that we were able to build a scale, find lines to prove our selections, or eliminate choices that were definitely wrong. This is all just core RC skill that we want to develop.
The interesting thing is that, with a passage that has this direct of a scale, we have a chance to do this quickly! And this was 8 questions, more than a fourth of the RC section. That’s a brilliant payoff!
Next time, we’ll dive in the Logic Games section of this infamous test.
For even an even more in-depth exploration of Reading Comprehension, check out our Reading Comprehension Strategy Guide. ?
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Chris Gentry is a Manhattan Prep LSAT, GMAT, and GRE instructor who lives in Atlanta, Georgia (and absolutely loves his city; he has family ties that go back over 150 years). Chris received both his Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from Clemson and JD from Emory University School of Law before realizing that he genuinely enjoys the challenge of standardized tests, and his true passion is teaching. Chris’ dual-pronged approach to understanding each test question has helped countless of his students to achieve their goal scores. What are you waiting for? Check out Chris’ upcoming LSAT courses here.