Reading Comprehension Question Types-Substance
Reading comprehension form and substance questions make up the reading comprehension portion of the LSAT. With each reading comprehension problem passage acting as a reference for five to eight questions, examinees can expect to see several form and substance questions referring to each passage. As is the case with reading comprehension form questions, reading comprehension substance questions can be further broken down into subcategories.
The first type of reading comprehension substance questions requires examinees to identify the author's statement as to a specific portion of or detail in the passage. The positive aspect of these types of reading comprehension substance questions is that they offer the examinee an obvious starting point for finding the answer. Generally, the fact or detail that is the subject of the question is readily identifiable in the passage. The key for the examinee is to quickly locate the subject fact and glean from the context what the author says about, or how the author uses the fact. Once again, this point focuses on the benefits of actively reading and taking notes on the passages.
Another type of reading comprehension substance question requires the examinee to make a deduction from the provisions of a passage. These questions require that the examinee first have a firm grasp of the overall point and purpose of the passage. This is true because these questions require the examinee to take what is explicitly provided in the passage and determine those things that are implicit, or must be factual, but are not specifically mentioned in the passage. In other words, the examinee must be able to imply from the enumerated facts expressly provided in the passage.
Reading comprehension substance questions may also require the examinee to identify an answer selection that is in line with a particular belief of the author as it is expressed in the passage. These questions may at first blush appear identical to the questions discussed in the paragraph above. These questions, however, are distinguishable. For example, while the above-mentioned questions require the examinee to deduce something from the passage, these questions go one step further. In requiring the examinee to deduce the author's belief from the passage, these questions can be considered somewhat broader in that the answer selection (including the correct answer selection) does not have to be within the same subject matter as the passage. Therefore, the correct answer may not be implicit in the passage at all.
Finally, reading comprehension substance questions may require the examinee to identify the purpose behind the inclusion of some enumerated portion of the passage. This should sound very familiar to a question type found in the reading comprehension form problems. However, there is a distinction. The form problem requires the examinee to focus on what the enumerated paragraph of the passage states. Here, the question is asking the examinee to identify why the enumerated portion is utilized. Again, these questions require the examinee to fully understand the larger point of the passage, so that the examinee will be able to understand how a given portion of the passage supports the author's point.
Last Updated: 08/20/2013