By Peg Tittle, LSAT Tutor • January 11, 2015
When you read a paired passage, I suggest you do everything that I’ve already suggested, plus the following:
1. As you read the second passage, note every similarity and difference between the second passage and the first.* It could be as simple as Passage B mentions X and so does Passage A, or it could be that Passage B mentions something that Passage A doesn’t. And so on. Or it could be something more difficult to detect: something in Passage B might support (or challenge) something in Passage A; something in Passage B might elaborate something that was merely mentioned in Passage A. And so on.
*And do it graphically— actually draw lines connecting the bit in the second passage with the related bit in the first passage.
2. When you formulate the main purpose of each passage as a whole, consider the relationship of the two passages. And, again, start a list as you work through prep tests so you’re ready with several possibilities: Passage A might present a problem, and Passage B might present a solution to that problem; Passage A might present a theory, and Passage B might present an application of that theory; Passage might examine a topic from the perspective of one discipline, and Passage B might examine the same topic (more or less) from the perspective of another discipline. And so on.
Otherwise, there’s nothing particularly different, or more difficult, about the paired passages, compared to the regular passages. The questions can seem a bit more challenging as they often require you to consider both passages, but then again, many questions that accompany the regular passages require you to consider two different paragraphs.
Peg Tittle used to work at LSAC writing the questions that go on the LSAT; she’s the author of a logical reasoning textbook (Critical Thinking: An Appeal to Reason, Routledge 2011); she has an M.A. in Philosophy (we’re all about argument!), a B.A. in Literature (there’s my RC!), a B.Ed. (so I know pedagogy), and ESL certification; and she has over ten years’ teaching/tutoring experience.
She has set up an FAQ page about her LSAT tutoring (which she does by phone or skype).