Should You Skim the Reading Comp Passage?
In theory, it might seem that skimming could add some degree of efficiency. Unfortunately, in practice, this is not the case. In fact, this approach actually reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the Reading Comprehension section.
Skimming might be sufficient to absorb lighter materials aimed for simplicity, such as newspapers or magazines. A newspaper editor wants readers to know half the story by the time they have read the headline. Magazines put the most attention-grabbing pictures on their covers. Obviously, these publications are trying to draw you in, to entice you to make a purchase.
The makers of the LSAT, on the other hand, are well aware that they are dealing with a captive audience. They do not feel any pressure to entertain (as you may have noticed). Passages are chosen based on completely different criteria. The time “saved” on the front end skimming a passage is more than lost on the back end.
For many, skimming is a natural reaction to a time-constrained test. Unfortunately, the test-makers are well aware of this tendency. The passages they use are chosen in part because they evade quick and simple analysis. In practice, the time “saved” on the front end skimming a passage is more than lost on the back end. In the question section, the skimmer invariably finds the need to go back and re-read. Unfortunately, the test taker is often not sufficiently familiar with the passage structure to locate relevant reference points quickly.
Excerpted from the PowerScore LSAT Reading Comprehension Bible