There is a widespread misconception among test takers that because one’s reading level is difficult to improve (having been developed over many years), one’s performance on the Reading Comprehension passages is also unlikely to change. This belief reflects a common misunderstanding about the specific type of difficulty associated with reading comprehension passages. Keeping in mind that the test makers generally have about a half of a page to get their points across, LSAT authors are limited as to the degree of depth that can be reached. This is not to say that these passages are simple, but that the challenge often comes from sources other than conceptual complexity.
The LSAT is designed not only as a test of conceptual abilities—it is, in large part, a test of intimidation. So, how do the test makers ensure that the passages are challenging? Often by choosing subjects that seem daunting; many passages are based on esoteric topics, filled with sophisticated-sounding scientific or technical terms. It is vital that you avoid intimidation as a response to words or phrases which you have never seen. Since the makers of the LSAT do not expect or require outside knowledge with regard to Reading Comprehension passage topics, unfamiliar terms or phrases will almost always be either defined outright or surrounded by context clues; it is important to understand that unfamiliar words or phrases do not necessarily make a passage any more conceptually difficult, as long as you react properly when confronted with novel terms or phrases.