To add to the difficulty of the Logic Games section, which apparently led to quite a few recent score cancellations, the LSAT 72 Reading Comprehension Section was considered by many to provide some challenge as well. Let’s take a look at what this section had to offer:
The first passage presented a relatively basic idea in nice, familiar language: The author presents a discussion of the need for occasional forest fires, to rejuvenate forest ecosystems and limit the potential for damage on a larger scale. With some degree of control over the fuel source (i.e. the trees), land managers can meet this need by intentionally starting occasional controlled fires, and allowing some lightning fires to burn under controlled conditions. With three Purpose questions and an Expansion question in this passage set, it was very helpful to have a strong grasp on the structure of the first passage.
Next came a passage about Djenne-jeno terra-cotta sculptures that were illicitly excavated and exported from Mali in the 1980’s. The issue: a broad prohibition can discourage collectors from recording and preserving information about such goods. The author asserts that a better solution would have been for the Mali government to oversee and license more deliberate and organized excavations in which all findings could be recorded and potentially taxed. The questions include a Main Point question, a Purpose question, and close with a string of four Author’s Perspective questions, so for this passage it was particularly important to understand the Author’s point of view.
The third passage dealt with comparative medical trials and a theoretical standard that the author believed to be unattainable; “equipoise” describes the ideal state of mind for participating physicians, who are meant to have no preference at all between treatments being tested. Instead, the author suggests a standard of “clinical equipoise,” under which preferences are acceptable, provided that participants maintain an awareness that even treatments they might not prefer are nonetheless preferred by many in the medical community. For the questions that followed, test takers mostly needed to understand the difference between theoretical and clinical equipoise.
Last in the section came the comparative reading passages, which dealt with tax systems. The first passage dealt with the flat tax of Estonia, which, allows a specified amount of personal income exempt, taxing all income above that point. The second passage dealt with graduated tax systems, whose rates vary with layers of income, recognizing the fact that subsistence income should be distinguished from discretionary income. Many test takers found the authors’ discussions of tax regimes challenging.
In sum, the LSAT 72 Reading Comprehension section provided its share of challenges, keeping in line with current trends (although it was considered by many to be slightly less challenging than RC sections from other recent LSATs).
Questions? Comments? Please post below!