The LSAT is a standardized test that is used as one of the primary admission factors for law schools in the United States. One of the sections of this test is Reading Comprehension, which requires test-takers to read a passage and answer questions about it. Purpose/Function questions are a subset of these questions that are especially challenging. To help you improve your score on these questions in particular, we will discuss what Purpose/Function questions are, why they matter, how to identify them, and strategies for answering them.
Understanding Purpose/Function Questions on the LSAT
Purpose/Function questions are designed to test your ability to understand why the author wrote the passage. These questions typically ask about the main purpose or function served by a particular part of the passage, such as a sentence or paragraph. To answer these questions correctly, you need to have a thorough understanding of the passage’s overall structure, the author's tone, and the information presented in each sentence and paragraph.
It is important to note that Purpose/Function questions are not asking for your personal opinion or interpretation of the passage. Instead, they are asking you to identify the author's intended purpose or function. This can sometimes be tricky, as the author may have multiple purposes or functions for different parts of the passage. To approach these questions effectively, it can be helpful to read the passage multiple times and take notes on the main ideas and themes presented. Additionally, paying attention to transitional words and phrases can give you clues about the author's intended purpose or function for different parts of the passage.
Importance of Purpose/Function Questions in LSAT Reading Comprehension
Purpose/Function questions are essential because they allow you to show your ability to analyze and evaluate information. They also helpLaw schools evaluate your critical thinking and reading comprehension skills. In addition, Purpose/Function questions are essential for understanding the passage's main ideas and arguments, which are critical for answering related questions that come later in the test.
Furthermore, Purpose/Function questions can also help you identify the author's tone and attitude towards the subject matter. This can be crucial in understanding the overall message of the passage and can aid in answering questions that require you to infer the author's perspective. By mastering Purpose/Function questions, you can improve your overall LSAT Reading Comprehension score and increase your chances of getting into your desired law school.
Tips for Identifying Purpose/Function Questions on the LSAT
One way to identify Purpose/Function questions is to note the words "function," "serves," "purpose," "mainly," "primarily," or "most nearly.” These words typically indicate that you are dealing with a Purpose/Function question. It's also helpful to read the question stem carefully to ensure that you understand what the question is asking you to do.
Another way to identify Purpose/Function questions is to look for questions that ask about the role or significance of a particular element in a passage or argument. These questions often require you to analyze the function of a specific detail or idea within the larger context of the passage or argument.
It's important to note that Purpose/Function questions can appear in any section of the LSAT, including Logical Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, and Analytical Reasoning. Therefore, it's crucial to be familiar with the different types of Purpose/Function questions and to practice identifying them in various contexts.
Common Traps to Avoid in Purpose/Function Questions on the LSAT
One of the common traps in Purpose/Function questions is choosing an answer that is too specific or narrow in focus. You need to choose an answer that covers the overall purpose or function of the passage, not just one section. It's also essential to avoid choosing an answer based on your personal bias or assumptions - instead, base your answer on evidence present in the passage.
Another common trap to avoid in Purpose/Function questions is choosing an answer that is too broad or general. While it's important to consider the overall purpose or function of the passage, you also need to pay attention to the specific details and nuances presented in the text. Don't choose an answer that is too vague or doesn't directly relate to the information presented in the passage.
How to Break Down Purpose/Function Questions on the LSAT
Before answering a Purpose/Function question, it's essential to read and understand the passage thoroughly. Next, identify the section referred to in the question and highlight any words or phrases that are relevant to the question. The passage's overall tone and purpose can also help you understand why the author included those details. Finally, identify the answer choice that best represents the passage's overall purpose or function.
Strategies for Answering Purpose/Function Questions on the LSAT
One of the essential strategies for answering Purpose/Function questions is to look for overarching themes and ideas in the passage. These themes can guide you in determining the author's purpose or function. Additionally, try to eliminate answers that are too narrow or specific and focus on the answer choices that cover the main idea addressed. Finally, remember that your answer should be supported by the text and not just based on guesswork.
Another useful strategy for answering Purpose/Function questions is to pay attention to the tone and language used by the author. Often, the author's tone can reveal their attitude towards the subject matter, which can help you determine their purpose or function in writing the passage. Additionally, look for any rhetorical devices used by the author, such as repetition or analogy, as these can also provide insight into their purpose or function. By combining these strategies with a careful reading of the text, you can improve your ability to answer Purpose/Function questions on the LSAT.
Examples of Purpose/Function Questions on the LSAT with Detailed Explanations
Question: What is the primary purpose of the author's use of historical examples in the passage?Answer: The author uses historical examples to show how the current political situation is not unprecedented. By providing historical analogies, the author argues that the current political situation is a natural and predictable outcome of the country’s past.
Furthermore, the author also uses historical examples to appeal to the reader's emotions and sense of patriotism. By highlighting the country's past struggles and triumphs, the author aims to inspire a sense of pride and determination in the reader to overcome the current challenges facing the nation.
Practice Exercises for Improving Your Skills in Answering Purpose/Function Questions on the LSAT
You can improve your skills in answering Purpose/Function questions by practicing with sample questions and passages. Try to identify the main idea and purpose of each paragraph as you read and underline relevant information. Afterward, take time to answer the questions and compare your answer choices to those suggested by experts on the topic.
Another effective way to improve your skills in answering Purpose/Function questions is to review the explanations for the questions you answered incorrectly. This will help you understand why your answer was wrong and how to avoid making the same mistake in the future. Additionally, you can seek feedback from a tutor or study group to gain a different perspective and learn new strategies for approaching these types of questions.
It is also important to practice time management when answering Purpose/Function questions on the LSAT. These questions can be time-consuming, so it is essential to allocate your time wisely. Set a timer for each question and try to answer it within the allotted time. This will help you develop a sense of how much time you should spend on each question and avoid getting stuck on any one question for too long.
How to Develop a Personalized Approach for Tackling Purpose/Function Questions on the LSAT
Everyone has a different learning style and test-taking strategies that work best for them. It's essential to identify what works best for you in answering Purpose/Function questions on the LSAT. Experiment with different techniques, such as highlighting, summarizing, or taking notes. Keep track of your progress, and adjust your approach as needed to get the best results.
Improving your skills in answering Purpose/Function questions on the LSAT takes practice, patience, and a willingness to try different techniques. Use the strategies described above, practice with sample questions, and develop your approach to help you improve your skills and achieve your target score.
Another useful technique for tackling Purpose/Function questions on the LSAT is to pay close attention to the language used in the question stem. Look for keywords or phrases that indicate the purpose or function of the argument, such as "mainly serves to," "primarily intended to," or "most likely to be used to." Understanding the language used in the question stem can help you identify the correct answer choice more easily.