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Course: LSAT (DEPRECATED) > Unit 1

Lesson 10: Reading Comprehension - Worked Examples

Main point 1 | Humanities passage | Music

Watch a demonstration of one way to approach a "main point" question for a humanities passage in the reading comprehension section. Created by Dave Travis.

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Video transcript

- Which one of the following most accurately expresses the main point of passage B? Okay, so this is a main point questions, very common question type. The best way to approach them is get an idea in your head of what the main point is, before you look at the choices because the wrong choices in this sort of question are likely to be things that are mentioned in the passage, but are not actually the main point of the passage. It's a great idea to go up and review the first and last sentences of every paragraph to remind yourself where the bones of this passage are and what the main point of the passage is. So let's go up and do that before we look at the choices. There are certain elements within music, such as a change of melodic line or rhythm, that create expectations about the development of the music. And then it went on, mentioned expectations, expectations, mentioned tension, three times in that paragraph. Now let's read the first sentence in the next paragraph. Interruption of the expected musical course, depending on one's personal involvement, causes the search for an explanation. Again, tied to the expectations that we saw in the first paragraph. Expectations appear here again. So let's move to the last paragraph to remind ourselves. When we listen to music we to take into account factors such as the complexity and novelty of the music. The degree to which the music sounds familiar, so again that's based on our expectations. It's familiar, I expect it to be this way. It's all about this expectations. Let's jump down to the end. As such a trained listener will have a greater preference for complex melodies that a naive listener, as the threshold for experiencing emotion is higher. Again based on familiarity and expectations. So that's what we're looking for in the choices. What is the main point? A. The type of musical emotion experienced by a listener is determined by the level to which the listener's expectations are satisfied. Looking really good. Let's try to figure out the ways that the other choices must be wrong, 'cause A is looking very, very good. Now on test day, if you're feeling short on time, if you're the sort of reader who runs out of time on the reading section, you might wanna just go ahead circle A and move on because it really does match what we are expecting. Let's look at B. Trained listeners are more able to consciously manipulate their own emotional experiences of complex music than are naive listeners. Okay, manipulating their emotional experiences wasn't even mentioned. That's not even in the passage at all. C. If the development of the piece of music is greatly at odds with the listener's musical expectations, then the listener will experience negative emotions. Okay, expectations, that looks good, but that's not what the whole passage is about. This is too narrow. This choice is in it but it's not the main idea. It's wrong. D. Listeners can learn to appreciate changes in melodic line and other musical complexities. You know, maybe a true statement, maybe, but that is not the main idea of this passage. E. Music that is experienced by listeners as relaxing usually produces a buildup and release of tension in those listeners. That isn't the main idea, which is all about expectations. This whole passage is not just about the buildup and the release of tension, that leads to people finding music relaxing. That's just not what the passage is about. Our answer is A.