LSAT Logic Games: Acceptability and "New-If" Questions
LSAT Acceptability questions are among the most manageable questions in the Logic Games sections, and in the LSAT as a whole. These types of questions, as the name suggests, simply ask you to test the rules you are given against the answers provided and find an acceptable answer.
The best way to approach these questions is to take one of the rules you are given and see which answer violates that rule. This is an elimination oriented approach where you will end up having found four answers that violate a rule, and are thus left with one answer that must be correct. Eliminating four answers is the more efficient way to approach these questions, as testing every answer to see if it fits within all of your clues will take more time.
An acceptability question is typically the first question given for each game. The question can be identified quickly because it will say something along the lines of “Which of the following is an acceptable sequence of events.”
Typically, each rule will correspond to one answer choice. Meaning Rule 1 will be violated in answer C, rule 2 will be violated in answer E and so forth. This means that once you have found the answer that violates Rule 1, you shouldn’t check the other 4 answers to see if they violate Rule 1 as well, as chances are they do not.
Acceptability Practice Question
As discussed above, the first step is to take Rule 1 (L is immediately before P) and see which possible answer choice violates this rule. In answer E, L is not immediately before P. You can thus cross of E as a possible answer choice. Since we have found the answer that violates Rule 1, the next step is to move onto Rule 2. Answer D violates Rule 2 as N is before Q in the sequence.
Continue with this process of eliminating an answer per rule and you will end up with 4 wrong answers (A, C, D and E). At this point, go ahead a pick that 5th answer, you don’t even need to test it (unless you are skeptical about your work, then go ahead and test that answer just to be on the safe side)! That is how you do a rule tester. As you can see, they aren’t too tricky so always do these questions first in games so that you can make sure you have a good handle on your rules, and so you get that easy point.
“New-If” questions are great because the question will give you an added piece of information that somehow limits the diagram. You can think of the limiter as an added rule applicable only to the one question you are working on. These questions typically read as follows: If X is true then Y must be in spot Z; find X or Z. For example: If X is at time 3, then Y must be at what time?
The easiest way to approach these types of questions is start by adding the “new If” into your diagram and see what results. Often times putting the limiter in your diagram will cause a cascade of other pieces to fall into place in your diagram. The typical answer will then relate to the pieces that fell into place. Always remember to save your work! Even though the limiters are adding a new rule for that specific question, the sequences you get are still correct within the overall rules of the game, so you can reference those sequences for future questions.
“New-If” Practice Question
If L is performed at 4, then because of Rule 1, P must be performed at 5. From Rule 4, we know that there must be two back-to-back spots for O and M to be in. Since there is only one spot after P (6), we know that O and M must be in spots 1-3. We don’t know which ones, but we do know they have to be back-to-back. If you try O in spot 2, you can get a correct sequence (Q, O, M, L, P, N), the same goes for M in spot 2 (Q, M, O, L, P, N)
Now, lets try Q in spot 2. If you put Q in that spot, then there are no longer two back-to-back spots for O and M to go in. Thus, we know that Q cannot be in spot 2. The same reasoning goes for placing N in spot 2.
Through this process, we have deduced that if L is performed fifth, that only O and M could be performed second. Looking back at our answers, we see that is Choice E! This “plug-and-chug” method is especially good for limiters. As time goes on, you may be able to come to the correct answer without actually drawing anything in your diagram (just through deduction), but it never hurts to have extra correct sequences in your diagram.
Previous: Logic Games: Combining Rules
Next: Logic Games: Must Be True and Minimum/Maximum Questions