Every administration of the LSAT features one scored Logic Games section. There are always four games with a total of 22–24 questions. If you’ve taken an LSAT, you may well have considered Logic Games to be the hardest or most confusing section on the test, as do a majority of test takers the first time they see the exam. Each game has a number of “moving parts” that can, in theory, be arranged in dozens or even hundreds of ways. While that may seem daunting, the method and strategies you’ll learn in this chapter will allow you to treat games as concrete, solvable puzzles. In fact, once you have internalized the strategies introduced here, you may find yourself making a greater improvement in Logic Games than in any other section of the test. By Test Day, it’s not uncommon for students to describe games and the thinking they entail as fun, or for students to identify this as their favorite LSAT section.
The Kaplan Method for Logic Games
Let’s not be shy about saying that logic games are challenging and some are downright hard. On Test Day, you have about 8 1/2 minutes to process each game’s task, sketch it out and account for all of its rules and restrictions, and then answer anywhere from five to seven questions. At Kaplan, we apply an efficient method for approaching any game you encounter on the LSAT. Learning and practicing this method will make you efficient with your time as you manage all of the game’s information and effective at applying that information to correctly answer the questions.
Step One: Overview
Before you can accomplish anything in an LSAT logic game, you have to understand your task. Fortunately, the testmaker describes game scenarios as small, well-defined, real-world jobs; you may have to make a schedule of appointments, assign athletes to teams, match different costume elements to different actors in a play, or choose some items from a catering menu while rejecting others. In any event, invest the first few seconds of tackling any logic game in clearly understanding your task. Doing so will allow you to make a useful, accurate sketch in which to record the specific details of the rules and restrictions set out.
Step Two: Sketch
Just as important as your internal visualization of a game’s task is the actual physical picture of the game you draw on your scratch paper: the sketch. Logic games are almost impossible if you try to keep all of the information in your head. By depicting the game’s setup and rules, an LSAT expert is able to quickly and confidently understand a game’s parameters. The ideal sketch provides a framework that captures the scenario in a clear, simple way and provides spaces in which to record the more specific and detailed rules of the game.
Step Three: Rules
Once you have the basic framework for your sketch, you’re ready to record the game’s rules. The rules are always listed under the game’s opening paragraph, and they’re indented so that they’re easy to distinguish from the overall setup.
Whenever possible, build a rule directly into the framework of your sketch. When a rule is not specific enough to designate the precise spaces or boxes in which to place the entities, write the rule in shorthand just below or to the side of the sketch. Try to make your shorthand clear and comprehensible, using the same vocabulary of symbols you used to create the sketch framework.
Step Four: Deductions
This is the step that the majority of untrained or poorly trained LSAT test takers miss. Even students who instinctively appreciate the value of creating a sketch and of symbolizing the rules often don’t take the time to determine what must be true or must be false beyond what the rules explicitly state. In most games, however, it is possible to combine the rules with each other or to combine rules with the game’s overall limitations in a way that produces a lot more certainty when you go to tackle the questions. It is always highly advantageous—in terms of both speed and accuracy—to make all of the available deductions before moving on to the questions.
Step Five: Questions
The purpose of the first four steps is to answer the game’s questions quickly and accurately. You’ll have about 8 1/2 minutes per game on Test Day. To get to all of the questions in that short amount of time, the LSAT expert leverages her Master Sketch to save time. Don’t be surprised if you spend three or four minutes setting up the game. You’ll find that answering the questions can be a quick and confident exercise once you have an adequate Master Sketch.
LSAT Logic Games: Question Types
Below are some strategies for figuring out different types of questions that test-takers can encounter on the logic games section of the LSAT.
What is the strategy for Acceptability questions?
Go rule by rule to eliminate each answer choice that violates a rule.
What is the strategy for Must Be/Could Be questions?
Consult the Master Sketch to see if the question can be answered immediately. If not, use sketches from New- “If”s, as well as the Acceptability question correct answer, to eliminate answers. The sketch from a New-“If” could also help pick a Could Be True answer. If multiple answer choices still remain use trial and error.
What are the strategy for New-“If” questions?
Draw a new sketch that incorporates the new information.
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