5 Inside Tips for Logic Games Success
At our mock LSAT this past Saturday at Wayne State University, we fielded questions after students completed the exam. As you might have guessed, many of them revolved around Logic Games! Even though it is worth the least amount of any section of the exam, students worry the most about it. The basis of every question came down to this: what can I do to guarantee Logic Games success?
5 Inside Tips for Logic Games Success
1. Learn to shorthand rules, and study their implications.
LSAC does not recreate the wheel every time they develop as new test. The rules have remained remarkably consistent for the last twenty years. Therefore, you have a lot of material to practice on! LSAC publishes pretty much all of its previous tests. If you had a way in a class to get a preview of an upcoming test, you’d use it, right? Well, LSAC’s PrepTests are that tool for the LSAT!
Use the previously released tests to practice interpreting the rules. As you work through the back catalogue, you’ll see rule patterns develop for the different games. For linear/sequencing games, you’ll almost always see rules about the order variables can appear in. Get comfortable expressing these rules in shorthand. This will save you time rereading a rule if you need to in the course of solving a problem. Once you have a comfortable shorthand developed, learn the practical applications. For example, here’s a common rule type. Let’s assume we are trying to order performers A, B, C, D, and E into five consecutive slots during a talent show. A common type of rule might read as follows:
A performs sometime before B.
In shorthand, you could write something like A > B to symbolize this. Your game would be set up with five blank spaces ( _ _ _ _ _) to fit the performers into. In terms of applying the rule in this game, you’ll see that B cannot take up the first slot of the order, since A needs to perform before it. Similarly, A cannot take the last slot, since B needs to perform after it.
Rules like this appear on every single LSAT Logic Game. The theme of games change. You might be setting up a row of paintings in a museum, or assigning parking spaces. However, the way the rules are stated and applied are very consistent. Get comfortable with them, and you’ll see your proficiency at Logic Games increase.
2. Get comfortable developing diagrams quickly.
In the same way as above, learning to quickly analyze a problem and develop a useable diagram was a big focus during our Q & A session. Again, the best thing I can advise is to expose yourself to a wide variety of Logic Games. By seeing a lot of games, you’ll become better at developing diagrams on the fly. You should be at the point, before you take the LSAT, that you know how to diagram the problem very soon after reading it. If you aren’t, then you most likely need to do some more review.
3. Time yourself during your prep.
During our mock LSAT Q & A, as I was demonstrating problems and the inferences needed to solve them, I was asked how I could possibly figure out a problem in the allotted time, given how difficult it seemed (the computer virus problem from PrepTest 79). And while I do understand this question in that forum, I often get the exact same one from my students. And my answer is inevitably the same: timing yourself throughout your prep is a way to guarantee Logic Games success!
I’ve written about timing yourself during your LSAT prep previously, but it’s worth repeating here. Understanding how to time yourself on the LSAT is equally as important as understanding the material, and the Logic Games section is no exception to this rule. So, after you are comfortable with Logic Games rules and diagrams, start timing yourself! You most likely won’t finish in the allotted time as you first start to study. However, it is important to have a benchmark to work from. If a Logic Game, on average, takes you 15 minutes to complete when you start your review, you know how much you need to improve before test day.
4. Practice, practice, practice!
This should go without saying, but I’ve found it needs to be drilled into my students. You can study Logic Games all you want, but in order to do well on the section, you need to actually sit down and grind through problems. Struggling through problems, getting questions wrong, and being frustrated is all part of the process! Very few people take to Logic Games from day one. For most, it is a lot of work. But, you’ll never get better if you don’t do it.
5. Figure out why you answered incorrectly!
This tip is true for all the sections of the LSAT, but is vital for the Logic Games. If you get a question wrong, find out why! Most likely, you missed an inference needed to solve the problem. If you can understand the logic behind an inference, even if you don’t see it until after the fact, you will be more likely to spot it the next time you see it!
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