Logic games are often aspiring law applicants’ point of weakness. After all, logic games are probably unlike anything you’ve seen before (unless you majored in philosophy). While you’ve been reading and writing for your courses from a young age, you haven’t been seating party guests around a table in various combinations or rearranging red, green, and yellow cars in endless patterns. Given the lack of familiarity most students have with logic games, you’ll want to focus on the following LSAT Logic Games tips to ensure you fully understand the concepts behind the questions.
1. Read every word
The Logic Games section is different from other sections on the LSAT because every word given in the game is important. In contrast, the Reading Comprehension section will present a lot of information in a passage – some of which may be relevant to the questions and some of which may not be. It’s your job to be able to decipher what’s important. For the games, you absolutely need to review the rules and ensure you understand them. If you miss just one, you’ll likely get several questions incorrect.
2. Write out all the rules
The text may state the rules, but those rules, if not rewritten in shorthand, can be difficult to understand. Turn variables into initials and get used to mapping out relationships using the “greater than,” “less than,” and “equal to” signs.
3. Draw diagrams
If you’ve ever tried to do a math problem without writing any numbers down, you know how difficult it is to keep track of your calculations and still arrive at the right answer. Logic games are no different. Drawing a quick sketch to map out the rules you’re given, as well as sketches for some (or all) of the questions, will allow you to make inferences faster.
4. Identify the correct foundation for your diagram
The base of your diagram is important and will enable you to answer the questions given. Be on the lookout for common bases and foundations like days of the week and numbers.
5. Write small
While LSAC provides much more space now for diagramming in test booklets than they have in the past, you should still try to make your diagrams small and concise to avoid running out of room.
6. Know the game types
Linear, grouping, and sequencing games are most common on the LSAT. Be able to recognize the type you’re working with – it will help you diagram more efficiently.
7. Solve games untimed on the first try
Solving a game under timed conditions will not help your studies if you can only complete one of the questions in the full set while timed. Get familiar with the question types at your own pace, get a sense for how games work and how quickly you’ll need to move, and then turn the timer on.
8. Redo games
If you’re not fully confident that you can solve a logic game under timed conditions, don’t walk away from it. Print out multiple clean copies of the same game and continue to work on those questions until you’ve completely understood it. Not only should you be able to understand that game, you should be able to solve others of the same game type.
9. Don’t make illogical assumptions that aren’t in the text
If a rule tells you that Arnold beat Jane and Karl in the race, all you know is that Arnold was both ahead of Jane and ahead of Karl. You do not know the order of Jane and Karl relative to each other – the fact that Jane’s name is before Karl’s in the rule doesn’t tell you anything about her placement in the race.
10. Make inferences
Just committing all the rules provided to memory and working off those given rules is not sufficient to score well on logic games. You need to be able to link two rules together to produce a more powerful, more useful rule. For example:
Ben sits ahead of John.
John sits ahead of Laurie.
Since Ben > John and John > Laurie, you can infer a new rule – Ben sits ahead of Laurie.
Want more insights on logic games? Check out our post on logic games basics.