Unusual Logic Game Questions
July 9, 2009
A vast majority of questions in the Logic Games section ask for basic information such as "which of the following must be true?" or "which of the following could be false?" However, once in a while, the LSAT throws a curveball and asks a question that requires extra analysis to determine how to answer it. Here are two such examples (disguised a little so as not to spoil the games should you come across them in your practice):
1.) The ranking of the participants is completely determined if which one of the following is true?
The rules of any logic game will never provide a complete picture of the end result. A question like this is looking for one additional piece of information that will provide a definitive solution to the game. If you add an answer to the rules and something is still uncertain, then the answer is wrong.
For this question, let’s say we’re asked to rank five participants (A, B, C, D, E) in order of their performance in a race, and are given these three rules:
* A is ranked immediately higher than B.
* B is ranked second highest.
* C is ranked higher than D.
We know that B is ranked second highest. By the first rule, that makes A ranked highest. However, we’re still not entirely certain about C, D and E. We need something that would confirm their rankings.
If an answer said that C is also ranked higher than E, then we’d know that C is ranked third highest, but we still wouldn’t know if D ranks higher than E or vice versa. That answer would be incorrect. However, if an answer said that C is ranked lower than E, then we would know that the last three participants would be ranked E (third highest), then C (fourth highest) then D (lowest). The rankings would be definite, making this the correct answer.
2.) Which of the following could replace [a specified rule] and produce the same effect in determining the ordering of the participants?
It’s not entirely uncommon for the last question in a logic game to remove one of initial rules and replace it with a new rule. This question adds a new twist to the concept by asking us to provide the new rule – one that will result in same exact setup we had with the old rule. Basically, it boils down to figuring out which entities were impacted by the initial rule and finding a new rule that will impact those entities in the exact same way.
For example, let’s go back to ordering the five participants we talked about above. Say the question asked: Which of the following could replace the rule that B was ranked second highest and produce the same effect in determining the ordering of the participants? This removes the second rule which affects the direct placement of B and, in effect, the placement of A. The correct answer would have to re-establish both entities in the positions we had determined. So, an answer that claimed A was the highest ranked participant would do the trick. That would re-place A as the highest ranked participant. Then, in conjunction with the first given rule, B would be re-placed as the second highest participant.
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When you come across questions like these, it’s usually a good idea to make them the last questions you tackle in the game. They can be more time consuming, so stick to the standard questions first and solidify as many points as you can. However, when you come back to these questions at the end, take a few seconds to truly understand what’s being asked of you. If you approach it strategically, you can earn another point without getting rankled by an anomaly.