Guide to LSAT Logic Games

Guide to LSAT Logic Games

Logic games is an area many LSAT test takers struggle with at first. Each game presents its own challenges and may leave the test-taker unsure of where to start. Kaplan’s five step method to logic games increases your speed and accuracy while decreasing the stress of logic games. Once you master the Kaplan Logic Games method, you may even enjoy logic games!

[ RELATED: Top Tips and Strategies for Logic Games on the Digital LSAT ]

 

Step 1: Read the overview of the game and answer the SEAL questions

This is the most oft-neglected part of the Logic Games setup process, but it is extremely important to do effectively, especially on the harder games. By answer the four questions (situation/entities/action/limitations), we know what type of game we are dealing with, the original numbers of the game (always significant, even when they are not clear), and any other complications that will make our sketch harder.  If you have trouble with the set up, chances are you are not doing what you need to do with the SEAL questions.

Step 2: Sketch the game’s action

Each game type has its own sketch, which you should be familiar with.  On tougher games we are asked to add things to the sketch that might be unfamiliar, so make sure to think of our sketches as a flexible jumping-off point.  We can always add different things to a sketch, or change it to better serve the game we are looking at.  This is especially important in hybrid games, when we have to combine one or more game actions in a single sketch.  Look for the most concrete game element, and start from there.

Step 3: Read the rules

Reading the rules has a very specific set of instructions; first, ask yourself what the rules tells us, and what the rule is missing or doesn’t tell us (J and K have to be next to each other, but we don’t know in what order).  Then, see if the rule can fit directly in your sketch.  If you can put it straight in, do so.  If not, use helpful shorthand to write it close by (helpful shorthand means you MUST be able to read it!).

Step 4: Make deductions

Our fun does not end with the rules– we also need to make deductions, and note everything that must be true about the game before heading into the questions.  We can use the helpful acronym BLEND to ensure we get any and all major deductions available by looking at Blocs of entities/Limited Options/Established Entities/Numbers/Duplications.  Make sure to get all possible deductions– they are invaluable when you hit the questions.

Step 5: Go to the questions

Start with the acceptability question, almost always the first question for the game. From there, you will see a mix of new information, “If” questions, and “Not If” questions.  For every single question you should be asking what kind of right answer and what kind of wrong answers it has.  Remember that for “if” questions, your impulse should be to draw a new sketch for each question, but if you don’t, you should never be writing on your master sketch.  Keep complete and accurate list and “if” questions that change a rule for last.

 

Set-Up and Strategy

Not only do you need to have a strategy for each type of logic game, but you should have a strategy for the logic game section overall. At the beginning of each LG section, take 30-60 seconds to choose game order. Factors to consider: game type, familiarity, personal preference, complications in the overview, formal logic in the rules, number of questions, number of rules. Go for what you are comfortable with first.

The Logic Games section features five different types of games. Each game differs slightly in set up and how to make deductions. Let’s look at the different types of games.

 

  • Sequencing

    Sequencing games will always involve putting entities in order.  Strict sequencing means entities will be placed in definite slots, while loose sequencing means that we only know the entities’ order based on relationships between the entities themselves.  Strict sequencing sketches are usually a series of ordered dashes, either horizontal or vertical, while loose sequencing means we will make an relationship tree or web connecting all of the entities.  Sequencing games are the most common single action game on the test, and many students’ favorite.

  • Matching

    Matching games always have two or more distinct kinds of entities we will need to match together.  Most matching games sketches just consist of listing the most concrete group of entities on paper and listing next to them whatever is matched to them from the other kinds of entities.  Sometimes, we have something called binary matching, for instance when something is yes or no, for or against, girls or boys, etc.  In that situation, it is possible to effectively use a grid to sketch the action.

  • Distribution

    Distribution means we are taking a large group of entities and dividing it into subgroups.  In its action, distribution is very similar to matching, but we generally have our groups as the most concrete game element in distribution, which should tip us off to the difference.  For distribution, we create a chart with the groups at the top in columns.  We then can use dashes to indicate how many people/places/things are in each subgroup (if we know), and place entities in each group accordingly.

  • Selection

    Selection is another grouping game, but here we are taking a large group of entities and selecting some entities to form a single subgroup.  In actuality, selection is two actions: selecting and rejecting.  Both are equally important in the game.  Our sketch just consists of a list of the entities in which we can circle entities that are selected and X out entities that are rejected.  Selection also usually contains a lot of formal logic based rules, so we want to pay special attention to make sure that we translate, contrapose, and make deductions accurately.

  • Hybrid

    Hybrid games are any games that combine two or more of the above actions.  Sketching the hybrid game requires effectively combining the two (or more) actions’ sketches, which is part of the reason they are tricky.  Sequencing and distribution are the most common “concrete” actions around which hybrid game sketches can be built.