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!
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.