LSAT Logic Games: Timing Strategies and Tips

LSAT Logic Games: Timing Strategies and Tips

Many LSAT test-takers find the Analytical Reasoning or “Logic Games” section of the LSAT challenging. Even if you don’t love the Logic Games section of the LSAT, with practice, trial, and error, you may find it to be one of your strengths on test day! There are some good habits to develop and strategies to master for LSAT Logic Games success.

 

Timing Practice

Often the Logic Games section can be a manageable section of the LSAT to improve on, and improve on quickly. There are very set rules, and lots of great strategies  that can help you conquer this section. That being said, nothing is better than practice, so below are some tips for how to tackle practicing the games.

To start, try taking a couple of practice analytical reasoning sections to see where your baseline is. Are you finishing all of the games in time but not doing very well? Are you finishing only two of the games but getting all of the questions right?

As you begin your LSAT prep, don’t worry too much about working within timing limits. While you’re trying to develop mastery (which will take a while), you may want to spend more than the average amount of time on a problem type. That’s OK for the first couple of weeks. Just be aware that you’ll have to tighten up the timing before too long. To finish all four games in the allotted 35 minutes, you need to do each game in under 8 minutes. Adhering to this timing means you’ll be left with 3 minutes to spend on a harder game, or to review your answers. 8 minutes may seem really fast, but if you can do practice LSAT logic games frequently, that short period of time will be enough for you to complete the game.

A good first step is to aim for finishing three games in the 35 minutes getting 90-100% of the questions correct. That means you can spend 11 minutes per game with 2 extra minutes to review or tackle that harder game. It may seem crazy to leave that forth game untouched for right now, but for many LSAT test-takers it is better to try and work on your accuracy first.


Logic Games Timing Practice

1. Do a timed logic games section to get your baseline.

2. Practice without timing first.

3. Focus on accuracy.

4. Work to get faster.

5. Do a logic games section each day.

 

 

 

Once you routinely start getting almost all of the questions right on three of the games, pick up speed and try to fit that forth game in. As with all of the sections of the LSAT, the analytical reasoning section is a tradeoff between speed and accuracy. You can always go faster, rush through the questions more, but if you never build up that accuracy, increased speed will not help you. Eventually, your accuracy will improve and you will find yourself being able to go a little faster. With a little time you will be able to complete all four games in the 35 minutes with great accuracy.

In addition to the timing tips above, try to make some time in your schedule to take one complete analytical reasoning section every day. Take a day off occasionally, but try to stick with the habit. While it may seem like a lot, practicing this section is the most guaranteed way of improving your score. The more games you see, the more comfortable you become with them, and the better you will perform on test day.

 

Logic Games Strategies

There are many different kinds of Analytical Reasoning question sets—or “Logic Games”—on the LSAT, and because of that, there are many different approaches to those games.  It’s almost impossible to come up with one-size-fits-all strategy as methods that work for a sequencing scenario might not be helpful at all for a selection game or a matching game with conditional statements.  However, here are few additional strategies that often prove valuable on nearly every game.

  • Develop and use consistent shorthand

    Certain themes come up over and over again: conditional statements (“If X is in Greece, then Y is in Mexico”), positive concrete rules (“X is in 3”), negative concrete statements (“Z is not in the blue room”), character groupings or orderings (“X and Y are together,” or “X is immediately after Y”), and number limitations (“Fewer than three dogs are in each cage.”) While there’s no right or wrong way to symbolize these rules for your own use, you do need to have a consistent set of symbols that you use for stipulations, and you do need to rewrite the stipulations or sketch them into your diagram.

  • Have one main diagram, but don’t use it for the individual questions

    Within the white space on the page (a place where your hand won’t cover or smudge it) draw your initial diagram. Here you will jot down a list of the games’ entities and symbolize the rules and your synthesis of them. However, when you get to a question that gives you a new hypothetical (“If Stuart buys a chair, then which of the following…”), DO NOT just write it into your main diagram and then erase it when you’re done.  At best, this will make your sketch less legible than it would otherwise be.  At worst, you’ll erase too little or too much and make mistakes that will cost you points on later questions. Instead of risking that, use mini diagrams for individual hypothetical questions. Mark them with the number of the question to which they refer, and when you’re done using one, lightly cross it out so you won’t accidentally refer to it later when you shouldn’t, but can still see what it says if you need to use your past work.

  • Don’t spoil yourself with scratch paper

    If you’re working out of a book, train yourself to use only the page on which the game is printed, and if you’re using scratch paper to supplement Analytical Reasoning work on a computer, keep your diagrams small, conserving as much space as possible. The reason if that when you take the actual LSAT, you will not be given scratch paper; you will only have the blank space on the pages of the games themselves.  If you’re used to making big sprawling sketches for your games, having a forced space constraint can throw you off and cost you valuable points. Discipline yourself now, and it will pay off on test day, when you’re experienced at making the best of the space provided.

While none of these ideas will, alone, make or break your LSAT Analytical Reasoning performance, incorporating them into your studies early can help you to be prepared for whatever the test throws at you, and will allow you to handle the logic games with the kind of calm and measured approach that yields big payoffs when you receive your LSAT score.

 

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