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LSAT LOGIC games 101

Welcome to LSAT Logic Games 101, where we will discuss what is more formally known as the Analytical Reasoning section. Whether you are just starting your LSAT prep, or you've been at it for a while, you've come to the right place. In this brief article, we will discuss basic detail about Logic Games,  highlight effective practice methods, and more. Includes a video and lots of downloadable infographics. Let's get started.

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Basic Details About Logic Games

  • One of your four scored sections will be a Logic Games section.
  • Each Logic Games section has four games, and generally twenty-three questions.
  • Each game will have between five and seven questions associated with it.
  • Every game that has appeared on the LSAT this decade can be thought of in terms of elements to be assigned, and positions to be filled.
  • For two or three games in every four-game set, the positions are organized in some sort of order.
  • For approximately half of all Logic Games, the positions are organized in groups.
  • Some games have positions organized by group and order. Almost no games have positions organized by neither group nor order.
  • Games are further complicated due to subgroups, or mismatching numbers issues.
  • For almost all test takers, a diagram is necessary for organizing the information given, and the ability to diagram well is a big key to success.
  • The purpose of a diagram is to represent what you know about a game in a clear and usable way, and to help facilitate bringing information together.
  • Of the twenty-three questions, all but two to four of them will come from a small bucket of basic question types.
  • The remaining few will also come from an equally small bucket of minor question types.
  • All questions test your ability to differentiate between what we can know about a situation, and what remains uncertain. A minority of questions also test your ability to consider a range of possibilities.

Where Can I Find Practice Problems and How Should I Use Them?

LSAC, the organization responsible for the LSAT, offers one free sample test on their website, and they also offer additional practice exams for sale.

All of the tests LSAC offers are previously administered official exams.

The exams come in bundles of ten (which are known as the "10 Actuals") and as individual tests. The 10 Actuals offer a much better value and are the best choice for most students.

Please click on any of the links below to access the free sample exam offered by LSAC and the prep tests LSAC offers for sale on Amazon.

Links to Practice Problems

Free Practice Offered By LSAC (All from the June '07 exam)

 

"10 Actuals" Books For Sale on Amazon

 

You can also purchase individual practice tests on the LSAC Amazon page.

Tips on Drilling, Practice Sections, and Practice Exams

The three most common ways in which students utilize the practice problems is by drilling, taking full sections, and taking full exams.

Especially for Logic Games, drilling can be an extremely effective way to learn about and master problems. When you first see a Logic Games section and try a few Logic Games, it can seem as if there are a million different challenges that a game can throw your way. However, once you take a a look at a few exams and compare the games to one another, you can start to see great similarity and predictability. Organizing games according to their common characteristics, and drilling these sets of similar games, is one of the very best ways to prepare yourself for test day.

If you are using The LSAT Trainer, you can take advantage of the free study schedules available, which organize your Logic Games work into drill sets that correspond with the lessons you learn in the book. If you aren't studying with the Trainer, please check out these various resources for help breaking down your practice games into categories: The LSAT Trainer Questions Organized By Type PDF,  and A Breakdown of All Logic Games Part 1 and Part 2.

As you get closer and closer to test day, full practice exams should become a more and more prominent part of your study routine, and you want to make sure to take at least a few in the weeks leading up to test day. And while it's certainly fine to try a section or two untimed in order to get your bearings or do some assessment, for the most part, it is very important to take every practice section and exam  timed, and in all other ways as realistically as possible.

An Introduction to Diagramming

Logic Games are designed to test your ability to relate different pieces of information—the game scenario and rules—to one another. In order to do this, you'll want to develop a notational system for these various Logic Games scenarios and rules. This is what is commonly discussed as diagramming strategy.

Being able to diagram Logic Games is the equivalent of being able to write out math problems on paper—it allows us to be far faster and more accurate, and it also allows us to follow long or advanced chains of thought that most of us are not capable of following otherwise.  And in large part, your success on Logic Games will be dictated by your ability to diagram Logic Games situations and rules, and your ability to utilize your diagram in order to answer the various questions that you will face.

The great news is that there is great consistency to the design of Logic Games, and  the same situations and rules appear over and over again. With the right instruction and the right practice, diagramming is very, very learnable, and once you are comfortable drawing out just about any games scenario you might run into, the Logic Games section becomes markedly more manageable.

The infographic below highlights the most common diagramming situations and rules.

Tips For Logic Games Study Success

Finally, here are some tips to help ensure your Logic Games study success.

1. Try to account for both the forest and the trees

In studying games, it helps to at times get very specific in your focus, so that you can just think about ordering games, or just think about conditional rules, and so on, and at times it helps to think big picture—to think about how all games relate to one another.

Students often underperform because they fail to pay attention to the details, or because they have failed to properly organize and bring together all that they have learned. Make sure not to fall into either trap.

2. Play games again and again until you feel mastery

It takes a while for your brain to get used to playing Logic Games, and you don't want to burn through a ton of practice before you get a chance to get good. For every game you encounter in your practice, your expectation should be that if you don't play it well, you will play it again and again until you can.  Try to master every game you practice—repeating and carefully studying just a few games can often be far more helpful than trying to rush through a ton of them.

3. Try to adopt flexible strategies

Yes, all games are very much alike and related to one another, but that doesn't mean that they fit into rigid categories. Students can cause themselves unnecessary trouble if they try to learn games in terms of these rigid categories, and then, in turn, try to force games into them. Students also cause themselves trouble when they develop diagramming systems for one "type" of game that contradict or don't work along with diagramming systems for other "types" of games. Make sure to work to develop flexible strategies that are easy to adjust should you, as you invariably will, run into hybrid games or games that for various other reasons don't fit neatly into set categories.

Additional Logic Games Resources

Thanks for reading and I hope you've found this information useful. For more free Logical Reasoning instruction, please check out these links:

 

About the Author

Mike Kim is the author of The LSAT Trainer, the most popular and acclaimed new LSAT learning product to be released in over a decade. Previously, he co-created ManhattanLSAT. Inspired by self-study students who prepare for the exam on their own, Mike set out to write the ultimate self-study guide, and The LSAT Trainer is the result.

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