5 Easy Tips to Make Logic Games WAY Easier
For many people, the Analytical Reasoning section is by far the toughest section – but it doesn’t have to be.
The problem is that all of the 3rd party methods (Kaplan etc) have overcomplicated this section to no end. This brief guide will go over the 5 easy things you can start doing right away that will make logic games into a piece of cake.
- Diagram the rules out simply and clearly.
Take a minute at the beginning of each game to draw out the rules in a simple, clear, and visually understandable way. You’re going to be referencing the rules a lot throughout the game, and the goal is to never have to look back at the text of the rules, but rather to use your easier, more readily comprehensible visual representation instead (otherwise, what’s the point of drawing them out?). Make it minimal, and most importantly, neat and easy to read. Use the same conventions that you always use for writing out rules – don’t try to reinvent the wheel every time. If there’s a rule type you’ve never seen before that you don’t know how to diagram out clearly, just write it out short-form in words. The goal is to be as cookie-cutter as possible so that you’re within your visual comfort zone – make each sequencing game look like every other sequencing game you’ve ever done, and each grouping game look like every other grouping game you’ve ever done. Which brings us to our next point.
- Every game is either a sequencing game or a grouping game.
That’s it – no other delineations. Either you’re putting a bunch of things in order, or you’re sorting a bunch of things into groups. I’ve heard enough micro-classifications of logic games to make my head spin. This accomplishes nothing except to make people waste time trying to figure out what kind of game they’re doing instead of answering the questions! Yes, there will be twists – for example, sometimes sequencing games will have multiple rows, or the elements will be divided into subgroups, etc. But you can always make those twists work within your general framework for sequencing games or grouping games.
- Don’t write out obvious inferences of each rule.
This is one of the silliest things that people do on this section (even though almost everyone does it). Anything that you can see or deduce right away is not worth writing out on the page. For example, if in a sequencing game, X always has to come somewhere before Y, then of course that means that X can never go last and that Y can never go first. If you write those two things on the page, though, then you’ve turned one simple rule into three rules. This is bad, not just because you’re spending extra time writing things out, but because every time you scan through the rules (which you’ll be doing a lot as you work through the game), now you’ve tripled the amount of things you need to look through that pertain to this one rule, without actually writing any new information on the page. If you do this for 5 rules, then now you have 15 rules to look through each time instead of 5, and all of the redundant information is mixed in with the rules that you actually need to see. Try to make sure that every time you put your pencil to the page when writing the rules out, it’s novel information that isn’t inherently obvious from something else that’s already written – if you can infer something in a split second, then what’s the point of writing it out anyway? This will make your setup much cleaner and thus quicker to scan through.
Note: this includes writing out contrapositives of conditional rules (if you don’t know what a contrapositive is, go here). Again, even though everyone does this, it’s a waste of time and space on the page. You’re much better off getting good at seeing the contrapositive intuitively from any conditional rule, rather than turning every conditional rule into two rules that are saying the exact same thing (which means turning a 4-rule conditional game into an 8-rule conditional game – yikes).
- When you’re done writing the setup, go straight to the questions.
That’s right – no drawing out scenarios! I know, this is earth-shattering, but I promise that once my students start doing this they say that all of a sudden they can get through logic games much quicker. The main point is this: what’s the point of looking for and drawing out all of the possible scenarios of a logic game if by simply doing the questions you’ll draw out exactly as many scenarios as you need? If any major inferences about possible scenarios jump out at you as you’re writing out the rules, you can take note. But there’s no use specifically looking for them – if they’re there, they’ll come out when you start doing the questions, and if not, then you’re wasting your precious time.
- Whenever there’s an “If” in the question, start by making the “If” true and looking for all inferences.
Testing out individual answer choices takes a lot of time. While it is something you’ll have to do from time to time, usually when there’s an “If” stipulation in the question, the inferences from it will be enough to find the answer to the question without drawing out multiple scenarios. In other words, let’s say the question says “If [bla bla bla] is true, then which one of the following must be true?” Before even looking at the answer choices, start off by drawing out the scenario of [bla bla bla] being true, check back to the rules, and look for any inferences that must be true now that [bla bla bla] is true. More often than not, the inferences you find will be exactly what the answer says, so you can just glance through and find it, rather than testing out each scenario individually. Like I said, you will sometimes have to do individual scenario testing for each answer choice (for example, if there is no “If” stipulation in the question), but by avoiding it when you don’t have to you can save a lot of time for when you do have to.
These five tips can take you a long way – I guarantee that logic games will suddenly seem easier than you’re used to when you start using them.
Having a very simple, cookie-cutter, step-by-step method for how to diagram logic games and work through questions is very important too, though, and can help you literally fly through even the toughest games.
For that, look no further than the interactive online MasterLSAT course.
You’ll get an in-depth guide for exactly how to do logic games from start to finish, with specific instructions for every question type, and tutorials for many tough games from actual LSATs.
Either way, good luck on this very tricky section!