LSAT Logic Games For Dummies
Strategy and organization are key when you’re tackling the logic games in the Analytical Reasoning part of the LSAT. By analyzing the parts of these logic puzzles, taking notes in a clear and concise way, and following a few tips and tricks, you can be well on your way to doing well on the Logic Games section of the LSAT.
The Parts of an LSAT Logic Game
Each problem in the Analytical Reasoning section of the LSAT, which most people refer to as Logic Games, contains three basic parts. Here’s the anatomy of a basic logic game:
The story: The story appears at the very top of a logic game. It gives you the most basic information about how that game is played. This information applies to every question in that game.
The clues: The clues appear just below the story. Like the story, these clues apply to every question in that game.
The questions: Each logic game has five, six, or seven questions associated with it. All questions are multiple choice with five possible answers — one right answer and four wrong answers.
Writing Information in an LSAT Logic Game Board
To solve logic games in the Analytical Reasoning section of the LSAT, you need to set up a game board, which offers a way to quickly write down all the information in the problem for easy reference. The info you record here generally applies to every question for the logic game. This board consists of the following elements:
Chip list: A list of the chips (elements to be organized) in a logic game; if the game hasn’t already done so, you can abbreviate the names of the elements using capital letters.
Box chart: A chart organized into boxes, where you place the chips.
Clue notes: Information from the clues that won’t fit neatly into the boxes.
Basic Approaches for Solving LSAT Logic Games
It's hard to know where to start when trying to answer the questions in a logic game in the Analytical Reasoning section of the LSAT. A systematic approach can certainly help you get your bearings. When you begin a new logic game, do the following before you consider the questions:
Scan the story to answer three important questions:
Which type of game is this?
Is it a line game, in which you have to put elements in order? A sorting game, in which you have to separate elements into groups? A combination?
How many chips are in this game?
That is, how many elements are you ordering or sorting?
Is this a 1-to-1 game?
That is, will you have one chip in every box? Or can you have empty boxes? Can you place multiple chips in a box? Can you have unused chips left over, or can you use the same chip more than once?
Use the story and clues to build the game board:
List the chips.
Draw the boxes.
Scribe notes on the clues.
Improve the game board and, if possible, find hidden keys. When you begin a new question, do the following:
Decide whether the question has an extra clue.
Determine the answer profile.
Draw a question chart, if needed.
Two Types of LSAT Analytical Reasoning Questions
Logic game questions in the Analytical Reasoning section of the LSAT typically fall into two categories. The questions may ask you something about a logic game as it was initially presented, or the questions may provide an extra clue and ask you what happens if the condition of that extra clue is met. Here’s how the question types compare:
Questions without an extra clue:
Don’t start with the word if
Don’t require a separate question chart; you can use the game board you set up for the whole game
Have conclusions that pertain to the entire game (so any conclusions you reach may help you answer other questions)
Questions with an extra clue:
Start with the word if
Require a question chart, which shows what happens to the game board if you apply the extra clue
Have conclusions that pertain only to this question