Hi Yesenia —
I really like the thoughts and suggestions given by both Dan and Blake, and I hope you find them useful —
Here are some additional thoughts that come to mind —
In terms of moving forward in the book —
The next swatch of LG lessons (chapters 26-30) are packed w/strategy advice — those chapters may provide a lot of the help that you are looking for, so I encourage you to perhaps try finish going through them to see if they help you feel more comfortable w/inferences.
In terms of knowing rules and being good at diagramming —
Your ability to visualize a game and represent it in a diagram is fundamentally important to making inferences — and you want to work to keep getting better and better at creating an accurate diagram, so that you can make it as second nature as possible —
If you think of the typical student spending time/energy during a game setup on three different concerns – a) what do these rules mean? b) how should I represent them? And c) how does this information come together? —
A big goal of your prep is to make it so that you can, on test day, spend far less time on concerns a) and b) compared to other test takers, and to make it so that you are able to utilize your diagramming ability to focus as much of your energy as possible on concern c) — how information comes together — which is what inferences are all about.
Finally, the last tip is to think of inferences flowing in a linear fashion
Imagine two different types of challenges:
Challenge A: List all the words you can think of that begin with the letter Q.
Challenge B: come up with a word, take the last letter of that word and come up with a new word, take the last letter of that one and come up with a new word, and so on…
Challenge (A) involves thinking of a bunch of “one off” thoughts (brainstorming-type thinking), and (B) involves thinking of a chain of related thoughts.
The LSAT requires both types of thinking, but it requires and rewards type (B) far, far, more, and you want to put yourself in an optimal mindset to make inferences in a linear fashion.
This starts right at the beginning of a game —
Not sure how you begin/set up games, but here’s what I encourage you to try —
1) Wait to draw your diagram until you’ve read the stimulus and rules through once.
2) During your first read through, make it your goal to try to create as accurate a big picture understanding of the game as possible, while also, related to that, working to decide on the most important rule or combinations of rules for the game.
3) The most important rule or combination of rules is that which has the most impact on the placement of all elements — the most important rule will either involve 3 elements or more, or it will involve elements that also show up often in other rules.
4) Once you’ve made these determinations, then go ahead and draw out your diagram, and do so with the most important rule(s) written in —
5) Then, instead of taking the other rules in order, move on to diagram a rule that is, in some way, linked to the first rule that you diagrammed — so, for example, if the first rule you diagrammed involved elements F and G, see if you can then find another rule that mentions one of those elements and try to connect it in some way.
Every time you make a connection between rules, there will be inferences — new things known because of those rules coming together —
Working in this way will naturally help you see inferences easier; you also want to habitually remind yourself that each element you add to your diagram is meant to be a chance to uncover new inferences.
6) Move on the next rule that is somehow connected to what you’ve already set up, then the next related rule and so on. Then finish up by notating any other rules that you couldn’t link to the other rules.
7) Make sure to study your diagram (and the connection between rules) carefully before going into the q’s.
8) Lastly, I encourage you to pay extra attention to conditional q’s — they really represent well the proper “flow” one ought to feel when making LG inferences —
The new information you are given, when added to what you already know about the game, should (most of the time) lead one inference, which then leads to another, which then leads to another, and so on —
These various inferences (rather than anything you initially knew about the game) will invariably determine which answers are right and wrong.
Additionally, when you are done w/such a problem and as you review it, you can trace the “line” of inferences all the back to your setup — you might see, for example, that figuring out that something “must be true” required a linkage of 6 different inferences that you can trace all the way back to a connection you made, during your initial setup, between two different rules. Seeing it in this way — seeing the “line” of thinking that was necessary, can be extremely valuable for developing stronger instincts about how LG inferences ought to work.
That’s it — as always, feel free to use what tips you think apply to you and ignore the rest —
Also want to reiterate advice Dan and Blake gave — I encourage you to play certain “easier” games, again and again, until the way you are “supposed” to play them becomes more and more obvious to you and easier and easier to see. If you do this with several ordering games, or several grouping games, you brain will invariably develop stronger and stronger wisdom about what types of inferences it ought to look for and how/where it ought to look for them —
Hope some of that helps and wish you the best moving forward — MK