Hey Andrew —
Awesome to hear that you’ve found the Trainer helpful —
I think it’s common to experience what you are experiencing with games, and as long as your foundation is strong (you feel comfortable picturing games, understand how to diagram rules, and recognize why right answers are right and wrong are wrong), I think you can expect that your ability to make inferences will continue to get stronger and stronger —
Of course, I do have some suggestions for both putting yourself in a better position to see inferences during a game and to improve on them more efficiently per how you study/review — it’s all stuff already in the Trainer, and I imagine you do a lot of this already, but thought you might find it helpful for me to mention some of it here —
1) I strongly recommend that you make it a habit to always read the entire stimulus and all the rules, and to mentally visualize how you might diagram a game, before you set pencil to paper. I believe that rushing into your diagram without doing so puts you at a disadvantage in terms of being able to see the bigger picture, which is extremely important for recognizing inferences.
2) During this initial read, you want to think about how you want to lay out your base, and, simultaneously, you want to imagine how you might notate the rules on that diagram — these thoughts should inform one another — you want your base to be such that it makes it easier to notate the rules and you want to ideally notate, as much as possible, in a way that makes it visually clear how elements fit relative to your base.
3) Also during this initial read, you want to think about which rule or rules is most important for determining the outcome of the game — a lot of times you won’t see that one rule or set of rules is more important, but, when you do, typically it will involve either a rule with lots of elements (for example, an ordering rule that relates 3 items) or two or more rules that have elements in common (Z is mentioned in 2 different rules, for example). And, when you recognize these, you want to prioritize them and start your diagramming with them.
4) As you add the other rules to the initial diagram, you always want to try and link them up to what you already know / other parts of your diagram you’ve already set up — this puts you in a far better position to see the relationship between rules than say, for example, taking all the rules and notating them in the order given.
5) You also, of course, want to look for framing opportunities, and I know this is something you asked about specifically — most commonly, you are going to find them happening in one of two ways —
a) the easiest to see way involves a two or three way split (most commonly an element or a group of elements can only go in 2 or 3 or the given number of positions), and that split impacts other where other elements can go.
b) the other common experience with frames is that once you make your key initial inferences (per #’s 3 and 4 above) you recognize — hey- there is only a couple of ways that this set of rules can work together (a common experience, for example, is to link up ordering rules, then to realize that the resulting link can only fit in a couple of places) and it’s at that point (whether you realize this during your initial visualization or as you are notating) that you make those frames.
The last thing I want to mention about framing is that, per the way I think about the games, there are a minority of games where framing is absolutely essential to playing that game better, a minority where framing does no good at all, and a majority that fit somewhere in the middle — where framing can be helpful but isn’t essential, and the choice to do so is based on your preference for how you want to play that particular game / sense of what’s going to work better for you — I’m going to come back to this point in tip #7 but for now —
6) In terms of building up habits, I strongly believe that drilling is far more effective than simply taking section after section — of course, you don’t want to just drill, because you also need to get practice experiencing not knowing what type of game is going to come up and having to react to that, but in terms of building up automatic instincts and sharpening your ability to make the right inferences and so on, nothing better than playing a bunch of very similar games together (and hopefully playing them again and again as you see fit).
So, make sure you are utilizing drilling and full sections/pt’s, and frontload your work with drilling to build up those habits first before you then focus in more on execution.
7) And lastly, always review carefully and try to maximize what you can learn from your review — for example, it’s a great idea to think about and try playing games two ways — with and without frames — to see how you manage in both cases — in addition, you always want to think about how games relate to one another — the more work you put into connecting your practice work together, the easier is for your mind to make the right associations /think about the right things when it sees a new game —
Of course there is a lot else I could say, but I’ll stop myself there — I hope that helps, and if you have any follow-up q’s just let me know —