June 18, 2016 at 12:32 pm #2070AnonymousInactive
So I would be interested in getting Mike or Dan’s take on this. So I look at how LSAT companies/ instructors sort game types into strict categories such as sequencing, grouping/sequencing, in/out grouping, etc.while these can help, it seems like what works better is to recognize when a certain type of rule appears on the game you are doing, regardless of type, and trying to think back on how that rule played a role in you finding inferences on another games. I ask this because when I do a game and struggle on it, I try to find similar games in terms of the TYPE. However, when I do sometimes the games and inferences seem like they are as different as night and day. However, when I focus more so on the actual rules, and those games that repeat specific types of rules, I find myself having better success. I’m wondering if that may be why Mike stays away from strictly trying to categorize games as much as other LSAT Instructors/companies do. Thanks (If you’re not understanding what I’m saying, I’ll be glad to show an example)
June 18, 2016 at 4:50 pm #2071LSAT DanParticipant
Very interesting post; I’d definitely be interested in seeing an example. With respect to sorting game types, I’m far less concerned with categorizing games than pretty much anyone else in this business whose written materials I’ve seen. I often get students either in the classes I teach or as private tutoring students who, after I’ve started to work through a game with them, will ask me questions like, “Is this a Matching game or an Assignment game?” Beats the heck out of me…call it whatever you want, but this is how to handle it.
However, I don’t focus on the rule types, either; instead, my own personal emphasis is on diagram types. The way I do games, there are four basic diagram types that will cover 90-95% of all games you might run into, and I think that’s the most important thing you need to be able to accurately and quickly assess when taking on a games section: “What diagram is going to help me visually organize this information as efficiently as possible?”
My own teaching/tutoring involves a combination of conventional wisdom and original approaches, and the one area in which my approach differs the most from what most courses/books teach is with respect to logic games (not just categorization, but solving approaches). As they say, many different roads lead to Rome.
June 19, 2016 at 3:49 am #2072AnonymousInactive
PT 57 game 4 ifor instance is labeled as a sequence grouping game according to 7sage. So when I looked back at a similar type they had PT 50 game 4 as one, and also one in the 20’s I believe. To me the consecutive rule really breaks this game open along with the m rule. To put it simply, I don’t see anything from one of theseother games that draw upon that same inferences. However, I do know several games where he consecutive rule itself has basically yielded the same result. They were not labeled as sequence grouping. Just speaking in general terms, this is something that I’ve seen a lot when focusing on game types. I’m not saying the inferences don’t repeat on some games when you you’re focusing on game types, they just don’t work all the time from what I’ve noticed . It’s kinda confusing from my perspective because you’re taught that they would almost all the time.
June 24, 2016 at 2:18 pm #2113AnonymousInactive
i was wondering if Mike could comment on this as well. I would love to hear his perspective thanks.
June 27, 2016 at 12:46 pm #2158Mike KimKeymaster
So, this is a really interesting subject, and it’s very much related to the types of things I need to think about all the time when I’m developing curriculum — here are a few of my thoughts — I’ll try to limit myself to the stuff that a student (as opposed to a curriculum developer) would find most useful —
1) In many ways, the game type and the rules are two sides of the same coin — game types are defined by the types of relationships involved (such as that elements are being placed in some sort of order) and the rules are about these very relationships (“X is before Y” etc.). If a game situation didn’t involve ordering you couldn’t have ordering rules, and if you didn’t have ordering rules (or considerations) there is no need to think of it as an ordering game.
2) In addition, more specific categories of games have unique types of rules — for example, if you have an ordering game without any grouping, and where every place in the order is taken up by just one person, than a rule like “K does not go before M” tells us that K must go after M. However, in a game where there is a combination of ordering and grouping (for example, three groups perform, one at a time and in order), the same rule could also give us the possibility that K and M go in the same place in the order.
3) Your mind can learn and master an infinite number of challenges as long those challenges are properly organized — your mind is a gazillion times worse at the job if it tries to take in a bunch of disjointed info without a sense of the relationship — so, practicing, for example, a grouping of ordering games involving subsets, and getting immersed for a bit on that limited subsection of game situations, then moving on to some other related subject, will, over time allow you to master far, far more information, and do so far more easily, than, for example, just playing game after game after game all mixed together. So, this is another benefit of studying games in types.
4) Having said all that, and I think these next few points are most related to what you were saying — at the end of the day, the key to playing Logic Games is making deductions — more specifically, thinking about the right types of things, making inferences, which lead to additional inferences, and so on. And, in terms of making these deductions, you are absolutely right that the rules have a more significant and direct impact on them than do the general game characteristics — if you get incredibly good at seeing how different combinations of rules come together, knowing the game type won’t even be a consideration. (FYI — when I study games, these inferences are the backbone of what I study, and, as you alluded to, I study these inferences by thinking about how rules come together to form them.)
5) So, in terms of game categories, I think it’s helpful to see them as a means to an end — the game categories define the types of rules that can appear, and the relationships among the rules determine the inferences — again, it is these inferences you care most about. It’s also helpful to use these categories to organize your practice, per reasons I discussed above.
6) When it comes to using game categories, you can certainly take things too far, as you alluded to — you want to avoid —
a) thinking that you have to depend on an extreme level of setup cleverness in order to succeed on games
b) thinking that setting up the perfect diagram is an end in and of itself
c) becoming so fragmented in your studies that you then become hugely dependent on needed to correctly identify the game type in a very specific way
d) and possibly worst of all, developing or falling for bad logic game systems that cause you to develop diagramming strategies so specific to game type that you can’t easily adjust them when, invariably, the games you see on test day don’t fit into those neatly prescribed types.
7) It is my personal belief that the vast majority of students underperform on the LG section at least in part because they over-complicate how they play the games. Thinking with a mindset of “correctly categorize game type and try to come up with clever diagram” makes anyone much more susceptible to overcomplicating. Going into every game with a focus on making the right inferences (and starting a game by reading through the scenario and all rules, and deciding on the most important rule/combination of rules before deciding how you will diagram is an example of the type of strategy that helps you naturally prioritize inferences) — and habitually thinking about games in that way will, I believe, over time do much more to help you get more and more efficient and accurate at solving games.
To summarize — game type and rules don’t have to be seen as opposing each other — they are concepts that are connected to one another — but at the same time, there is certainly a danger to focusing too much on game categorization — and, at the end of the day, you want to make sure you see your diagramming as a means to an end — that end being the making of deductions (and rules are what most directly lead you to these inferences) —
Not sure if that hit squarely on what you were thinking about, but I’ve got to get back to work so I’ll stop myself there — hope u found that at least somewhat useful, an hope you have a good week of studies — MK
June 27, 2016 at 6:29 pm #2165AnonymousInactive
Thanks for your response. You’re pretty much on the right road, and Dan was helpful too.One more thing to tie some loose ends up for me. When we’re dealing with these inferences, and making deductions, we should expect them to be repetitive for most if not all games??? While we may not be able to apply a cookie cutter game type to the game we actually see on test day, we should expect that the “END” (means to an end ), should be that we see and make deductions that have been repeated before correct?
I’m also at the point where I’m able to do games without having to look at any videos or anything, it’s just a matter of timing. When I review ,I get close to none wrong, but the timing is still a big problem. Now this is a big improvement for me because when I did games before without timing, I still couldn’t figure out how to do the games at all lol. So for me to get to the point where I can go into an entire section without any outside help, really says a lot to me. I just need help on how to transition this accuracy to timed tests. Do you think it’s just a matter of more repetition? I would love some input on what my next steps should be? (About to do some drilling today)
SN: I’ve had epic failures on this test, and I’m still super determined to do well. I think it helps me to see things from the perspective of someone who is still really trying to Improve, but at the same time I think I’m able to recognize when things don’t seem to fit with how instructors/tutors see things on the LSAT due to all of my previous exposure. Plus, I make everything hard on myself, even easy stuff lol. I think that’s why I ask questions like this that may not be the typical question you guys get.
July 3, 2016 at 3:52 am #2215AnonymousInactive
I had one more question for Mike or Dan
July 3, 2016 at 7:05 am #2216ptittleParticipant
Hey there, I was reading through this thread and burst out laughing at Dan’s “Beats the heck out of me…” comment. I too do NOT categorize the games by type when I tutor, and an upside to that is if/when there is a new game type on the LSAT, TTs will be able to just think it through rather than panic at seeing a ‘new’ game.
I also like Mike’s comment about making deductions. One of the steps I emphasize, after you diagram each rule, is ‘squeezing out the inferences’ — ask yourself ‘If all of this is true, what else must ALSO be true?’
It might help to remember that LSAC calls this section Analytic Reasoning, rather than Logic Games, and in analytic reasoning, the skill is to be able to see the parts and how they fit together. I compare doing the LGs to doing a Rubik’s Cube: the more you do (and the more you repeat the same game, even), the quicker you’ll do, b/c you’ll see more quickly how to turn the cube, how to make the parts fit together.
July 4, 2016 at 3:07 pm #2219AnonymousInactive
Sorry, I should have been more specific. My question comes from the second paragraph of that last long post. I’ll copy it again.
“I’m also at the point where I’m able to do games without having to look at any videos or anything, it’s just a matter of timing. When I review ,I get close to none wrong, but the timing is still a big problem. Now this is a big improvement for me because when I did games before without timing, I still couldn’t figure out how to do the games at all lol. So for me to get to the point where I can go into an entire section without any outside help, really says a lot to me. I just need help on how to transition this accuracy to timed tests. Do you think it’s just a matter of more repetition? I would love some input on what my next steps should be? (About to do some drilling today)”
July 4, 2016 at 5:23 pm #2220LSAT DanParticipant
When I teach classes, the one thing I analogize the LSAT to is like learning to play a musical instrument. Because you’re not learning information, like you would in an academic class, you’re learning a *process*. And the music analogy reveals a lot about LSAT success; for instance, you have to repeat and practice the techniques you learn. It’s not like you’re learning a bunch of facts that you can put on flashcards and score 100% the next day.
The analogy also holds when it comes to timing. If you’re a beginning-intermediate pianist, for instance, and you get a new song to work on, you have two main choices when you practice the song – you can play it correctly, much more slowly than the song actually is; or you can play it at speed, and make a bunch of mistakes. There’s an inherent trade-off between speed and accuracy.
So which should you do? It’s no context. If you keep playing the song in the correct tempo, you’ll keep making mistakes, and all you’ll ever do is play the song badly and quickly. But if you play it correctly, then over time, your speed will improve organically. Because you’re gaining muscle memory; your fingers are learning where to go without your thinking about it. Which means that if you can only play the song at, say, 50% of the actual tempo originally, eventually you’ll be able to play it at 2/3 the tempo. Then 3/4. And so on.
So to sort of go back to your last paragraph, while I wouldn’t say it’s *just* a matter of repetition, it IS *mostly* a matter of repetition. There’s no real magic trick to improving timing. You get faster when you learn more about how the games work, because that leads to the thing that improves your timing the most – mental muscle memory. You figure out sooner what’s important and what isn’t. Your brain focuses your attention in the most relevant places sooner and more reliably. So don’t just repeat, but yes, repeat. The other thing you should be doing is periodically (and often) asking yourself, “What should I be thinking about now?” The more you focus on that question, the more quickly and accurately you’ll be able to answer it, and that’s where timing improvement comes from.
As an aside, I cannot agree more strongly with Mike’s points #6 and #7 in his post above. And when he says “efficient” in #7, for all intents and purposes, he means “fast.” Because this post is really just my long-winded way of saying that the key to speed, on the games section, is efficiency.
July 10, 2016 at 1:43 pm #2235AnonymousInactive
Thanks Dan, that sounds like a good way to go about the test in general. I’m really committing to just slowing down and getting as many possible questions right as possible. IWhenever I’ve tried to do a full timed test before, I’ve tried to get all the questions right. I think by slowing down on my next timed test I’ll be in a position to score better hopefully
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.