Rule Substitution Qs

    • July 22, 2016 at 2:41 pm #2286
      sumeetsooch
      Participant

      Hi Mike,

      What’s a faster way of dealing with rule substitution question. Usually I skip these till the end but sometimes I’m just forced to guess. It’s annoying because usually I’m scoring very well in the games section now only getting 1-3 questions wrong and the games with these types of questions always screw me over from a perfect section.

    • July 22, 2016 at 3:15 pm #2288
      Mike Kim
      Keymaster

      Hi Sumeet,

      I definitely understand the instinct to skip these q’s and save them for later — on average, they are probably some of the most difficult and time-consuming types of q’s that exist —

      However, if your goal is to get a perfect score in the section, I would strongly suggest not skipping and returning to these q’s and, instead, answering them as they appear (they will typically appear as the last problem in the game and often as the last problem in the section anyway). My feeling is that you will be in a better position to consider and solve the problem when you are originally knee-deep in the game — coming back to the problem after the fact will make it more difficult for your mind to bring all the pieces together.

      In terms of actual strategies for these q’s —

      Short Answer — my feeling is that the most important factors for success are —

      a) being able to clearly understand and focus in on what the original rule means and the immediate and most significant consequences (that is, the direct inferences) that arise from bringing that rule together with the other things you know about the game
      b) which also means not wasting time and energy worrying about the secondary, tertiary, and unrelated inferences and thoughts you have about the game (unless and until such thoughts become necessary in the eval of answer choices) and
      c) being able to use this focused understanding to eliminate all the wrong answers, which will either a) give more or different options for the game than the original rule did or b) allowing for fewer possibilities than the original rule did

      It is very tough, in the moment, to get absolute verification of the right answer (you’ll be able to see that it seems to have the same consequences as the original rule, but often you won’t be able to eliminate the nagging suspicion that perhaps you missed some inference or impact somewhere down the line), and per the design of these q’s it is, generally, markedly easier to eliminate wrong choices (which will present absolute and clear signals that they do indeed lead to different consequences).

      So, try to get good at zeroing in on exactly what the rule means and what it’s immediate consequences are, and work to get better and better at using this to see why 4 of the answer choices present different consequences.

      Longer Answer – check out the discussion of the q’s in lesson 27 of the Trainer.

      Even Longer Answer — I once wrote up a far-too-long study/explanation of these rule substitution q’s — if you feel like taking a look, you can find it here — https://s3.amazonaws.com/mprep_documents/hosted/public/LSAT/download/er_whitepaper_updated20111106.pdf

      Glad to hear that you are doing so well in the LG section, and good luck getting even better — let me know if you need anything else — Mike

    • July 22, 2016 at 4:24 pm #2296
      LSAT Dan
      Participant

      Mike –

      That extended explanation is fantastic!

      Sumeet-

      Just to add one piece of time saving advice, check the answer choices against any previously generated layouts (including your answer to the acceptability question, if there is one) that are valid. If any valid layout that you already know of breaks the proposed rule in an answer choice, then that answer is wrong, and you don’t have to consider it at all. The rule can’t have the same effect if it would prohibit a layout that the original rule permits. This takes seconds, and will allow you to focus all of your attention on the only relevant contenders.

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