# Assess Yourself: Logic Games

So, you’ve heard and decided to heed the advice that, because the LSAT is so important, you shouldn’t take it until you are ready to perform at your best. But, as test day approaches, you begin to be plagued by certain doubts—have I done all that I can? Am I truly ready to perform at my best?

Here’s what you’ll need:

» about 15 minutes (more if you’d like)
» blank paper. (preferably large, and preferably gridded.)

### Grade #1: Big Picture Understanding

Imagine yourself on test day, starting the Logic Games section. How nervous are you that you are going to get a game that you have trouble understanding or visualizing? How nervous are you that you are going to see a game for which you can’t figure out an effective diagramming system?

A: I’m not worried that I won’t be able to visualize or set up any games.
B: I don’t expect to run into any trouble, but I am nervous that I might run into a game that I don’t know how to visualize or set up.
C: I am very nervous that I will run into at least one game that I will have trouble visualizing or setting up.
D: I expect to run into at least a game or two that I have trouble visualizing or setting up.
F: I have trouble visualizing or setting up most games.

Can’t tell what grade you ought to give yourself? Try going through a few tests worth of games, perhaps ones you’ve already played. Don’t worry about solving them. Just look at the scenarios and the rules. Would you feel comfortable imagining the game and setting up your diagram? Scan as many tests as you need until you can feel confident in the accuracy of your grade.

Using your large (preferably gridded) piece of paper, and without looking back over your notes, write out a brainstorm of all the different types of rules that can appear in all Logic Games. You’ll want to keep your list organized to prevent it from getting out of hand—one way to do that is to split up all rules into the following categories (with overlap, of course):

» Assignment Rules (example: F is in the third slot)
» Ordering Rules (example: J goes before M)
» Grouping Rules (example: T and M are on the same team)
» Subset Rules (example: The first place runner was from the green team)
» Numbers Rules (example: The red car has more accessories than the blue car does)
» Or Rules (example: J or M will go third)
» Conditional Rules (example: If J goes third, M will go fourth)

You can organize the rules however you want, but the above system can be used to account for every type of rule that can be presented in a game.

For each rule, write out an example of the rule, as well as how you might diagram it. For certain rules, you may have more than one way that you can notate them, depending on what type of game they appear in.

Once you are done, go through the games you’ve tried in your previous practice tests and drills to see which rules you failed to account for. When you run into such a rule, add it to the list, and gauge whether you feel comfortable diagramming that rule or not.

Give yourself a grade for how comfortable you feel with the rules:

A: I was able to come up with almost all of the common rules during my brainstorming, and I am comfortable diagramming any rule I see.
B: There were definitely a significant number of rules I failed to consider when brainstorming, but I am comfortable diagramming all or almost all of them.
C: There are a lot of rules I didn’t consider when I was brainstorming, or there are a significant number of rules that I don’t know how to diagram.
D: There is no way I can come up with a brainstorm of all rules, and I always run into at least a few rules per games section for which I have no practiced diagramming strategies.
F: What are diagramming strategies?

Here are samples of three very common types of questions you can be asked in the Logic Games section. Think about the specific approaches that you would take if you saw any of these questions on test day:

1. Which of the following could be an accurate ordering of bids from lowest in cost to highest?
2. Which of the following runners cannot finish third?
3. If Y is assigned to the Green team, which of the following could be true?

Obviously, if these problems appeared in full LSAT games, the actual design of those specific games could very well influence how you approach the questions.

Despite that, give yourself a grade on how well you reacted to the different types of questions presented.

A: All of the question stems seemed very familiar, and, when I read them, they immediately brought to mind certain steps that I should take to start the problem, as well as other steps that are commonly essential for success on such problems.
B: All of the question stems seemed very familiar, and, for most of them, when I read them, they immediately brought to mind certain steps that I should take to start the problem, as well as other steps that are commonly essential for success on such problems.
C: The question stems seemed fairly familiar. I had some thoughts about the types of strategies I ought to employ, but they don’t feel complete.
D: One or more of the question stems did not seem familiar, or, for two or three of the questions, I didn’t have a clear sense of what I ought to do to arrive at the right answer.
F: I was supposed to get ready for different types of Logic Games questions?

If you need help setting a rubric, here are the general thoughts that would come into my mind if I were to see questions such as the above on the actual exam.

1. Which of the following could be an accurate ordering of bids from lowest in cost to highest?

This is an example of a “Rules question,” which is almost always the first question you will see for any game. Rules questions are designed to test your understanding of a game’s given rules. The best way to solve these is to go down the list of rules, and, using one at a time, eliminate answers that violate that rule. The majority of Rules questions are designed so that one rule eliminates one answer (if there are more than four rules some won’t eliminate answers), and, by the time you are done going down the list of rules, you will have eliminated the four answers that violate those given rules: the one answer that remains will be the correct one.

Please note that I am not saying you have to solve problems using the methods I am suggesting. But hopefully the above is useful in terms of helping you to gauge whether your strategies are specific enough and fleshed out enough.

2. Which of the following runners cannot finish third?

For a question like this one, I know it will be true that one of the five options given in the answer choices will not be able to finish third, and the rest will have no restrictions on finishing third. I also know that the right answer will be based on making an inference: by bringing together two or more pieces of information given to us, there will be a way to confirm that there is a particular runner(s) who cannot possibly finish third. So, my focus is on finding that inference(s), then selecting the right answer.

3. If Y is assigned to the Green team, which of the following could be true?

Any time we are given new information in the question stem, we will be able to make inferences off of that information. So, if we are told that Y is assigned to the Green team, I know that this will lead to figuring out something else. Figuring out that something else will likely lead to figuring out another inference, and perhaps another inference, and so on. We want to make sure to follow this chain to its end, and do so as well as we possibly can.

Once we’re done with the chain(s) of inferences, what we know is that four of the answer choices must be false, and one answer, the right answer, is one that could be true.

We should expect our inferences to eliminate all four must-be-false answers. The one remaining choice will be the correct answer, and we can confirm that it works at that point.

Notice the very different approaches for these last two problem types: for one, I recommend focusing on identifying the right answer, and for the other I recommend focusing first on eliminating wrong ones. Again, my point is not that you need to approach problems the same way that I do. Rather, I hope that this level of detail helps you get a more accurate sense of how specific your own strategies ought to be.

### Conclusion

How does your Logic Games report card look?

There are certainly other ways to gauge your Logic Games readiness, but I hope you found the above helpful for giving you a good general sense of how comfortable you feel with the Logic Games section, and whether you are indeed ready enough to perform as well as you want to perform. If you feel happy with the grades you’ve given yourself, you should be proud of how well you’ve prepared and you should, in general, feel that you are ready for test day. If your grades weren’t as high as you’d liked, I hope the above helps give you some direction about where to focus your remaining prep efforts.

Coming soon: Logical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension Self-Assessment Quizzes.

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