The mere mention of LSAT logic games is enough to make even the most fearless law school students shudder. That’s because logic games are widely considered the most challenging aspect of the LSAT.
But here’s the good news: this section of the test is most easily taught due to an abundance of excellent study materials.
By acquainting yourself with the logic games section and devoting LSAT prep time toward learning how to tackle these questions, you’ll ace this section on test day!
Here are a few proven strategies to help you improve your logical reasoning abilities and increase your LSAT score:
Learn the Format of the Logic Game Section
The logic games consist of 23 or 24 questions that are in four different question sets. Basically, a logic game question appears that describes a scenario. Rules are then presented to figure out how different groupings work. Test takers are then asked a series of questions that require them to use the stated rules and make inferences based on these rules. Depending on the set, you may be asked five to eight questions about each scenario.
Be Able to Identify the Question Types
LSAT logic games can be classified into five major categories. Each type of question will determine how you attack it and which type of diagram you’ll use (more on this later). By recognizing the type of game you’re confronting, you can apply the proper approach and organize the game’s information into the proper diagram.
The five major types of logic game questions include:
LSAT logic games can be classified into five major categories. Each type of question will determine how you attack it and which type of diagram you’ll use
Sequencing games require you to line up subjects in order. You may have a question in which you place options in definite slots, called strict sequencing questions. Alternatively, other questions may ask you to base the order of the options on the relationship between the options, called loose sequencing questions. Sequencing games are usually the most commonly asked questions on the LSAT logic games section.
You can recognize these games by keywords in the question, such as:
- In order
- From first to last
- A must be before B
- R must be next to S
- O cannot be second
Matching games require you to match two or more options together from a longer list of options. You may be asked to match a single set of characters with one set of characteristics. It may be possible to match the characteristics given to more than one group to reach the correct answer. On the other hand, other games will ask you to match one set of characters with two or more characteristic sets.
Distribution games require you to take a large group of options and divide them into subgroups. Ultimately, distribution is similar to matching in many ways. However, one key difference is that the group classification is the most concrete element of the game in distribution questions.
Selection games are another type of grouping game. What makes them different is that they consist of a large group of options from which you select some of them to form one subgroup. Consequently, you must select and reject certain options for the subgroup.
Hybrid games involve two or more of the game types described above. Typically, many of these are based on sequencing and distribution pairs.
Diagram Your Heart Out
As I’ve previously mentioned, an effective diagram will let you visualize the game and determine the relationships between different options. Your diagram should be flexible enough to answer most of the questions.
Remember: this portion of the LSAT is highly visual. Hence, it pays to spend the few extra seconds to draw a diagram that helps you make sense of the information you are given.
The diagram that you use will be based on the type of question that you are answering. Here are some examples that should help you with your logic games practice:
This question can usually be answered by using a number of dashes to represent each answer. For example, in a question that asks about timed arrivals at a train station, your diagram may look like:
____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____
10:00 11:00 12:00 1:00 2:00 3:00
You would then place the initial of the traveler above the time based on the conditions that you are given.
Create Your Own Language
You’ll be given a series of rules and conditions as part of the logic games section. Ultimately, there is no perfect way of representing these relationships. You might use capital letters for one set of things you are diagramming and lowercase letters for the other set so that you can distinguish between the two sets of information. You might use initials to make grouping faster. However, whatever method you choose, remember to be consistent with it. Use the same visual representation for a rule or condition each time so that you quickly recognize it.
This concept applies to ordering your selections, making groups and other aspects of the games. Write out these conditions on the diagram or beside it to remind yourself of the relationships as you work the problem.
Essentially, you should have a standard setup that you apply to each type of logic game. You should also have a uniform method of representing common rules. Create a shorthand for commonly applied conditions, such as:
- A is before B
- If B plays C does not
- X is not in the red room
- R is in 3 of the groups
- S is immediately before T
- S is before T
- Fewer than four birds are in each cage
Doing this will help you to identify relationships between different rules faster. Furthermore, this will allow you to make deductions more quickly so that you are able to increase your speed on each question.
Don’t Time Yourself
When you are first introduced to the logic games section, it is important that you develop a strategy first. Speed can come later. Take all the time you need at the beginning to learn how to work this section properly. You should be able to quickly determine which type of logic game you are facing after reading the question and be able to apply a diagram that will help you map out the answers.
If you try to rush your way through the questions by imposing timed conditions at this point, you’ll simply derail and delay your progress. Strive for full accuracy instead of answering questions quickly. As you get better with this section, you will naturally get faster. Just avoid adding the pressure of speed when you are first starting out.
Rinse, Lather, and Repeat
Ultimately, becoming a pro on the logic games section will take some practice. Start out by practicing on one type of game at a time, like the sequencing questions. Complete as many of these question types as you can before taking a break. Before long, you’ll be able to see how rules and principles interact and you will be able to make quick deductions when attacking these questions. Make it a habit to complete drill sets and practice test questions.
Next, continue the same pattern with the next question type. You will probably take several days to master each question type, so space out your studying enough to give you the time you need. Over time, you’ll develop a consistent system to attack these problems. Continue this process until you have mastered all five major question types and get a nearly perfect score on all the games.
Thoroughly Review the Answers
As you go through the answers to your questions, don’t just look to confirm whether you had the right answer. Instead, read through each explanation thoroughly to make sure you made the right deductions and attacked the problem appropriately. Go back and redo any problems that you answered incorrectly, using your test booklet or simulator’s approach as your guide. This will ensure that you use the method to get the right answer.
Now that you‘ve gotten used to logic games and have a better sense of what it takes to conquer this section, you need to start simulating actual test conditions. You may want to start by giving yourself a pretest to see where your baseline score is under timed conditions. This will give you a good estimate to see how much progress you make.
Spend at least two weeks of practicing this section before you start implementing time limits. You will have 35 minutes on this section in the real world— roughly eight minutes per game and less than a minute and a half per question.
You may want to start your timed sessions by trying to conquer three games within the allotted time. Even if you don’t get to the last game, don’t worry just yet; if all of your answers were right on three games, this may provide you with a better score than trying to rush through all four games.
Here’s a good strategy to follow during this phase of your LSAT test preparation:
- Complete a timed logic games section to get a baseline score
- Practice without timing at first
- Focus on accuracy
- Work on strategies to help you get faster
- Practice on recent LSAT official tests for timed sections
- Complete a timed logic games section each day for at least two weeks
During part of your study days, you may need to concentrate exclusively on the logic games section and save the other sections for other days.
Since the LSAT is now digital, some of the advice that you encounter in test booklets or with prep courses may be outdated. Be sure that you are familiar with the digital interface of the logic games. The setup of the game and its rules will appear on the left-hand column. If you highlight or underline anything in the left-hand column, these marks will stay even if you navigate elsewhere.
Also, note the vertical lines in the bubble bar that show the beginning and end of each of the games.
Keep Your Scratch Paper Orderly
While this might not seem like a big deal, it’s still worth keeping in mind. If you don’t organize your scratch paper, you may wind up confused with which diagram corresponds with which question. This mistake can waste your already limited time by trying to figure it out. Simply label each game on your scratch paper with 1, 2, 3, or 4 to designate which game it corresponds to. This will come in handy if you have to skip some questions and come back to them later!
Use Your Time Wisely
Remember, you only have 35 minutes; don’t waste a single second! Skim through the four questions and find the easiest ones first to pick up some quick points. Find your favorite question type that you are most competent at solving and tackle all of the questions for this game. Delay harder questions for the end of your allotted time.
Check Back for More Advice
The LSAT logic games section is difficult. There’s no way around that. But if you put in the time to learn this section of the test and use the targeted strategies discussed above, you should see rapid improvements in your score.
Keep an eye on our blog for frequent posts with updates and advice on the logic games section of the test. We also offer recommendations on test prep and other materials that can help you raise your score. Check back often to get the latest information and advice on LSAT and logic game prep. Good luck!