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In my last post, I discussed several big-picture ideas to help you make smart time-management decisions throughout the LSAT. Today’s post focuses on some much more granular, detail-oriented tips to help you maximize your efficiency on the Logic Games section.
Question #1 on many Logic games asks you to select the answer choice that contains an acceptable ordering or grouping of the elements. Even if you find Orientation questions straightforward, you might not be solving them as efficiently as possible. Many students check each answer choice against all the rules until they find a violation, but this leads to superfluous work. Instead, go through the rules one at a time, scanning for an answer that breaks that rule. When you find one, cross it off, and move onto the next rule. Rinse and repeat, and of course make sure you don’t bother to check subsequent rules against answers you’ve already eliminated!
When you’re done with the Orientation question, make sure you circle the answer so that you remember to use it as…
Using prior work is a simple but incredibly effective tool on the LSAT, if used properly. Let’s say this was your work for the Orientation Question:
An ensuing question might ask, “Which one of the following must be true?”
(A) L presents first
(B) G presents immediately before K
(C) J presents before F
(D) K presents later than L
(E) Exactly one person presents in between L and G
Which answers can you eliminate, exclusively based on your answer to the Orientation question? Scroll down for the answer at the bottom of this post!
Of course, you can streamline later questions with your own previous work, not just the answer to the Orientation question. Don’t be afraid to play out a few scenarios for one question, especially…
If It’s an Early Question
The more questions you have left to answer, the more value there is in building a reservoir of work to use later on. Designate a portion of your page for an organized section of valid boards that you can reference in one easy-to-read place. Trust that this investment will pay off!
On the other hand…
When You Get to the Final Question
You won’t be able to use any of the work for this question to help you with successive questions, but you can still save a little time! Instead of making a new mini-diagram for this question, feel free to fill in your master diagram! You won’t be needing it anymore. Often, the final question of a game is a pesky…
Equivalent Rule Question
Equivalent Rule questions (Which of the following, if substituted for the rule that X, would have the same effect in determining the order of the positions?) can be some of the hardest and most time-consuming Logic Games questions. Fortunately, they’re excellent candidates for using some prior work! For a new rule to be equivalent to an existing rule, it must have exactly the same consequences. Which means that the new rule can’t be violated by any previous scenarios you’ve shown to be valid! My first step every time I encounter an Equivalent Rule question is to eliminate the answers I can based on prior work; usually this can knock off two or three wrong answers, making your task much more manageable.
Try these tips out to shave some time off Orientation Questions, Equivalent Rule Questions, or any other questions where you can use prior work. Look out for my next post on ways to speed up on RC. Sneak preview: it’s not about reading faster! ?
*You can eliminate answers B and C. Since the right answer Must Be True, that means we have four incorrect answers that Could Be False. According to our answer from the Orientation Question, it could be false that G presents directly before K (G was directly before H). We also showed that it could be false that J presents before F (J presented after F).
Did you answer the question correctly? Let us know in the comments!
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Daniel Fogel is a Manhattan Prep LSAT instructor based in Boston, Massachusetts. He has a degree in government and legal studies from Claremont McKenna College. Daniel scored a 179 on the LSAT and a 770 on the GMAT, which he also teaches. Fun fact: he’s a former top-ranked competitive Scrabble player. Intrigued? Check out Daniel’s upcoming LSAT courses here!