This is a continuation of a series of posts exploring the June 2007 LSAT in detail. My goal is to demonstrate where hidden opportunities lie; then, using these analyses as a template, you can find those hidden opportunities in other practice tests. And, of course, find them on test day! Why the June 2007 LSAT? Because this is the LSAT all potential test takers can freely access; this is where most test takers probably begin their prep. And I want to give you some help from the ground up, so to speak!
So, we’ve covered some basics in LR and RC. In LR, we looked at some problems that most test takers skip, and why they shouldn’t. In later posts, we examined speed in LR and in RC. If you haven’t read any of those previous posts, you can start at Part 1.
But we haven’t talked about LG yet.
Why leave LG for last?
There are two reasons for this. First, bluntly, the points aren’t there. The games section has fewer points than any individual section, and, as we all know, the LR questions/sections compose fully half the test. So, yeah, I saved games for last. It’s the section with the fewest points.
The second reason we haven’t talked about games yet is because I see the same poor decision made, year after year, class after class, immediately after a prospective law student takes his or her first LSAT.
“Oh my god, what was going on in that games section!? What are those? I didn’t understand that at all!”
The games section is unique in one way: you could be staring at a block of 5-7 questions, and not even know how to start answering them. Also, the games section tends to lay timing traps for more people: you spend so much time on games 1, 2, and 3 (or just games 1 and 2) that you never get to the last game at all!
And so, people make the wrong decision. They decide to focus on the games. From an emotional standpoint, I guess that’s…understandable. If that’s the section that felt the worst, then that may be the section you think you need the most improvement in.
But games won’t be the foundation for a superb LSAT score.
Sure, Sure… the games don’t have that many points. But I still need a good games section to get the score I want!
Of course. So now, let’s look at a game from the June 2007 LSAT!
So I open up the LSAT to section 1, and I see the first game. And as I quickly glance over the prompt and rules, I start to grin. I mean, the biggest, smirkiest (I know that’s not a real word) grin you can imagine.
This game is a gift.
Let’s talk about why.
First, we only have 5 “characters” to assign: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4. Second, we’re given some pretty definitive, predictable constraints: no character can be repeated, and each character is used once. (Important side note: if you don’t understand how those two constraints are different, I really need you to stop and think about that!)
All of that indicates this may be a manageable game. But what really grabs my eye is the unusual nature of one of the rules…how often do you see a game rule that talks about multiplication?
A simple, direct rule that’s even slightly unusual is something I love! Let’s start there.
If the second digit used is exactly twice the first digit, there are only two options: 1 then 2, or 2 then 4. (Be careful to consider 0 then 0, but the game tells us no repeats.)
One rule just filled in 40% of the game. I’m going to finish this game, finish it quickly, and I’ll be certain I got every question correct—because I have 40% of the setup done, and I haven’t even used all my rules!
With the two scenarios presented by the “twice the value” rule, I’m going to frame this: draw those two scenarios, and see how the other rules play out.
In the 1 then 2 scenario, I have 0, 3, 4 left—and the third digit must be less than the fifth digit. Third can only be 0 or 3. Two options, two more diagrams:
1 then 2 then 0 then 3/4 then 4/3
1 then 2 then 3 then 0 then 4.
In the 2 then 4 scenario, I have 0, 1, 3 left. The third digit can only be 0 or 1. Two options, two diagrams:
2 then 4 then 0 then 1/3 then 3/1
2 then 4 then 1 then 0 then 3.
A limited game, with an unusual but easily understood rule—and that rule fits neatly into a diagram? I am in love!
Next time, we’ll look at the questions, and see how to finish this in about 60 seconds. ?
The best way to master the LSAT is through our Complete Course. Don’t forget that you can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person LSAT courses absolutely free. We’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.
Chris Gentry is a Manhattan Prep LSAT, GMAT, and GRE instructor who lives in Atlanta, Georgia (and absolutely loves his city; he has family ties that go back over 150 years). Chris received both his Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from Clemson and JD from Emory University School of Law before realizing that he genuinely enjoys the challenge of standardized tests, and his true passion is teaching. Chris’ dual-pronged approach to understanding each test question has helped countless of his students to achieve their goal scores. What are you waiting for? Check out Chris’ upcoming LSAT courses here.