The Logic Games Process

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Manhattan Prep LSAT Blog - The Logic Games Process by Matt Shinners

The Logic Games section is hard. Most students at the beginning of their prep cite it as the hardest section. It’s also the section that is most helped by process.

Even with process, though, it can be difficult, and it’s one of the sections that students complain about running out of time on.

When I hear this, I have a ton of advice. But today, I’m going to focus on something basic—the basics. What do I mean by that?

There are some basic steps in the Logic Games process that you need to be able to do quickly and automatically. Quickly so that the stuff you can memorize and practice doesn’t eat up time. Automatically so that it doesn’t eat up processing power.

What are these things?

You should be able to build your basic Logic Games diagram in 30-60 seconds. The scenario itself will generally fall into one of four categories (ordering, in/out grouping, other grouping, hybrid), and you should know what each of those general diagrams looks like. Getting it down on the page should be done by about 30-40 seconds, with another 20-30 seconds free to add in any twists. Since all of these elements repeat between games, you can read and reread scenarios and look at the matching diagrams until this becomes automatic.

You should be able to read and represent 90% of rules in under 10 seconds. Relative ordering rules? Chunks? Conditionals? Exclusions? Fill-ins? All of these repeat, and they have standard methods of representation. Even the complex relative ordering rules (S is either before X or after Y, but not both) can be memorized (S is either before both or after both). 10 seconds per rule should bring you in in under a minute for the rules.

Even thinking about frames and conditionals should have a memorizable Logic Games process. Mine? I check to see if a letter, group, or slot shows up more than once. If one does, I decide there’s a chance there’s an inference. The process of looking for the inference is more complicated and should take up brain power, but the basic determination that an inference is possible (on a basic level) isn’t. Same with frames. Generally, my question is, “Do I have chunks or options?” If so, I consider frames (at which point I turn my brain on).

These memorizable and practicable, repeating skills on the exam are arguably more important than making inferences or frames since you’ll always have to use them. You can practice them and memorize them, guaranteeing that you’re good at them.

But when I sit down with students, they still struggle with them.

So don’t be one of those students! Download our flashcards, review old setups, and write and rewrite rules until you’re sick of it. Because on test day, I guarantee you’ll feel a lot less sick than the person sitting there trying to figure out if S is between X and Y or on the same side of them. ?


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Matt Shinners Manhattan Prep LSAT InstructorMatt Shinners is a Manhattan Prep instructor and jdMission Senior Consultant based in New York City. After receiving a degree in biochemistry from Boston College, Matt scored a 180 on his LSAT and enrolled in Harvard Law School. There’s nothing that makes him happier than seeing his students receive the scores they want to get into the schools of their choice. Check out Matt’s upcoming LSAT courses here

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