or…How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the LSAT (Part 1 of 3)
The LSAT is all bark and no bite. Yes, I know it seems scary and difficult, but it’s not that tough. It’s a test of illogic. Treat it like a gullible younger brother who believes the unjustified claims of every TV commercial he sees on Nickelodeon.
The LSAT is the child whose mind has been made into mush by years of Saturday morning cartoons. He wants breakfast cereals, action figures, and video games. He just doesn’t realize the commercials’ evidence (appeals to authority, popularity, emotion, etc.) rarely justifies the conclusion (their product or service is worth your $ and will make you happy).
In this post, I’ll share how you can turn the tables on the LSAT’s Logic Games (Analytical Reasoning) section. I also show you how to ace Logical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension.
Logic Games aren’t much different from crossword puzzles and sudoku. In fact, they’re easier. Why? Because they’re incredibly predictable, and you already know everything you need to solve them.
You can also predict what will happen within games.
The following is based on PrepTest 41, Game 2 (you don’t need the actual game right now) and…
The 1973 movie “The Sting” (because I like old movies).
1. The Players:
Night’s All Right, Question Man, Rhino Rock, Sammy (NQRS) playing Flute, Guitar, Harmonica, Keyboard (FGHK)
2. The Set-Up:
The rule regarding the placement of RKN, combined with the conditional rules (Sk –> Rh and Qk –> Nf), tells us it’s worth it to create 4 templates representing ALL of the game’s possibilities.
3. The Hook:
Most games start with a general acceptability question: “Which one of the following could be an accurate matching” / ordering / grouping of the variables?
4. The Tale:
“Which one of the following could be true?” In other games, we might have an “if” question: “If S is placed 4th, which one of the following could be true?
5. The Wire:
The game has a few more questions of these types, possibly with a “cannot be true” or
“except” question thrown in (more on this below).
6. The Shut-Out:
Occasionally, we’ll have a harder question towards the end: “Which one of the following, if true, would allow us to completely determine the ordering / grouping of the variables?” These often require drawing a few scenarios. We don’t have one of these in this game.
7. The Sting:
Acing the Logic Games section is like pulling off a con. And it ends with you getting into law school!
These are the only types of questions you’re likely to see in Logic Games. Do enough of them, and you’ll have no surprises on test day.
Before I end this post, 2 more tips:
1. Ordering within questions
As you read answer choices from “A” to “E,” letters are often listed in alphabetical (or reverse alphabetical) order.
2. Immediately precedes and immediately follows
PrepTest 41, Game 2, Question 10 contains these 5 choices:
A) immediately precedes Q
B) immediately follows Q
C) immediately precedes R
D) immediately follows N
E) immediately follows S
The LSAT is trying to annoy you to death here, just like a younger brother might. There’s a deliberate lack of a useful pattern here: precedes, follows, precedes, follows, follows.
While you can learn to love the LSAT for its childish habits, don’t let that stop you from giving it a wedgie or half-Nelson when Mom isn’t looking.
We can symbolize the answer choices like so, starting with the 2 “precedes” choices and moving on to the 3 “follows” choices:
A) immediately precedes Q – FQ
B) immediately follows Q – QF
C) immediately precedes R – FR
D) immediately follows N – NF
E) immediately follows S – SF
Now, you can quickly scan through the 4 templates you created earlier (in “The Set-Up”).
The LSAT didn’t really expect you to waste your time reading through the choices over and over, did it?