Logic puzzles can be stressful when they determine your future, but LSAT logic games tips can help you better prepare for the LSAT. Sometimes they can even be, dare I say, fun. When you’re practicing, it’s important to hone your critical thinking skills and to increase your analysis speed. Many people find the Logic Games section to be difficult despite the section being called a “game.” Unlike the Logical Reasoning section, you’ll be asked to provide a conclusion based on a limited set of data, rather than analyzing flaws in a predetermined conclusion.
Another tip? Consider PowerScore’s LSAT Logic Games Bible. It’s our #1 pick for LSAT Logic Games.
See what other LSAT prep books made the list.
What Is the LSAT Logic Games Section?
The Logic Games section, otherwise known as the Analytical Reasoning section, is a portion of the LSAT containing four different “games.” Each of the games will have three components in their setup. The central setup of the problem will describe a task that needs to be completed. Then, you’ll be given a set of rules that must be followed for the completion of this task. The last component is between five and seven questions about the setup. The questions, rules, and overall setup will vary in their difficulty and complexity. The Logic Games section has twenty-three questions, meaning that it accounts for about 23% of your total score. With these LSAT Logic Games tips, hopefully this can only help your overall LSAT score!
Related: A Guide to the LSAT Experimental Section
Most Common Logic Games Types
Matching games don’t appear very commonly on the LSAT, but they do appear often enough that studying them is important. Matching games have two variable sets, but there are no ordered spaces. Instead, the two variable sets must be paired with each other. If you have two variable sets that don’t need to be placed in any particular order, this is a matching game.
Sequencing games are the most common type of game in the Logic Games section. They also tend to be the easiest games. A sequencing game will have one variable set. It will also have only one set of spaces in which these variables must be placed. If the ratio of variables to spaces is 1:1, this is a sequencing game.
Grouping games are the second most commonly found in the LSAT. However, a grouping game doesn’t have a 1:1 ratio of spaces to variables. Instead, you’ll be asked to place a number of variables into two or three predetermined categories. If there are a few categories in which multiple variables must be placed, this is a grouping game.
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Matching Logic Games
Matching games are the hardest games on the LSAT. If you do have to do a matching game, it’s a good idea to skip it at first and return after answering the easier questions. You can think of the other questions as a “warm-up” to the logical reasoning required for the matching game. Matching games will give you two sets of variables. For example: You may have the names of a number of people and the names of their pets. You’ll be asked to determine which person owns which pet. You should diagram this by setting up a table that shows the options for the ways that the variables might be paired. After you set up the table, all you need to do is mark impossible combinations with an X and correct combinations with a circle.
Matching Logic Game example from LSAT PrepTest 37 Logic Game 3:
A total of six books occupies three small shelves — one on the first shelf, two on the second shelf, and three on the third shelf. Two of the books are grammars — one of Farsi, the other of Huasa. Two others are linguistics monographs — one on phonology, the other on semantics. The remaining two books are novels — one by Vonnegut, the other by Woolf. The books’ arrangement is consistent with the following:
There is at least one novel on the same shelf as the Farsi grammar.
The monographs are not both on the same shelf.
The Vonnegut novel is not on the same shelf as either monograph.
Sequencing Logic Games
A sequencing game will give you one set of variables and ask you to place them in a particular order. The most common example is a set of people standing in a line. You’ll need to determine the positions of people in the line based on information about where each of them is positioned relative to each other. To diagram a sequencing game, you’ll need to create a visual of the order of the variables. Write out the list of variables. Then draw spaces in a line, one for each variable. You should populate these spaces based on the clues you’re given about the order of the variables.
Sequencing Game example from LSAT PrepTest 32 Logic Game 4:
On each of exactly seven consecutive days (day 1 through day 7), a pet shop features exactly one of three breeds of kitten — Himalayan, Manx, Siamese– and exactly one of three breeds of puppy — Greyhound, Newfoundland, Rottweiler. The following conditions must apply:
Greyhounds are featured on day 1.
No breed is featured on any two consecutive days.
Any breed featured on day 1 is not featured on day 7.
Himalayans are featured on exactly three days, but not on day 1.
Rottweilers are not featured on day 7, nor on any day that features Himalayans.
Grouping Logic Games
The difficulty of a grouping game will vary. Some are easy, while others present far more of a challenge. Grouping games have one set of variables, rather than the two sets you find in matching games. However, rather than ordering the variables in a 1:1 ratio, grouping games will require you to place multiple variables into predetermined categories. Most commonly, these questions will ask you to place people on different teams or to pay bills on certain days of the week. The basic diagram for every grouping game will be the same. You’ll make a table with two or three sections, depending on whether you’re given two or three categories. Each section will be labeled with one of the categories. From there, you just need to populate the table with the logical groupings of the variables, based on the clues you’re given.
Grouping Game Example from Prep Test 27 Logic Game 3:
Exactly seven film buffs – Ginnie, Ian, Lianna, Marcos, Reveka, Viktor, and Yow — attend a showing of classic films. Three films are shown, one directed by Fillini, one by Hitchcock, and one by Kurosawa. Each of the film buffs sees exactly one of the three films. The films are shown only once, one film at a time. The following restrictions must apply:
Exactly twice as many of the film buffs see the Hitchcock film as see the Fellini film.
Ginnie and Reveka do not see the same film as each other.
Ian and Marcos do not see the same film as each other.
Viktor and Yow see the same film as each other.
Lianna sees the Hitchcock film.
Ginnie sees either the Fellini film or the Kurosawa film.
7 LSAT Logic Games Tips
This list of 7 LSAT Logic Games Tips is not exhaustive. Also, as 23% of your LSAT score, you need to put a lot of time and practice into the logic games section to do well. With only 35 minutes to complete this section, being able to answer these questions efficiently is the key to winning on the LSAT. Without further ado, let’s have a look at our top 7 LSAT Logic Games tips:
1. Solve the easiest games first
All of the questions on the LSAT are worth the same number of points. You’ll be given four different games. Sequencing games are the easiest, followed by grouping games, with matching games being the most difficult. An ideal strategy is to answer the sequencing questions first. You might also gauge the difficulty of a question based on the number of variables you’re given. For example, a grouping game might be easier than a sequencing game if the grouping game has only four variables, while the sequencing game has nine. You should read each of the scenarios and associated clues, and from there decide which puzzles are the easiest. Do these as fast as you can so that you have more time to devote to the difficult puzzles. If you run out of time, it doesn’t matter whether you are good at LSAT logic games. This is why solving the easiest games first makes it to the top of our list of LSAT Logic Games tips.
2. Don’t make any assumptions that aren’t in the game
Many clues will be worded in a way that encourages you to make assumptions. You shouldn’t assume anything except exactly what’s been provided by the clues. If a clue states that Annie was standing somewhere to the right of both Jennie and Karter, the only thing you know is that Annie is on the right of Jennie and Karter. You don’t know where Jennie and Karter stand regarding each other. Even though Jennie’s name came first, this doesn’t indicate that she was standing on Karter’s left. You should make sure that you draw conclusions based only on the information that you’re given. If you’re having trouble with a puzzle, double check the clues to make sure you haven’t made any false assumptions.
3. Draw your diagrams on the second page
You’ll be given two pages that you can use for your logic games diagrams. But you shouldn’t use the first page. Instead, you should use the second page to make sure your diagrams are as close to the questions as possible. This allows you to scan easily between the question and the diagram, which helps you go faster and reduces potential errors. When you do a logic game, you have to hold an enormous amount of information in your head. If you become distracted, you might lose the entirety of the information you’re building and need to start from scratch. This is detrimental to your time.
4. Keep your diagrams simple
You only have thirty-five minutes to solve each of the logic puzzles and answer the associated questions. Each puzzle will have between three and five associated questions. This is a huge amount of information to deduce in a very short period of time. You have less than ten minutes to solve and answer each puzzle. This means that it’s imperative that diagrams be kept simple. Over-complicated diagrams will eat up your time. They’ll also increase your potential for error. If you need to make calculations and notes, you should do this separately from the diagram; maybe make a space for notes beneath your actual diagram. In the same way that a step-by-step approach to math problems is more helpful than hectic chicken scratch, a clean and simple diagram is more helpful to logic puzzles than helter-skelter calculations. If you’re starting off learning how to draw diagrams, start with 7Sage’s simple explanations.
5. Don’t use your main diagram for each question
You should use your main diagram to solve the puzzle to the best of your ability. Populate the diagram with the information you know about the placement of each variable. But as previously mentioned, you should make notes and calculations separately. If you don’t solve the entire puzzle, you should try to solve the direct problems posed by the questions. But you also shouldn’t use your main diagram for each question. Instead, use your notes section to make notations about the information required for each question. Also note what the clues tell you about this information. If you have concrete answers about the position of a variable, place these in your main diagram. But otherwise, keep your calculations separate.
6. Memorize rules for speed
You should take a number of timed practice tests before you take the real LSAT. The Logic Games section allows you thirty-five minutes to answer four puzzles: less than ten minutes for each puzzle. You must answer between five and seven questions about each puzzle. Broken down, you can either spend about eight minutes solving the entire puzzle, or you can spend about ninety seconds finding the individual answers to each question. Your approach will vary based on your strengths in logic games.
7. Use consistent shorthand
Notes and shorthand are useless if you can’t understand them later. You should make sure that your shorthand is consistent. For example, if one of the variables is a girl named Annabelle, you might note her as “A” in your diagram. But if there’s an Andy in the same puzzle, you can’t use “A” again or you’ll mix the two up. Make sure each variable and category is denoted with unique and consistent shorthand. Check out AlphaScore’s shorthand guide.
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