This video lesson will give you some great strategies for improving your logic games diagram set ups!
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Introduction to LSAT Logic Games
What these first few lessons are designed to do is give you an overview of the LSAT Logic Games. We’re going to give you some strategies and start seeing some immediate improvement on your LSAT Logic Games Score. Now you are going to find much more detail and a lot more detailed strategies in subsequent lessons in our full LSAT Prep Course online, but this is enough to get you started and start seeing some immediate improvement now. So they way we are going to go about this is first we will take a look at LSAT Logic Games as a whole and how they fit into the LSAT and then we’ll look at some very specific strategies that you can use to apply to any LSAT Logic Game regardless of the category or type of LSAT Logic Game. And then we will take those and test them so you’ll get a chance to take some quizzes and see how you are doing with those particular skills and then finally we will go on and apply them to some actual LSAT logic games. So first of all let’s look at how the LSAT logic games fit into the test as a whole. So your LSAT is made up of four scored sections and the logic games are one of those for four scored sections, so that means they make up about twenty five percent of your LSAT score. Now for many students this is the hardest twenty five percent of the test but for many of you it will also be the easiest one that you can see some very quick improvement upon. So what is it that our LSAT logic games are testing? Well according to the makers of the LSAT they are testing your ability to understand complex structural relationships and that is supposed to mimic or simulate the complex relationships that you might see in a legal problem. So let’s take a look at one of our LSAT logic games and we can break it down into its parts.
Sample Logic Game
So looking at our actual LSAT logic game here (see video) you can see that at the top of the page you’ve got a set of instructions and this is going to tell you some information about how to answer these questions on the LSAT now we are going to look at this in more detail later and see what it means but for now let’s not worry about that, we’ll dive right in and take a look at the actual LSAT logic game. You can see that it is basically broken down into three areas. First you’ve got an introductory paragraph and this just gives you the basic structural format of this game. Then you’ve got a set of rules that tells you about the relationships of the entities and how things work in this game and combined with your introductory paragraph these rules are going to give you your diagram and help you set something up so you can go forward to answer the questions. And that is the last component of the game is the actual questions and they’re just asking questions about how these entities in this game relate to each other. Now you may be asking yourself what type of game that is? Or what category it fits into? Well it doesn’t ! Nowhere on the LSAT do they tell you what type of game this is and that’s a bit of a problem because a lot of LSAT courses and textbooks will focus on the specific categories and types of games and while that’s important to be aware of it’s not enough you need to have strategies that will approach all types of LSAT games no matter what type they are. And a place to start without knowing what type of game it is or what category it fits into. And that’s what we are going to give you here, we are going to give you a strategy that you can take in and approach a game no matter what type of LSAT game it is. Now later on we will look at those specific types and adjust our strategy accordingly and what that means is you can take this strategy move into any game and start working on it, putting some things on the paper developing your diagram and as you start to unlock what type of game it is or what category it fits into, then you can adjust your strategy and add some more elements in. So let’s go ahead look at our strategy that works with any LSAT Logic Game.
The Intro Paragraph – 3 Essentials
Whenever you look at the introductory paragraph for your LSAT logic game, which of course they all have, you want to get three things out of it. First you want to get out a list of entities, those are the characters or the actors, the people, the places or things that are going to be moving around in this game. You want to get a list of those entities. The second thing you want to get is the frequency at which those entities occur, so do you have to use them once? Do you have to use them twice? A minimum of twice? A maximum of five times each? Or can use them as many times each as you want. And then finally, the third thing you need to get out of every introductory paragraph for an LSAT logic game is placeholders and that is going to give you the basic structure of your game. It is just going to be a set of lines, blank lines that you are going to put your entities into. So again the three things are the Entities, the frequency at which they occur and the place holders in which to put them.
Your entities are the actors, or the character’s, or the people, the places, the things that are moving around in your logic game. So this could be a list of clowns that are going to be performing tricks and you’ve got names for them: Albert, Bob, Carrie, Doug and Egbert. And you’re going to represent them with the first letter of their name now sometimes you can use numbers if you just are simply given numbers to represent your entities as in you’ve got a code and you’re generating it from a series of numbers from zero to four. You are just going to put down the numbers zero to four. But if you’re given specific names for your entities you want to use the first letter from their name. So in the case with the clowns we might have are clowns named A B C D and E. If more your entities has two names, so we’ve got Donald Smith as one of your clowns. You only want to use one letter. It just gets confusing when you have two letters because suddenly you’re thinking Oh! is this DS going to be one entity or two entities and once you get into the speed of the game you can mistake it for two entities. So keep it simple, keep it consistent and just use one letter to represent your entities. So you’ve got your list of names for entities and then you are ready to go on and take a look at the frequency at which those entities occur.
Now the frequency of occurrence for entities in an LSAT logic game is something that a lot of people miss when setting up their diagram because you don’t really need it but it is this extra piece of information they take you so much further and makes the game that much easier. So you really want to make sure the record this information. And that is: how many times can I use my entities? So in our previous example if I have clowns A B C D and E, how many times can I use them? Can I use each crown exactly once or a minimum of once or maybe I can use my clowns as many times as I want. You want to record that information. You can put it down right next to your entities so you know exactly how many times you can use them and then you’ll be ready to go on and develop your place holders to put those clowns or put those entities into.
The place holders in a game give you the overall structure of that game and they give you the places into which you are going to put those entities. So it is kind of like the board game that you are going to put your pieces on and the entities are the pieces. And you are going to lay out your place holders just as simple lines. Just a simple blank line, like you would in a game of Hang-man where you are going to put a letter or a number into it representing that entity. You are always going to use simple blank lines to represent your place holders. There are really three main ways you can setup your place holders you’re either going to have them in a simple order from left to right representing an order from first to last or Saturday to Thursday or from the left side to the right side of or first to sixth in a race. That’s your basic way of representing your place holders so that’s a basic order and you are going to put it from left to right with some simple lines to represent where you are going to put your entities. The second way you can represent your place holders is a little bit more of an advanced twist on that order. Let’s say you have a second element, let’s say you’ve got clowns performing their tracks but now we need to know exactly what type of trick each clown is performing. So they are performing tricks in order from first to fifth but they are also performing a certain type of trick. They are either dancing or juggling, well you need to make note of that underneath or above each clown. So right next to each clown, either underneath or above it, you want to have an extra line to represent what trick it is they are performing. You can do this anytime you’re given an additional level of information that corresponds directly to each of the entities that you’re putting in your order. This gives you a bit of an advanced quarter and is used in advanced ordering games where you’ve got two levels for your ordering. And this is your second way of laying out your place holders, now you can expand this if you need three levels. Let’s say we’ve got each clown from order from first to fifth and they are performing a certain type of trick that’s your second line and then they are wearing a different color of clothing, that can be your third line. So now we’re just adding a third element. Now typically in LSAT logic games you only get two lines here but you may get as many as three or more so you can be prepared for that by just adding an extra set of lines when or an extra set of place holders to record what’s going on in this order. Now the final way the that you can lay out your place holders for LSAT logic games is if we are putting them into groups. So we are separating our clowns into happy clowns clowns and sad clowns or we are separating them into clowns that can drive well, clowns that can drive poorly and clowns that don’t have their driver’s licence so in that case we are creating three groups. So you just want to do your lines now vertically for your first group, your second group, your third group or however many groups that you have. Now you’re just going to lay out your place holders as we did before but now instead of laying them out in order from left to right were laying them out vertically for our groups however many groups that there may be. Those are really the three main ways that you can lay out your place holders to develop the general structure of your LSAT logic game diagram. Now there are some subtle variations on these that we will get into later in the course but this is going to cover off the majority of your LSAT logic games.
So now that you’ve seen the three main things that you want to get out of every introductory paragraph for your LSAT logic game, let’s go ahead and apply this knowledge to some practice questions. Go ahead and try the practice questions and remember for each LSAT introductory paragraph you want to pull out your entities, the frequency at which they occur, and put down some place holders to put them in. And don’t worry if you’re not totally comfortable with this yet, we are going to get a lot of practice doing this and once you’ve done the practice questions you can come back to the next video lesson and will show you exactly how we would have solved these problems.
For the rest of the videos in this series including practice questions and solutions sign up for our trial LSAT course and check out the Analytical Reasoning Section.