Average Time Completing Logic Games

kgalaraga93
LSAT Apprentice

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Hi there,

So I've done about 20-30 Logic Games using the methods outlined in the Logic Games Bible. I'm averaging at about 18 min. per game, which I know is not ideal. I'm trying to make that number decrease. I know that you all have said that speed will come with mastery of technique, However I've been using the methods and have been doing a lot of games for a while now and still average out to 18 min. per game. Have I not done enough games to improve my speed? I'm not quite sure what I'm doing wrong. I've gotten the hang of the techniques and have been able to answer all the questions but its always in 18 min. Help with this dilemma would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Kim
Dave Killoran
PowerScore Staff

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Hi Kim,

You ask a good question! Increasing speed in games can come from a few areas. One of those is certainly general practice and doing many, many games. Another of those is comfort with diagramming and making inferences. A third is how you solve questions and the various techniques you use there.

Right now, you are averaging double time on each game. So, I would say that it's not solely practice that's the solution here. Practice is often a refining mechanism that—after you've gotten past the initial learning period—takes the knowledge you have and makes it easier and more efficient to use. While this is somewhat of a guess since I haven't seen you complete a game in person, I'd suspect that one problem is that it's taking you too long to set up each game. So, the first step there is to ask how long does it take you to recognize the game, make a basic diagram, and then diagram the rules and inferences?

I'll start there, and then I'm sure I'll have more questions based on what you tell me.

Thank you!
Dave Killoran
PowerScore Test Preparation
My LSAT Articles: http://blog.powerscore.com/lsat/author/dave-killoran
kgalaraga93
LSAT Apprentice

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Thanks Dave, I appreciate the help.

It can take me anywhere from 5-7 minutes to recognize what kind of game it is, make my setup, and make my inferences. You're right that is probably way too long. But I'm pretty slow when it comes to the Logic Games (It's my worst section) so it takes me time to really think about the setup. And even when I take that time and check my answers I still miss some inferences in the end. Sometimes after I make my setup and can't really think of any more inferences I just blaze on ahead and hope that I'll discover inferences as I go along. I also use the questions like one of your instructors suggested and depending on how many are global or local determine if there are really that many inferences to be made.

Kim
Dave Killoran
PowerScore Staff

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Hi Kim,

Thanks for the reply! Your setup time is definitely a big concern, especially because it seems like you aren't always getting inferences (or all of them) during that process. So, the first place to start is working on game type recognition and straight rule diagramming. then, after that, the next stop is inference making.

Game type recognition is something that is often overlooked, but it's one of those thing that if you are good at it you never think about it, but if you aren't, it creates all sorts of problems. The good news is that most Logic Games are based on either a Linear concept (things in order) or Grouping (things put together in bunches). What I want you to do firs tis to go back into the games you have seen previously, and that you know how they are classified, and read through each game scenario until you see the part that identifies what the type is. That might be one sentence, or it might take you all the way through the rules. The point is to connect the words that tell you the type to each type, so you get used to seeing what leads to base used in the game. Ultimately, you should and can be able to identify the vast majority of games very quickly. I've worked with many student son this, and after some work they all were able to get it, and I know that you can too!

After going through that exercise, let's move on to the rules. Most rules should be diagrammable pretty quickly. Classic rules like blocks, not law, or sequences shouldn't take more than a few seconds to diagram. So, looking at games you've already done, focus on the most straightforward rules and double-check your ability to diagram each. If you see a rule that's confusing to you, just mark it—we'll come back to it later. Make sure that you have every "easy" rule perfectly diagrammed, and that if you saw it again, that you could diagram it quickly.

Next, go through the same games again. Look at the weird or hard-to-understand rules that gave you problems or that you thought weren't straightforward. With these, it's natural that they take more time, but what we don't want is for a rule to suck up minutes of your time. No one can afford that Write down those weird rules and keep a list of them that you van refer to at various times, along with the diagram, so that you get used to how they should be diagrammed. and feel free to come here and ask us about how or why we diagrammed something the way we did. We're glad to help!

So, those are the first few steps, and there will be more after we cut some time down on the front end.

Please let me know if that helps. Thanks!
Dave Killoran
PowerScore Test Preparation
My LSAT Articles: http://blog.powerscore.com/lsat/author/dave-killoran
kgalaraga93
LSAT Apprentice

Posts: 14
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Hi Dave,

Thanks for the feedback. I'm not so sure if my problem is recognizing what kind of game it is. I can tell pretty quickly whether it's Linear or Grouping, Underfunded or Overloaded. Sometimes I do have trouble trying to figure out how to physically diagram the game, like deciding whether or not I should use stacks or what base I should use but other than that I don't know if it is classification that is taking up my time.

You're right about me not knowing how to diagram some rules. I'll provide an example from the December 1999 Practice Test section 1:

1)"At most one person left more than one message"
2)"No person left more than 3 messages"
3)"If Greta left any message Fleur and Pasquale did also"
4) "If Fleure left any message, Pasquale and Theodore did also, all of Pasquale's preceding any of Theodore's

Rules 3-4 overlap and I couldn't figure out the best way to diagram it so that I understood what it meant without looking back at the worded rules.

What is the ideal time to complete a diagram/inferences? I don't know why but it takes me FOREVER to come up with inferences. I'm not sure how much time I should dedicate to making inferences and when I should stop and just move on with the questions. I also have trouble deciding whether or not it's worth it to make templates or to just move on.

Sorry I know this is a lot but I'm sure you can help. Thank you. I am impressed with how well and how promptly you and your staff respond. I appreciate it a lot.
Nikki Siclunov
PowerScore Staff

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Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 10:31 am
Points: 1,208

Hi Kim,

Dave is out of town at the moment, so I thought I'd answer your last question.

Ideally, you wouldn't spend more than 3-4 questions on your setup, rule diagramming, and inference making. There are exceptions, of course, particularly when you're dealing with a really difficult game or decide to use Templates to represent a limited number of possible solutions.

Rule diagramming should not be time-consuming if you know how to diagram each specific type of rule. For instance, the rules you mentioned below are conditional: diagramming them should not take more than a few seconds if you learned the applicable techniques in the Logic Games Bible:

3)"If Greta left any message Fleur and Pasquale did also"

G F + P

4) "If Fleure left any message, Pasquale and Theodore did also, all of Pasquale's preceding any of Theodore's

F P + T (P > T)

Clearly, both rules have P as the common variable, so I would combine them accordingly:

G F P + T (P > T)

In this game, it is also critical to understand the applicable numerical distributions, and how they would affect the application of the conditional rules I just diagrammed:

1)"At most one person left more than one message"
2)"No person left more than 3 messages"

Since there are a total of six messages, the following distributions are possible:

3-1-1-1 (one person leaves three messages, three other people leave one message each) = 4 people total

2-1-1-1-1 (one person leaves two messages, four other people leave one message each) = 5 people total

1-1-1-1-1-1 (six people leave one message each) = 6 people total

And here's a cool inference: if G left any message, you wouldn't be able to have only 4 people leaving messages. Thus, G cannot leave any messages in the 3-1-1-1 distribution. This is just the sort of inference that can really drive your speed as you move onto the questions.

I know this is not immediately apparent to most people, which is precisely why - when it comes the Logic Games, and the LSAT in general - practice makes perfect (assuming you have the right approach, which you do). Sooner or later, you'll start recognizing these connections and relationships faster, which will improve both your accuracy and your pacing! It's a slow process, so give it time to take hold.

Hope this helps a bit! Let me know.

Thanks!
Nikki Siclunov
PowerScore Test Preparation