- Fri Aug 10, 2012 5:11 pm
Most of the time attempting to diagram all possibilities is a recipe for disaster in the form of wasted time. The key is in what Dave said about recognizing significant limitations. It can come in many forms - a variable that can only go in one of two places coupled with a series of variables that have to be placed in a specific order, perhaps, or a limitation on the size of two groups coupled with certain variables that either must be in the same group or cannot be in the same group. Using the template approach or the possibilities approach too often will hurt more than it will help.
Start with the basics - read all the rules, look for linkages where two or more rules can be efficiently tied together into a single, more-powerful rule. Diagram the rules efficiently, tying variable together where you can. Put your base together. Some of the time, on some games, you'll start to get a sense that the solution sets are limited, and those are ones where you should try asking yourself a few "what-if" questions. "What if P is 5th - then what has to happen?"; "What if there are only two ingredients in the appetizer - what must they be?"; "What if M is the dietary regimen I select - what does that require me to include and to discard?"
(Actually, I do this "what-if" process on most games - it's a form of prephrasing for logic games that helps to ferret out some important inferences, but on the ones where I sense that a template approach might be useful I spend a little more time on these to try and discover if my intuition is correct or not).
You may not know that there are only 6 possible solutions, but if you sense that there are those significant limitations you may discover that there are 4 templates, or 8 solutions, or three templates, etc. This will come with practice, practice, practice - don't go down this path unless you have a strong sense that it will pay off.
Adam M. Tyson
PowerScore LSAT Instructor
Adam M. Tyson
PowerScore LSAT, GRE, ACT and SAT Instructor
Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/LSATadam