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This is an Advanced Linear: Balanced, Identify the Templates game.
This game was widely considered the most difficult game of this LSAT. The first challenging decision comes in choosing a base. One possible base is the four bicycles F, G, H, and J, and the other possible base is the four riders R, S, T, and Y. Regardless of the base, each will use the two days, and so there will be two rows or columns for each. Let’s take a look at each base, using a vertical setup:
Each of these setups will allow you to solve the game successfully. How then, do you determine which base is the best? The first and easiest method is to look at the answer choices to see which base the test makers use. While question #13 uses the second base (bicycles), the remaining questions use the first base (riders). So, the majority of questions use the riders as the base. Second, are there any rules which would be easier to display using one of the bases? In this case, yes: the fourth rule can easily be shown on the first setup by using internal diagramming. That rule is less powerfully shown as a block in the second diagram, and thus we will use the first base for our setup.
Prior to analyzing the four rules, let’s take a moment to understand the impact of the conditions given in the game scenario. The scenario contains two “cleanup” rules: each rider tests only one bicycle per day, and all four bicycles are tested each day. Thus, beneficially, we have a 1-to-1 balanced scenario in play. However, the game scenario also states that “Each rider will then test a different one of the bicycles on the second day.” Thus, when a rider tests a bicycle on either day, he or she cannot test that same bicycle on the other day. We will represent this in the diagram with a double-not arrow:
Let us examine each rule.
The first rule establishes that R cannot test F:
This rule eliminates Y from testing J:
This rule stipulates that T must test H on one of the days. Because of the condition in the game scenario that states each rider tests a different bike each day, this means that T must test H on exactly one of the days only:
The final rule establishes that the bicycle tested by Y on the first day must be the same as the bicycle tested by S on the second day. Because each rider tests exactly one bicycle each day, this causes a reversal of the rule, creating a double-arrow that can be shown internally on the diagram:
At this point, most students stop diagramming and move to the questions. But, take a moment to consider the interaction of the third and fourth rules:
- Y and S always test the same bicycle on days 1 and 2, respectively. T must always inspect H on one of the days. Could Y and S test H on days 1 and 2, respectively? No, because if they did so, H would be tested on each day, and thus would not be available to T on either day. Thus, we can infer that Y cannot test H on day 1 and S cannot test H on day 2:
At this point, the game is now far more restricted than before, and you could proceed to the questions. Alternatively, the presence of the F/G dual option on Y and S suggests that this game has a limited number of templates, especially when the third rule is considered. The combination of the F/G dual-option and the third rule leads to four basic templates:
Although the templates are not necessary to conquer this game, they help considerably.