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General questions relating to the LSAT Logic Games.
  • Posts: 9
  • Joined: Dec 09, 2020
Hello PS,

I gather a key step in solving logic games is grasping the mechanics of the game as a whole. This means identifying with the rules and having a knowledge of how the variables can behave and how they can't. Some of the PowerScore literature even recommends committing the rules to memory in order to get a grip on each one's implications. I picture this as being able to play an animation in my head where one variable pops into place (say a local question puts 'L' first) and then a second variable appears next to it or a few spaces down and so on and so forth. I would keep anticipating the next variable and slot them into place until a rule is violated (with a big red 'X' and a buzzer sound) or a valid permutation is found. But the reality is that under the time constraint, I find I spend most of the section with no sense of how the rules govern the variable placement. Instead of getting comfortable with rules and potential solutions to the game, I just get in trial and error mode where I blindly try placing variables in empty slots in a random frenzy. I often don't even know what variable to investigate next. Even when I can keep up a good pace, this process of trying out different placements with a pencil and paper rarely pays off. I consistently get just ten questions right in a whole LG section.

Everyone says that LGs are highly visual but I think this task is spatial too. I would benefit from being able to feel the presence of 'L' in slot 1 pushing the other variables into their permitted arrangements and blocking the motion of forbidden ones. Kind of like the movement of chess pieces on a board or the relationships of players on a field.

Can you think of a way to practice relating to the games in this way? I just get pummeled by the questions because I'm stunned by the impact of the rules, which I'm always double-checking. I end up forfeiting my attack stance and struggling to answer anything quickly. If I know the answer to a question it's a Global one that comes at the end and which I can use prior work to answer.

What I'm asking for is some strategy to hold the game in my head. Any thoughts on how I can practice rule awareness? I know this is somewhat abstract and maybe whimsical, but I rarely see this addressed in your books, even though you recommend knowing the games and their mechanics. Thank you in advance!
 Adam Tyson
PowerScore Staff
  • PowerScore Staff
  • Posts: 3694
  • Joined: Apr 14, 2011
My first response, mostofthetime, would be that you should NOT plan to hold anything in your head, but should have everything you need written in your diagram in a way that is clear to you. As I like to tell my students, "think with your pencil." Games are primarily about creating a visual representation of the rules, connecting them in ways that lead to additional inferences which are then added to the diagram so that they are always plain to see. A rule that J is before P gets diagrammed as J :longline: P and results in two inferences that should be added to the base, namely that J cannot be last and P cannot be first. We show those by writing a J under the last space and crossing it out, and a P under the first space and crossing that out ("not laws").

But there IS some element of holding the rules in your head, too. Some rules defy visual representation, or simply don't need it. "Each variable is used exactly once" is just such a rule, and needs to be internalized rather than drawn. Simple rules like that can be easily managed most of the time, but more complex ones, such as "three of the variables are used twice each and three are used once each" should be drawn in some way rather than held in your memory.

While some rules may be easily drawn, it would still be helpful if in the process of drawing them you also got familiar enough with them that you didn't have to keep checking the rules to remember them. If, for example, a grouping game has a rule that M and Q must be in the same group, you would probably draw it as an MQ block, but you should also at least try to immediately start thinking of those two variables as being inseparable and moving as a unit to the various groups. Creating templates based around that rule is one way to reinforce that idea, both in your head and on paper, but not all games lend themselves to that approach.

In the end, you SHOULD be planning on returning to the diagram (not the written list of rules, but how you expressed them visually) regularly as you move through a game, treating them as a sort of filter through which every question is run. Try to remember the rules, of course, as that helps you to go a little faster, but don't entirely trust your memory, for that's an easy way to make mistakes. Trust what you drew, and use that as your guide through the questions.

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