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Setup and Rule Diagram Explanation

This is a Grouping: Defined-Moving, Balanced, Numerical Distribution game.

The game scenario establishes that five paralegals manuscripts are assigned to three different cases:

PT69_Game_#4_setup_diagram 1.png
PT69_Game_#4_setup_diagram 1.png (2.9 KiB) Viewed 1978 times
From the game scenario, the five paralegals must each be assigned to exactly one case each, and each case must be assigned at least one paralegal. This arrangement creates two unfixed numerical distributions of the 5 paralegals into the 3 cases:
PT69_Game_#4_setup_diagram 2.png
PT69_Game_#4_setup_diagram 2.png (2.19 KiB) Viewed 1978 times
Because all five paralegals are assigned, the game is Defined. But, because the number of paralegals assigned to each case is uncertain, the game is Moving. Because there are five paralegals and five positions for them, the game is Balanced.

With the basic structure in place, let us now turn to the rules.

The first rule establishes a relationship that is best represented by a double-arrow:

PT69_Game_#4_setup_diagram 3.png
PT69_Game_#4_setup_diagram 3.png (1.23 KiB) Viewed 1978 times
Accordingly, either F is assigned to Raimes and K is assigned to Thompson, or both are not assigned to those cases. You could also draw the contrapositive of this double-arrow, although it is inherent within the double-arrow and thus unnecessary. That representation would be:

PT69_Game_#4_setup_diagram 4.png
PT69_Game_#4_setup_diagram 4.png (1.61 KiB) Viewed 1978 times
The second rule states that either F is the sole paralegal assigned to his case, or that G is the sole paralegal assigned to her case, but that both instances cannot occur. Thus, in every solution to the game, exactly one of F and G will be the sole paralegal assigned to a case. Other paralegals could be the sole paralegal assigned to a case, a circumstance we will address shortly.

This rule is ultimately two rules in one so to fully represent it, we need two diagrams: One to show that one of F and G must be the sole paralegal assigned to a case:

PT69_Game_#4_setup_diagram 5.png
PT69_Game_#4_setup_diagram 5.png (1.38 KiB) Viewed 1978 times
and one to show that you cannot have both F and G as the sole paralegals assigned to a case:

PT69_Game_#4_setup_diagram 6.png
PT69_Game_#4_setup_diagram 6.png (1.31 KiB) Viewed 1978 times
This rule has a significant impact on the two numerical distributions that are possible in the game, and thus it can be even better represented by combining it with our two possible distributions:
  • In the 3-1-1 distribution, either F or G is the paralegal assigned to exactly one of the cases with just one paralegal, and the other is assigned to the case with three paralegals. The other case with a single paralegal must be assigned to H, K, or L:
PT69_Game_#4_setup_diagram 7.png
PT69_Game_#4_setup_diagram 7.png (2.58 KiB) Viewed 1978 times
  • Out of H, K, and L, one is assigned to a case with just one paralegal, and the other two are assigned to a case with three paralegals.

    In the 2-2-1 distribution, F or G is the paralegal assigned to the case with just one paralegal:
PT69_Game_#4_setup_diagram 8.png
PT69_Game_#4_setup_diagram 8.png (1.74 KiB) Viewed 1978 times
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Do you recommend immediately drawing templates whenever we come across a game with either/or rules? For example, Game 4 of June 2013.


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 Dave Killoran
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Hi Angela,

Good question! The presence of a rule with "either/or" is typically not by itself sufficient to justify making templates. While rules with that language limit options, and thus can certainly contribute to using the Identify Templates/Possibilities approach in a game, it still can allow for too many options with the other variables to simply make the appearance of rule like that an automatics Template indicator.

For example, consider this rule from the June 1996 LSAT, Game 1: "F is inspected on either day 1 or day 6." That rule by itself wouldn't trigger a template approach, but it would make me consider it (the other three rules in that game do not ultimately suggest that Templates would be the best attack).

Ultimately, either/or rules can certainly contribute to the choice to use Templates, and there are occasions where they would trigger them. But, you can't use the presence of an either/or rule to automatically institute the Templates approach.

Please let me know if that helps. Thanks!
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Thanks Dave! If you don't mind, what types of language- in addition to an either/or - are strong signals to suggest template drawing?

Thanks again,

 Adam Tyson
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Angela, our colleague Ron recently addressed this in the LSAT blog, here: ... -Set-Games

Check it out, and other blog posts, for some great advice.

Short answer here is to look for multiple interlocking restrictions - perhaps an either/or rule coupled with a large fixed block in a linear game, or perhaps a grouping game with a numerical distribution coupled with multiple blocks of variables that either must go together or cannot go together (think of the appetizer/main dish game from December 1997, covered in Lesson 9 of the full length course).

If you think templates might be the right approach, try creating just one template. If things fall into place, keep going, but if they are just too loose and you aren't getting most of the blanks filled in, abandon that approach quickly before you lose too much time. As an experiment, try looking at Game 1 from December 2008, where J, L and G really dominate the rules and might, possibly, suggest a template strategy. Start by placing the J_L block in 1st and 3rd position, and ask yourself if you want to keep going or not.

Enjoy the blog, and good luck!
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The "either/or" statement in Game 4 of June 2013 REALLY tripped me up. This rule further states "but not both"

Is it correct in believing that if a statement says "either/or", it has to be at least one of them? Could be both (unless told otherwise), but at minimum always needs to be one? (again unless instructed otherwise)
 Nikki Siclunov
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Hi afranden,

You are absolutely correct! When they say "either A or B" must occur, this means that if one of them does NOT occur, the other one has to occur:

NOT A :arrow: B
NOT B :arrow: A

This relationship does not preclude the occurrence of both A and B, unless specifically told otherwise. In the game you reference, the rule also states, "not both," meaning that if either of the two occurs, the other one cannot occur:

A :arrow: NOT B
B :arrow: NOT A

The combination of both of these rules suggests only two possible outcomes: A occurs without B, or else B occurs without A. That combination can also be represented by a Double Arrow:

A :dbl: NOT B
B :dbl: NOT A

Does this make sense?

Let me know. Thanks!
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Hi again,

Could someone please explain how to set up the rules/diagram for this game? In particular, how do you write out the first rule? Which chapter in the Powerscore LSAT Course books would best help in reviewing these types of questions? Would you have any advice for developing speed in games?

Thank you!
 Adam Tyson
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Thanks for the question, lsatstudier! Because this is a defined grouping game, I would probably start by looking into Lesson 5 in our full length course books. It also has a numerical distribution, so that suggests some help could be found in Lesson 9 where we talk more about those. Think about the different ways you could divide the 5 paralegals into the 3 cases, with at least one paralegal to each case, and you will come up with only two ways to work out the numbers.

For the setup, consider the first question, which is a list question. The authors have set up the answers with the three cases, RST, as the base, so that should suggest that you should do that too. Also, the fact that the rules require at least one paralegal in each case is a clue. Rules that establish numerical relationships often dictate the best base. More X than Y? That suggests that X and Y are groups, with group X being larger than group Y. D and E have nothing in common? That's also numerical, because neither D nor E can include all of the variables, so that suggests D and E are groups. Watch for those numerical relationships to help determine which variable set should be your base.

To develop speed, focus on accuracy and on drawing inferences. Play around with the variables - what if this variable is in this or that place? What if these two are in the same group? Time invested in the diagram usually turns into even more time saved on the questions, and that's where you will pick up speed. More work up front, on a full and useful diagram, saves time in the long run.

Finally, practice! Practice, practice, practice! With practice comes familiarity with patterns, experience with handling and diagramming odd rules, confidence in the way you play with the relationships and uncover inferences. All of this will result in higher accuracy and, as a pleasant byproduct, increased speed.

Good luck!
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Hey Powerscore,

The language of the second rule, "Either Frank is the sole paralegal assigned to his case or Gina is the sole paralegal assigned to her case, but not both" is still tripping me up.

It sounds to me that other paralegals could be the sole paralegal assigned to his/her case, right? So in a 2-2-1 distribution, for example, you could have something like FG - HK - L? If not, why exactly not? This doesn't seem to violate the rule in my understanding.

Thank you,

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