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Road to 170+: Quit Playing (Logic) Games with My Heart (How to improve LG performance)

Michael.CincoMichael.Cinco Member Sage
edited March 2020 in General 2111 karma

I'm going to spill some tea for folks, and you may not like it.

If you want to get over 170 on the LSAT you have to be prepared to get 23/23 on the Logic Games section of the LSAT. Mathematically this is an obvious statement, after getting a perfect score on any one section of the LSAT means you get more leeway for error on the other sections of the LSAT for your target score. Assuming a -10 curve, if you perfect Logic Games that means you get to distribute 10 wrong answer choices across the three other sections. It becomes a far more manageable task! But why logic games? Why not focus on RC where there are 27 points, or the LR sections which account for 50% of the test? There's reasons for that.

1. LG is learnable

LG is the most learnable part of the LSAT. I have seen students at all levels get to a point where they are able to consistently score perfect scores on the LG section. This is because of the nature of the section themselves. Unlike LR where you are at the mercy of the creativity of the LSAC writers and RC which can pull from an almost infinite amount of material across a wide variety of subjects the logic games have stayed fairly consistent through the history of the LSAT. The way games and rules are constructed, the approach to solving them, the patterns that are formed and the way inferences can be generated are actually fairly limited and the way we tackle games from LSATS in 1999 has not really changed from the way we tackle them today.

2. Performance on LG is consistent (for the most part)

If you master logic games, chances are you will be able to replicate your performance repeatedly. The traits that you need to be able to master games in practice easily transfer to test day because as we discussed in point 1, the build of logic games sections is actually fairly constricted. Granted you can still get hit by the dreaded miscellaneous game but if you have prepared well you should have already encountered and conquered multiple miscellaneous games in your preparation and would be nonplussed by their appearance. Contrast that with RC which varies in difficulty not only by passage type, passage subject but also in the difficulty of the questions that are asked. And in LR where performance is dependant on juggling between being precise and being decisively quick. LG is where you should be able to easily translate your practice performance to the real thing.

3. LG performance as a morale booster

LG is the one section in the LSAT where your own feelings about how you performed in the section tend to correlate quite nicely with your actual score. The nature of the questions allows you to be fairly confident when you hit the right answer. If you walk away from the LG section having completed every game and question you can be fairly confident that you scored 23/23. That is positive momentum you can take to the rest of the test. By contrast we all know when we under perform in the LG section, we either fail to finish all the questions or we fail to 'get' a game. If we walk away from the LG section knowing we underperformed we may feel even more pressure to do well on the other sections and the impact on performance can be negative. It is thus imperative that we excel at logic games.

So perhaps I convinced you that it may be a good idea to try and master the logic games section. How do we actually do that? Well a tried and true method, that is common across almost everyone I've tutored who has achieved logic game mastery is that they fool proofed the games. For more on that strategy click here . Of course I'm not just going to write a big build up for logic games success without giving you a few tips of my own. Read on for those!

Beyond Full Proofing

  1. Memorize Patterns not inferences

One of the reasons we full proof games is to improve our ability to recognize inferences. We can do that through strict memorization of how the inferences developed within the given circumstances of our game but that won't necessarily help you out in the future. What we are better off doing is recognizing how those inferences were formed. What did we do to draw them out? Did we concentrate on rules which were inherently powerful in how they affected the game board? Did we focus on spaces which by the nature of the rules was inherently restricted? Did we draw out the possible outcomes rather than focusing on prohibitive ones? If your study of the logic games focuses on patterns of inferences, and why you made them rather than on the inferences themselves your study time will pay far greater dividends down the road.

  1. Tackle games in different ways.

There are sometimes more than one way to tackle a logic game. Don't be constrained by your initial approach, or even JY's approach. You will learn more from a game if you try to tackle it in multiple ways. A game that may have seemed an obvious choice to split, may prove even easier if you just tackled it by approaching the questions head on and vice versa. Doing this will also help you better prepare for scenarios where perhaps you missed a key inference that would allow a split or perhaps, if you are not comfortable with splitting, would allow you to split a game you wouldn't have necessarily thought to split in the first place. Getting the right answer is not enough, you want to be able to get the right answer using multiple possible approaches.

  1. The Setup is key.

Your performance on a logic game hinges on your setup. Lots of folks speed through this process because they never really practice it. When they start full proofing, the setups get better because of the prior knowledge one gleans from having seen the game before but the ability to actually properly perform a setup escapes them. You must allow yourself enough time in your setup to do the following:

1. Understand what the game is asking you to do
2. Understand the optimal way of diagramming the game
3. Understand the key game pieces and positions which the game hinges on
4. Understand how the rules interact with each other
5. Understand whether you should be splitting the game or attacking the questions

Ideally as you full proof you will develop your own process as to how to make sure all those things are checked off. A tutor can be really beneficial here as they can provide you their own process for doing just that!

  1. Efficiently tackling questions

The best test takers are intelligent in how they tackle the questions. Just like the overall approach to games can very, the approach to tackling individual questions can also vary. What you want to do, at all times is question whether your approach is efficient. Ideally you want to do the LEAST amount of work possible to get to the right answer choices. When you are full proofing always ask yourself if you are being efficient. Some things to consider in this space:

1. Why is the LSAC asking this question? Is it to test an inference? If so, have you already made it? That may be the right answer! ( Ask this if you encounter a global MUST BE TRUE QUESTION)
2. Have I done any work on previous questions that can help me answer/eliminate some of the wrong answer choices?
3. Have I properly separated the contenders and non-contenders before I start making diagrams? 
4. Is there a way to distinguish contenders from non-contenders that I have overlooked? (I can write an entire separate post on how to do this, but this typically requires some thought on what the question is looking for and what the answer choices are providing in response) 

Getting to -0 on Logic Games may seem like a daunting task. Lots of students have achieved it though, and not all of them were Logic Game naturals. For the longest time, Logic Games was my weakest section. I managed to overcome that weakness to score a -0 on Logic Games on my LSAT. You can do this too if you focus on the right things! The information above should help you get started on that journey!

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