LSAT Conditional Logic Group 1 is made up of the following terms:
- The only
All the words in this group follow this translation rule:
The ideas introduced by (i.e., immediately following) these words are the sufficient conditions.
Let’s try it
If zombies attack New York City, the real estate market will slip.
Step 1 - Identify the logical operator
Here, it’s “If.”
Step 2 - Identify the two main concepts (or groups, categories, events or ideas)
Here, it’s the two events “zombies attack NYC” and “real estate market will slip.”
Step 3 - Assign symbols to the two main concepts
Here, “Z” for “zombies attack NYC” and “RES” for “real estate market will slip.”
Step 4 - Apply the translation rule
Here, the ideas introduced by these words are the sufficient conditions.
Z –> RES
Step 5 - Find the contrapositive
/RES –> /Z
Step 6 - Translate back to English
If the real estate market doesn’t slip, then zombies are not attacking NYC.
You see why this is called a “mechanism?” Because it’s mechanistic! You don’t really have to think very much about these sentences. It’s almost like a computer algorithm. You put in the data and it puts out the results. The computer doesn’t know what it’s doing. It’s simply following instructions. That’s what you should do for now. You have to be fast at this, really fast.
There’s an advantage to using a mechanism. It helps to elucidate the meaning of certain opaque sentences. A sentence using the “If” construct, or really any of the constructions in Group 1, probably doesn’t need elucidation no matter how complicated the ideas may be. But a less clear construct, like “unless” (that’s Group 3) when coupled with more complicated ideas may spell trouble. But as long as you coldly follow the mechanism you’ll be in the clear.