Logic Game Strategies: How to Approach the Questions
One of the quickest and easiest ways to boost your LSAT score is to perfect your Logic Games sections. By mastering the Logic Games strategies and tips described below with consistent practice, this goal is within your reach. Here’s everything you need to know about approaching each type of Logic Games question.
Types of Questions Found on Logic Games
Almost every Logic Game starts with a question that asks you to identify which one of five “full scenarios” is acceptable without violating the rules of the game. A List question might sound like, “Which one of the following could be a complete and accurate list of the speakers from first to last?”
These questions do not require you to make any inferences beyond what is explicitly stated in the rules of the game. Think of them as free points. The best strategy for this type of question is to pick one rule at a time and eliminate any answer choices that violate that rule. If you get stuck, you’ve either misunderstood a rule (go back and reread each rule carefully), or you’ve missed a rule altogether (look for it in the paragraph, not just the list of rules).
New Rule Questions
New Rule questions (or “if” questions) ask you to determine what happens if a certain condition or rule is triggered. This type of question might sound like, “If George speaks second, which of the following must be true?”
The new “rule” (that George speaks second) applies only to this question. To approach an “If” question, draw mini-diagram in which the new rule applies (if you don’t already have a world for it), and make inferences before looking at the answer choices.
If you find yourself struggling to make any inferences, consider the remaining variables. Ask yourself: Who’s left? What do I know about them?
Inference questions on logic games ask one of four things: what must be true, what could be true, what must be false, or what could be false.
When you answer these questions, you can use your previous diagrams either to eliminate answers or to choose the correct answer. Here are some examples of Inference questions:
- Which one of the following must be true? (Eliminate any answers that don’t have to happen in all worlds.)
- Which one of the following could be true? (Choose the answer that could happen in at least one world.)
- Which one of the following cannot be true? (Eliminate any answer that could happen in at least one world.)
- Which one of the following could be false? (Choose the answer that doesn’t have to happen in all worlds.)
Rule Substitution Questions
Rule Substitution questions ask you to replace a given rule with an equivalent rule—that is one that has the exact same effect as the original rule. The replacement rule would result in the same restrictions on the logic game.
These questions might sound like, “Which of the following, if substituted for the rule that Tom speaks first, would have the same effect in determining the order of the speakers?” Here, the rule that Tom speaks first is gone. Find a new rule that forces Tom to speak first without changing anything else—in other words, the new rule should result in the same restrictions on the game as did the original rule.
Wrong answers to Rule Substitution questions are either too lenient (not forcing Tom to speak first, for example) or too restrictive (forcing something else to happen that was not necessary according to the original rules). If an answer contradicts one of your worlds, it’s wrong.
These questions tend to be the most difficult and time-consuming. Skip them until you’re consistently getting every other question right in the section. Start with the low-hanging fruit.
Answer the Questions in This Order:
Start with List questions. As mentioned above, these questions are easy points as they don’t require any higher-level deductions. They also allow you to catch any rules that you might’ve misunderstood.
Next, tackle the game’s New Rule (“If”) questions. These questions provide you with the most instruction for how to crack them: Just plug the “If” condition into your diagram. You might even have made worlds based on this “If” condition.
Inference questions should come next. If you took the time to make deductions upfront, you’ve probably already figured out some implicit rules that must be true. These deductions will likely show up in the answer choices for Inference questions.
If you’ve mastered all other question types and have time left, then tackle Rule Substitution questions.
Avoid Skipping Questions
The only time you may want to skip questions on Logic Games is when you’re strategically tackling “If” questions before others or when it’s a Rule Substitution question and you haven’t mastered the other question types yet. You’re still going to come back to these questions, but you’re choosing to prioritize the lower-hanging fruit.
Also, never skip answer choices. No matter how confident you are in your answer, the possible downside of missing a question outweighs the small amount of time you save by skipping the remaining answer choices.