This blog post covers one common, yet simple, technique for listing all the options/templates/possibilities in Basic Linear and Advanced Linear games.

Let's say we're doing an 7-slot / variable Linear game in which only one variable can go in each slot. This means we're placing the game's 7 variables (ABCDEFG) in some kind of order.

Just to keep this short and sweet, let's pretend all the other rules, inferences, and limitations have filled up (determined the placement of variables into) slots (spaces) 1, 2, 6, and 7, giving us:

__D___

__E_________

__F___

__G__

1__2_3_4_5-_6_7

We have 3 empty slots, and we have three variables (A, B, C) we haven't placed yet.

Let's also pretend we have a rule telling us A is before B. We can diagram this as:

A-B

Because we have 3 variables remaining, 3 slots remaining, and we know 1 of these 3 (A) is before another of these 3 (B), we know there are only 3 main possibilities for the game.

How do we find these? Limited Options.

We place A and B first because we know the most about them. We don't know anything about C. C is a wild card variable.

We can place A and B into the diagram in the following 3 ways:

D E

**A B**_ F G

D E _

**A B**F G

D E

**A _ B**F G

These are the only 3 possibilities for the placement of A and B.

We can now place C into the empty slots, giving us:

D E

**A B C**F G

D E

**C A B**F G

D E

**A C B**F G

I would just stack those three bolded possibilities into the diagram like this:

(I wouldn't actually number them, of course.)

LSAT Logic Games give you scenarios where this technique applies more often than you'd think. There have even been cases where it applies to the main diagram for Advanced Linear Logic Games (example: PrepTest 37, Game 2 - page 305 in Next 10). However, it more frequently comes up as something you can do for specific scenarios / hypotheticals in both Basic Linear and Advanced Linear games.

So, just keep this in mind: when there are 3 slots remaining, 3 variables remaining, and 1 of those variables most go before another, there are only 3 possibilities, and they're worth drawing out, whether it's for a main diagram or a specific scenario.

Photo by 10458725@N02 / CC BY-NC 2.0

Instead of Columbus day, why don't we celebrate Steve Schwartz day?

ReplyDeleteIt has two perks:

1. It allows us to not glorify genocide, which is an iffy thing to have a parade over--at best.

2. Steve could be properly thanked for saving us all from Kaplan's evil, evil throes (as well as making something like the LSAT fun).

WHO'S WITH ME, PEOPLE?

I second the motion for Steve Schwartz day. I think a day may not be enough though...how about Steve Schwartz week?

ReplyDeletelol, how about Steve Schwartz century

ReplyDeleteBOOM!!! I agree... Steve is the man!!!

ReplyDeleteSteve, looks like you made a good career choice...

ReplyDeleteYup yup... I've only been at this a few weeks and have learned so much... I will be celebrating from Texas... God Bless You Steve!!!

ReplyDeleteInstead of writing out options 1 and 2, I just add a symbol that notifies me that the two elements are swapable, and just include one of the set-ups. Usually an arc or a bracket of sorts going over the top. Any reason why this would be less efficient?

ReplyDeleteMy mistake above, I meant options 1 and 3!

ReplyDeleteMay the Schwartz be with us!

ReplyDeleteWayyyy better than Kaplan. Thanks, Steve!

ReplyDeleteHi Steve. I am studying for the Feb. 2015 exam and I am only on Week1:Day3 and I am still having trouble drawing the inferences from the rules and my initial diagram. Your explanations help. I need to find a way to broaden my thinking on these questions. And yes, your guidance is way better than the Kaplan course I took years ago. Thank you.

ReplyDelete