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LSAT Diary: Logic Games Tips

LSAT Blog Diaries Logic Games TipsThis LSAT Diary is from Liz, a 23-year-old English teacher who's taken 20 timed tests and 40 untimed tests as she's been preparing for the February 2012 LSAT. She's got tons of great advice from her LSAT studying experience, and she's improved 15 points on her practice tests - from a 154 to a 169. In this LSAT Diary, she provides some of her tips on Logic Games.

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Liz's LSAT Diary:

Logic games were my greatest weakness when I started out. Fortunately for lots of us, though, they probably comprise the most easily learned section of the LSAT. The following are some general observations regarding an overall approach:

1. Take your time on the individual games when you start out. Using Steve’s 5-month LSAT study schedule, I dedicated an entire month to dissecting and deconstructing the games by category and then focused on my weaknesses (for me, In-and-Out games). I did not time myself until I felt relatively at ease with each game type, and even then it usually took 7-11 minutes for me to solve them accurately. But as I shifted my primary focus to LR in month 2, I continued to work at least one section of games per day, timed. My speed eventually picked up and I can now accurately solve most sets within 5-8 minutes. Even now, just a few days before the LSAT, I still work out a few challenging games each night to ensure a speedy performance on Saturday.

2. Work as many LG sections as you can get your hands on. Especially if these are very difficult for you, as they were for me, practice will be an essential component of your ability to master the games. I started out on the Next 10, which seemed somewhat easier, and “graduated” to 10 More as my speed and accuracy increased during Month 1. I tabbed the most difficult games by color and worked those sets several times.

3. If you run out of LG sections, just recycle the ones you’ve already completed. I’ve probably done each of those sets at least twice, and those that I tabbed, many more times. For this reason it’s important to practice either with photocopies or with a notebook so you don’t have to erase your work again and again.

4. Confine your problem-solving space. Because I don’t like photocopies, I used a notebook to solve my game sets. But I didn’t want to become dependent on the extra writing space, so I took Steve’s suggestion and divided each page into fourths to confine my working space for each problem set. See his post for more information on this strategy.

5. Pay very close attention to the wording in each stimulus. I know this seems obvious, but it’s amazing how one teensy little mistake in a game setup can waste precious minutes. I’ve committed several during my timed practice tests, so now I re-check all of my diagrams before moving on to the first question.

6. Double-check your responses if time allows. And I don’t mean just at the end of a section, either. Once I reduced my average time per game, I began to notice that I could finish a section with 2+ minutes to spare and still miss 2-3 questions! So I started a new approach – I began to check my responses as I completed each question. For example, if I think B is the correct answer choice, I will still work through C, D, and E to make absolutely sure I am choosing the correct option. Nine times out of ten, I have chosen B correctly, but on those few occasions where D is the best choice, this strategy pays off. The issue with this approach is, of course, the timing. Personally, I don’t need to check my watch anymore to know how I’m doing on a problem set – if I feel I’m taking too long, I won’t work out C, D, and E, but will mark that problem set just in case I finish all the games early. This is a very subjective approach, but it has worked well for me so far. If you’ve developed another strategy for checking your work, please share!

7. Solidify your understanding of conditionals. This was a major issue for me in the In-and-Out games, and one I did not master until studying the relevant LR questions in Month 2 of my study plan. If you find conditionals particularly challenging, focus on them and your performance should improve.

8. If you get discouraged, take a break. Especially during your original orientation to the games, it’s important to maintain a positive attitude in your approach. Becoming frustrated will only condition you to view the LG section negatively, which is important to avoid if you want to successfully tackle the games. After all, it’s much easier to study subject matter that you associate with positive or neutral feelings than with negative ones.

More to come soon!

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