Each logic game is different, but your general approach to each game should be the same. Work through each of the following steps calmly and methodically.
Get a Sense of the Game
The first step with any logic game is to read the scenario and skim the rules. As you do this, you should be attempting to answer the following questions:
- What kind of logic game is this?
- What are my variables?
- How should I diagram the game?
Make a habit of reading through the scenario carefully. As you do, identify your variables. Usually they will appear in a list (Gabriel, Henry, Jeremy, Katherine, Laura, and Nancy are on a business trip…).
Write Down the Variables
If possible, use one letter for each variable. And try not to use the same letter twice. Write each variable down in small but legible handwriting at the bottom of the page. The bottom of the page is where your entire logic game set-up will be drawn.
Draw a Basic Diagram
The next step is to draw the basics of your diagram. What kind of diagram you draw will depend on the logic game type. The variables and diagram for a sequencing game might look something like this:
Write Your Rules in Logical Notation
Go through each rule one-by-one, and write each one down in logical notation. This step may seem silly to you, but with practice you will be able to read logical notation much faster than you will be able to read a rule written in English words. Plus writing the rules in logical notation makes it harder for the LSAT to trick you with weird wording.
You should also illustrate the rules on the game board itself whenever possible. Illustrating the rules serves two purposes:
- It helps you understand the impact that rule has on the game.
- It makes it easier for you to see the rule later when answering questions.
Make Inferences as You Write the Rules
As you read through the rules and write them down, make inferences. You makes inferences by either considering how rules can be combined or by considering how the game creates limitations. If your inference is valid, then it matters just as much as the rules given to you by the game. So make as many inferences as you can. Every inference you draw makes the game easier.
Circle the Wildcard Variables
After you go through each rule and inference, look for variables that have no rules attached to them. These are your wildcards. (also called floaters). Circle them; quickly identifying your wildcards will be useful later.
If Necessary, Quickly Rewrite your Rules or Redraw Your Diagram
You need to be able to reference your rules and main diagram quickly. So if you made a mess while writing your rules, inferences, or diagram, then it is time quickly (but neatly!) redraw your set-up. The key here is easy readability; nothing can be confusing.
Tackle the Questions
At this point, it’s time to go through the questions. That hard work is done now. If you draw your set-up correctly, then most of the questions will be a breeze.
Here’s an important tip to keep in mind: Once you tackle the questions, never touch your main set-up. Students are frequently tempted to write on the main set-up in order to solve individual questions, but this is a bad strategy. For each question, draw a small diagram next to the question. Use that small diagram to work on the question. This will give you two big advantages:
- Drawing new diagrams is actually faster than erasing old work.
- Drawing new diagrams allows you to keep your old work, which can be useful later.
Because of benefit number two, never erase your work unless you make an error. This will make more sense later, but for now just remember that you do not erase your diagrams unless you make a mistake.