There are three different types of LSAT sections: Reading Comprehension, Logical Reasoning, and Logic Games. Most people studying for the LSAT are fairly comfortable with Reading Comprehension and Logical Reasoning because they are similar to components of many other standardized tests. The Logic Games section, on the other hand, is unique. It thus induces plenty of anxiety at first glance, but that doesn’t have to be the case.
Learn the Basic Game Types
The first step to mastering LSAT Logic Games is to familiarize yourself with the basic types of games that will appear in the section. Almost everything you’ll be asked to do in this section can be boiled down to one of three tasks: putting things in order (Sequencing games), putting things in groups (Grouping games), and pairing things with other things (Matching games). It’s possible that one game can involve multiple tasks (Hybrid games), but there aren’t many games out there that involve anything other than these three simple actions.
Note: As you begin studying the Logic Games section, you’ll notice that everybody has a slightly different approach and uses varying terms to refer to game types, question types, and diagrams. The game types I listed above aren’t official names for those games; they’re just helpful ways of labeling the games that you may see used elsewhere. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what you call the different game types. The important thing is understanding what each one involves and knowing how to respond, which leads to the second step in mastering Logic Games.
Once you’re able to recognize the most common game types, the next step is to learn to diagram the information provided. There are specific types of diagrams that work really nicely with each of the different game types. For instance, placing variables in columns might work well in a Grouping game, whereas drawing a table suits most Matching games. For Sequencing games, you usually only need a row of dashes representing blank spots in which you can place variables.
After drawing your basic diagram, you can move through the rules one at a time and add detail. Incorporating the various rules and restraints directly into your diagram will significantly limit the number of possible outcomes of the game. That allows you to move more quickly through the questions. Moreover, drawing specific diagrams for each individual question will limit the options even further, until only one answer choice fits within the constraints.
Brush Up on Formal Logic
LSAT Logic Games will test your ability to interpret lots of different conditional statements (if/then statements, contrapositives, and language like unless, if and only if, and both/neither). That might sound pretty straightforward at first, but it gets sticky when one of the rules says something like, Jamie does not play tennis or basketball if and only if Becca and Marta don’t play softball. Would you feel comfortable determining which sports Jamie, Becca, and Marta can play given only that statement? If so, you just may find Logic Games easy, breezy. If not, join the rest of us and spend some time reviewing the most common formal logic structures on the LSAT.
So Where Can You Find Help?
Any decent prep book, tutor, or classroom program will cover the various types of Logic Games, basic diagrams for each, and the most important formal logic topics to know. Alternatively, you could use a program like Magoosh’s online LSAT prep course, which includes lessons on all of the above, along with hundreds of video explanations to real LSAT Logic Games from the Actual, Official LSAT PrepTests series. Additionally, there are literally hundreds of blogs and forums out there chock full of helpful information and discussions to get you started on your Logic Games prep. Obviously I’m partial to Magoosh’s LSAT blog myself. 🙂
Travis Coleman is an LSAT expert at Magoosh. He has extensive tutoring experience, including six years helping students prepare for the LSAT. Travis holds a JD from NYU and an English degree from Boston College.