The last two LSAT administrations have had weird Logic Games. The February LSAT was rumored to have a circular ordering game, and the June LSAT had, well, a game that made a whole lot of LSAT test takers freak out. Was it LSAT-pocalypse 2014, or a whole lot of fuss about nothing?
I’ve looked at the Logic Game in question from the June LSAT (the fourth one). It’s unusual, sure, but it’s not nearly as weird as many people made it out to be. The setup is something that hasn’t been on the LSAT in a while, but the rules are perfectly normal. In fact, similar rules come up in lots and lots of ordering games. Looking at the rules together leads you to a simple deduction that helps you answer the questions. The rules alone answered most of the questions, and there was little need to build detailed hypotheticals.
Some LSAT test-takers nailed the Logic Game in question, while others bombed it. Here’s the biggest difference between them: The ones who did fine applied their skills flexibly. They recognized everything that was normal about the game, started there, and adapted to the weird stuff as they went along. In this particular game, as long as you understood the rules, you were going to be OK.
The ones who bombed the June LSAT Logic Game froze because they couldn’t fit the entire game into a predetermined box. Because this game looked different on the surface, they didn’t recognize how the skills they had learned from other Logic Games applied to this one.
The lesson is: as you study for the LSAT, focus on skills and techniques over rote memorization. It’s well worth it to study the types of Logic Games that have come up over time. But don’t just learn a setup for each type; think about how you build that setup and why it works. If you’re comfortable with the underlying logic, you’ll have an easier time adapting your skills to something weird.
This isn’t just true for LSAT Logic Games. Some LSAT Logical Reasoning questions in recent years have had unusual-sounding prompts. Students who were only comfortable identifying question types by rote had trouble with those questions. On the other hand, students who thoroughly understood the logic behind each question type had no trouble reading these weird prompts carefully and identifying them as the normal questions they actually were.
There’s nothing really new on the LSAT. Even the fourth game from the June 2014 LSAT has a direct antecedent; the fourth game of PrepTest C from LSAC’s SuperPrep book is very similar. When something looks weird, don’t freak out. Read carefully and look for something familiar. Figure out what it’s really asking you to do. If you’ve studied extensively for the LSAT, there’s going to be a way to apply your skills.
Here’s one more thing about this June’s LSAT: The first three Logic Games were straight-down-the-middle normal. Being really good at the normal stuff can buy you time for the weird stuff. A little extra time always helps with the weird stuff.
Good luck to everyone studying for the September LSAT. Be on your toes!
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