Logic Games on the LSAT: Don’t Call it a Comeback

BPPmatt-lsat-blog-logicgames

Just look at the Olympics currently taking place north of the border. Seth Wescott became a star with a valiant comeback in snowboard cross. Bode Miller, the incredible disappointment from 2006, came back to win bronze in the men’s downhill. Lindsey Vonn bounces back from a leg injury (and some questionable bikini photos) to capture gold in the downhill. Shoot, even Shaun White came back (down to Earth) after spinning around what seemed to be 18 times in the halfpipe.

However, there is a comeback of another sort that also seems to be taking place. The return of… Logic Games. (Cue the sounds of screaming children.)

You see, these little beasts of the LSAT have been laying low for a number of years. I am generally not one to buy into rumors about the LSAT, but…

Ever since 2008, some very interesting Logic Games have been terrorizing pre-law students across the country. And by “interesting”, I mean incredibly fu*king hard.

Here are some highlights:

Note: Names have been altered to protect the identity of the actual participants of the games (and because LSAC doesn’t like that).

October 2008: Super Shuttle to Hell

The last game on this test involved a number of passengers who exit a shuttle at different stops. Doesn’t sound too bad, right? We have all taken a shuttle from LAX or JFK with a stop in mind. Not so fast… check out this rule: If Jezzabelle is still on board when the shuttle reaches Fifetown, then Greta is still on board when the shuttle reaches Satanville; otherwise, Greta is not still on board when the shuttle reaches Satanville. Yeah, that looks like about as much fun as a game of Trivial Pursuit with the Kardashians.

This one was ugly because it combined a type of game (tiered ordering) with rules that are normally reserved for another type of game (basic ordering). This is going to be the start of a trend.

December 2008: Manufacturing Plant of Death

Everything was going fine on this fateful day until students ran into this gem. So here’s the story. Some big-time executives have planned to visit the normal folks; they have planned tours down to the company’s manufacturing plants (likely accompanied by security guards and body armor). The task was to determine which executives visited which sites on which days. Not too bad, except that there were three days, three sites, and five executives. Wanna try to do the math on the number of possibilities in that one?

Once again, this game involved a combination of two elements. Executives and sites had to be ordered, sure, but there were also groups of executives. Harmless apart but very scary when thrown together.

June 2009: Mauve Dinos Attack

First, this game was about dinosaurs, which is always scary. Second, this game included the color mauve, which is inherently confusing. As of today, here are the stats:

Top alternate careers chosen due to getting fuc*ed by the mauve dino game:

1. 792 Beautician (includes hair, nails, and skin workers)
2. 451 Stripper (excuse me, “dancer”)
3. 216 Pez factory assembly line worker
4. 173 Off-ramp florist
5. 89 Personal assistant to D-list actor, actress, model, or someone who claims to be a “producer”

With the mauve dinos, the trend continued. The basic process here was to select five of seven types of dinosaurs. In addition, students had to discern the color of each dinosaur. Each of these tasks is very common in games, but they are normally kept apart. And for good reason. Dealing with them in the same game had disastrous effects (see above table).

December 2009: Summer School Sucks

After this game reared its ugly head, many students reported that they promptly went home and de-friended anyone named Alicia from their Facebook. This game begged you to select courses for little Alicia to take during a certain semester. That seems easy enough, but there was both a tricky “but not both” rules and there were two statistics classes that were offered at different times. Ouch.

Again, this game was combining a type of game (in and out grouping) with rules that normally only occur in a different type of game (ordering).

February 2010: The Great Mystery

The February test has not been released and it will not be released at any time in the near future. However, students across the board reported that the games on this one could be described by a word that rhymes with Blagojevich.

My interest was piqued because, once again, the hardest game allegedly combined some elements not generally found together. The third game was a tiered ordering game with conditional rules that are normally reserved for grouping games.

So… what does this all mean? Two things:

First, ugly games are popping up again. In the early 2000s, I often argued that the games were not getting easier, but they were changing. Rather than having one really easy game and one impossibly difficult game (as was common in the 90s along with bright and baggy attire), the games section frequently featured a mix of games of average difficulty. But it now appears that the big dogs are back, and you better be ready.

Second, they are creating “new” games. To clarify, there is actually nothing new about these games. But your friends over at LSAC seem to be combining elements of games that are not generally found together to create some new challenges.

Good times…

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