If you’re taking a Blueprint class for the June LSAT, chances are you’re wrapping up ordering games. Grouping games are coming up, but before you move on there are some things you want to have down. Like, really have down.
Know how to symbolize all the common rules
Writing down dashes, blocks, divisions, and the like should be second nature by now. If you’re reinventing the wheel every time you do a game, you’re wasting valuable time and energy on figuring out how to symbolize the rules, time and energy that would be better spent finding deductions and attacking the questions. When you encounter a rule telling you that Marnie finishes some time ahead of Hannah but behind Jessa, you need to know immediately what that means and how to write it down.
The other side of this is that you should be able to look at these common rules once you’ve symbolized them and know what they mean immediately. You don’t get any points for symbolizing the rules “correctly.” The point of having consistent ways to write down rules is so that you can glance at the rules and know what you’re dealing with.
It’s also good to understand what to do with rules with tricky wording. If Ray finishes two places behind Adam, how many people go between them? (The answer is one). All in all, being able to read, interpret and write down rules is a really important skill.
Be comfortable with the common deductions
Some deductions are tricky, and they’ll get better with practice. But others should be more or less automatic. If you have a bunch of dashes, combine them into an ordering chain (blocks can go in those chains, too). This should happen without much thought, consternation, or struggle. Same goes for writing down restrictions — if your rules don’t all combine into one chain, you should mark down restrictions for variables based on how many things have to come before or after. Having all this down pat frees up your mental energy for the hard stuff.
Know your approach to each kind of question
Elimination, Conditional, and Absolute questions aren’t exclusive to ordering games; in fact, you’ll see the same kinds of questions on all games. Though the games will be different, the approach will be the same. So it’s important to know what to do. A quick refresher: for Elimination questions, apply the rules one by one to the answers and eliminate. For Conditional questions, symbolize the new information in the question and apply your rules and deductions to it. For Absolute questions, look to your deductions or scenarios.
Know how to do scenarios
You’ll learn more about when to do scenarios as you go on. But it’s important to understand the basics of how to set them up, since you’ll be doing scenarios for lots of grouping games, too. Here are the important things to remember. You’re taking something in the game that is limited to two, three, or four options. A block, for example, that can only go three places. Start by putting the block in all three of those places. Your scenarios need to represent not merely a couple things that might happen in the game but all the ways the game can go. Once you have all the possibilities for the block (or whatever you based your scenarios on) covered, your job is to apply the rules to each scenario and figure out what else must be true in each scenario. You probably won’t be able fill in every spot. In fact, it’s critically important not to write in things that merely could be true. Keep it to what you know for sure.
Know the basics of playing the numbers
Guess what? That playing the numbers thing that you learned for underbooked and overbooked ordering games? You’ll use it on some grouping games, too. The games are different but the basic concept is the same — start with the most extreme distribution and borrow bit by bit from there.
Ordering is the most common concept in LSAT logic games. There are more 1:1 ordering games than any other kind of game. So getting these concepts down is a big deal, not just to prepare you for the move to grouping but also for your eventual success on the LSAT. Keep up the practice and good luck!