For some reason, people tend to dislike the LSAT’s grouping games more than ordering games. Maybe it’s the missing visual element. Maybe it’s the short rules that make you feel like you’re missing something. Maybe it’s the awkward overtones of needing to segregate people named Jabrohn and Juarez. Whatever the case, leaving the familiar territory of ordering games can be scary.
But it needn’t be.
Grouping games on the LSAT can be broken into four categories: You’re either having one person follow another, saying two people can’t be together, saying two people have to be together, or saying you need at least one of two people. Nothing tricky here, and nothing we haven’t seen (as they’re all built off of conditional relationships). Nonetheless, here’s a breakdown of grouping games to help you perform better on your upcoming LSAT.
Anytime you’re asked to separate people onto different teams, into different groups, or to cut someone from the team (a little payback for the high school baseball team you never made), you’re in a grouping game. Figure out how many groups there are, and set up the game accordingly.
In and Out
In these games, you’re either In, or you’re Out – Project Runway style. Some people make the cut for dodgeball, others don’t. Some actors are picked for the movie, others aren’t. Some people have chlamydia, others…well, that one probably won’t show up on the LSAT anytime soon.
When you’ve got an In group and an Out group, realize that the rules preventing two from being together or needing at least one only apply to the In group. Other than that, just keep track of the rules and you’ll be fine. Also, remember that a “can’t have both” relationship means you can set up an option in the Out group, and an “at least one” rule gives you an option in the In group.
As a small caveat, you will at times be asked to pull the players from subgroups. Hef’s laying out his newest magazine, for instance, and needs a few blondes, a brunette or two, and some redheads. When you run into this situation, rejoice. It sounds complicated, but once you play the numbers to figure out how many from each group (there are four possible blonds, three possible brunettes and redheads) are going to be in the magazine, you’ll have a few manageable scenarios that will make the questions a breeze.
Marc Summers is reviving Double Dare (not because he’s doing nothing with his life, but because he’s finally acceding to all of the fan outcry) and he’s picking a Red and a Blue team.
We’re no longer cutting anyone. Now, everyone’s on a team (or, we could cut people, and this would be a complicated game with two teams and an out group). We don’t care the order of people getting picked, but we do care about who’s making up the Red and Blue teams. Expect the same rules (I told you; there are only a few), only now the “can’t be together” rule applies to each group. As such, you can form linked options in a two-team game for each “can’t be together” rule you have.
It gets a bit more complicated with more than two teams (since you can no longer use those options just discussed); however, the teams are necessarily smaller, and the rules are usually more complete to make up for it. Just stick to the same principles and you’ll be fine.
Okay, I know that profiling games can be tricky. I hear you. These are the ones where you don’t know how many people are going to be in each group, or even how many times each person can go. You’re a track coach (I know, but bear with me), and you’re putting your kids into different events. You don’t know how many are in each event, and you don’t know how many races little Timmy can run.
These can be tricky, but the first thing to do is figure out the base for the groups. Check the rules, and if they’re assigning events to kids, use the kids as the base (Timmy runs the 4×400 and does the shotput). If, however, you’re assigning kids to events (Timmy and Vanessa each pole vault), then use the events as a base.
Once you get that down, the game’s a piece of cake.