There are two basic challenges to the “logic games” section of the LSAT: “learning to play” and “learning to win.” When you first encounter one of these “Alf, Bob, Chuck, Dan and Eustace go into a bar” problems, it seems like a joke–a cruel joke. It takes most people less than five minutes to realize they have no idea how to do a logic game. After an hour or so instruction, however, most people can work through a simple game on their own.
That’s the “learning to play” phase. It’s like learning to play chess or bridge. Most people can learn to play those games in less than an hour, but it takes much longer to win.
Learning to “win” at logic games is easier (and cheaper) than it used to be. It takes a lot of practice, and a fair amount of help. If you get stuck on a particular game (and I have been stuck more times than I can count), you either have to invest hours trying to puzzle out the puzzle or pay somebody to show you what you’re doing wrong. Even if you can figure out an answer by “brute force” (i.e., try every combination until you find the one that works), that generally won’t help you on the timed test.
The fine folks at 7sage.com have made this problem simple. They offer free video explanations of every published logic game. This means that you can learn every trick in the book without paying a penny!
I routinely teach my students “how to play” and then send them off to 7sage to learn “how to win.” Here’s what that looks like in practice.
- Look up the 7sage video explanation for that game but don’t start watching it yet. Get some scratch paper. You’re going to need it.
- Try to work a logic game on your scratch paper (not on the test). If you can do it on your own, jump to step 4. If you get stuck at any point (most of us do), move on to step 3.
- Start watching the 7sage video until it explains something you didn’t already know. Hit “pause” as soon as you understand that one new concept. Then go back to step 2 and try the game again with that hint.
- Congratulations! You finished the game. How did you do on it? Did you get every question right? Move onto step 5! Otherwise, go back to step 2 and rework the game using everything you learned on the 7sage video.
- Great! You did the whole game perfectly. How long did it take? If it was more than 8 minutes and 45 seconds, you need to pick up speed. Get out a new sheet of paper and do it again. Stay here on step 5 until you get your speed up and your time down.
- Fabulous! You got every question right. You did it in less than 8 minutes and 45 seconds! Check the 7sage video one more time to see how long they say this game should take. If it’s a really easy game, keep working it until you match their expected time.
- You now know how to do this game. What have you learned about doing other games? Here are some questions to consider:
- Did I miss an inference? What can I do to look for a similar inference next time?
- Did I panic because the game was tough? What clues can I look for in the scenario, rules, or questions that might indicate that this is just one of those “brute force” situations?
- Did I learn a new way to sketch the scenario or code a complicated rule? Am I ready to use that new technique in a similar situation in the future?