1. Practicing Logic Games
"Practicing Logic Games"
One thing I see a lot with my private students is that when they start working through logic games, they’ll work them without time constraints; later, after they get a few under their belt, they’ll do entire prep tests under timed conditions. They have a binary approach to timed practice — either it’s untimed, or it’s timed in the context of either an entire practice LSAT, or a entire logic games section (24 questions in 35 minutes).
There’s a problem with this approach, primarily because most people view their practice tests only in terms of accuracy — How many right? How many wrong? Let me give you an example of why there’s more to it than that.
The logic games section has 4 games, and you have 35 minutes to complete the section. That’s 8:45 per game, on average. Let’s say the first game is a straightforward linear game, and in 8:45, you get 7 out of 7 correct. The last game is a complex multivariable grouping game, and in 8:45, you get 2 out of 6 right. Most people would review the exam and assume that they’re fine on linear games, but they need serious work on grouping games. Makes sense, doesn’t it? But it’s wrong, wrong, wrong.
The thing is, the clock is almost as much of a factor as the questions asked. You’re going to be under time pressure taking the LSAT, and you’re probably going to have to do some guessing. Educated guessing, hopefully, but guessing nonetheless. See, grouping games are supposed to take longer than linear games. It’s great that you got 7 for 7 right, but the fact that it took you 8:45 is a big problem. You should be able to knock out a simple linear game faster than that. If you had finished it in, say, 7:00, maybe you would have only gotten 6 out of 7 right. But you’d have had 10:30 for the grouping game later, and maybe with 10:30 on the harder game, you could have gotten 4 or 5 out of 6, instead, for an overall gain of 1 or 2 questions. When you save significant chunks of time, the points come back to you. Because there are many questions that you can get right in a minute and a half. But when you burn too much of your time, you don’t have that minute and a half.
What’s the solution? Hopefully, you have one or two of the “10 Actual Prep Tests” books, so you have many practice tests available. Here’s what you should do…Take a couple of them, and time yourself per game. Don’t just give yourself 35 minutes for the whole games section. Instead, time yourself game by game. If you have a straightforward linear game, put yourself on a 6:30 or 7:00 time limit. If it’s a complex grouping game, give yourself 10 minutes. If it’s something in between, make it 8:30 or 9:00. That way, you can train yourself not only for accuracy, but also practice saving those valuable seconds where you can.
After you’ve done a couple of tests that way, then go back to doing entire logic games sections (or whole tests).
Your probably have an idea of whether you’re better at logic games, or reading comprehension, or argumentation. But in the same way that it can be useful to break up “the LSAT” into those three sections, it can be useful to break up “logic games” into the different types of games, and think of them and measure your results separately. And “your results” means both accuracy and speed.