How to Make the Tough Deductions
- Apr 15, 2011
- Advice on Logic Games, LSAT
How to Make the Tough Deductions
We’ve all had that sinking feeling in the pit of our stomach. You know the one. You get it when you reach an absolute question on a logic game and find that your setup just doesn’t have a solution. B and C both seem like they can be true; you know that only one of them is.
The best of us get taken down by the odd logic game, and we realize it when a question forces us to look at our setup and see how sparse it really is. Don’t fret, though, because, as always, Blueprint has your back. Here are the places to look for deductions.
There are two main places to look for deductions in ordering games.
1) Restrictions – Sometimes, you’re just not going to get anything big. However, if you’ve got a solid ordering chain, figure out where some things can go and, more importantly, where they can’t. If you do this for each variable, you’ll probably waste a lot of time. However, always look at what can be first and last. Generally, you’ll be left with only a couple of options. This can be enough to set off a chain reaction of deductions.
Additionally, check out the most restricted player (a theme that will repeat itself) and stay away from the ‘floaters’ (players without any rules restricting them). If Vinquetta is involved in three rules, you can probably tease a deduction out of a combination of them.
2) Blocks – If you’re not seeing where that block can fit, you’re not doing it right. The larger the block, the more likely it is to lead to deductions or, better yet, scenarios. By their very nature, blocks are more restricted than almost any other player could be. It should take you about 20 seconds to determine which slots the block can fill; the deductions you will arrive at will be well worth the investment.
Remember when I noted that the most restricted variable will be a recurring theme? In no place is that more apparent than grouping games.
For any grouping game, pick a player. The number of scenarios for that player is limited by the number of groups in the game. For instance, if you’re picking people for your Double Dare Revival Team (as soon as we raise enough revenue, we’re making it a reality), there’s only two spots for Steve: the Red team or the Blue team. If he might not get picked, there’s a third spot. Each of the spots generates a different scenario, and there’s no other possibilities. If Steve has a lot of restrictions placed on him by the rules (he’s left a wake of shattered hearts and broken bones in his wake, for instance, and many people refuse to be on his team), you can probably fill up a lot of each scenario. It’s an easy way to break an otherwise difficult grouping game into manageable scenarios.
A final note before I sign off, Doogie Howser style. Sometimes, you just can’t get the deductions to click, no matter how hard you try. Don’t panic, and don’t walk out of the test center, Jerry Maguire style (though that would be epic). Instead, scan the questions for an absolute, must be true question. You know that the answer is something that should be clear in your setup; if it’s not, brute force the answer and double check it. You now know something that you didn’t already, that has to be true of any other question. Is it an ideal solution? No. But if you’re at this point, you’re no longer in an ideal situation.
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