Tips for Logic Games: Increasing Your Speed
- Nov 12, 2009
- Advice on Logic Games, LSAT Advice
We’re just over three weeks from the test now, so hopefully, if you’re shooting for December, you have a huge amount of practice under and spilling over your belt, like some grotesque protruding gut. By now your accuracy has probably gone up (although it still probably needs improvement), but you need to start getting faster and lasting longer. That’s normal, and that’s what you’re going to be spending the next three weeks really working on. Do tons of practice, back-to-back, in testing-like environments, and always take the time to go over your misses. This will build the speed and endurance and accuracy.
But let’s focus on accuracy for a second. If you’re finishing 20 LR problems or getting through three reading comp passages with excellent accuracy, then that’s fantastic; you generally just need to do tons and tons of practice to gradually build up the speed. If you’re getting to three games in 35 minutes, and getting them all right, then huge amounts of practice is still really big, but there might be more.
People tend to think that if they’re answering all the questions on any given game correctly, then they did the game, well, correctly. But this, by itself, is not necessarily true. You have to make sure that you’re doing them right and efficiently. This is because not all games are created equal. A monster game could take 12-15 minutes to do, while there are some super easy ones that can be knocked out in 5 minutes or less. If you averaged out your time on the games, you get 8:45 per game. This can cause people to think that if they can do any given game in 8:45, then they’re good. But like I mentioned before, some games are super hard, and there’s no way you could get them in 8:45. And some games are really easy, and should be figured out in less than 8:45. So to have all the time you need for the terribly hard and tedious games, you need to do the other ones quicker.
For very simplistic games, especially ordering games where the number of players is equal to the number of slots, to get faster you just need to practice, and it’s normal to plateau a bit on these; super simple doesn’t always equal super quick. But where you’ll save time on games is with deductions. Often times a pretty difficult game that would take forever totally falls apart when you combine rules and see that things are much more restrictive than they at first appeared. If you’ve studied logic games for more than 20 minutes, you should know exactly what I’m talking about. So you should always be looking for big deductions. Ask yourself how the rules interact with each other, and if they can be combined in any way. Also, try to visualize as much as possible on your actual diagram. Doing this will often point you in the right direction. And always assume that you missed a deduction; never just write down the rules, say “that’s it,” and move onto the questions without doing some thorough deduction-hunting first.
So whenever you do a game in your practice, and it feels like it was rather tedious, go back and look at it again, trying to see if there were any huge deductions that would have “unlocked” the game. If there were, take note of why you didn’t see them, and what you should be looking for next time in a similar situation. Because if you can knock out the deduction-friendly games in less time, that means more time for the ones that make you want to cry.
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