June 2007 LSAT, Game 1, #1

Yesterday, I discussed the setup and rules for Game 1 in Section 1 of the June 2007 LSAT. It's a fairly straightforward and very familiar game--all we're asked to do is put five things in order. This is the type of game that you've simply got to master if you're going to do well on the Logic Games. One game similar to this appears on nearly every LSAT. The rest of the games in the section will tend to be harder than this. So there's no use in rushing through or skipping this game. For students who are just starting out, I recommend spending your entire 35 minutes, if necessary, on this first game. The point is this: Speed, on the LSAT, comes from accuracy. You need to be able to get each of the questions on this game right with certainty. Once you can do that (no matter how long it takes) you'll eventually be able to go faster. I've seen students go from the low single digits on the Logic Games (getting 3 or 4 questions correct) to scoring perfectly on the Games (23 or 24 correct). But you have to walk before you can run. So slow down, make some inferences (see yesterday's post  for my definition of "making inferences") and answer the questions with certainty. It's easier than you think.

Question 1 says "if the last digit of an acceptable product code is 1, it must be true that..."

So here, we're given a new additional rule: The last digit has to be 1. Note that this rule only applies to this question... on later questions, the last digit does NOT have to be 1. Furthermore, note that all the rules that we were given in the initial setup DO apply to this question.

Yesterday, I made the realization that there were really only two different templates for figuring out the five-digit code: The code must start 1-2, or the code must start 2-4. There's just no other way to do it without breaking the rules. But for Question 1, we have the new rule that the last digit must be 1. Therefore, the code must start 2-4. So I make a new diagram, that applies to question 1 only, that looks like this:

  2      4    __  __    1  

But I'm not done yet. The last rule in the game says that the third digit must be less than the fifth digit. This rule means that, if the last digit is 1, that makes the third digit 0. Which, in turn, would make the fourth digit 3. So the completed code looks like this:

  2      4      0      3      1  

And now, the question will be extremely easy to answer.

A) Yes, the first digit has to be two. I'm 99.9% sure this will be our answer. But because it's the first question, I'll definitely check all five answer choices just to be sure.

B)  No, the second digit does not have to be 0. In fact it can't be 0.

C)  No, the third digit does not have to be 3. In fact it can't be 3.

D)  No, the fourth digit does not have to be 4. In fact it can't be 4.

E)  No, the fourth digit does not have to be 0. In fact it can't be 0. So our answer is A.

One of the most important things I can teach you about the logic games is that the questions can be answered with 100% certainty. On the Logical Reasoning, there are some questions that require a balancing test. Sometimes on LR I'll make a case for B, and a slightly stronger case for D, and I won't be entirely sure, but I'll pick D because I think it just "feels" better. This never happens on the Logic Games. On the Logic Games, there is a single, objectively correct answer to every question. Your goal should be to pick an answer where, even with a gun to your head, you'd be confident that your answer was correct. Here, with a gun to my head, I'm still confident that A is the answer. There's no way around it.