Free LSAT Course > Logic Games > Ordering Games

The first section of this Logic Games course will teach you how to beat the most common LSAT game type: Ordering Games (also called “Sequencing Games” by Kaplan). The simplest type of these games is called Linear Ordering.

1. Identify Linear Ordering Games

These games require you to arrange a set of subjects by a trait, either from front to back, up to down, or left to right. For example, imagine a group of people standing in line for the theater.

  • Who is second from last in line?
  • How many people are behind Thomas but in front of Christina?

Or, perhaps you’ll be asked the order of several books on a shelf.

  • Is the art book next to the gardening book or the photography book?
  • How many books can be to the left of the philosophy book if the drama criticism book is not at either end of the shelf?

Ordering Games can also sequence items by a trait:

  • The teacher is measuring seven students by height. Is Julie taller than John?

2. How to Diagram Ordering Games

The first step, as explained in this video, is to diagram the Ordering Game (the Set Up). You need to translate the question and the rules into a diagram:

Notice that when setting up this question we use abbreviated letters for each item. Any good diagramming system must be:

  • Quick – use a shorthand abbreviation system to save time.
  • Clean – messy notations will cost you points.
  • Easy to Understand – You must instantly understand what your notations mean during the pressure cooker of test day.

Next LSAT: January 26

3. Diagramming Abbreviations

3a. Specific Positions

Marcos can only be either first or fifth in line of five.

Gaston can’t be either 1st or 5th in a row of six.

Restrictive items like “can’t be” go below the item slots.

3b. Multiple Possibilities

There are least two spots, up to a maximum of four spots.

A is earlier than B, with at least one entity between them.

Four slots are numbered from left to right as follows: 1, 2, 3, 4.
Token A can be placed in positions 3 or 4.

Inference: A will never be in spots 1 or 2.

A and B are somewhere in spots 2, 3, and 4, but we don’t know which ones, and we don’t know in what order.

Inference: Neither A nor B can be in spot 1.

3c. Variables in Positions

The same element must go into spots 1 and 4.

The item in spots 1 and 4 are different.

3d. Chain Diagrams

Arrange Ordering Games from left to right (or top to bottom) with the larger values on the left or the top.

<= Left            Higher  Lower        Right =>
Before  Later
Front  Back
West  East

T arrives before W and X. Z arrives before X.

A is before B, and A is also earlier than C.

We cannot infer any relationship between B and C. The relative order of the three elements could be A…B…C or it could be A…C…B.

3f. Consolidate Common Variables

One of the most important rules on test day is to consolidate rules so that you simplify them.
Transitive Property: a = b and b = c means that a = c

L arrives after the delivery to J.
J’s arrives exactly 3 days after F.

You can combine the statements on the left to make a better diagram.

Since both statements share a common entity (J), you can consolidate them.

3g. "Chunks"

(AKA “Brackets”) are locked-in relationships between entities.

Ava is always in front of Brock.

Brock is always two positions ahead of Ann.

 Two men are in front of Paul but behind Steven.

Student A works either directly after or before B.

There are at least two people between Ava and Bo.

There is only one spot between X and Y.

3h. Reverse Chunk relationships

Carl cannot be positioned before David.

There are never two people between Albert and Brad.

3i. Ordering Game Walkthrough

Summary

    1. Read the premise of the game and the conditions.
    2. Create the roster and symbolize the conditions.
    3. Determine which type of diagram is necessary to represent the arrangement of elements in the game.
    4. Draw the diagram(s).
    5. Write the conditions for the game to the side.
    6. Insert any fixed conditions into the diagram.
    7. Reassess conditions to see if any new information can be deduced when considered together with your diagram.
    8. Proceed to the question and add any new information to your diagram. If there is more than one possible arrangement, draw the different variations out.
    9. Read through the answer choices, compare them to the diagram and answer the question!

3h. Complete Ordering Game Walkthrough

The first step to doing this question is to draw out the diagram. She uses shorthand techniques roughly like what you’ve learned above to diagram the rules.

Now that the Set Up is complete, we can move on to the questions! Click to the start of each question, press pause, and then see if you can answer the question. Press play when you want to review your results.
Question #1: 0:00
Question #2: 2:35
Question #3: 4:10
Question #4: 5:24
Question #5: 7:24

4. Review Quizzes/Questions

In addition to Linear Ordering Games (which have one position for every entity in the question), there are Two-Dimensional Ordering (that have two or more rows) and Over/Underbooked Ordering Games (where the number of entities and spots available doesn’t match).

Example #1

Gerry is taller than Frank and Harry. Frank is taller than Ethan, but shorter than Jose. Harry is taller than Katherine.

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Example #1

Gerry is taller than Frank and Harry. Frank is taller than Ethan, but shorter than Jose. Harry is taller than Katherine.

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Example #2

There are six spots on the table for speakers. Albert must be two spots to the left of Boris. Albert can’t be in positions 1 or 2. Boris can’s be in positions 5 and 6.

Where can you place A or B?

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This is a trick question. There is no place to put them in these rules.

There are six spots on the table for speakers. Albert must be two spots to the left of Boris. Albert can’t be in positions 1 or 2. Boris can’s be in positions 5 and 6. Where can you place A or B?

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Example #3

There are four slots. A is sometime before B, though not necessarily immediately before B, and that relationship takes place somewhere between slots 2 and 4 inclusively.

Draw it out and press the right arrow twice for the diagram.

There are four slots. A is sometime before B, though not necessarily immediately before B, and that relationship takes place somewhere between slots 2 and 4 inclusively.

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Example #4

Adam, Brent, Cia, Diego, and Evelyn, are ordered by height.
Adam is not the shortest. Both Cia and Diego are taller than Barbara.
Adam cannot be in position 1. Barbara can’t be in position 1 or 2. Either Barbara or Evelyn must be in position 5.

Draw it out and press the right arrow twice for the diagram.

Five players:
Adam, Brent, Cia, Diego, and Evelyn, are ordered by height.
Adam is not the shortest. Both Cia and Diego are taller than Barbara.
Adam cannot be in position 1.
Barbara can’t be in position 1 or 2.
Either Barbara or Evelyn must be in position 5.

5. Different Types of Ordering Games

In addition to Linear Ordering Games (which have one position for every entity in the question), there are Two-Dimensional Ordering (that have two or more rows) and  Over/Underbooked Ordering Games (where the number of entities and spots available doesn’t match).

Next LSAT: January 26