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 even under the pressure of test day.
Next LSAT: June 3rd
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 at least two spots, up to a maximum of four spots.
A is earlier than B, with at least one entity between them.
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.
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.
3c. Variables in Positions
The same element must go into spots 1 and 4.
The item in spots 1 and 4 are different.
3d. Relative Relationships
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 =>
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.
3e. 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.
3f. Fixed Relationships
(AKA “Blocks”) 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.
There is only one spot between X and Y.
Student A works either directly after or before B.
3g. Reverse Fixed Relationships
Carl cannot be positioned before David.
There are never two people between Albert and Brad.
3h. Ordering Game Examples
- Read the premise of the game and the conditions.
- Create the roster and symbolize the conditions.
- Determine which type of diagram is necessary to represent the arrangement of elements in the game.
- Draw the diagram(s).
- Write the conditions for the game to the side.
- Insert any fixed conditions into the diagram.
- Reassess conditions to see if any new information can be deduced when considered together with your diagram.
- 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.
- Read through the answer choices, compare them to the diagram and answer the question!
Sample Ordering Game
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.
Use the SetUp to answer the following questions:
LSAT Ordering Games
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5 LSAT questions with video explanations
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5. Different Types of Ordering Games
In addition to Linear Ordering Games (which have one position for every entity in the question), there are Tree Diagrams, 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). We’ll look at each of these in the following sections.
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Next LSAT: June 3rd