This is an explanation of the fourth logic game from Section IV of LSAT 68, the December 2012 LSAT.
An editor will edit seven articles. You have to place them in order. G, H and J are finance articles, Q, R and S are nutrition articles, and Y is a wildlife article.
This is one of the hardest LSAT logic games I’ve ever seen. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t do well. I had 15 minutes left, and still managed to get three questions wrong. That never happens to me.
On my second attempt, I got everything right, but still felt stressed and confused. I worked on it with students a few times, and still didn’t feel like I had found the secret to the game. Again, that is not typical for me.
It turns out, there is no secret to this game. There are a few tricks to make things faster, but no magic bullet.
To make sure it wasn’t my own blind spot, I checked other explanations and spoke to other tutors. No doubt about it: this is a hard, hard, game, and there no missing key that will make it easy.
Setting Up The Game
The game actually looks straightforward. There are no major deductions to be made in the setup. Let’s see what we can determine.
First, the groups are unusually important in this game, because no article from f or n can be edited beside another from the same group.
Note that the letters are in alphabetical order. You should try to memorize GHJ and QRS. You can also draw them separately as a reminder:
I’m going to do the second rule last. You should always read the rules before drawing: sometimes the best order to draw them in differs from the order they are presented in.
The third rules places S earlier than Y:
The final rules places J, G, R in that order:
The Second Rule Can Go Two Ways
Now we can look at the second rule. It has an interesting effect. If S is earlier than Q, then Q is third.
So S could go 1st or 2nd….except, S and Q are in the same group. S can’t go in 2, because then it would be beside Q. So S has to be 1st if it is before Q.
R and G can’t go in 2, because they have to go after J. There are no other deductions, but keep this scenario in mind. It fills up easier than the alternative, which is useful for could be true questions.
If Q is not in third, then Q has to be before S and we get this chain of deductions:
There Are No Deductions
There’s nothing we can do to combine the rules. The most important part of this game is the interaction between the ordering rules (Q – S – Y and J – G – R) and the blocks that can’t go together (QSR, JGH)
In particular, QS can’t go together, and JG can’t go together. This restriction often forces the ordering rule to be placed in only 1-2 ways.
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