Path Games: The Undead of LSAT Analytical Reasoning (Logic Games)

•February 27, 2017 • Leave a Comment

At Advise-In Solutions, we counsel our clients not to pay attention to the readings of tea leaves about the LSAT that are all over the internet. It’s a fool’s errand because it takes your focus away from doing what you need to do—prepare for the 20 or so question types the LSAT has used for over 25 years now. Guessing at how many assumption questions they’ll ask, whether there will be more main point questions than there were last test, etc., which some LSAT advisors talk about endlessly, doesn’t help you. You’ll be wrong as often as you’re right. You need to be prepared for each question type and be prepared for the test environment. That’s all, and it’s a lot.

That said, in the last two released LSATs, the LSAT has revived a type of logic game that had (with one prior exception) been dormant for over 20 years—the path game. Our clients were always prepared for those—because you never know when the LSAT will decide to go back to the archives. Now they have, and every one of my clients was ready, not because we called the LSAT psychic hotline but because we all did our jobs and prepared. Don’t be surprised if the LSAT decides to revive circle or formula games at some point, either.

Don’t be surprised, be prepared.

What is a path game and how do path games differ from the (still) more typical line, grouping and grid games? If you’re thinking about the LSAT properly, and many test takers and programs don’t (in my view), it is all operational. So, in analytical reasoning, if I’m going to say that path games are different, that’s because they are asking you to DO something different than they ask you to do in other game types.

The key to path games is that they ask you to move through TIME. Line games appear to but don’t. Line games ask for an order—what comes first, second, third, etc., but you can set that up in one framework (see a couple of videos on Advise-In public YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/AdviseInSolutions). You may have multiple diagrams but the skeleton—a line with a certain number of slots—is exactly the same.

Path games, however, force you to deal with various states of the world across time. So, for example, building owners own certain kinds of buildings that they can trade under specified rules (a recent path game). Then the test asks you who can own what after a number of trades. That requires you to see up a time flow chart to make the game manipulable and easier to solve. If you’ve been properly taught and paid attention—and have done some of these so you’re not surprised—you know how it’s supposed to look.

Initially, some of my clients have found path games generally easier than other kinds, some have found them a little harder. That only matters for how much effort we put into making sure that a client is prepared on test day. It’s part of the individual instruction that Advise-In does because each client is different.

But…as always, the keys are diagnosing what type of game it is and finding the cleanest, simplest way to set the game up. There are invariable rules for setting up path games, the same as there are rules for all other game and question types. Understand what those rules are, you can solve the game.

Don’t try to read LSAT tea leaves. Instead, be prepared for whatever they decide to ask on your test date. It may be another 20 years before the LSAT features another path game. On the other hand, they might put one on the next test.  Be prepared.

Law School Waitlists: Advice for the Nervous

•February 21, 2017 • Leave a Comment

In the increasingly long season of law school admissions, waitlist season has gotten longer, too, and waitlists keep expanding. My advice: don’t worry but do what you can to improve your position. Don’t do too much, you don’t want to risk irritating law schools by peppering them with unnecessary information—you are not the only applicant to be waitlisted and you shouldn’t act as it you are.

Waitlists are necessary because many applicants are accepted at many places but can only attend one—and some take a long time to make their decision. So, if you’re waitlisted, you’re still in the running. How many people are accepted off waitlists varies by year and by school—more desirable schools will have more of their offers accepted, so there will be fewer admits off the waitlist (but their waitlists are often smaller, too). But if you’re on it, you have a chance, you just don’t know how good a chance. Don’t drive yourself crazy by trying to see into the crystal ball.

So, what do you do? The first thing is to promptly send a nice letter or e-mail to schools thanking them and accepting your spot (if you’re not interested, you should tell them that promptly, too, so they can offer that slot to someone else).

You should emphasize (one to two paragraphs total length) both the things that attract you about the school and the contributions you’ll make while you’re there. Many people omit the second but it matters—a letter that emphasizes only advantages to you tells law schools something, and it’s not generally something that makes you look good.

If a school is among your top choices, say that. If they are your first choice, say that; If you’d simply accept their offer of admission, say that (but you can only say those to one school).

You may also want to schedule on-campus visits at a few schools, not only because it puts you in front of them but because visits can help make your decision. Visiting various schools, all of which were great, was still important in my decision to go to Yale Law.

Finally, if you have updated information that bears on your application (a new job, promotion, academic achievements, for example), you can update all schools on that and at the same time note your continuing interest in their law school. Law schools don’t want to hear from people willy-nilly or randomly (they’re busy people), but if you have something to tell them that might make a difference, you should tell them. Then, relax, you’ve done your job, and you have to give them time to do theirs.

FROM THE NEW BLOG: An Analytical Reasoning (Logic Games) Primer: Part IV

•March 12, 2014 • Leave a Comment

More on our primer on the types of Analytical Reasoning (logic games) questions you might encounter on the LSAT…

Read more at the NEW Advise-In Blog…

FROM THE NEW BLOG: An Analytical Reasoning (Logic Games) Primer: Part III

•March 6, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Continuing our primer on the types of analytical reasoning (logic games) questions you might encounter on the LSAT…

Read more at the NEW Advise-In Blog…

FROM THE NEW BLOG: An Analytical Reasoning (Logic Games) Primer: Part II

•February 27, 2014 • Leave a Comment

To recall the foundational points I discussed in my previous entry: this is only meant to be a brief introduction to get you started, and should not serve as a substitute for a comprehensive LSAT preparation program – even if you are a fan of written LSAT prep materials, which I am not. But all caveats aside, I will begin my short, simple “primer” on LSAT analytical reasoning (logic games) questions…

Read more at the NEW Advise-In Blog…

FROM THE NEW BLOG: An Analytical Reasoning (Logic Games) Primer: Part I

•February 25, 2014 • Leave a Comment

People often ask me about the different “types” of questions on the LSAT. For example, without getting too in-depth, I’ve commented that there are 7 distinct types of questions you may encounter in the Analytical Reasoning (better known as the “logic games”) section. But before giving a quick summary of my answer about the “types” of Analytical Reasoning questions you might encounter, I want to emphasize a few things…

Read more at the NEW Advise-In Blog…

FROM THE NEW BLOG: A Long Winter Might Lead to…Law School

•February 12, 2014 • Leave a Comment

It’s that time of the year in the Northeast: deep winter.  Even our friend in Punxsutawny went back to bed last week after poking his head out for a moment in the weather we’ve been having lately, and another big storm is on the way.

Read more at the NEW Advise-In Blog…

 
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