Quick Thoughts on Game #2 from December 2010 LSAT: Stained Glass Windows

    This game caused problems for many test takers last December, but upon review it turns out that if you caught a couple of powerful (and common!) inferences the game itself really wasn’t all that difficult. Let’s take a look at those inferences and hopefully you’ll see that this game—like EVERY game—can be destroyed if you’ve got the right strategies.

    To me, the rule that immediately stands out as significant is the last rule. What this rule essentially tells you is that the absence of either O or P forces the other one to be used. So if O is out then P must be in, and vice versa. This exact conditional rule has appeared in a number of games previously, and the ramifications are consistent and HUGE: either O or P must ALWAYS be used, in every window, every time! You simply can’t get rid of both of them at once. Note that you can use both of them at once, but the key is that at least one of them has to be there. That answers question #8 (can’t be just G and R because you have to have either O or P), nearly answers #9 (knowing that the two windows must have R gives you O+R or P+R), and rules out some answers for other questions, too.

    And the hits keep comin’. Consider what that rule means for Y: since Y and O cannot be in the same window (rule 3), when you see Y you know you’ve also got P. This inference never gets directly tested, but it does really help with a question like #12, where you can quickly eliminate every option but P (the other four cannot go in all three windows because they either get specifically limited to only two windows like R, or they conflict with another variable like O, G, and Y). 

    Let’s look at one more, question #13. Again, knowing you must have two Rs (rule 2), and that for this question they can’t be with O, then you must have two RP windows. One RP window has to have G to make your single GP group (rule 1), and the other will be RPY since Y must be used. And that’s that: RPY must be a window and you’ve got your correct answer.

    Slowly but surely you see how the O/P rule controls other variables and plays a vital role in your ability to attack this game. And the great news is that this type of rule, even this EXACT rule(!), has come up many times on past LSATs….so don’t believe the “difficulty” hype! When you prepare with the right techniques and understand the proper way to deconstruct games, then no matter what you encounter on test day you’ll be ready to destroy it.