With the September 2014 LSAT still fresh in peoples' minds, and scores set to be released in about two weeks, I want to address something that a lot of people predicted for the most recent test and that, fortunately (well, "fortunate" for the typical student at least), didn't come true. I'm referring specifically to the test makers' recent tendency of including extremely rare game types in Analytical Reasoning.
For readers unsure of what I'm talking about, here's a quick synopsis of 2014's LSATs to date:
- The February LSAT, which is unreleased so the specifics are a little fuzzy, included a Circular game, with people seated clockwise around a table. You can read my full post-test analysis here, but suffice it to say that this game ruined a lot of test takers' days. Why? Because it was so unexpected! There hadn't been a Circular game on an LSAT since 2003, meaning the type had totally disappeared for over a decade, and its reappearance was an unforseeable, and for many people disastrous occurrence.
- The June LSAT, which is released so we know EXACTLY what was tested, presented another incredibly rare game type in the form of a Pattern game. Again, you can read the full review here (and a longer discussion of Pattern games in general here), but to summarize the game discussed four employees transferring workpieces among themselves over a four-day workweek, and the rules established a fixed pattern by which the transfers could take place. This was a tremendously confusing scenario for most people, and many reported a complete inability to make even a single inference or diagram. That's a brutal way to end what was already a difficult section.
- The recently-administered, and as-yet unreleased, September LSAT seems to have been much more straightforward--or at least much more predictable--than the two preceding it, but the takeaway here is still clear: LSAC isn't afraid to dust off some ancient game types and reuse them without warning or explanation. And that's a troubling fact for people looking to be prepared for anything.
What this means of course is that it's no longer a totally safe bet to count on a section filled with Basic Linear, Advanced Linear, and Grouping games exclusively. Will those be tested? Absolutely. Will those be ALL that's tested? Smart money is still on "yes," as September seems to have just demonstrated, but the odds in favor of that exclusivity/certainty have greatly diminished with this year's content.
But here's the thing, and it's a crucial point: you can still be completely prepared for anything, ANYTHING, the test makers might do. And that becomes even more powerful when your competition isn't prepared. We cover every single game type in our course, as well as in our revised 2014 Logic Games Bible, so our students were ready! Were they surprised to encounter a Circular game in Feb, or a Pattern game in June? Sure. But they still knew exactly what to do in response to them, and that's the difference between a successful outcome and a day spent baffled by the unusual.
Can you predict exactly what's going to be tested? Perhaps less so now more than ever, it seems. But you can still know that whatever you do encounter you'll be well-equipped to conquer it. That's the edge we give our students and it's the toolkit you need to succeed on an ever-evolving, unpredictable exam.
Have further questions or comments? Let us know below!