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Sequencing Game Questions

In the last lesson article, we took a look at how to examine the setups for LSAT Sequencing Games. If you somehow arrived here because of a search engine search and not because you’re going in order, you really need to read that article first before you continue. It contains the game we will discuss below. Now let’s take a look at some typical questions you might see for a sequencing game.

This is the second article in a series of articles addressing LSAT Sequencing Game Questions. The series includes:

Sequencing Game Questions

One type of question is about acceptability. These questions are basically rule-checkers. This point should be automatic if you understand the rules. Your strategy for this type of question is to grab a rule and apply it to each of the answer choices, eliminating any that break the rule. Obviously if an answer breaks one of the rules, it’s not acceptable.

1. Which of the following is an acceptable order of finish times for the swimmers?
(A) Cathy, Bea, Dave, Ed, Flo, Gary, Alvin
(B) Alvin, Gary, Cathy, Flo, Ed, Dave, Bea
(C) Bea, Cathy, Gary, Flo, Ed, Alvin, Dave
(D) Cathy, Dave, Gary, Flo, Ed, Bea, Alvin
(E) Dave, Alvin, Bea, Cathy, Ed, Flo, Gary

First, classify the answer choices—the right answer is possible, the wrong answers are impossible. Eliminate based rule violations.

Rule 1 states, “Flo finished just before or after Gary,” so look for any answer choice where Flo and Gary are separated by one or more swimmers. Cross out answer B.

Rule 2 states, “Cathy and Dave did not finish consecutively,” so look for any answer choice where Cathy and David are together. Cross out D.

Rule 3 states, :Ed finished fifth,: so cross out A.

Rule 4 states, “Two swimmers finished between Bea and Flo,” which gives you D again.

Rule 5 sates, “Cathy received a medal,” so cross out E.

You’re left with answer C.

You’ll almost always get a question or two that relate to the inferences you made in step four of the TestSherpa method. Notice that the following question stem doesn’t provide you with any extra information. That means the answer is something you can deduce by combining the rules. The first thing you should do is look over the inferences you made in step four and see if an answer choice matches one of them.

As you recall, the deductions we made were that David, Bea, and Flo could not come in second place. Look over the following answer choices and scan for second place—the right answer will jump out at you.

2. Which of the following cannot be true?
(A) Gary finished third
(B) Flo finished fourth
(C) Cathy finished first
(D) Bea finished third
(E) Dave finished second

Remember to classify the answer choices—the right answer is impossible, the wrong answers are possible. Eliminate answers you know could be true.

Since we did our work in following the TestSherpa method, we got another easy point. But what if you missed the Dave deduction? No sweat, it happens sometimes. Recall that the answer to the acceptability question above was C:

If this is an acceptable sequence, then A and B are possible answers to question 2. Cross them out. We know Cathy could be 1, 2, or 3, so cross out C. We know that Bea can’t be 2 or 5, but could be anywhere else, so cross out D. You’re left with E.

Now, the neat thing about this question is: even if you didn’t get the inference to start with, you have it now. Build “D<>2” into your sketch if you haven’t already.

Another type of question you might face is the hypothetical. This type of question gives you some more information to plug into your sketch and make further deductions.

3. If Bea finishes third, which one of the following must be true?
(A) Dave finished fourth
(B) Flo finished fourth
(C) Cathy finished first
(D) Alvin finished first
(E) Dave finished second

Plug Bea into the third place in your sketch. If Bea is second, Flo must be three swimmers away, so Flo is sixth. Gary has to be next to Flo, but Ed is already fifth. Therefore Gary must be seventh. Dave cannot be next to Cathy and Cathy has to be first or second. That means Dave must be fourth.

Quickly scanning the answer choices, A pops right out. B and E are impossible based on the rules. C and D are possible, but that means they are “could be true” answers, not “must be true” answers.

Now let’s look at LSAT Practice Sequencing Game 1 to get some practice putting these principles in action with real sequencing game questions.

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