Analytical Reasoning
Reasoning
Contents
Analytical Reasoning
Selection
Allocation
Connection

Analytical Reasoning

Generically speaking, there are four types of analytical reasoning problems. Having said this, it is important for the examinee to understand that some analytical reasoning problems are combine problem types.

The problem types are as follows:

  1. Ordering: These problems require the examinee to place the "players" of the question in a certain sequence.
  2. Selection: These problems require the examinee to compose a smaller group of "players" from a larger group based on certain criteria.
  3. Allocation: These problems require the examinee to allocate the provided "players" into identified groups.
  4. Connection: These problems require the examinee to connect some of the "players" in the set of conditions based on some criteria or characteristic.

Ordering

  • As the name implies, analytical reasoning
  • ordering problems require the examinee to place the "players" provided the set of conditions in a particular sequence.
  • The ordering problem could require the examinee to place people, places, or things in sequence.
  • Furthermore, the structure of the sequence required by the question could be a straight line, a circle, or some other configuration.
  • Because of the broad possibilities posed by analytical reasoning ordering problems examinees are wise to read the set of conditions very carefully and establish what can be definitively known. These facts will eventually form the foundation for answering the various questions based on the set of conditions.

Examinees will be expected to provide information on some variation of the following requests in a given analytical reasoning (games) problem:

  • Determine the location within the sequence of a particular player;
  • Identify all potential positions within the sequence that a particular player may occupy;
  • Identify all potential positions within the sequence that a particular player may not occupy;
  • Determine which players may or must be next to/across from each other in the sequence;
  • Determine which players cannot be next to/across from each other in the sequence;
  • Identify all players that must come earlier or later in the sequence than a given player;
  • Identify the number of positions separating two players within the sequence.

Now that the basics have been fleshed out, consider the following example:

State Q has eight prominent towns within its borders. These towns are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8. There are five routes, A, B, C, D, and E, available in state Q that connect towns 1 through 8. The following is a description of the five routes:

Route A connects 1 and 4 and passes only through 3.
Route B connects 2 and 4.
Route C begins at 2 and travels to 7 passing through 5.
Route D connects 5 and 8.

Route E connects 6 and 7.

Where two towns are connected by a route, no other town is on that route.

Examinees will quickly notice that there is a great deal of information provided in analytical reasoning (games) problems. The above problem is a typical type of question that appears on the LSAT. Most experts advise that the best approach to tackling these problems is to transform the information provided in the set of conditions into a picture format so that the picture(s) can be revisited when answering the various questions based on the set of conditions. This strategy would greatly increase an examinee's odds of answering many of the types of questions that are likely to arise. Consider the following question based on the above set of conditions

1. Which two towns can be reached directly from more than one other town?

Trying to answer this question having only read the set of conditions might seem impossible. With all of the routes drawn out, it is easy to see that towns 3, 4, 2, 5, and 7 can all be reached directly from more than one other town.



 

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