Now that's out of the way, let's talk in general about the fourth game in the scored LG section.
I believe there is a case to be made that the fourth LG contained a critical ambiguity in its use of a single term. I will avoid disclosing the term here. But the term in question can, in common language, be used to describe two different, competing elements from the game.
From M-WOnline wrote:2 a : an area or division of an activity, subject, or profession
b : the sphere of practical operation outside a base (as a laboratory, office, or factory)
Judging from last night's discussion, many of us interpreted the term incorrectly and suffered the consequences of trying to solve an unworkable game. Some recognized the ambiguity and were able to go back and start over, this time using the correct interpretation, while others were not so lucky. Just to be clear, this was not a case of simply misreading a rule; this was an instance where reading a rule conceivably yielded two distinct meanings and test-takers were forced to choose between two different, seemingly valid, interpretations. The issue reared its ugly head when the term in question failed to appear in the opening paragraph of the LG and test-takers were forced to grapple with what, if appearing in an LR section, would be considered a shift in scope.
Why is ambiguity in LG language an issue?
(excerpt from LSAC handbook found at http://www.lsac.org/pdfs/Policies-web.pdf)
The above is a list of three criteria every LSAT question must meet before being included on an official test. Historically, only individual LR questions have been successfully challenged on the grounds that ambiguous language allowed for more than one correct answer (and thereby breaking at least two of the three rules). So it is with a sober realization of the far-reaching implications of my challenge that I am writing to you all. Ambiguous language in LG is especially problematic when it appears in the opening paragraph or any of the rules. An ambiguity that appears in the setup is bound to affect one's ability to answer all of the corresponding questions for that game. This is why the LSAT writers are so careful to use phrases like "sits immediately to the left of" and "there is exactly one space between them." Clear, unequivocal language is necessary to the functioning of a well-designed LG. Can you imagine a rule that read "Jack sits over there, but Jill sits over there"? It's unclear what "there" is referring to in either instance, and whenever there is uncertainty in the interpretation of an LG rule, there is a problem.
I think that's as far as I'm allowed to proceed, so I will stop there. If none of the above made sense to you, then I am sorry to have wasted your time. However, if while reading my post you thought to yourself, "I completely know what he's talking about and I encountered the same difficulty," then I invite you to write an official challenge to LSAC.
The policy handbook for challenging LSAT questions can be found here: http://www.lsac.org/pdfs/Policies-web.pdf
The general guidlines for a challenge are as follows:
LSAC FAQ Page wrote:How can I inquire about a test question?
If, while taking the LSAT, you find what you believe to be an error or ambiguity in a test question that affects your response to the question, report it to the test supervisor as soon as you finish the test and write immediately to: Law School Admission Council, Test Development, 662 Penn Street, Box 40, Newtown, PA 18940-0040. You may also contact us by e-mail at LSATTS@LSAC.org. The LSAC document, Policies and Procedures Governing Challenges to Law School Admission Test Questions PDF Icon can be found here.
(http://www.lsac.org/AboutLSAC/faqs-and- ... #questions)
Please write professionally and in a well thought-out manner if you decide to submit a challenge on this issue. LSAC can simply ignore flippant or poorly crafted emails and faxes. If the battle is to be won, it will be won using reason and convincing argumentation. Do your future profession proud, and fight this cause if you deem it justified. I know there are others out there who noticed this, and I hope you will be willing to speak up.
I thank you all for your time and I apologize for the length of this post. Feel free to contact me via PM.