Blind LSAT Test Taker Unable to Diagram Logic Games--Assistance Requested Please!

seif314
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2016 6:06 pm

Blind LSAT Test Taker Unable to Diagram Logic Games--Assistance Requested Please!

Postby seif314 » Sat Jul 09, 2016 6:28 pm

Dear Top Law Schools.

I am a senior at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) who wishes to take the lsat in this upcoming September, 2016; I have already taken it during February and received a 153--putting me in the 56th percentile. While studying for the test, I realized that most of the approaches are visual in nature: all of the materials I looked at, be they from PowerScore, Prinston, MCGraw-Hill, Kaplan, or even from those les known such as the LSAT Study Guide 2015 (Singhal), the LSAT For Dummies (Blackwell, Hatch, and Hatch), and Outside Lsat, rely on diagraming and other visual techniques to solve the logic games section. Although made accessible for the blind on http://www.bookshare.org, most of the tables, charts, and diagrams were not available, nor were any descriptions given, making then next to useless for studying the logic games.

My question, which was thus not address in any of the materials I read, was how does a completely blind individual, who was granted a screenreader and an electronic braille device for testing accommodations, follow the diagraming advice given in the prep materials? The diagraming approach does not work at all for me, due to the visual nature of the diagraming techniques. What other ways can a logic game be solved without diagraming, using tables (I cannot read them on the braillenote), or Microsoft Excel (impractical); are those three the only practical solutions, and if so, how can that be circumvented; and what advice can you give blind individuals for solving such questions? I seem to have more trouble with ordering/grouping games, and those with two or more variables (E.G., 3 bouquets and 5 kinds of flowers).

I tried to find answers online, but most of what I found was out-of-date: either lamenting the unfairness of the LSAT for blind test takers, advice on how to apply for accommodations (and not how to use them on the logic games section), or the suggestion to explain one's circumstances in the LSAT addendum (which seems more like a reactionary step, rather than a solution). I know of no other blind individuals who have recently taken the LSAT, and my adviser was of little help.

I sincerely wish to thank you for your invaluable aid in helping my studies, and I look forwards to your response. Truth be told, this question was the only reason I registered for this forum, and, judging by past topics and responses, I am glad I did so:)

Most sincerely,

Seif.

P.S. I am currently traveling, so I will try to respond when possible.
Thank you, again, most sincerely:)!

DragonWell
Posts: 17
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2015 10:58 am

Re: Blind LSAT Test Taker Unable to Diagram Logic Games--Assistance Requested Please!

Postby DragonWell » Sat Jul 09, 2016 8:49 pm

Have you heard of the chess of go? I think a tool based on that might help.
Chess of go originated in Asia. It was very popular among ancient Chinese upper class, especially scholars.

Here are some steps I imagine that can help diagram the LSAT games without needing to see anything.

Step 1. Buy a chess board of the chess of go. It's a square-shaped board with 19 rows and 19 lines. So you can imagine this chess board has 361 little squares on it.

Step 2. Engineer it so that the pieces wouldn't move on the board. (For example, if the board is magnetic, and the pieces are made of iron, the pieces may stick to the board. Buy a steel board, and connect it to a magnet? I don't know yet. It is safer to have little boxes built in, like the one your put your vitamin pills for each day of the week. The whole purpose is to avoid messing up the sequence once you align the objects to positions.)

Step 3. Figure out positions 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 on the first row and label them in a fashion that you can easily read with your fingers. Do this for as many row as possible. Maybe Braille stickers can help.

Step 4. Now we start engineering the pieces so that you can place them on the board to make a diagram. You need to have letters and numbers that you can read with your hand and place on the positions 1, 2,3, 4, 5..... The pieces of this chess game can be used for the purpose.
You can buy Braille stickers for keyboard. Stick one sticker on to the top of a chess piece, to represent A, B, C,......W, X, Y, Z, as well as 1, 2,3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

Step 5. Isolation different areas of the chess board for the diagram purpose. One area is needed to translate the stimulus and the rules.
Another area is for important deductions, which you make from the rules. We know most likely questions will focus on important deductions.

For a simple sequencing game, which merely involves who must be earlier than who, here is what I think you might do to help:

List the number of positions on the first row, and list the letters as the objects for you line up.

Layout the pieces with letters mentioned in the stimulus to represent the entity of distribution.
Then are the rules. Usually there are between 3 to 5 rules.
Represent the rules with the pieces again.

For games requiring a 3X3 distribution, for example, three days, and three speaking slots for each day, and three speakers, you may try using the 3X3 subsections on the board.


I haven't thought about how practical it is. I'm merely offering a concept that might work. I hope it helps. I think you'll improve it along the way. I imagine your finger are much more flexible than mine. Since you are obviously smart and have been using fingers to read for years, I figure this concept may help.

seif314
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2016 6:06 pm

Re: Blind LSAT Test Taker Unable to Diagram Logic Games--Assistance Requested Please!

Postby seif314 » Sun Jul 10, 2016 11:50 am

Thank you, most sincerely.
I will give it a shot, though to be honest I know not (1) how long it will take me to perfect it, and (2) whether LSAC will grant me such an accommodation--I strongly suspect that the answer is NO.
I am able to organize horizontal information (no tables) and equate symbols/letters with concepts, but not visually--it is like taking straight up old fassioned notes. Are there any further suggestions for improving that process (I know that practice is one of them) or advice on how to represent information?

I particularly struggle with such games as the one below (legally) reproduced from LSAT's sept2014 Form 4LSN110.
I just cannot seem to organize the information efficiently.

Copyright 2014 by Law School Admission Council, Inc.

A florist is filling a customer's order for three bouquets—bouquet 1, bouquet 2, and bouquet 3. Each of the bouquets is to be composed of one or more of five kinds of flowers—lilies, peonies, roses, snapdragons, and tulips—subject to the following conditions:

Bouquets 1 and 3 cannot have any kind of flower in common.
Bouquets 2 and 3 must have exactly two kinds of flowers in common.
Bouquet 3 must have snapdragons.
If a bouquet has lilies, that bouquet must also have roses but cannot have snapdragons.
If a bouquet has tulips, that bouquet must also have peonies.

seif314
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2016 6:06 pm

Re: Blind LSAT Test Taker Unable to Diagram Logic Games--Assistance Requested Please!

Postby seif314 » Wed Jul 20, 2016 4:27 pm

Thanks go out to all of you for your views and wonderful suggestions.
I wanted to post a very helpfully astute recommendation given to me by another poster.

As suggested by (in my eyes the extremely honorable "KissMyAxe"):

...

I spoke with my friend [a blind LSAT test taker] , and unfortunately she wasn't a huge amount of help. She and I do logic games in a very similar way. Basically, we can just hear
or read the rules and our mind puts them together and we can see the relationships in our minds. That's what I was saying in my post, we can do them mentally,
not with any "trick" to diagram the games. As I said in that post, she is very bright.

That said, I realize that not everyone can do that. And I do want to help you in any way I can. So, let me give you some ideas, which may or may not work
(though I did test something and am convinced that it could help you out).

1.) The first, and most logical option, would be to speak to LSAC. I'm assuming you're already going to get braille, double time, a reader, and a separate
testing room. I notice that they sometimes grant scribes as well. If you call them, explaining your situation, as well as maybe making some remarks about
how the LSAT's heavy use of diagramming prejudices blind test-takers (they just got sued by the ADA regarding discrimination), perhaps they'd be willing
to arrange a scribe for you. This scribe could follow your instructions exactly in diagramming, and a reader could read what is written on the paper. As
long as the scribe is told to follow your every instruction and nothing else (ie: not helping you on the diagrams), I don't see how they could deny you
that. Obviously, this would take some practice for you to master, but I'm sure you have friends or family that could simulate that with you so you could
get it down.

2.) I tested Dragonwell's advice myself, though with some slight variation. Basically, I used a chess board that I taped a series of coins on to provide
me with spaces to work on diagrams. I also used chess pieces (there are 6 different kinds of chess pieces, and I put some tape on the other of the pair,
meaning I had essentially 12 playing pieces. Most logic games consist of one of two things. A game where you have to order things in a line (for example,
a ship going to different destinations in 7 consecutive weeks) or games where you have to group things together (like a 6 movies that can be played on
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday). I then blindfolded myself, and had [a] friend read me the rules one at a time. It took me a few games to get it down, but
I was able to use the chess board and diagram with the pieces, basically making a 3D model of the logic game. So, say a game says this movie can be played
on Friday or Sunday, you'd just have the game piece you've designated for that movie and place it on the right space. There are chess sets designed exclusively
for the visually-impaired, with raised and lowered squares so people can tell which square is which. You could make the first group the A file, the second
group the C file, and so on. It will definitely take some practice to get down, but I think it's worth a shot. So basically, I do like Dragonwell's advice
on that page, and tried it myself and was able to diagram with it after some practice. I am also sure you're much more able than I am blindfolded, so I'd
expect you'd be able to learn it even faster than me.

3.) Now, you're obviously very smart and accomplished, and the fact that you're working so hard on improving your LSAT is heartwarming to me. I always
appreciate determination. I don't know if you could ever develop the memory or mental agility to do games completely in your head like my friend or myself,
but you could certainly try, which would help even if you use one of the previous two methods. So, here's what I would do if I wanted to do that. Play
a lot of logic games. Not like LSAT logic games, but games like "Light up," "Nurikabe," "nonograms," and "sudoku," as well as the kind of logic puzzles
available in the New York Times. I feel certain you can find at least some of them in braille. If you do a ton of those, you'll develop a lot of mental
agility, and will begin to see connections. Next, move onto old, but very easy LSAT logic games. Go through it, read each rule, and try to visualize how
they all connect to one another. It will take some time and you'll probably get frustrated, but visualization is a skill everyone can use. Speaking of
chess, there is a video online where the current world champion, Magnus Carlsen, plays 3 great chess players while blindfolded. He beat them all. He's
able to visualize 3 separate chess boards and see how the pieces interact with one another, and he does this every single move and is able to beat good
players. You just have to train your mind to do that on a much smaller scale (most logic games consist of 6-7 pieces and 6-7 squares. A chess board consists
of 32 pieces, many of which move differently, and 64 squares). Finally, practice mnemonics, which is the real secret to having an incredible memory, specifically
the memory peg and memory palace methods. These are techniques to remember orders of things, the memory champion used it to remember the exact order of
3068 playing cards, I see no reason you couldn't use it to remember the order of 7 things.

Now, this would take some time, so I'd be surprised if you could make a perfect score on Logic Games even with this method. However, I do think it is reasonable
that you could complete 3 of the 4 games accurately, and guess on the remaining game if you ran out of time, and luckily, you do not need any kind of diagramming
to excel on Logical reasoning and reading comprehension.

But I would definitely try talking to LSAC first and foremost. It would be far more time efficient to do that strategy if they'll grant it, and even with
double time it's going to be difficult for you.

.....



Thanks again for all of your views and insights, and, for any future (blind) readers, hesitate not to contact me (seif314@gmail.com).
Hope, strive, and never give up:)

Peace,

Seif




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