1. Introduce yourself. Name, job, favorite game show, the basics.
Hello, my name is Alex Khurgin. I’m a Content Developer at Knewton.
The basics: I moved to the US from Belarus when I was 3, am a charter member of what began as an Infinite Jest book club, play in a nerds-only basketball league, and perform improv comedy. But don’t judge my improv skils here; this was a written interview and I took my time.
And this is probably a weird answer, but my favorite game show is The Joker’s Wild, the version hosted by Bill Cullen.
2. Is it true that you’ve explained every LSAT logic game, ever?
No. I mean, yes.
3. Why did you do such a thing?
Because I needed to find out for myself where Takahashi could sit if Sandino is assigned to table 3.
4. No really, why?
I taught LSAT prep courses for several years, both in and immediately after college, before joining Knewton as a content developer and online LSAT teacher. I also have a background in logic and philosophy, so I was eager when Jose (Knewton’s CEO) approached me with the project.
5. What did you learn from explaining all those games?
Besides the seat assignment for Takahashi? A few things:
The underlying structure of the games is extremely formulaic. Basically, you’re either putting things in order or assigning them to groups. Sometimes you have to do both. I’ve got about 1000 sketches on my hard drive that look more or less the same. Over time, the logic games section has become increasingly predictable. For example, the last game in PrepTest 51 results in the same exact sketch and asks almost the same exact questions as the first game in PrepTest 52. The consistency seems almost to border on laziness, but its real purpose is to make sure the LSAT is truly a standardized test.
Even the content of the games doesn’t vary too much. About half of them are about subcommittees. A lot are about jazz. The key, of course, is to ignore the content and focus on the structure of each game—which is a big part of the way we teach LSAT logic games at Knewton.
Check our part 2 for the rest of the interview.