Logical reasoning puzzles which appear in the CAT exam are the most common types of questions in LRDI section. Unfortunately, we do not have any universally applicable method or approach to solve such puzzles.
The reason is that these logical reasoning puzzles themselves have no standard structure. However, an aspirant, after practicing lots of logical reasoning puzzle questions, can sharpen his skills to solve such questions.
In this article, I’ll share some techniques and lay out a structure to solve these puzzle based reasoning questions. I believe that these tips will help you develop those skills in a shorter span of time. Before that, we have to understand specific characteristics of logical reasoning puzzles.
Typical characteristics of logical reasoning puzzles
After meticulously scanning the logical reasoning puzzles which have appeared in previous year CAT, I have realized that these puzzles talk about certain objects and their parameters. Often, multiple parameters are associated with each of these objects.
The puzzles are followed by some clues about the objects and the parameters. We have to use these clues to associate the parameters with the objects to which they belong.
Commonly the clues are of the following two types:
- Direct data or information which relate an object to its parameter.
- Information or clues which relate two or more parameters of an object.
Our task is to match the object with its parameters using these clues.
We will take a simple puzzle to make the above things clear. Before that let us see the steps to solve such reasoning puzzles.
Steps to solve logical reasoning puzzles
I recommend aspirants to employ the following steps to solve Logical Reasoning Puzzles.
- Read the entire puzzle to pick the objects and the parameters.
- Decide the structure in which the data or information has to be organized. In most of the cases, a tabular structure is needed.
- Read the condition one by one and formulate a symbolic or pictorial representation between the object and parameter or between the parameters.
- Often, some of the conditions are direct, and we can fill the data directly in the suitable cell of the table/structure.
- Start with the clues which are related to the object to which we already have identified some parameters.
- Revisit the conditions and combine the relevant clues to deduce the corresponding parameter for an object.
- Repeat the step #6 till we exhaust all the appropriate deduction from the combination of the clues.
Finally, we will obtain a partially complete or complete table which has the objects aligned with their parameters. Many a time, a partially complete table is sufficient to answer some of the questions related to the puzzle.
Also, some questions may contain additional information. We have to use this information and work on the existing clues to fill the table. But, do remember that this complete table is only applicable to that particular question. And we should not be using this complete table to solve any other question unless otherwise stated.
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Now let us take a logical reasoning puzzle to see how to apply the above steps to arrive at the solution.
Example of Logical Reasoning Puzzle
In this case, the three objects are the three friends- Arun Barun and Kiranmala. And there are two parameters- city and profession.
Our task is to associate these parameters which belong to each of these friends. The best way to solve this puzzle is to organize these data in a table of three column. The first column is for the friends. The rest of the two columns are for the city and the profession respectively.
Now let us analyse the clues.
1Arun is an MBA is a direct clue. We can write MBA in the cell corresponding to the profession of Arun. We can also deduce that the other two friends, i.e., Barun and kiranmala are not MBA.
2The engineer is from Pune: Here we can see that both ‘engineer‘ and ‘Pune‘ are the two parameters and they are related to each other. From this clue, it is quite evident that Arun cannot be from Pune as he is an MBA. We can also symbolically write this piece of information as Engg –> Pune
3Barun is from Mumbai: This information relates the object with a parameter. On combining this with the clue #2, we can deduce that Barun CANNOT be an engineer. And from clue #1, he cannot be an MBA. Hence, we can conclude that Barun is a doctor. Also, Arun being an MBA cannot be from Pune. Neither he can be from Mumbai as Barun is from Mumbai. Therefore, he must be from Delhi. Which also concludes that Kiranmala is an engineer and she is from Pune.
Let’s agree to the fact that the above is a simple puzzle. However, in CAT Exam, we will be getting puzzles of higher difficulty level than this. But, the approach will remain the same. We have only to manage two things:
- The complexity of the information
- The combination of clues to deduce the relation between an object and its parameters.