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Steps to Solve Puzzles - CSAT Preparation - UPSC

Typical characteristics of logical reasoning puzzlesAfter 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.
1. Read the entire puzzle to pick the objects and the parameters.
2. Decide the structure in which the data or information has to be organized. In most of the cases, a tabular structure is needed.
3. Read the condition one by one and formulate a symbolic or pictorial representation between the object and parameter or between the parameters.
4. Often, some of the conditions are direct, and we can fill the data directly in the suitable cell of the table/structure.
5. Start with the clues which are related to the object to which we already have identified some parameters.
6. Revisit the conditions and combine the relevant clues to deduce the corresponding parameter for an object.
7. 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
Arun Barun and Kiranmala are three friends who are from three different cities:  Mumbai, Delhi, and Pune,  not necessarily in that order.  Arun is an MBA,  while the other two have one of the professions – a doctor and an engineer. The engineer is from  Pune, Barun is from Mumbai.

Analysis:
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.

 Name City profession Arun Barun Kiranmala

Now let us analyse the clues.
1. Arun 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.

 Name City profession Arun MBA Barun Kiranmala

2. The 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

 Name City profession Arun x(Pune) MBA Barun Kiranmala

3. Barun 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.

 Name City profession Arun x(Pune) MBA Barun Mumbai Doctor Kiranmala

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.Logical Reasoning Puzzles for CAT 03

 Name City profession Arun Delhi MBA Barun Mumbai Doctor Kiranmala Pune Engineer

Final Note
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.
The document Steps to Solve Puzzles | CSAT Preparation - UPSC is a part of the UPSC Course CSAT Preparation.
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FAQs on Steps to Solve Puzzles - CSAT Preparation - UPSC

 1. What are some common types of puzzles?
Ans. Some common types of puzzles include jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles, Sudoku puzzles, logic puzzles, and riddles.
 2. How can I improve my puzzle-solving skills?
Ans. To improve puzzle-solving skills, it is helpful to practice regularly, start with easier puzzles and gradually increase the difficulty level, break down complex puzzles into smaller parts, and seek help or guidance when needed.
 3. What strategies can I use to solve logic puzzles?
Ans. To solve logic puzzles, some strategies include making a list of all given information, using the process of elimination, making deductions based on the available clues, and organizing the information visually using a grid or diagram.
 4. How can I approach solving a difficult crossword puzzle?
Ans. When faced with a difficult crossword puzzle, it is helpful to start with the easier clues and fill in the answers that you are confident about. Then, move on to the harder clues and use techniques like wordplay, cross-referencing, and context clues to solve them.
 5. Are there any tips for solving Sudoku puzzles more efficiently?
Ans. Yes, some tips for solving Sudoku puzzles more efficiently include starting with the numbers that appear most frequently, looking for easy-to-spot patterns and relationships between numbers, and using the process of elimination to narrow down the possibilities for each cell.

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