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Analytical Reasoning: Trial and Error Method

Learn the approach of cracking Analytical Reasoning using Hit & Trial when you get stuck. Besides that learn to arrive at the correct answer when you have multiple cases in the questions.

Questions in the analytical reasoning section test your ability to analyze the situation, reason the cause/ effect and then find a solution. While questions in most of the competitive exams have options with them, but sometimes, we are not presented with options. A lot of effort is in identifying the options or creating them. What works best in such Analytical Reasoning questions is what we call as a trial and error strategy.

What is Trial and Error Strategy?

Try something (Guess), if it does not work, guess again. Over time, our guesses become more 'educated' - and we tend to require fewer trials to reach our solutions.

Test your understanding of the concept! Take this test on Analytical reasoning now.

Solved Examples

  • First of all you need to read the directions of a particular Data Sufficiency question very carefully as examiner can change the directions and even after solving all the questions correctly you mark the wrong answers.
  • You need to remember the steps involved in solving a particular Data Sufficiency question and follow them in this particular order:
    Check A (i.e. the first statement), then Check B (i.e. the second statement) and lastly, if required, combine the two statements to get the answer.
  • Do not make any assumptions while solving Data Sufficiency questions.

Solved Data Sufficiency Questions

Example 1: What is the value of x?

A : x2 = 64
B. x3 = 512

Solution: 44 people live in eight houses (3 on each side of the Albert Square). Each house has a different number of people living in it. Each line of three houses has 15 people living in it. How many people live in each house?

Solution: Simplifying, we have to get 4 sets of numbers, each of which add up to 15. So start guessing.

The average number of people in a house is 44/8 is roughly 4.5. So what numbers should we take? 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.
Now, we should also have an average close to 5 for each set.
Let's start:
  • Set 1: 3, 5, 7
  • Set 3: 2, 4, 9
  • Now, the other two sets will have an overlap. So let's guess the overlaps:
  • Set 2: Overlaps are 2 and 7. So the third number will be 6. That's great! Because we have not used 6 yet.
  • Set 4: Overlaps are 3 and 9. Then the third number ends up to 3 again. Wrong guess! So we need to try again. Overlaps are 3 and 4. In this case third number works out to be 8, which we have not used. Wonderful!
  • So here is the answer


    • Note that this is not the only solution. There are others possibilities as well.

    Analytical Reasoning Practice Question

    Mrs. Choy spent exactly Rs. 10 on 100 eggs for her shop. Large eggs cost her 50 p each. Medium eggs cost her 10 p each. Small eggs cost her 5 p each. For two of the sizes, she bought the same number of eggs. How many of each size did she buy?

    Ready for advanced questions on Analytical reasoning now? Take this test and find out.

    Analytical Reasoning - Trial and Error Strategy: Key Learning

    Even before guessing the answer, it is important to carefully understand the statement and then narrow down to a set of numbers/ options. These options/ numbers will form a base for using the trial and error strategy.

    If you are still in doubt over any concept or question, reach out to us. Post in the comment section below for an immediate response.

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