Analytical Reasoning Fundamentals

Let's get our terminology straight before we start discussing things in depth. Every logic game will start with a short paragraph explaining the situation you are dealing with. We call this paragraph the setup. After the setup, there will be a series of sentences describing the restrictions on the setup. We call these the rules. After the rules, you will be asked questions.

The setup and the rules give you a lot of information; the questions will ask you to put this information together and make determinations about what can and cannot happen in the setup. There is going to be too much information for you to simply remember; you are going to have to write most of it down. Typically, it will be easiest for you to organize your information around some kind of chart or list. We'll call this the diagram: the diagram is the way in which you visually organize the data you are given in the setup and rules.

Steps to Solve

There are three steps that you have to go through in every set of Analytical Reasoning section. They are done in a certain order: it would generally be odd to read the rules before the setup, since the setup will give you the context for understanding the rules; likewise, it doesn't make any sense to answer questions first and then read the setup or rules. Here is the order in which the steps would normally be done:

  • Read the setup and make a diagram
  • Read the rules and write them down
  • Answer questions

Before we discuss these steps in detail (and we are going to do so in great, great detail), tell me which of these steps is the most important? Take a second to think about that before looking at the next paragraph.

Answering the questions is the most important step. Your goal on the Analytical Reasoning Section is to get a high score. It is impossible to get a high score without answering questions. You can answer questions correctly without doing any other step, although you aren't likely to do that well (this is called guessing). But, even if you do all the other steps perfectly, you can't get a high score without answering the questions.

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