# Deductions on Analytical Reasoning Questions

Often, several of the rules have some common element. These rules can be combined to give you a new rule. For example, if one rule says "R is after P," and another rule tells you that "P is second to last," we know that R has to go last because that is the only position after P. Combining the rules to find out new information that always has to be true is known as making deductions. In some cases, as you answer the questions you will realize that rules can be combined in this way (more often, though, the answers just ask you to figure out what would happen in specific cases, not what has to be true generally). People frequently try to make deductions before they look at the questions in order to know as much as possible about the set before they answer questions.

### Put the Rule Together

The importance of making deductions before you look at the Analytical Reasoning questions – of trying to put rules together as you look through them, or after you have looked at them but before looking at the questions – is misunderstood by many, if not most, students preparing for the Analytical Reasoning. Most students feel that they must make deductions before they look at the questions. They think that if they don't make deductions early on, they won't be able to do the questions fast enough.

I strongly disagree, however. I know, both from first-hand experience and from working with hundreds of students, that making deductions before looking at the questions is not necessary either for speed or for accuracy on Analytical Reasoning Section. In fact, trying to make deductions before looking at the questions is, for many students, the number one reason why they can't finish the analytical section in time.

### Make Deductions After Reading Rules

If these students just read the rules and began answering the questions, not trying to make deductions early on, they would be able to do all sets, whereas with looking for deductions they can only do two or three. For the majority of students I work with, including students who can and do get scores in the 98th percentile on the GAT, trying to make deductions before answering questions hurts their score more than it helps it. Here's why looking for deductions before answering questions deductions is unnecessary and often harmful on the GAT or NAT:

• You can answer any question on the test without having made any deductions prior to answering that question. If the question requires you to make a deduction, it will push you in that direction. The question will either give you a hypothetical situation to deal with ("Suppose X was 4th") that will lead you in the right direction, or the answers to the question will give you concrete possibilities that you can then test out. Having something concrete to work with makes combining the rules much easier. In either case, you don't need to have thought out the deductions beforehand.
• Many games have no deductions, or very few; in most other games the deductions aren't terribly helpful. Looking for deductions in these cases wastes valuable time that you need to spend answering the questions.

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