Categorizing the puzzles is a difficult job since a number of puzzles can be framed by varying the parameters of the same puzzle. For instance, they may give you a puzzle by varying the floors on which a person lives or the colours they like, or their workplace. So instead of defining the types of puzzles, let's focus on what approach you should follow while attempting a puzzle.
Keep following things in mind while solving a puzzle -
- Read the puzzle properly first.
- You’ll find a lot of links. Each detail is interlinked with some other piece of information.
- There aren’t exactly any defined short tricks for solving puzzles. It just needs thorough practice.
- Start with easy puzzles first to clear the basic approach that should be followed while solving a puzzle. Look up the connecting pieces of information. This will help you comprehend the nitty-gritty of the puzzle structure.
- Imagine all the possible scenarios. Start with the basic structure of the puzzle and try to draw all the possible options if substituting all the options in one arrangement confuses you. For instance, you are given a puzzle about various plays that are screened on different days of the week and it is said that Play 1 is screened neither on Sunday nor on Wednesday or Friday. In this case, you’ll have 4 options when the play can be screened. You can form a table and consider all the cases separately i.e. you can draw the different possibilities in different columns. You’ll be able to strike out the incorrect options as you proceed with the arrangement.
- Tabulating the data will help you approach the question easily.
- When more than one parameter is given in the question, try and keep one parameter constant and substitute the others as per the puzzle. For instance, you are given a puzzle in which 7 people work on different days of the week and like different colours. In this case, you can keep the column of weekdays constant and try forming the various possibilities as per the question.
- If a piece of information is not linked to any other, make note of it separately and proceed further. Once you are done with the remaining arrangement, you should be able to substitute the previously unlinked information into it.
- For the parameters regarding which no information has been provided, look at the entire arrangement and you should be able to substitute them logically.
Now let us take up the following example to have a clear picture of the above points.
Consider the following puzzle with the single parameter -
Eight persons - A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H live on separate floors of an eight-storey building. The ground floor is numbered 1, the floor above it 2, and so on such that the topmost floor is numbered 8.
- B lives on floor number 6
- E lives on an even numbered floor
- E lives immediately below the floor of F
- Only one person lives between A and H
- A lives below the floor of H
- C lives on the lowermost floor
- D does not live on the topmost floor.
For this question, the floor is the parameter. We will form our table keeping the floor number constant and placing the people as per the question.
The first clause is straightforward, so we’ll place B on floor no. 6. Now as per 2nd condition, E can live on floor 8 / 4 / 2. But as per 3rd condition, it can’t live on floor no. 8. So we have two scenarios now. We’ll draw them in separate columns and substitute F at the floors above E. As per 4th condition, A and H can occupy only the 3rd and 1st floor in possibility 1 and 7th and 5th floors in possibility 2. We’ll go through the 5th condition and then place A and H in the two scenarios. Now if we look at the 6th condition, we can strike out our 1st possibility. As per the 7th condition, we can place D on the 4th floor. Now nothing is mentioned about G but if you look at the arrangement, you can easily place G on floor 8.
You can solve questions with more than one parameter in a similar manner by keeping anyone parameter constant and placing others parameters as per the question.
Remember, to have a good hold of this topic, you require regular practice. This will also help you work on your speed. So attempt at least 3-4 puzzles regularly. Have a clear head while you attempt questions in the exam. Don’t be deterred by the language of the question. You’ll be able to mark out all the conditions once you read it properly.
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