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How To Tackle Reasoning

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Reasoning is one of the prime test areas if you plan to join banking or management sector, writing entrance tests or even if one is appearing for Campus Recruitment. As an officer or a manager, you will be involved in problem solving on regular basis and will be expected to take decisions. To take a proper course of action, you need to reason analytically and logically. Here, we primarily talk about the type of reasoning questions as they appear in CAT examination.

Reasoning in CAT is divided broadly in three areas.
1. Logical Reasoning
2. Analytical Reasoning
3. Mathematical Reasoning

1. Logical Reasoning is sub-divided into two categories; (a) Deductive Reasoning, and (b) Inductive Reasoning.

(a) Deductive reasoning consists of Logical Deductions - using Syllogisms and Venn Diagrams, and Logical Connectives - using truth-tables.

Each of these two areas is a study of argumentation, which is fundamental to all logic. An argument is a sequence of two or more phrases, sentences, statements or clauses which includes a conclusion, a decision or a claim. To arrive at these conclusions, we need to take the help of one or more than one statement, called Premises. The information given in the statements should always be considered as true facts for the purpose of arriving at a conclusion. For example, if "All boys are girls" and "All girls are chairs", then the conclusion is "All boys are chairs".

Questions on Logical Connectives require profound knowledge of the conditions, for example:

Select the one that logically follows the main statement.
If it is a holiday, then I will go for a picnic or will visit my uncle's house.
(1) I did not go for a picnic or I did not visit my uncle's house implies that it is not a holiday.
(2) If it is not a holiday, then I will not go for a picnic and I will not visit my uncle's house.
(3) I did not go for a picnic and I did not visit my uncle's house implies that it is not a holiday.
(4) If it is not a holiday, then I will not go for a picnic or I will not visit my uncle's house.

Here, choice (3) would be the correct answer.

(b) Inductive Reasoning questions test student's ability to understand, analyze and evaluate arguments. Students should determine exactly what information the question is asking for. This part deals with assumptions, inferences, conclusions, weak and strong arguments, parallelism, assertions, cause and effect, and paradox.

For example, although it might be expected that one would be asked to detect the weakness of the argument, the question may actually ask for the selection of a group of other arguments that reveals the same fault. Let us look at an example:

"EMIT's coaching course for civil services exam is a proven package that helps in three distinct areas of preparation for IAS - equipping you with relevant knowledge of your optional subjects, providing you with a wide coverage of general studies and a constant update on current affairs and finally, coaching you for the most grueling of interviews" - an advertisement. Which of the following is an assumption on which the assertion made above is based?

(1) Those, who will read the advertisement, will join the course.
(2) Those appearing for civil services exam do not have relevant knowledge
of their optional subjects.
(3) Those who read the advertisement appear for civil services exam.
(4) IAS aspirants, apart from study material, expect the coaching to be
imparted for interview also.

Here the correct answer would be choice (4).

CAT 2006 asked five questions from Facts, Inferences and Judgment. Facts deal with pieces of information that one has heard, seen or read, and which are open to discovery or verification. Inferences are conclusions drawn about the unknown, on the basis of the known. Judgements are opinions that imply approval or disapproval of persons, objects, situations and occurrences in the past, the present or the future.

For example,

Select the answer choice that best describes the set of four statements.
(i) The West Bengal government has promised to create a climate in favor of private investments.
(ii) The stand-off at Singur, over land acquisition for a Tata Motors plant, reflects its commitment to this Promise.
(iii) If the state rehabilitation record between 1947 and 2000 is any indication their future does not look very good.
(iv) The Land Acquisition act, 1984 should not ignore the fact that in rural areas land sustains not merely its owners but landless service group as well.


2. Analytical Reasoning questions test the ability to understand a given structure of arbitrary relationships among fictitious persons, places or things and to deduce new information.

Each analytical reasoning question-set consists of a set of conditions and some questions that test understanding of that structure and its implications. Though each question in a group is based on the same conditions, the questions are independent of one another.

No mathematics or formal logic is required for solving analytical reasoning questions. It is very important to pay special attention to words that describe or limit relationships, such as only, exactly, never, always, must be, cannot be and the like. While reading conditions, students should not assume anything outside the information provided, using their worldly wisdom..

Analytical reasoning questions can be divided into four categories. Matching, Arrangement, Selection and Verification.

Matching Type:
Each of four players - A, B, C and D - plays exactly one different game among - Chess, Badminton, Tennis and Billiards. Each one of them hails from one of four different cities Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad- not necessarily in the same order. Further, the following information is known:
(1) The tallest person is from Hyderabad and he is not B.
(2) The second tallest person is A and he plays badminton.
(3) The shortest person is from Delhi and he plays tennis.
(4) C plays chess and he is from Chennai.

Who plays Billiards?
(1) A (2) B (3) C (4) D

Arrangement Type:
If F has same no of persons to his right and C sits immediately to the right of B, then which of the following is a complete list of persons who could be sitting to the right of F?
(1) A, C, E (2) A, D, E (3) A, E, G (4) A,D,B,G,E

Selection Type:
A team of five students has to be selected from five boys Amar, Bharat, Chandar, David and Farooq, and from four girls Shini, Bharani, Chandrika and Dolly,
based on the following conditions.
(a) Out of the students who are selected, no two students' name starts with the same alphabet.
(b) Farooq and Dolly cannot be selected together.
(c) At least two girls should be selected.
(d) David and Ashwini cannot be selected together.

Who are the boys selected to the team?
(1) Amar, Bharat, Chandar.
(2) Bharat, Chandar, David.
(3) Chandar, David, Farooq.
(4) Amar, David, and Farooq.

Verification Type: (Binary Logic)
Sameer, Sameep and Sumer participated in a quiz contest and each one of them received exactly one title amongst the Winner, the first Runner-up and the second

Runner-up. When asked "Who among the three is the winner?", following were their replies:

Sameer: I am the winner.
Sameep is not the 1st Runner-up.
Sameep: I am the winner.
Sameer is the 2nd Runner-up
Sumer: I am the winner.
Sameep is the 2nd Runner-up.

It is known that one among them always tells the truth, one always tells lies and one always alternates between telling a truth and a lie (not necessarily in that order). Who can never be the first runner-up?
(1) Sameer (2) Sameep (3) Sumer (4) Cannot be determined.

3. Mathematical Reasoning: In this section students ability to understand complex mathematical series and numerical relationship is tested. The various test topics are series (number and letter), analogies, classification, cubes, dice, weight, match-stick problems, etc. Students should try solving various mathematical puzzles and games to develop the abilities to quickly understand mathematical reasoning questions.

For Example :
A cube is painted red, blue and green in such a way that each face is painted with a single color and each color is painted on two adjacent faces. The cube is placed on the table and one can see exactly three faces of the cube.
What is the total no of distinct possible combinations of three colors that can be seen ?
(A) 8 (B) 9 (C) 7 (D) 6

In this section questions can be asked from direction sense, blood relationship, Number analogies, Letter series and letter analogies, coding & decoding, clocks, calendar, Symbols and Notations, Input-Output statements, etc.

As we see, a systematic approach and expert guidance becomes mandatory to develop a knack and instincts for handling Reasoning as a test area in an examination of the stature of CAT. Expert classroom coaching, practice material with variety of problems- catering to all difficulty levels, and regular tests (aimed at specifics of the examination; the difficulty level, pattern, weightage, type) really help an aspirant to comfortably wade through the sea of competition.

Ritesh Jain is teaching for CAT for last 10 years. He has worked for multinational companies like Mascot Systems, iGATE and OfficeTiger. He is BE (Civil) and PGDTM from Symbiosis. Currently he is Director of T.I.M.E. Ghaziabad, India's No 1 CAT coaching institute.

Mr. Kapil Datta is the Academic Head for Campus Recruitment Training program at T.I.M.E. Headoffice. A B.Tech. in Mechanical, Mr. Datta has been successfully mentoring and guiding students for MBA Entrance exams and providing useful Career guidance and tips to successfully conquer various stages of selection procedures.