Decision Making – techniques for Logic Puzzles

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July 29, 2017 by Emedica

Logic Puzzles are genuinely a leisure activity for some people! Remember that if you’re tearing your hair out! Whilst they may be out of your usual skill set there are some really good strategies to employ which make these puzzles much more straightforward.

I’ll start by working through a basic ‘logic puzzle’ format question where the information is given in text then you have a number of clues from which to draw the best conclusion.

 

Four children (Jessica, Bethan, Megan and Daisy) win ‘pupil of the month’ in their dance school in January, February, March and May. Each choose a different colour cupcake (from white, pink, orange and green) as a reward.

The text has told us the information we are likely to have to join together – which pupil won which cupcake in which month.

The first thing to do to organise your information is to draw a table.

DM Logic 1

If there is any sequential element in your basic information then fill this in first as it will almost certainly be the framework some clues hang on.

DM Logic 2

Then look at your clues:

Bethan won her award two months before Jessica (who chose the orange cupcake)

Did you notice that the months we have been given are not consecutive? This helps a bit at this juncture. We know that Bethan must have won her award in either January (two months before March) or March (two months before May) and that Jessica and the orange cupcake must come in March or May. As we only know negatively framed information at this point it may be worth filling in our table like this:

DM Logic 3

The next clue is:

The white cupcake was chosen first, the green was chosen last.

DM Logic 4

We now can revisit our first clue. The Orange cupcake must have been chosen – by Jessica – in March and therefore Bethan must have won her award in January. We can also see that the Pink cupcake must have been awarded in February.

DM Logic 5

If our suggested answers were as follows:

Which of the following must be true?

  1. Megan chose the Pink Cupcake (this is possible but it may not be true either)

  2. Daisy won her award in May (this is also possible but we don’t know)

  3. The Pink cupcake was won before the Orange one – this MUST be true so it must be the right answer

  4. Bethan won her award one month before Megan (again – this may be true but it also may not be).

 

You don’t always need to be able to complete the table to get the correct answer. In fact – sometimes the data is arranged so you can’t complete the table.

Our (growing!) Decision Making questions have lots of logic puzzles for you to practice with!

 

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