5 Rules for Acing UCAT Logic Puzzles and How to Use Them

In this article, we give you 5 rules for acing UCAT logic puzzles and show you how to use them so you can ace your UCAT.

Do you struggle with logic puzzles? To help you with them, we’re going to give you 5 rules for acing UCAT Logic Puzzles.

You may already be familiar with this style of question. The Logic Puzzle section of the Decision Making subtest includes the types of questions you will find more broadly in IQ tests and the general skills section of scholarship and school entry exams.

 

5 Rules for Acing UCAT Logic Puzzles

In this article, we will focus on questions involving ranking (sorting items into an ordered list, e.g. a list of people from youngest to oldest) and matching (e.g. matching favourite colours to a list of names). In either type of these questions, you will be given a limited list of facts, and it is up to you to find a solution that satisfies all of them.

 

Rule 1: Just start!

Depending on how much text is in the question, you may feel like you are being overloaded with information. It’s vital to move past this initial reaction and start processing the facts given to you.
Sometimes you may even have to make a lucky guess to start, and see if it leads to a contradiction later on.

 

Rule 2: Take it one statement at a time.

Following on from the first rule, once you have made a start, you need to break down the information into bite-sized, easily processed chunks. Having established some part of the order, see where the next statement fits in.

 

Rule 3: Don’t let yourself get stuck.

If a piece of information doesn’t relate to something you already know, skip it and come back later.

 

Rule 4: Use abbreviations, shorthand, and other ways of organising the data visually.

Because of the time constraints of the UCAT, any seconds you can shave off while working through the problems are worth it. This may mean using initials instead of names, sketching a table or doing a simple drawing.

 

Rule 5: Don’t worry if you end up with incomplete information.

Sometimes, especially in matching questions, you will be left with some unknowns at the end. As long as you can pick one of the multiple choice options, this doesn’t matter.

 

Now we’ve considered the 5 rules, let’s look at how to put them into practice.

 

How to ace Logic Puzzles – step-by-step

Now we’re going to look at a pair of example questions so you can put these 5 rules to the test! These questions are of the type you’ll find in the UCAT and the official UCAT practice tests.

 

5 rules for acing logic puzzles- Example question 1

A clothing store sells T-shirts in five different colours.

  • Green is less popular than black.
  • Red is less popular than pink.
  • Yellow is more popular than pink but less popular than green.

Which are the most popular and least popular colours for these T-shirts?

  1. Red (most popular) and green (least popular)
  2. Black (most popular) and red (least popular)
  3. Yellow (most popular) and pink (least popular)
  4. Green (most popular) and yellow (least popular)

rack of t-shirts 5 rules for acing ucat logic puzzles T-shirts

Step 1- Start and take it one statement at a time (use abbreviations for notation)

We can make a list of most to least popular, starting from the first statement.

1st statement

If we put the most popular at the top, the list looks like:

  • Black or B
  • Green or G

(Because every colour starts with a different letter, you can simply use the initials in your list to  abbreviate and save time instead.)

 

Step 2: Don’t get stuck when solving logical puzzles

2nd statement

The next statement concerns red and pink shirts. We don’t have a way of aligning this information with what we have already established….

3rd statement

….So, we skip ahead to the next statement, which allows us to place yellow relative to green, and then put pink on the list:

  • Black or B
  • Green or G
  • Yellow or Y
  • Pink or P

2nd statement, again

Now we can go back to the previous statement and allocate red to the least popular spot:

  • Black or B
  • Green or G
  • Yellow or Y
  • Pink or P
  • Red or R

Therefore the correct answer is b).

pack of pooches 5 rules for acing ucat logic puzzles dogs

5 rules for acing logic puzzles – Example question 2

There are four dogs kept adjacent to each other in the kennel, in pens numbered 1, 2, 3 and 4.

1234

 

One dog is black, one is white, one is brown and one is spotted. Their names are Rover, Fido, Lassie and Max, not in any order.

Fido and Rover are in the corner spots.
Rover is not black.
The black dog is kept next to Lassie.
The dog in number 3 is brown and is not named Lassie.

Which of the following combinations must be true?

  1. Fido is black.
  2. Lassie is spotted.
  3. Rover is brown.
  4. Max is white.

Step 1: Use diagrams and get started

We will start with a table like the one provided in the question.

1234

Step 2: Just start and don’t be held back by incomplete data

The first statement does not specify which dog is in which corner, so we will have to make a guess.

Let us try Fido in 1 and Rover in 4.

 

1234
FidoRover

 

Step 3: Take it one statement at a time

The next two statements do not tell us anything definite, so we will go to the fourth statement. The dog in 3 is not Lassie, so it must be Max, who is brown. That leaves Lassie in position 2.

1234
FidoLassieMax
Brown
Rover

 

Now we use the fact that Lassie is next to the black dog. Since Max is already known to be brown, Fido must be black.

1234
Fido
(Black)
LassieMax
(Brown)
Rover

 

Step 4: Don’t worry about incomplete information and solve the question

We still do not know what colour Lassie or Rover are for sure, but out of the answers given we can say that Fido MUST be black.

Therefore the answer is a).

Note that if we had started with a different guess by placing Rover and Fido in the opposite pens, we would have ended up with a contradiction as we continued to assign dogs to their numbers. (Try it for yourself and see!) There is only one possible solution which obeys the given rules.

 

Still hung up on Logic Puzzles?

UCAT Masterclass will teach you how to work through a variety of Logic Puzzles and test your skills on a vast number of practice questions and exams. Learn more.

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