Friday, August 31, 2007

INTRODUCTION TO REASONING

THE SECTION ON REASONING: Reasoning is one of the important Test areas in CAT and other MBA entrance exams.
In CAT, it has been appearing along with DI and DS in one section, whereas in most other MBA entrance exams, Reasoning
appears as a separate section altogether.


What you need to crack Reasoning questions

(1) A sound knowledge of the fundamentals: Whatever be the concept on which a question is based, a good grasp of the
basic rules or methodology is the most important prerequisite to solve the question. For handling questions based on
deductions, the candidate should be well versed with the basic rules of logic, syllogism, the distribution table and the
Venn diagrams approach. Similarly, for handling questions based on connectives, a
knowledge of implications is a must. To crack questions based on analytical reasoning, a knowledge of how to make an
arrangement and an acquaintance with a variety of problems is indispensable.
(2) The correct approach: While solving problems, it is important to identify the concept involved early on. Do rough
work using symbols, keeping the question and the choices in mind. Many a times, a question can be answered midway
i.e., by using a part of the information and by eliminating choices, rather than completing the arrangement. The
part of the arrangement that is not directly connected with the question should be kept aside. Hence, it is important to
identify the correct approach to be used, and the level upto which an arrangement should be made. This will enable the
test taker to identify the correct answer in as short a time as is possible.
(3) Continuous thinking and evaluation: If you are not able to understand a condition/instruction or don’t know what to do
with it, then instead of spending a lot of time mulling over it, you should immediately move on to the next condition/
instruction. Also, while analysing a statement, you should think of every possible way in which the
condition/instruction can be represented or the different arrangements which can be made.

TYPES OF QUESTIONS & THEIR WEIGHTAGE:From the point of view of examinations like CAT, Reasoning can
be divided into three areas (I) Logical, (II) Analytical, and (III) Critical. Let us take a look at each of these areas in turn.

(I) LOGICAL REASONING: Essentially, this area will consist of two topics – (a) Logical Deductions, and (b) Logical
Connectives.
(a)Logical Deductions: Questions based on this topic last appeared in CAT 2001, although such questions are common
in other MBA entrance exams, viz CET, JMET, MAT, etc. In these type of questions, two statements (called
premises) are given and a conclusion which logically follows from both the statements, has to
be drawn . Here, two approaches can be used – (i) Venn Diagrams, and (ii) Syllogisms. The latter is preferred because
of accuracy and speed. At times, in other MBA entrance exams, more than two statements (premises) are given and a
conclusion has to be drawn from them. Venn diagrams is the best approach for this type.
(b) Logical Connectives: A connective is used to connect two or more simple statements. Assuming ‘p’ and ‘q’ to be
simple statments, we get the following major connectives: (i) If p, then q (ii) Whenever p, then q (iii) Either p or q (iv)
Unless p, then q (v) Only if p, then q (vi) p and q.From any statement which consists of a connective, the
student must draw certain inplications. Hence, connectives may appear as an individual question or may at times be
included in puzzles in order to specify a condition. Apart from being frequently given in CAT, connectives appear in
other MBA entrance exams too.
When connecting two statements with a connective, it is important to identify the ‘p’ and ‘q’ statements and apply the
implications. The literal meaning of the statements should be ignored. This saves a lot of time and reduces, to a great
extent, the chances of committing errors.
Negations: A negation of a statement is in simple words, a contradiction of that statement or the exact opposite of
that statement. Hence, ‘I will go’ is negated as ‘I will not go’ and ‘He did not come yesterday’ is negated as ‘He came
yesterday’। Questions on negations have appeared in MBA entrance exams other than CAT.

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