Saturday, September 20, 2014

Puzzling your way through the GRE -- logic edition

I was looking through a GRE sample test the other day and I came across a question that looked oddly familiar. I am not going to repeat it verbatim (not quite sure of the copyright status) but the gist was that the question gave some names and some properties associated with those names and some conditions.

After a moment, I realized that this problem reminded me of an old-fashioned logic grid puzzle.

Here's an example from a popular site:
You can eliminate pairs you know aren't true with an X, and pencil in pairs you know are related with an O. If you know, for example, that Lauren wasn't born in 1961, you can add an X in the box where the Lauren column and 1961 row meet. Similarly, if you know that Bryant was born in 1971, you can add an O in the appropriate box. Furthermore, since every option can only be used once in any given puzzle, you can eliminate the four other options for Bryant in that category (1937, 1946, 1961, 1975) and the four other options for 1971 (Anahi, Jayden, Lauren and Nikolas).

You probably won't see a grid like this on the GRE or the SAT but you will run across the underlying concepts so if you're preparing for one of these tests, it might be worth your while to spend a little of your study time as play time with these puzzles.

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