Logical Reasoning (LR) for IBPS, SBI and RBI Exams


The reasoning section of the IBPS, SBI and RBI exams test your analytical and logical reasoning skills i.e. your ability to interpret data and information given in the form of puzzles, brain teasers or clues and sort it to arrive at a meaningful outcome. It does not generally test conceptual or theoretical knowledge (apart from one or two areas) but requires a lot of practice of different question types.

The various question types asked in this section are:

Question Type Number of Questions Weightage in Section
Arrangements 12 to 15 25-30%
Sequential Output Tracing 4 to 6 10-15%
Odd Man Out/Complete the Series 5 10%
Syllogisms 6 to 8 15-20%
Data Sufficiency 4 to 6 10-15%
Critical Reasoning 6 to 8 15-20%
Visual Reasoning 5 to 10 10-25%
Total 40 100%

Apart from the question types given above, there can be miscellaneous puzzles (individually or in groups) from different areas. These question types and miscellaneous puzzles form a comprehensive list of questions appearing in the LR section. Consider each question type separately:
1) Arrangements

  • This is the most frequently tested and most important area of this section.
  • Questions in this section are generally asked in 2-3 sets of 6-7 questions each. Though the sets may be time consuming, you can get full marks (in minimal time) if you solve the set correctly.
  • Also, they do not require conceptual knowledge but an ability to read and interpret a large amount of data and represent it in forms of a figure/arrangement/table.
  • Some common arrangement types are:
Linear – elements in a single row/column
Linear – elements in multiple rows/columns
Linear – scheduling of events/activities
Complex – multiple parameters
  • Practice as many sets as you can. As your practice increases, you will find better and more efficient ways of representing the data and arriving at the final arrangement.
  • Start representing the given data as a figure (for linear and circular arrangements) or table (for complex arrangements and scheduling based questions). Then fill up the figure/table with the direct and indirect clues. Keep marking the clues that you have already used up and separately note down the clues that you can’t use immediately.
  • Sometimes you may not be able to fill up the entire figure/table. This does not necessarily mean that you are wrong. The set may have been designed that way. Try and attempt the questions first and then re-check the table (if necessary).
  • If the arrangement based sets are perfectly solved, clearing the sectional cut-off becomes very easy.

2) Sequential Output Tracing

  • Like arrangements, these are also asked in sets of 4-6 questions. However, based on the difficulty level, you can either solve the complete set or not be able to solve a single question.
  • Here, an input in terms of numbers or words or a combination of both is given. This input is processed through a series of steps and a final output is obtained. You need to identify the logic that is applied in each step. Based on this logic, questions can be asked in two ways:
Each question of the set has a separate input and the question has to solved accordingly – These tend to become more time consuming since this is as good as solving five-six different sets.
One input is given and all the questions of the set are based on it – This is less time consuming but can be error-prone if you make any mistake in applying the steps to the input.
  • Typically, the patterns that are used in bank exams are:
Rearrangements – The given words may be shifted left or right in alphabetical order or depending on the number of letters in each word. Similarly, the given numbers may be shifted in ascending/ descending order or based on some property of the number (odd/even, prime/composite, etc.)
Replacements – This generally applies to numbers in the input. In each step, the given numbers may be replaced by some other numbers based on some mathematical operation (multiplication, division, square, etc). These are slightly difficult to identify.
  • You need a lot of practice and immense concentration for these questions as a single mistake can lead to errors in the entire set. Also, you should be able to observe the way the position/nature of the words and numbers changes.

3) Syllogisms

  • This is probably the only area in this section that requires conceptual knowledge. Consequently, most aspirants find this the most difficult part of the section.
  • It involves 2, 3, 4 or 6 statements (that conventionally sound absurd e.g. all dogs are cats) followed by a few conclusions. You need to identify the relationship between the given statements and identify the conclusions that definitely follow from the given statements.
  • These questions are rule-based i.e. certain combinations of statements lead to certain conclusions. So, they can either be solved by directly applying the rules or using the Venn diagram based approach. However, it is not possible to solve these without prior conceptual knowledge unlike the other questions in this section.

4) Data Sufficiency

  • Technically, this is the same question type that also appears in the QA section. However, the major difference here is that the data given is essentially logical in nature rather than mathematical. So, while you may not be able to attempt a DS question in the QA section if you do not know the relevant concept/formula, you can theoretically attempt each DS question based on pure logic.
  • Another difference is that data sufficiency questions in this section may have variations in terms of instructions:

– 2 statement DS questions (typical of the QA section)

– 3 statement DS questions (also asked in the QA section)

– Data redundancy questions – where the statement that is not required for the question to be solved has to be identified.

  • Again, the key to solve these questions is to read and understand the instructions very carefully, and then follow them to the letter. In a lot of cases, even if the instructions are the same, their order may change, thereby changing the answer options.

5) Visual Reasoning

  • You are generally given a sequence of 5-6 figures and you need to identify a figure that either continues the series or does not fit in.
  • These do not require conceptual knowledge but basic observation skills to identify the relevant patterns.
  • Some of the commonly used patterns are:

– Addition/subtraction of elements

– Rotation of elements – clockwise or anticlockwise

– Movement of elements – clockwise or anticlockwise

– Replacement of elements

– Combinations of the above

  • Typically, consecutive or alternate figures exhibit the same pattern. To solve these questions quickly, identify the pattern, establish the position of an element, eliminate answer options based on that and then move on to the next element.
  • Practice is essential for these questions. However, even with practice you may not be able to identify the logic for certain questions of this type in the exam. If you are unable to get the pattern in 2-3 minutes in the exam, it is advisable to leave the question for the time being and come back to it later.

6) Critical Reasoning

  • This can be considered the most difficult and error-prone area of this section because the questions test verbal reasoning skills.
  • You need to understand what exactly the question requires, apply a combination of logic and English knowledge and then solve the question accordingly.
  • The common question types in this area are:

– Implicit assumptions

– Inferences

– Cause and Effect

– Course of Action

– Strengthening and Weakening of Arguments

– Probably/Definitely True or False

  • You should decide whether to attempt these or not based on your comfort level with individual question types as well as with the pure LR questions.

7) Miscellaneous Puzzles

  • These may be individual or group questions from a large (almost infinite) number of areas. While you may not able to cover each question type, the ones that you should definitely practice are:

– Direction based questions

– Relationships – family tree, coded relationships, relationship puzzles

– Series and Analogies – number and letter series as well as analogies, alphanumeric series, odd man out questions

– Codes – letter & number codes, mixed codes, sentence coding, substitution, etc.

– Logic Puzzles – comparisons and ranks, word based puzzles, etc.

– Numerical Logic – gambling games, odd weights, cubes, etc.

– Selection Criteria

  • During preparation, if you do not have adequate time, you can practice these questions at the very end.
  • However, you should identify the question types that you are most comfortable with and accordingly attempt those if and when they appear in the exam.



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