# Verbal Reasoning – Calculating the Letters (Type G)

- May 15, 2021
- Posted by: gg-pure
- Category: Verbal Reasoning

The Calculating the Letters question type requires you to calculate the value of the letters given to you and then select the letter which has been given the total value. To help you calculate the total amount, the instructions in the question will give you a value per letter for example:

- A = 2
- B = 3

The answer must be in letter form, but before that you would need to:

- Convert the letters to numbers
- Calculate the final sum based on the letter equation
- Convert the final sum back into a letter

This question type really focuses on your ability to take information and manipulate it based on a specified outcome. The outcome here would depend on the equation they have given you.

There is no expectation of any background knowledge or assumption that you have to have already known something, you literally have to work with the information that has been provided on the sheet. The core skills that this question type requires are:

- Ability to take and understand one set of information e.g the alphabet value and its numerical equivalent
- To know that things can have relationships e.g. A can equal 1 and B can equal 22
- Ability to apply this formula to a problem that has been provided
- Focus on working through the equation systematically
- To know its relevance and method of application e.g. changing the letter equation to a number equation
- Basic mathematical skills (BODMAS)
- To use the formula to convert the number back into the letter

Although this is Verbal Reasoning, it heavily relies on your maths skills and being able to work out the final total. You will be expected to quickly convert the the letters to numbers or the final number back to a letter.

## What does the Calculating Letters question type look like?

As you can see from the Gaggle example below the Calculating Letters question type has the following:

- General instructions with an example
- Letters with their number value e.g. A = 2
- Letter equation e.g.
**A + B / C = ?** - 1 mark per question
- Can possibly have different alphabet to number values per question

## How do I answer this question?

The Calculating the Letters question really is as simple and straightforward as it seems. All the information that you need will be provided to you in the question, so you want to work systematically through the letter equation by doing the following:

- Swap the letters for numbers based on the formula given
- Write the number equation down
- Apply BODMAS to the number equation
- Work out the final total
- Look back at the alphabet formula
- Does any letter equal the final total you have got?
- If yes, then that letter is your answer
- If no, you need to go through your working out

To answer this question it is a case of manipulating the information given to you so it is better understandable, readable and something you can physically work out.

A + B doesn’t really make sense but 1 + 2 does.

If you accept that A were to equal 1, and B were to equal 2 (just for the sake of the question), we can now begin to see how to add A to B!

### Working Example

Lets check out this working example, and really see the process implemented:

If A = 2, B = 3, C = 22, D = 5, E = 17

Work out

A + B x D = ?

Lets really work through this systematically, step by step so we do not get confused.

We can see that letters A to E have been assigned random number values, which is fine, they don’t need to be in order!

There is also a number equation, now what we need here is to see the letter equation in its numerical form, I can do this easily by swapping out the letters with their number version so:

**A + B x D will now change to 2 + 3 x 5**

So what I have done, is used the formula given to me to transform the letters to numbers, now it is much more easier to work with.

My knowledge of BODMAS tells me that multiplication needs to be worked out before addition so what I will do is:

3 x 5 which gives me 15

add the 2 which gives me 17

So now I know 2 + 3 x 15 = 17 and that A + B x D also equals 17

The next step here is to convert the final total (17) back to letter format, because that is what the question requires. All I have to do now is look back at my alphabet formula and see if any letter equals 17, and we can see that E does!

So A + B x D = E (our answer is E!)

### What if I can’t work out the answer?

First of all this happens, don’t worry, in this situation all you need to do is figure out where you may be going wrong, have forgotten something or overlooked something else. What you need to do is try, and by doing this errors can be sorted very quickly, very easily and will stop you wasting time.

To do this lets apply a checklist. Whenever we can’t find an answer we will go through this checklist from start to finish, step by step until we find out where the problem is:

- Check the letters equation, then check the numbers equation – go through each one from left to right, are you changing the right letters to the right numbers?
- Check your BODMAS working out is everything in order? – you can very easily confuse this and calculate the wrong thing
- Write your working out on the paper to double check that is right, you don’t always have to do mental maths!
- Double check your answer and read through the alphabet formula

Just keep in your mind that you can work out the answer, you have been given all the information on the paper, and you are not expected to know anything beyond what has been given to you. All you need to do is take the information, rearrange it and then apply it.

## Things to watch out for

When rushing, especially against the clock, it is very easy to make mistakes and even confuse yourself. Always aim to practise these questions beforehand so you feel comfortable and are mentally familiar with these question types. As a precaution you should also watch out for the following:

- Only use the letters and their number values that are specified in the question
- Only use the letters that you need to use
- If you arrive at a value that is not given a letter, then you have worked it out wrong, do not waste time on it, redo your working out
- Do not assign the wrong values to letters when converting the letter equation to a number equation (always double check)
- Apply BODMAS and work out the sum correctly e.g. Brackets, Order, Division, Multiplication, Addition, Subtraction
- Do not forget to convert the final total number back to a letter
- Try not to guess (at least without taking advantage of all the information given to you!)