# Verbal Reasoning : Encoding and Decoding Words (Type C)

- December 29, 2021
- Posted by: gg-pure
- Category: Verbal Reasoning

The Encoding and Decoding Words question type requires you to first work out the code or formula used to encode a word. After working out what the process is from an example given to you, you would then be expected to either encode or decode another word.

Now before we get started it is important for you to understand the difference between encoding and decoding so lets break it down:

- Encoding – To encode a word you are going to take the formula / code and take the original word and apply the formula to it. The result of this would be your encoded word. This is a word that has been changed based on a specific formula. Keep in mind that this encoded word may look jumbled up to you, this is what usually happens when you encode a word.
- Decoding – To decode a word you are going to take a formula and apply it to a word that is already coded. Now when you apply the formula you have to remember that the formula is what changed the original word into the coded word. So when you’re decoding you have to apply things in reverse. The final result of decoding a word is that you get the original word.

This question type seems very straightforward and involves you looking at the alphabet and understanding how each letter from the word got to the coded version or letter. This could be, for example, by moving 2 spaces forward or backward – that is down to you to find out. As you can tell, this is very similar to the Alphabet Word Codes question type.

The letters within the word given to you do not all have to follow the same change for example you can have:

- Constant change : This is where the same change happens for each letter
- Increasing or decreasing change : This is where each letter moves up or down by a certain number depending on where it is in the word
- Changing operations : This is when each letter goes up or down by the same number but number changes by positive or negative each time
- Increasing and decreasing with changing operations : This is when each movement for each letter in the word increases and decreases whilst also changing operations e.g. positive, negative, positive

As you can already tell this question type can become very complex, especially when different changes occur in the same word. Now, because of this it is important to understand the skills it is testing you for. These are:

- Systematic and logical thinking process so you build confidence
- Extracting a rule / process / formula from a worked example
- Ability to apply a rule / process of change / formula to a new question / word
- Being consistent in your work but also double checking
- Being able to work through each letter in order to identify any differences in the rules
- Being able to pick a letter and move plus or minus a number of places to identify the new letter
- Recognise changes to letters

It is important that you know that you will not know the answer when first starting the question. Instead you need to logically and systematically look at each letter before it was coded and after. From there you can then work out, using the Alphabet line what the change in letter was or is before and after the change.

As always, remember that encoding involves applying the rule as it is, whilst to decode you need to do the opposite to the rule for example if the rule is +1 to each letter, to decode you need to -1 each letter on the Alphabet line.

## What do Encoding and Decoding Questions Look Like?

As you can see from the Gaggle example below, the Encoding and Decoding Words question type is in the following format:

- Instructions including words and their number codes
- A worked example
- A given rule to apply
- A set of questions
- Area to answer
- 1 mark per question
- Option to write on the line or select from the multiple choice on the answer sheet

## How do I answer this question?

To confidently answer this question type we can apply a set process which will allow us to either quickly identify the rules / formula we need to follow or to implement an existing rule / formula given to us.

Not only does this give a systematic way of approaching any of these questions, but it also provides us a consistent way of getting to the answer that we can practice and become better at – this means we get faster at answering these questions. So lets look at the process:

- Read the question, is it asking you to encode or decode?
- Identify the worked example / rule and find the Alphabet line
- Look at the first letter on the worked example of the original word
- Look at the first letter on the coded word
- On the Alphabet line work out (in numbers) how far the first letter on the original word is from the first letter on the coded word
- Did you have to go backwards or forward?
- If you went backwards its minus and if you went forwards its plus
- Now you have the rule for the first letter work match the other letters from the original word to the coded word and work out how far each letter is
- Were you asked to encode or decode? If you were asked to encode apply the rules as you found them, if you were asked to decode reverse the operations for each number so if its a plus you need to do a minus

Remember the process is specific and it is important you follow it until you are comfortable. This will allow you to demonstrate the skills you need to answer the question which include:

- Understanding what you are expected to do
- Extracting and identifying the rule for each letter
- Applying the rule on a new question
- Reversing the rule when required (when you decode)

### Worked Example

Now we have a process we can follow lets apply it to an example to show it in action:

Alphabet LineA B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

EXAMPLEWORD : PLUM

CODE : QNXQ

Question 1Encode the following word:

DATE

CODE : ????

Looking at the above question we can see that we need to work out what the original rule or code is. We can do by this identifying the rule for each letter using the Alphabet Line of the EXAMPLE given to us – so lets give that a shot.

First of all we need to see which original letter aligns with which coded letter so lets put them line them up. The best way to do this is to put one word on top of the other:

**P L U M**

**Q N X Q**

Now we can work from left to right – P lines up with Q. On the Alphabet Line we see that to go from P to Q you need to move 1 place forward so we can safely say that the code for the first letter is +1.

**P L U M**

+1

**Q N X Q**

Now the second letter to look at is L which when coded is N. When checking the Alphabet Line we can work out that N is is 2 places forward from L so we now know the rule for the second letter is +2.

**P L U M**

+1 +2

**Q N X Q**

Let s now look at the third letter of the original word which is U. The third letter in the coded word is X and when we check this against the Alphabet Line we can see that X is 3 places forward from U so we can now say that the rule for the third letter is +3.

**P L U M**

+1 +2 +3

**Q N X Q**

Finally the last letter in the original word is M with the last letter in the coded word being Q so lets work out how many spaces this is using the Alphabet Line. From M there are 4 places forward to get to Q so we now know the rule for the fourth letter is +4.

We can now say that our rule to code a 4 letter word is:

- First letter : +1
- Second letter : +2
- Third letter : +3
- Fourth letter : +4

Let us now apply it to the question for the word DATE using the rules above and the Alphabet Line.

- D +1 (move forward 1 letter) = E
- A +2 (move forward 2 letters) = C
- T +3 (move forward 3 letters) = W
- E +4 (move forward 4 letters) = I

Our answer after coding the word DATE according to the rules we have found is : **ECWI**

## What if I can’t answer the question?

It is important to understand that these questions can be difficult especially when you start working with rules for each letter – they are meant to be hard and you are expected to put a bit of time into this. Remember, the Encoding and Decoding question type expects you to identify or build a rule after which you apply the rule and in some circumstances reverse it (if you are decoding).

In the situation where you are struggling a bit to answer the question try the following:

- Do not rush because you can make more mistakes by doing that instead work precisely
- Work systematically going from letter to letter, do not try jump letters as you may miss a rule
- Start counting from the next letter in the Alphabet Line so if the original words first letter is A then +1 is B, +2 is C
- Write the words down, one on top of the other so you know which original word letter lines up with which coded letter
- Double check your work – are you using the Alphabet Line correctly?
- Check to see that the rule is what you think it is, not what you assume it might be
- Do you know what it means to +1 or -1 a letter? (It means move it a long the Alphabet Line)
- Always look for a rule you can apply, whether its from a worked example or if the rule is already given to you – there will always be a rule
- Check the answer sheet and see if your answer is close to one of the multiple choice answers, if it is go for that answer and move on