Verbal Reasoning : Letter Relationships (Type U)
- January 21, 2022
- Posted by: gg-pure
- Category: Verbal Reasoning
The Letter Relationships question type requires you to work out the second pair or group of letters. In order to do this you will be provided with an original pair and the letters that it changes into, these are usually called is to statements.
So, for example, AB is to CD.
This will then be followed by another is to, which is the one you have to work out. The second part will usually have the first pair filled in and you will need to work out the second pair.
So for example, AB is to CD as EF is to __
When looking at this question type it is almost always important for you to understand what the relationship is like in the first is to statement. Similar to some of the other question types like Encoding and Decoding Words, you have to establish a rule and then apply that rule.
Although we are working with letters here the change is always number based. So lets look at some of the possible changes that can occur:
- Addition – moving forward by a certain amount e.g. +2
- Subtraction – moving backward by a certain amount e.g. -2
- Increasing or ascending amount e.g. going up by 2
- Decreasing amount e.g. going down by 2
- Variation of the above operations dependent on the letter e.g. first letter +2 and second letter -2
Now that we know the most common changes that happen (which then become your rule to apply to the second is to) it is also vital that you know how that looks like when applying it to the alphabet. This requires awareness of order and placement of letters in the alphabet.
You almost always will be given an alphabet line to work with so you can mark your moves and changes, but it is also important to be familiar with where letters are in relation to each other and what letter you would be on if you moved forward or backwards a certain amount.
This will help you not only work out your answer, but also calculate the rule or how many times you need to move, for example it is important to be able to work out quickly the difference in places or moves from C to G. By doing so not only have you created a rule but you have already begun to work out an answer.
Although these question types don’t require you to know much before you go in, they aim to test your core skills and abilities, these involve:
- Ability to use the alphabet
- Ability to move forward and backwards on an alphabet
- Ability to work out the differences in changes required to go from letter to another
- Ability to create a rule based on the changes that you see
- Ability to apply that same rule to a new piece of data or information
- Ability to translate number changes e.g. +3 into letter outputs e.g. answer is F
- Working systematically and logically in order to find the rule
- Being time efficient
Although we are working with letters your English language skills take a back seat – you do not need to worry about whole words or definitions. Instead, if you review the abilities being tested it is focussed on your analytical and criticial thinking skills. Without being able to see what is changing and how you will never get to the right answer.
Ultimately it requires you to be able to look at single bits of information, whether letter or number, identifying a consistent rule / pattern. To do this you have to notice and work out how that letter has changed from one letter to another. Once you have done that you can then apply that to a different bit of information or data.
A systematic approach will really help frame your mind and break down how you should tackle this question. Always remember:
- Change identification – recognise what is changing and how by using the example already given to you
- Rule creation – by recognising what has changed you should be able to see a consistent rule being applied which is fulfilling the results in the example
- Rule application – now you can go to your new piece of data and information and apply your rule, changing it in the way other bits of information have changed
What does the Letter Relationships Question Type Look Like?
As you can see from the Gaggle example below the Letter Relationships question type is in the following format:
- General example with instructions
- 1 statement that can be broken into 2 parts (2 is to statements_
- The first section of the statement is complete – the first section is made up of 1 is to statement e.g. AB is to CD
- The second section of the statement is incomplete – there is a missing pair of letters at the end of the is to statement e.g. EF is to __
- 1 mark per question
- Multiple choice options on the answer sheet
How do I answer this question?
This question type involves just as much maths as it does letters. Therefore it is important to practise letter order, placement and also movement. Becoming familiar with moving letters up and down the alphabet is key in efficiently working out the rule and the answer.
Another key element of this is rule creation as mentioned above. Rule creation is essentially you being able to pick out a pattern or change that you recognise is consistently happening, for example a specific letter in a pair is moving by 2 to create the first letter in the new pair.
You can then be sure that this rule will be applied in the future because the data demonstrates it has already been applied in the past.
These 2 skills come together as the building blocks in answering this question type, allowing you to be more confident, efficient and certain in your answers.
As the question is written as a statement in English it is also important to be able to break it down to identify the part which will give you the rules you need and the part that you need to complete.
Lets break down the process in answering a question so we can revise, practise and become familiar with a method that works:
- Read through the question statement
- Break the question statement into 2 sections, one section with the first completed is to and the second with the incomplete is to
- Now look at the first section and recognise the 2 letter pairs – Pair 1 will transform into Pair 2
- Look at Pair 1 Letter 1 and then Pair 2 Letter 1
- Find on the Alphabet Line Pair 1 Letter 1 and count how many changes it takes (forward or backward) to get to Pair 2 Letter 1
- Note down how many changes it takes, that is your rule to get from Pair 1 Letter 1 to Pair 2 Letter 2
- Now look at Pair 1 Letter 2 and Pair 2 Letter 2
- Check how many moves it takes to get from Pair 1 Letter 2 to Pair 2 Letter 2
- Note down how many changes it takes, that is now your rule to get from Pair 1 Letter 2 to Pair 2 Letter 2
- Now we have our 2 rules go to the second incomplete is to statement (the second section)
- Look at Pair 1 in the second section and apply each rule you have come up with to Pair 1 Letter 1 and Pair 1 Letter 2 to create your Pair 2
- You should now have your answer
Now that we know the skills we need to answer the Letter Relationships question type and a step by step process we can implement to consistently get us to an answer (making it easier to remember and quicker to apply), lets work through an example to see it in action.
A 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
DI is to EE as RQ is to __
After reading through the question statement we need to now break the statement into 2 sections. One which is complete and the other is incomplete:
Section 1 – DI is to EE
Section 2 – RQ is to __
We have split the statement right through the middle (using the as) and this has given both parts of it. Now lets focus on Section 1 to get our rules, following our process we need to work out how to get from Pair 1 Letter 1 to Pair 2 Letter 1. Lets identify the letters first they are:
D to E
Using the alphabet line above we can see that to get from D to E we need to do a +1 move so the rule is:
Rule – To get from Pair 1 Letter 1 to Pair 2 Letter 1 we need to +1
Now lets look at Pair 1 Letter 2 and Pair 2 Letter 2 they are:
I to E
Using the alphabet line again we can see that to get from I to E we need to -4 so the rule is:
Rule – To get from Pair 1 Letter 2 to Pair 2 Letter 2 we need to -4
So now we have our 2 rules:
- To get from Pair 1 Letter 1 to Pair 2 Letter 1 we need to +1
- To get from Pair 1 Letter 2 to Pair 2 Letter 2 we need to -4
Now we need to apply our 2 rules to the second section of the statement to finish it off. The second section gives us Pair 1 which is:
So lets apply our rules to each letter in the pair in order to get the second pair.
To get from R to Pair 2 Letter 1 we need to +1. So lets see what that looks like on the alphabet line:
R +1 gets us to S
To get from Q to Pair 2 Letter 2 we need to -4 as per our rule, so lets apply that:
Q -4 gets us to M
So by working out both our rules for each letter in the pair in the first section, and then applying it to the pair in the second section we can now complete the statement and say that our answer is:
ANSWER : SM