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Swot Up blog - hints, tips, news and events from the 11 plus swot world

The Age-Old Question

I thought I’d take a moment to go through one of the questions from our verbal reasoning practice tests. This kind of question is popular in the 11+ exam and can get you tied up in knots if you’re not familiar with it. It’s also a question that can eat up a lot of time if you’re not used to this style, so here’s an technique you can use to solve this one relatively easily.

Here’s the question:

Karen is older than Daniel, but younger than Jacob. Angela is younger than Carl who is younger than Jacob. Angela is older than Karen.

Who is the youngest?

Please circle the correct answer.

A) Karen              B) Daniel              C) Angela            D) Jacob               E) Carl

The key trick to this is to use a timeline. Imagine it like this:

Youngest

-

-

-

Oldest

 

Start filling it in according to the clues you are given. Treat each clue as an individual fact. When you complete it, leave plenty of space around each name to allow them to shuffle around!

Karen is older than Daniel, but younger than Jacob.

So to translate this in to a less tricky sentence, Daniel is younger than Karen, and Karen is younger than Jacob. This gives us:

Youngest

-

-

-

Oldest

Daniel

 

Karen

 

Jacob

 

Angela is younger than Carl who is younger than Jacob.

OK, so Angela is the youngest in this sentence, with Jacob still at the top of our diagram. We’re not sure where Karen fits into this so be prepared to move her around:

Youngest

-

-

-

Oldest

Daniel

Karen

Angela

Carl

Jacob

 

Angela is older than Karen.

This sentence confirms that where we’ve placed Angela in relation to Karen is correct. Therefore the answer to “who is the youngest?” is B) Daniel.

So in summary, when you see questions like this in a test:

  • Imagine a timeline
  • Take each clue one at a time
  • Leave space to shuffle people around
  • And as a bonus timesaver, if all the names start with a different letter, use that initial rather than writing the name out in full.

You can find this question and more like it in our library of Verbal Reasoning Practice Tests.

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