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Question Type 15: Using Information

Eleven-Plus Preparation Specialists

This question type might be seen as fun by students who like riddles, and could be seen as very difficult by students who dislike them and prefer questions with more set processes.

What does this question type involve?

Here, you will be given a small amount of information and then asked to make a decision based on it. For example, you might be told some information about the different areas of a zoo that particular animals live in, but in such a way that this information is rather confusing. You have to piece the information together and use logic and reasoning to find the answer. As such, this is a test of both your ability to quickly read and digest information, and your ability to use it.

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Example questions

There are three cars in a street. One is large, one medium, and one small. All are different colours. Noel has a blue car. He knows that his car is smaller than Alex’s. Rob’s car is the smallest, and is not grey – therefore it is not the same colour as Alex’s. What size and colour is Alex’s car?

Answer: Medium, grey
Noel: Medium blue
Rob: Small yellow
Alex: Large grey

A 3 Step Approach to Type 15: Using Information

These questions rely much more heavily on your ability to think through new information than any other question type, and as such cannot be as easily prepared for. However, you can still have a rough process to follow each time. We recommend that you follow 3 steps:

Step 1: Read through all the information
Step 2: Note down each relevant piece
Step 3: Rearrange the information

First of all, you need to digest the information that you have been given. Therefore you should read through and try to understand what you are being told, and what you’re being asked. Try to focus on each piece of information and consider what it means, and how it might relate to other parts of the question.

Next, you should try to note down the pieces of information that seem relevant. E.g. if you’ve been given a scenario in which you need to find where each animal in a zoo lives, note down their names and the information that you can immediately find about them. Perhaps you’re told that Sam the Seal lives in a blue hut – so note down blue and hut.

Finally, you need to rearrange the information appropriately so that you can solve the puzzle. For example, it’s likely that the information regarding Sam’s hut above would consist of ‘hut’ on one row and ‘blue’ on another, and then need to be used in conjunction with other pieces of information regarding colour and type of dwelling.

If you can’t solve the puzzle, then don’t be afraid to move on to the next question and come back to it with a new outlook. 

Worked Example

We’ll use the same example as in the first part.

 

There are three cars in a street. One is large, one medium, and one small. All are different colours. Noel has a blue car. He knows that his car is smaller than Alex’s. Rob’s car is the smallest, and is not grey – therefore it is not the same colour as Alex’s. What size and colour is Alex’s car?

So, our first step is to read through and get an overview of the context. Next, we will highlight which information appears to be most important. I would therefore digest the info, then begin to note down as follows: Noel, Alex, Rob; smaller, smallest, unknown, blue, not grey

Then I would write:

Noel – Blue, smaller
Rob – Not grey, smallest
Alex – Grey (through looking at how Rob’s car is described), large (as both the other cars are smaller)

This gives us an answer as follows:

Answer: Large, grey

Noel: Medium blue
Rob: Small yellow
Alex: Large grey

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Top Tricks

Always think of ways to categorise and display the information logically on the page. Often you’ll need to associate a particular name with two attributes – so make sure to write them under the name and then fill the rest in like a puzzle. 

Common Pitfalls

Don’t be confused by the amount of information or the way in which it is written – doing so can lead to students spending too long on the question or becoming discouraged.

Summary

In summary, focus on the core information and find a way to extract it and note it down which works for you, then use that information to solve the puzzle.
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