# Programmer/Analyst Aptitude Test Questions that have Really Stumped Me

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If pencils are cheaper than pens, and pens are cheaper than erasers; and Peter does not have enough money to buy 5 pens; which of thefollowing will be the most appropriate answer?

1. a. Peter has money to buy 1 pen
2. b. Peter does not have money to buy 1 pen
3. c. Peter has money to buy 5 pencils
4. d. Peter has money to buy pencils but not enoughmoney to buy pens
5. e. Peter has enough money to buy erasers

8Z5*CD2%J$7SQRI@Z12 What willcome in place of the question mark (?) in the following series based on the above arrangement? 58C *ZD C52 ? 1. a. D*% 2. b. 2CJ 3. c.$%S
4. d. 7JQ

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That's easy, we can't do your homework for you is the appropriate answer.

no but seriously ...

Edited by Xittenn
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• 1 month later...

Actually I don't find the questions easy either.

For the first one I have an answer, I'm still working on the second one.

The difficulty with the first one is that the correct answer is not listed - in my opinion.

Note that it says that:

1. Pencil < Pen < Eraser from the price point of view

2. Money < 5 * Pen.

Note that it doesn't say:

1. How much Money really is.

If:

Pencil = 4

Pen = 5

Eraser = 6 and

Money = 1

then all the conditions of the problem are met.

1. 4 < 5 < 6

2. Money < 5 * 5 = 25

So Peter doesn't have enough money to do anything so we could say that answer b is correct.

But if Money = 5 he has enough money to buy a Pen so we could say that a is correct.

If Money = 20 he has enough money to buy 5 Pencils - c and e and a.

If Money = 8 he can buy 2 Pencils but only one Pen so we could chose d and a.

If Money = 12 we could choose e and a.

The correct answer in my opinion is that we can't really say what Peter can/can't do with his money. This question is stupid.

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PROBLEM 1

Solving it as a word problem, it helps to add "definitely" to the answers.

1. Peter definitely has money to buy 1 pen
2. Peter definitely does not have money to buy 1 pen
3. Peter definitely has money to buy 5 pencils
4. Peter definitely has money to buy pencils but not enoughmoney to buy pens
5. Peter definitely has enough money to buy erasers

PROBLEM 2

series

n.

A number of similar, more or less related things following one another in time or place.

So, how are the first three things in the series related to each other?

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The difficulty with the first one is that the correct answer is not listed - in my opinion.

Bingo!

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If pencils are cheaper than pens, and pens are cheaper than erasers; and Peter does not have enough money to buy 5 pens; which of thefollowing will be the most appropriate answer?

1. a. Peter has money to buy 1 pen
2. b. Peter does not have money to buy 1 pen
3. c. Peter has money to buy 5 pencils
4. d. Peter has money to buy pencils but not enoughmoney to buy pens
5. e. Peter has enough money to buy erasers

This problem is impossible to solve,

Reasoning:

given "Peter does not have enough money to buy 5 pens", we conclude $M < 5 \times A$

where M is Peter's Money Amount, and A is the Pen's Price

from the words "enough money", we conclude $0 < M < 5 \times A$

now let's say that $B < A$, where B is Pencil's Price

but, with this we cannot find out if $M > A$, or $M > B$, or $M < B$

and thus, we cannot know how much is his money to know if Peter can buy a Pen or even a Pencil ...

Edited by khaled
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The second one draws parallels to this brain teaser(or observation that was so gracefully opened in puzzles), where this is just a hint that may help you. I was just goating him to find the answers because really when you see them they are pretty simple, sorry if I seemed rude. Edited by Xittenn
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• 1 year later...

If pencils are cheaper than pens, and pens are cheaper than erasers; and Peter does not have enough money to buy 5 pens; which of thefollowing will be the most appropriate answer?

1. a. Peter has money to buy 1 pen
2. b. Peter does not have money to buy 1 pen
3. c. Peter has money to buy 5 pencils
4. d. Peter has money to buy pencils but not enoughmoney to buy pens
5. e. Peter has enough money to buy erasers

8Z5*CD2%J$7SQRI@Z12 What willcome in place of the question mark (?) in the following series based on the above arrangement? 58C *ZD C52 ? 1. a. D*% 2. b. 2CJ 3. c.$%S
4. d. 7JQ

Answer for this question is : D*%

how i figured it out is, the sequence goes like this

A ) 3 rd,1 st,5 th letters

B) 4 th,2 nd,6 th

C) 5 th,3 rd ,7 th

D) so the next would be 6 th,4 th,8 th Letters (D*%)

if want another one 7,5,9

Hope this is right

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• 4 years later...

So, if Peter doesn't have enough to buy 5 pens, the most appropriate answer (to me) is (A) that Peter has enough to buy 1 pen.

This is because all the other answers we cannot answer DEFINITELY because we do not know the cost of the other items, we just know the relative cost to pens. They may not even be a reasonable price relative to pens, so we cannot judge how much Peter can afford unless the amount is cheaper than 5 pens. It seems to me to be less about math and more about reasoning and reading the question verbatim. Don't overthink it. It's silly, but I believe the nature of the test is to see how well you think it out. Let's go through each answer and reason it out.

A.) Peter has money to buy 1 pen. YES. If Peter doesn't have enough to buy 5 pens, then he obviously has enough to buy 4 pens or less. So he has enough to buy 1.

B.) Peter does not have money to buy 1 pen. NO. The statement just said Peter does not have money to buy 5 pens. So this is incorrect. He just doesn't have enough for 5 pens. Anything less than 5 pens is okay.

C.) Peter has enough to buy 5 pencils. Probably, but not sure. Pens could cost $5 each and pencils could cost$4.99. In that case, 5 pens are $25 even and 5 pencils are$24.95. If Peter has $24.97, he cannot afford 5 pens or 5 pencils. If I saw Peter in this predicament, I would just give him the$0.05, so we can end this misery, but apparently there isn't anyone willing to do that right now.

D.) Peter has enough money to buy pencils, but not enough money to buy pens. Again, like answer C this is probably true, but it is not able to be determined with the information given. It is possible to not be able to afford pens and not afford pencils at the same time. Notice they didn't say 1 pen or 1 pencil, they say pencils (with an "s"). That could mean 10 pencils, 50 pencils, who knows?

E.) Peter has enough to buy erasers. What? Where did erasers come from? He can't even afford 5 pens! If erasers are more expensive, we can't be sure he can afford them. If 5 pens = $25, and 1 eraser =$25, they still fulfill the limits on the statement and he can't afford it. No Peter!! Just no.

For the second question Dayan in the previous post nailed it. It's exactly how he explained it. It helps to count out the order of each variable which was my first inclination when you see things in a random (letters, numbers, symbols, etc) pattern like this. Another type of question is If they were all numbers, think about counting the amount between the numbers, like, 1,3,5,7 are 2 apart. You can sometimes see a pattern there or increments. Always try to find a pattern. There is always a pattern.

I find this years later, but I hope this helps someone one day!

- HootersGeek

Edited by HootersGeek
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If we don't know how much pens or pencils are, if (for example) 10 pencils are equal to the cost of 1 pen, then Peter may still have any amount of money between only able to afford a single pencil, and enough to buy 4 pens and 9 pencils...

And if (again for example) 1 eraser is equal to the cost of 1 pen + 1 pencil, that still doesn't help us chose the appropriate answer.

Edited by Daecon
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If we don't know how much pens or pencils are, if (for example) 10 pencils are equal to the cost of 1 pen, then Peter may still have any amount of money between only able to afford a single pencil, and enough to buy 4 pens and 9 pencils...

And if (again for example) 1 eraser is equal to the cost of 1 pen + 1 pencil, that still doesn't help us chose the appropriate answer.

Hi Daecon,

It's totally frustrating, I know, but when you take an exam of this nature, you have to make due with what's given. The information you have is the information you have. This is a frustrating thing for computer science people (I'm a biology person), but you must take what it says literally and you apply it to the choices. There is no choice to say "not enough information". The EPIC test (from what I was told) is a brain teaser. It is meant for you to become frustrated and say "not enough information" or randomly guess because it's not making sense , but from what you are given, make the best "most appropriate" choice. It's not perfect, but the others don't make sense and you have to choose one answer. Not choosing is also a wrong answer.

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The only statement we have about how much he has is " Peter does not have enough money to buy 5 pens"
And that would be true if he had no money at all.

Since we can't exclude the possibility that he has no money, we can't exclude any statement of the type "he can't afford...". Nor can we be certain of the truth of any statement along the lines of "he can afford..."

basicly; we don't know.

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May be my imagination, but they seem to be emphasizing the plural vs singular.

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The first question is not necessarily a "math question", but either way, I am just writing my take on it. Obviously everyone here can weigh in, so it's what "I" think the question is asking.

John: You are correct. No money means he can't afford anything! This question is really frustrating for that reason! :-\

Endy: I believe that the plural is the point. It seems to be aimed at "based upon that statement, assess the other statements" kind of thing...

Deacon: The only person who truly knows the "most appropriate" answer is the creator of the question. I don't plan to click any random links to whatever that is... So you can explain it here in the forum, if you'd like. Otherwise, no one else here has an answer.

I know that the exam has like 30-40 questions to take in 2.5 hours time, so it's supposed to be challenging but not time consuming. This means you need to eliminate the wrong answers pretty quickly or you can spend 20 minutes on this question and run out of time. Your choice. And you can't phone a friend or poll the audience, so that's that. Again, this is just my opinion.

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Ah, I was linking to an article on TV Tropes, it's a wiki on narrative devices used in popular culture. The "Mathematician's Answer" is an answer that's technically correct (the best kind of correct) but completely useless under the circumstances.

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• 1 year later...

Just found this forum because I'm helping a friend practice for this test.

For the first problem: I doubt this question is still part of the test but a search around the internet indicates the answer apparently D) peter has enough money to buy pencils, but not enough money to buy pens

Personally, I don't see how this is the most appropriate answer (for me that's A) can anyone from this previous discussion help by finding a way to justify that it is D?

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How do you know Peter is not broke?

Edited by zapatos
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22 minutes ago, zapatos said:

How do you know Peter is not broke?

Because Peter just payed Paul...

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2 hours ago, dimreepr said:

Because Peter just payed Paul...

No, someone robbed Peter to pay Paul...

No, wait, I think Peter paid the piper...

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4 hours ago, theary said:

Just found this forum because I'm helping a friend practice for this test.

For the first problem: I doubt this question is still part of the test but a search around the internet indicates the answer apparently D) peter has enough money to buy pencils, but not enough money to buy pens

Personally, I don't see how this is the most appropriate answer (for me that's A) can anyone from this previous discussion help by finding a way to justify that it is D?

Because one pen might cost more than five pencils. He definitely can't afford erasers because they cost more than pens. We can't specify a specific quantity and we know he must have some money because he doesn't have enough. That leaves  D because it doesn't tie a number to the answer and pencils are the cheapest. The operative words are "most appropriate".

Edited by StringJunky
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8 hours ago, StringJunky said:

Because one pen might cost more than five pencils. He definitely can't afford erasers because they cost more than pens. We can't specify a specific quantity and we know he must have some money because he doesn't have enough. That leaves  D because it doesn't tie a number to the answer and pencils are the cheapest. The operative words are "most appropriate".

Thank you for this explanation. I'm still not fully convinced of the reasoning of why this is the best answer... one pen might cost more than five pencils, but five pencils is not five pens. I am still inclined to think that either a or d could be deemed appropriate. But now I understand better why d would make sense.

Edited by theary
Word choice

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