Simon Harriyott

Patterns and practising

I recently completed an aptitude test, which went rather well. I made sure that I read the instructions really carefully, and asked how I would be measured (lots of answers, with as many right as possible). The first part was questions like:

"Anne is taller than Belinda,
Belinda is taller than Clare,
who is the shortest?"

Clare, obviously. After a few of these, I spotted a pattern. The objective was to work out the order of the three people, and pick the one at the specified end. Never the middle one. The middle one was always mentioned twice in the question, and had to be or there wouldn't be enough info to work out the answer. The middle one would never be the answer to the question, so I could eliminate it straight away.

I saved time by reading the first part of the sentence, the double name and the question bit. In this case, "Anne is taller than Belinda, Belinda, who is the shortest?". It wasn't Anne, or Belinda, so it must be the other one, Clare. It didn't save a lot of time, but I got a few more done than I would have done otherwise, and that was the objective after all.

Last night I played badminton for the first time in years. I used to play singles, and last night it was doubles. The second match I played was with a guy called Patrick, who knew all the tactics and rules. If you hit the shuttlecock low over the net, then move to the front middle section to be ready for the poor return. If you hit it higher, then both move to the side to prepare for the smash. It's really fast, so it was quite hard to remember whilst actually trying to HIT the thing. It's going to take practice.

But still, another patterns thing. I guess I instinctively spot patterns in life, and I do find them interesting and useful.

10 November 2004