Practice Problems for Solving Puzzles

Instructor: Tawnya Eash

Tawnya has a master's degree in early childhood education and teaches all subjects at an elementary school.

Are you looking for practice in solving puzzles to prepare for the ASVAB test? Look here for a variety of examples as well as strategies for solving puzzles as a way to enhance your spatial skills.

Assembling Objects - Solving Puzzles

Imagine you're a new member of the U.S. military, and you find yourself in the midst of a chaotic crowd in an unfamiliar country. You have a map of escape routes and the location of your base; however, you find it impossible to figure out where to go.

Suddenly, you wake up from this nightmare and realize you must be anxious about taking the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). You always struggled with spatial skills, or the ability to understand, relate to, and remember positions of objects. Now that you are about to enlist in the military, you find spatial skills are incredibly important in helping you read maps, interpret graphs, and figure out technical drawings. You really need to do well on this test to have a better chance of choosing an area of specialty in the military.

Let's review some helpful strategies you can use in order to solve puzzles before you dive into the ASVAB.

Strategies for Solving Puzzles

Imagine putting together a jigsaw puzzle, which you've probably done at least once in your lifetime. Solving puzzle problems is similar to jigsaw puzzles, except you don't have that many pieces, and you can't actually pick them up with your hands. You have to use your mind to rotate pieces and see how they fit together.

The following strategies will help you work towards passing your upcoming test:

  1. Rotate. You might need to rotate the images in your mind to see how they might fit together. Turning pieces clockwise or counterclockwise will give you the proper fit.
  2. Sliding. You might just be able to slide the objects together. If it appears that their edges or sides are already lined up and would fit like a puzzle, just slide the objects left, right, up, or down.
  3. Eliminating choices. By looking at each piece of the puzzle in the original picture, you can eliminate incorrect answer choices. If an answer choice does not have all of the correct shapes, get rid of it!
  4. Take your time. Unless you are being timed on the actual test, relax and look carefully at each problem.
  5. Practice. Keep in mind that ''Practice makes perfect.'' The more you practice anything, the easier or more attainable that task becomes.

You could practice solving puzzles with:

  • Online games or tests
  • Creating your own practice tests or having someone create them for you
  • Putting together a jigsaw puzzle
  • Drawing your own examples, cutting them out, and rotating and sliding the pieces until they fit together

No matter what, choose what practice method works for you. You may need to use different strategies in different situations or even come up with your own.

Let's check out some examples.

Practice Solving Puzzles

The following practice problems start out simple and move toward more complexity as you develop a better understanding.

Problem One

In this image, you will see three different shapes, or pieces, that need put together to make one whole puzzle. You will notice that they are numbered in this lesson so that explanations are more clear.

Problem One
Puzzle one

This is done correctly because all of the edges line up perfectly to create one final object out of the three original pieces. Looking at the original shapes, the top piece, number 3, slides downward to fit into the bottom section of piece number 2. Piece 1, originally located at the bottom, slides upward and gets rotated to fit into the top section of piece 2.

Problem Two

Check out the next example to see if you can determine the correct answer. Look carefully at the original shapes. Then, apply any of the strategies necessary for you to get the correct answer.

Problem Two
Puzzle two

Let's break your observations and strategies down:

  • Choice A - All shapes were rotated and slid into the proper places. No shape was changed or unused.
  • Choice B - After a careful comparison, you can tell that it doesn't matter which way you rotate and slide the shapes--they are all incorrect. Although they fit together well, the shapes are not the same as the original ones.

Based on this, you can conclude that Choice A is the correct answer to this puzzle.

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