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Reasoning by analogy is a process

In simple terms, analogy can be defined as a comparison between one thing and another, typically for the purpose of explanation or clarification. It is the process of transferring meaning from a particular subject to another. Analogy enables simplification of things, decision making, and provide greater insights and possible solutions to a problem. 

Logical Reasoning is one of the most important and tricky section for MBA Aspirants in MBA Entrance Exams like CAT, IIFT, NMAT, XAT, SNAP Exams. Sometimes, we tend to make assumptions or use some information that the question fails to give us. We forget that we are not being assessed on our General knowledge but we need to consider only the information given to us in the Question.

Reasoning by analogy is any type of thinking that relies upon an analogy. It relies on comparison of similarities and the study of possible patterns between two or more objects. The ability to look for similar patterns in things require a skill, which comes with regular practise. Analogical reasoning is, therefore, a process, which can be perfected with practise. 

1. Understand the question

The process of analogical reasoning begins with understanding the demands of the question. Such questions are tricky in nature and require application of the mind. They can prove difficult for those who do not understand what is being asked in the question and how to go about it. Questions such as ‘Ophthalmia is to Eye as Rickets is to Bones’ can be difficult to understand, if the candidate is not used to facing such questions. 

2. Identify similarities

The first thing that reasoning by analogy involves is identifying a common relational system between two situations. This will enable you to make further inferences based on those relationships of commonality and come to a solution. This is not a difficult process, as people use this in their day- to- day lives, without even thinking about it, for instance, ‘They went back to the drawing board’ does not mean they went and started to draw, but the metaphorical meaning is to be applied- starting all over again- to some current situation. Identifying similarities involves understanding the analogical relationship involved between things under consideration. For instance, 
Curd: Milk:: Shoe: ____ (options- Leather, Silver, Jute). By analogical reasoning, we see that as curd is made by milk, similarly shoe is made by leather. So, the answer is leather.

3. Decoding patterns

Analogical reasoning essentially requires decoding of patterns. In questions which require analogical reasoning, the students should look for patterns between objects. For instance,
If the word APPLE is written as BQQMF, how will ‘CHAIR’ be written in that code?
If one looks carefully, the letters BQQMF follow corresponding letters of the word APPLE respectively. Clearly, there is a pattern. Once we know this, we can easily answer the question, the alphabets that follow each letter of the word CHAIR is DIBJS. So, the answer is DIBJS.

4. Practise

As analogical reasoning requires special skills to look out for similarities and patterns between objects, the only way to get better at it is by practising regularly. By practising different questions that require analogical reasoning, one can train ourselves in understanding the different types of questions and also what to look for in such questions while drawing an analogy.

Thus, reasoning by analogy is a process. Comparing two or more things and drawing relevant inferences requires skill and practise.

Read Complete Module on Logical Reasoning

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