Puzzles & Guesstimates

puzzles and guesstimates

Puzzles & Guesstimates are asked to assess how quickly you can think on your feet and how you might approach complex problems.

The interviewer tests how you logically come up with an answer, so you need to verbalize your thought process. Remember, the process is more important than the answer.

Why guesstimates?

It is understood that the proficiency at guesstimate and similar techniques are the absolute hallmark of the practical analyst—the person who goes out and solves real problems in the real world.

It connects a conceptual understanding (no matter how rough) with the concrete reality of the problem domain; it leaves no place to hide.

Guesstimate also generates numbers (not theories or models) with their wonderful ability to cut through vague generalities and opinion-based discussions. For all these reasons, guesstimate is a crucial skill.

Guesstimates are more like mini-case interviews.

How to answer Puzzles & Guesstimates

The most important thing about case interview is that it shows your approach towards a problem. You can use the mnemonic ATAS: Ask, Think, Answer and Summarize.

Ask: You should ask the clarifying questions to the interviewer.

Think: Keep calm and think. Take your time.

Answer: Whatever solution comes to your mind, start explaining about how you reached?

Summarize: At last summarize your final solution for the case.

Helpful Tips To Crack Puzzles & Guesstimates

  • Write down important information.
  • Feel free to ask the interviewer for an explanation of any point that is not clear to you.
  • Remember that calculators are not allowed – you may write out your calculations on paper during the interviews.
  • Take time to organize your thoughts before answering. This tells the interviewer that you think about the problem in a logical way.
  • Be sure to mention a range of potential issues to explore instead of immediately diving very deep into one issue. Then ask your interviewer if he or she wants to go deeper on any of them specifically.

Sample problems

  • How many ping pong balls would fit in this room?
  • How many people are shopping on Snapdeal in India on a Friday at 3:00p.m.?
  • How many cars can pass through a toll plaza in a day?
  • How many engineers are needed each year in our country?
  • How many cars are sold each hour in India?
  • Can you name the smallest integer that can be written without two digits?
  • Can you name the biggest number that can be written with four 1s?
  • Recently I attended a small get-together. I counted the number of handshakes that were exchanged. There were 28 altogether. Can you tell how many guests were present?