Sequential Output Questions and Concepts for CAT and Other MBA Exam Preparation

Friday, March 19th, 2021

Sequential output questions for CAT

Sequential output is basically output of a machine which is working on a fixed sequence. We start with an input and following a fixed pattern or sequence machine gives us the final output. In these type of questions, we observe that input output process in different steps and try to find out the pattern and sequence on which the machine is working.

Importance from exam point of view – These questions looks dangerous but actually these are scoring questions in exams, it doesn’t take much time in solving.

Pattern of questions- In all type of questions, there is a sequence given but sometimes arrangement of only words is given, sometimes only numbers are given, sometimes numbers and words both are given, sometimes symbols also used with words and numbers.

Example of Sequential Output Question

1. In a word arrangement machine when input is given it gives an output following a sequence in steps which are given as below-

Input: Home Review Insert Paste Layout

Step I: Review Home Insert Paste Layout

Step II: Review Paste Home Insert Layout

Step III: Review Paste Layout Home Insert

Step IV: Review Paste Layout Insert Home

This is the arrangement and step IV is final step.

How to approach Sequential Output Questions (Basic Method)

First of all, we have to identify the pattern followed by machines through the steps given. It is very easy just look at the input and first step, then directly look at final step given. You will easily able to find out the pattern. Usual patterns are alphabetically arrangement of words or Increasing and decreasing order of numbers etc.

After finding the pattern just write the steps only if required no need to write all steps, first go through the question and then decide if it is better to right all steps or just go for the question directly. Don’t write words in full form write their first letter only or any short form by which you can understand easily. You can give the numbers also according to their position.

Usually the question asked is like find the 4th step or how many steps required to complete the arrangement or what will be the output or what is the input etc.

After finding the pattern you can easily write the required steps and output.

Note – You cannot find the input from the output given because input can be in any order and output will be in arranged order so without knowing about each steps we cannot find the input. Sometimes it is asked only for creating confusion in mind.

Example – A word arrangement input and output for a machine is given below-

Input: 74 Font 34 Board 46 Cut 85 Snow

Step I: 85 74 Font 34 Board 46 Cut Snow

Step 2: 85 Snow 74 Font 34 Board 46 Cut

Step 3: 85 Snow 74 Font 46 34 Board Cut

Step 4: 85 Snow 74 Font 46 Cut 34 Board

This is the final arrangement and 4 is final step.


Q1. How many steps will be required to complete the arrangement for input given below?

Input – 89 Exam 45 Notes 53 Pen 98 Copy

Q2. What will be the input of following output?

Output – 75 Word 64 Noise 52 Mails 32 Body

Q3. What will be the third step of given input?

Input – 65 Link 86 Shop 46 Bank 23 Coal


EXPLAINATION:- These type of questions asked so we’ll try to understand it.

1- First we have to identify the pattern followed. For this we have to observe the first and last step of the arrangement. Clearly we can find that numbers are arranged in decreasing order and words are arranged in opposite order as in dictionary. Both numbers and words are arranged alternatively starting from number first.

Now for Q1 we have to find total number of steps so instead of writing all steps properly we can directly write (input: – 89 Exam 45 Notes 53 Pen 98 Copy) like;

Step 1 – 9 8 E 4 N 5 P C

Step 2 – 9 P 8 E 4 N 5 C

Step 3 – 9 P 8 N E 4 5 C

Step 4 – 9 P 8 N 5 E 4 C

So step 4 is the final step of this arrangement so total number of steps required = 4


For Q2 What will be the input of following output?

Here we can directly say that can’t be determined because we can find the arranged order not the distracted order without any other information. If these type of questions asked in exam then you can directly say cannot be determined.

For Q3 we have to find 3rd step of given input. We can write steps in short form for this also or we can directly write third step but for direct writing we have to keep in mind that what changes happening in 2 steps.

Input: 65 Link 86 Shop 46 Bank 23 Coal

Step 1 – 8 6 L S 4 B 2 C

Step 2 – 8 S 6 L 4 B 2 C

Step 3 – 8 S 6 L 4 C B 2

Thus this is the basic procedure how we can solve these type of questions.

There are some types of questions we can categories them into different categories where pattern are in these forms like-

1. Arranged in order

2. Interchanged positions

3. Mathematically operated


1. Arranged in order: In these type of questions words are arranged in alphabetical order and numbers are arranged in increasing or decreasing number. Words and numbers both can also be arranged together in one step. Arrangement can start from left to right or right to left also.


Input: 75 Front 24 Broad 56 Cut 95 Show

Step I: 95 75 Front 24 Broad 56 Cut Show

Step 2: 95 Show 75 Front 24 Broad 56 Cut

Step 3: 95 Show 75 Front 56 24 Broad Cut

In this example arrangement is from left to right and numbers and words are arranged alternatively in decreasing and opposite to English dictionary.

2. Interchanged positions: In these type of questions positions of one word is replaced with other word and positions of remaining words remains same.


Input: 101 Rohit 20 Nikhil 46 Amit 75 Gaurav

Step1: 20 Rohit 101 Nikhil 46 Amit 75 Gaurav

Step2: 20 Amit 101 Nikhil 46 Rohit 75 Gaurav

Step3: 20 Amit 46 Nikhil 101 Rohit 75 Gaurav

Step4: 20 Amit 46 Gaurav 101 Rohit 75 Nikhil

In this example both words are arranged in an order by interchanging the positions.

3. Mathematically operated: In these type of questions some mathematical operation like adition, square etc. are performed in each step of arrangement.

Example –

Input: 15 45 36 47 58 46

Step 1: 10 45 36 47 58 46

Step 2: 10 40 36 47 58 46

Step 3: 10 40 30 47 58 46

In this arrangement unit digit is subtracted from digits in each step.

Tips to remember:

1. Number of steps required to complete the pattern can be (n-1) at most where n is number of words/digits.

2. Previous step or input cannot be find from the step/output.

3. Always try to write steps in short form.

4. When we arranged words/digits some words are automatically arranged so do not get confused with them and don’t count that like a new step and focus on the pattern. For avoiding these situations do not assign numbers like 1,2,3,4 to words/digits (use first letter or any short form).

You can also see What Sherlock Holmes can teach you about Parajumbles in CAT

Crack CAT with Unacademy!

Use referral code HANDA to get 10% off.

  • Daily Live Classes
  • Live Tests and Quizzes
  • Structured Courses
  • Personalized Coaching
  • If you Like this post then share it!

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.