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Circular Seating Arrangement – How to Solve Quickly

Published on Sunday, September 27, 2015

I have got requests from readers to write a piece on ‘Circular Seating Arrangements’ – which is why I have been toiling away re-searching to bring you all the shortcuts and tricks and tips.

As in, I found things which are helpful – but you probably know them already – basic concepts & practice!

Sitting arrangements 1

So, there you have it dear friends, in puzzles and seating arrangement - nothing beats practice – there are ‘ways or methods’ to solve these sums – but ultimately there is no ‘shortcut’ trick'.

Although I have shared technique to solve "Circular Sitting arrangements" here.

We will discuss the ‘ways’ to solve seating arrangement sums as properly as possible!

1. The kinds:

There can be two ways of seating people in a circle (could be a square too – doesn't make a difference), where people are sitting:-

(i) facing inwards – towards the centre of the circle,
(ii) facing outward – away from the centre of the circle.

2. When facing inwards:

Where all the persons to be arranged face the centre – then
i. all their ‘rights’ is in the anti-clockwise direction,
ii. their ‘lefts’ is in the clockwise direction.

So, when they ask who’s to the left of D, in the above diagram – close your eyes – picture yourself to be D – answer will be A.

If picturing in the head is confusing – take the rough sheet you’ve drawn the diagram on and turn it around! Turn it around so that D is directly in front of you – so you become D and now according to your left/right direction – answer the questions!

Nothing simpler and easier than that!!
Sitting arrangements 2

3. When facing outwards:

Where all the persons to be arranged face the centre – then
i. all their ‘rights’ is in the clockwise direction,
ii. their ‘lefts’ is in the anti-clockwise direction.

Here too, try visualizing yourself in their places to answer – or else turn the papers around.

4. How to seat them:

This is the problem area for most – how to correctly seat Mr. A, B and C!

Let me try breaking this ‘problem’ down to smaller problems and then we’ll tackle ‘em!

(i) Draw a circle – mark the places (4/6/7/8) – and then start reading the question!

(ii) Arrange the information in every sentence – if possible – if not – write it down beside you circle in shorthand – to be arranged when further information clarifies the position.

Sitting arrangements 3

(iii) If you find a situation where, supposing, A can be seated in 2 different places – then, go ahead with one place and arrange the rest accordingly – if you successfully arrange the entire thing – then the A’s place which you had arbitrarily decided is the correct place!

If it is not correct you’ll find that your arrangement of A’s position is contradicting as per other information in the question and you can then chose the other A’s possible position.

Okay, another one – if P has two possible ways to be seated – namely Seat 1 and Seat 2. You are not understanding from the available information, where to seat P. So you, arbitrarily seat him in either Seat 1 or Seat 2.

Let’s say you seated him at Seat 2 – ok – now go ahead and try seating the others as per the rest of the information in the question.

If you are able to seat ‘em all without any contradictions or problems, you have successfully solved the question and P’s seat that you chose is correct.

And if you find a contradiction of P’s Seat 2 – then you immediately know for sure that Seat 2 is not the right place of P and it has to be Seat 1, as there were only 2 possibilities!

(iv) Always arrange those person’s around your circle, whose positions are 100% clear and accurate. Keep the persons who you have a doubt on a little farther away so you know who’s definitely sitting correct and who you need to revise the seating for!

Or, put a tick on the persons who are seated correct.

This brings clarity to the fact that – these people are sitting right and these places are not available for further arrangement – the rest need to be arranged in the available places only.

Sitting arrangements 4
(v) If there are 4/6/8/10 persons, i.e., even number of people and all facing one particular direction – then 2nd/ 3rd / 4th / 5th to the left or right is always the person sitting opposite!

(vi) Where some are facing outward and some facing inward, then mark the places with arrows pointing inward/outward.
Like in this figure, A and D are facing outward and so their arrows are pointing away from the centre; while, B and C are facing inward with their arrows pointing towards the circle.

I usually more my rough sheet around without wasting my time and get the positions correct!

(vii) Practice! The Golden Rule to solving Seating Arrangements – advocated everywhere by everyone is – LOTS OF PRACTICE!

Honestly, there is no other way around it!

Some people are just born with the knack of seating people correct and some aren’t – I fall in that category of ‘seating – arrangement – challenged’! But I make up for it by practice and perseverance! I now solve sums like I was born doing it!!

Dear Readers, practice and patience is how you’ll be able to solve these sums in the exam…

Best of luck!

Practice Sets 

Set 1

Directions (Q. 1 - 5) Study the following information carefully and answer the questions given below.
Bunty, Dev, Manav, Kavya, Payal, Qasturba, Wasir and Himmat are sitting around a circle facing at the centre. Manav is to the immediate right of Bunty who is  4th to the right of Kavya. Payal is 2nd to the left  of Bunty and is  4th to the right of Wasir. Qasturba is 2nd to the right of Dev who is 2nd to the right of Himmat.

Q1. Who is 3rd to the right of Bunty?
               a) Wasir                                 b) Manav                             c) Kavya
               d) Himmat                            e) None of these

Q2. Which of the following represents the immediate neighbours of D?
              a) Payal and Qasturba              b) Kavya and Himmat          c) Payal and Himmat
              d) Kavya and Qasturba             e) Payal and Kavya

Q3.  Who is 3rd to the right of Wasir?
               a) Payal                                   b) Dev                                   c) Kavya
               d) Qasturba                              e) Data inadequate
Q4. Who is 2nd to the left of Payal?
               a) Dev                                    b) Himmat                              c) Kavya
               d) Data inadequate                 e) None of these
Q5. Who is to the immediate left of Bunty?
               a) Qasturba                             b) Payal                                c) Wasir
               d) Data inadequate                    e) None of these


circular seating arrangement
Answer 1.    (Option D)
Answer 2.    (Option E)
Answer 3.     (Option B)
Answer 4.     (Option C)
Answer 5.     (Option A)

Set 2

Directions (Q. 6 - 10) Study the following information carefully to answer these questions.

            Amrit, Bector, Chinky, Deepinder, Eeshwar, Fancy, Gurkamal and Hero are sitting around a circle facing the centre. Fancy is third to the right of Chinky and second to the left of Hero. Deepinder is not an immediate neighbor of Chinky or Hero. Eeshwar is to the immediate right of Amrit, who is second to the right of Gurkamal.

 Q6. Who is second to the left of Chinky?
                a) Amrit                                    b) Bector                             c) Eeshwar
                d) Deepinder                              e) None of these

Q7. Who is to the immediate right of Chinky?
                 a) Amrit                                    b) Bector                             c) Deepinder
                 d) Bector or Deepinder            e) None of these

Q8. Which of the following pairs of persons has first person sitting to the right of the second person?
                a) Chinky and Bector                 b) Amrit and  Eeshwar       c) Fancy and Gurkamal
                d) Hero and Amrit                      e) Deepinder and Bector

Q9. Who sits between Gurkamal and Deepinder?
              a) Hero                                         b) Deepinder                                          c) Fancy
              d) Eeshwar                                         e) None of these

Q10. Which of the following is the correct position of Bector with respect to Hero?
   I.     Second to the right
  II.     Fourth to the right
  III.    Fourth to the left
  IV.    Second to the left
  a) Only I                                    b) Only II                                  c) Only III
              d) Both II and III                     e) None of these


circular seating arrangement

Answer 6.    (Option A)
Answer 7.    (Option B)
Answer 8.     (Option E)
Answer 9.     (Option C)
Answer 10.     (Option D)

Set 3

Directions (Q. 11-15) Study the following information carefully and answer the questions given below.

            Akshay, Manisha, Deepak, Paresh, Ranbir, Tarun, Bector and Hrithik are sitting around a circle facing at the centre. Manisha is 3rd to the left of Akshay who is 2nd to the left of Tarun. Deepak is 2nd to the right of Hrithik who is 2nd to the right of Tarun. Ranbir is 2nd to the right of Bector who is not an immediate neighbour of Tarun.

Q11. Which of the following combinations represents the first and the second to the left of Bector respectively?
               a) Manisha and Deepak            b) Deepak and Hrithik               c) Akshay and Manisha
              d) Akshay and Ranbir                e) Deepak and Manisha

Q12.  Who is 3rd to the right of Tarun?
              a) Deepak                                      b) Bector                                 c) Hrithik
              d) Manisha                                   e) None of these

Q13. Who is to the immediate left of Hrithik?
             a) Paresh                                       b) Manisha                              c) Tarun
             d) Ranbir                                        e) Data inadequate

Q14.  Who is 2nd to the left of Bector?
            a) Deepak                                       b) Hrithik                                 c) Manisha
            d) Data inadequate                         e) None of these

Q15.   In which of the following combinations 3rd person is 2nd to the left of 2nd person?
       a) Bector, Akshay, Ranbir               b) Deepak, Bector, Mansiha           c) Tarun, Paresh, Hrithik
       d) Paresh, Manisha, Hrithik             e) None of these


circular seating arrangement
Answer 11.    (Option E)
Answer 12.    (Option D)
Answer 13.     (Option A)
Answer 14.     (Option C)
Answer 15.     (Option B)

Updated on 27 September 2015

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