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Reasoning Ability > Series Completion > Alphabet Series
Series Completion

Alphabet Series

In Alphabet Series section, a string of alphabets, either in a single file or in combination form a sequence. This sequence comes together following a definite rule. The candidate is expected to detect this rule and answer the questions at the end. Most of the times an alphabet series or sequence will be present and you will have to find the missing term. Other instances may ask you to find the wrong term or the term that doesn’t belong to the sequence. Here we will see both of these questions that are very frequent in the IBPS PO, SO, SBI and RBI exams.

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Alphabet Series

The first step you should take when you encounter questions on the alphabet series is to map the alphabets and numbers. Let us do it in the following table.

A B C D E F G H I J
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
K L M N O P Q R S T
11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
U V W X Y Z
21 22 23 24 25 26

This table will help you crack every single one of the questions with ease. Normally the alphabet series is based on the number-alphabet relations only. Let us see some examples of finding missing alphabets.

Alphabet Series

Missing Alphabet Series

In these questions, alphabets will be present with one alphabet missing from the collection. Your job is to find the missing alphabet. Let us see with the help of an example.

Example 1: The missing letter of the series O, R, U, __ is:

a) V       b) W       c) X           d) Y         e) Z

Answer: If you take a look at the table, you will see that the letter O corresponds to number 15 and the letter R to the number 18. Similarly, you will notice that the letter U corresponds to the number 21. Therefore the missing alphabet should be X which corresponds to the number 24 as per the rule of the sequence. Hence the correct option is c) X.

Example 2: What should be the alphabet that follows the order of the sequence:   A, D, I, __

a) L            b) M             c) N                d) O              e) P

Answer: Once we convert the alphabet series into number series, the question will become very easy. The alphabet A corresponds to the number 1, alphabet D corresponds to the number 4. Similarly the alphabet ‘I’, corresponds to the number 9. Thus the number series that we want to solve here is 1, 4, 9, ___. You can see that each of the numbers is a square and that the sequence is a perfect square series. 1, 22, 32, 42 (=16). The alphabet that corresponds to 16 is P. Therefore the sequence is O, R, U, P. Thus the correct option is e) P.

Circular Arrangement Series

These type of questions are similar to the ones we saw earlier. But there our numbering scheme would stop at 26 with X. What if we put all the alphabets on the surface of a circle with equal distance in between them? Well, that is what happens in the circular arrangement series alphabet sequence. A convenient method to solve such type of questions is to imagine all the alphabets on a straight line and labelling them with numbers. Starting from A = 1, then A = 27, and A = 53 and so on. Let us see an example:

Example 3: Guess the next number in the following series: V, A, H, __.

a) M           b) N               c) O                d) P               e) Q

Answer: The lesser the number of alphabets present, the greater the difficulty of the question. Here you see that V and A have a difference of 4 alphabets between them.  Similarly, A and H have a difference of 6 alphabets between them if we follow the circular order of the alphabets. Thus the next alphabet will have to have a difference of 8 alphabets with H. This alphabet is Q. Thus the series is V, A, H, Q. Therefore the correct option is s) P.

Odd Series of Alphabets

In such questions, a number of series of alphabets will be present and you will have to decide which among them if any doesn’t make a series. Let us see an example of such type of questions.

Example 4: In the following space, a sequence of alphabets is present, one of them is wrongly put. Find the wrong one and select it from the options below:

a) Q, T, X, C            b) F, P, Z, J            c) W, U, R, N            d) A, L, W, Z

Answer: We will have to figure out the rule to every sequence. If you use the table, you will see that it becomes much more convenient to guess the rule. For example, in the first series, Q = 17; T = 20, X = 24; C = 29 [circular alphabet order]. Thus it forms a series under the rule. Similarly for the second option, F  6, P = 16, Z = 26 and J = 36. It also forms a correct sequence. Let us see the third one i.e. W = 23; U = 21; R = 18; and N = 14. So it is a wrong sequence. In place of N = 14, we should have had O.

That means the only series here that has a wrong term should be d). Let us check it. We have A = 1, L = 12, W = 23, H = 34.

Practice Questions

Q 1: What is the next term in the series: SCD, TEF, UGH, ___?

A) VIJ          B) VUK                 C) IJK               D) JIV

Ans: A) VIJ

Q 2: Which of the following is not right?

A) ADH, BEI, CFJ, DGK

B) Z, V, R, N

C) F, P, Z, J

D) B, L, V, E

Ans: D) B, L, V, E

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Alan Livesey

There are a number of errors on this page: In example 2: “You can see that each of the numbers is a square and that the sequence is a perfect square series. 1, 22, 32, 42 (=16). The alphabet that corresponds to 16 is P. ” should read “You can see that each of the numbers is a square and that the sequence is a perfect square series. 1, 2×2, 3×3, 4×4 (=16). The alphabet that corresponds to 16 is P. ” (I suspect that the original text from which this was prepared used superscript but this has not been… Read more »

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