# How can I spot a pattern in a sequence?

Question asked by: knowitall

Maths sequences are often found in math exams where you are asked to spot the pattern and state its formula.

This is often used in tests too for jobs or in assessments to get work so therefore it helps to be able to spot a pattern and get it without too much hassle or thought!

Practice is one method.

Another useful tip is to look for the difference between values and see what is happening.

Look at the pattern:

2, 4, 6, 8...

it's obvious you add two each time, but it's even more obvious when you look at the difference between each value:

2, 2, 2... easy!

If the difference is constant then you know that you are doing an addition or subtraction task. If it jumps or falls by a multiple then there is multiplication or division going on.

e.g.

2, 4, 8, 16

difference: 2, 4, 8: you can see this is doubling each time

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