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# Part 5d: How To Spot Sequences In Tests (eg Civil Service)

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Sometimes you will get sequences of numbers in a maths test, for instance 13, 15, 26, 59, ... and asked to give the next number in the sequence.

This is because the ability to do this is proven to suggest that you will be likely to have the requisite skills for a variety of jobs.

But some people say that they just cannot, try as they might, ever spot the next number in these sequences. What to do, apart from practice?

Well, firstly, don't panic!

There are several ways you can start. For instance, is there a common difference between the numbers?

With 4, 6, 8, 10 you can see the next number is 12: going up 2. That is to say, there is a common difference of +2 between each number in the sequence.

But with 31, 62, 124 do you instantly notice that there is constant doubling? The constant difference, put another way, is x2.

So, step one of dealing with a sequence question is to check for a constant of all four main operations: constant addition, subtraction, multiplication or division.