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Tricks to Solve and Calculate Direction and Distance

Direction and Distance based questions are asked in various exams. Every banking exam including IBPS PO and IBPS Clerk will have at least one question related to this topic. Direction and Distance type questions check one’s sense of directions and ability to visualize.

These questions are generally very easy but occasionally you get tricky ones. Expect questions with many left and right turns. You may have questions with distances measured differently in meters, kms etc. You may also be tested on your ability to resolve relative directions like North – East, South – West etc.

The key to solving such questions is to get yours basics clear. Here are three sure fire methods to make it easier to analyze and calculate direction and distance.

 

#1. THE EIGHT POINTED STAR

Consider all eight directions while solving the given question. Draw the different directions out as follows:

analyze and calculate direction and distance fig 1
analyze and calculate direction and distance fig 1

#2. WHERE ART THOU?

Always consider yourself as facing North. Solve the question accordingly. Now your left hand is to the West side and your right hand is to the East side.

 

#3. TWIST AND PLOT

For rotation based questions, rotate the person in clockwise or anticlockwise direction relative to the direction he/she was facing last as per the question. Suppose the person was last facing East and in the question, it is given that he turns 45° to his right. Then the rotation will be as shown below:

analyze and calculate direction and distance fig 2
analyze and calculate direction and distance fig 2

 

Note: Rotation to the right is clockwise rotation & rotation to the left is anticlockwise rotation when looking down at the paper. This is irrespective of the direction in which you are facing.

So now the person is facing South-East.

 

EXAMPLE:

Let us illustrate all this things with an example.

Mohan started from his home and started walking East. After walking a distance of 5 km, he turned to the right and walked 3km. He then again turned to the right and walked 5 km. After this he turned 30° to his right and covers 6 km. In which direction is he and how far is he from his house?

Let us first draw directions as shown

analyze and calculate direction and distance fig 3
analyze and calculate direction and distance fig 3

STEP 1: Mohan started from his home and started walking towards East. That means Mohan is facing East.

analyze and calculate direction and distance fig 4
analyze and calculate direction and distance fig 4

 

STEP 2: After walking a distance of 5km, he turned to the right and walked 3km.

This tell us that he first walked 5 km towards East and turns right (now he is facing South) and then walks 3km in this direction (i.e. towards South).

analyze and calculate direction and distance fig 5
analyze and calculate direction and distance fig 5

 

STEP 3: Then he turns to the right and walks 5 km. That means he turns towards West and walks 5 km towards West.

analyze and calculate direction and distance fig 6
analyze and calculate direction and distance fig 6

 

STEP 4: Now he turns 30° to his right and walks 6 km. This is the point where one makes a mistake. We know that Mohan is now facing West and he has to turn 30° from West towards North. Hence now he is facing North-West. So he walks 6 km towards North-West. Thus his final position is as shown below.

analyze and calculate direction and distance fig 7
analyze and calculate direction and distance fig 7

So Mohan is towards West from his house. To find out the distance between Mohan and his house we will apply Pythagoras theorem.

AD = 3 km, ED = 6 km

AE = √ (ED2 – AD2 ) = √ (62 – 32)

AE = √ (36-9) = √ (27)

Therefore AE = 3√3

Hence Mohan is 3√3 kms West from his house.


[Note: 
30° 60° 90° theorem is applied in this problem where  A = 90°,  B = 60° and  E = 30°

In 30° 60° 90° theorem, the smallest side is x, the larger side is √3 x and hypotenuse is 2x. So this problem is pretty easy to solve. It doesn’t require too many calculations.]

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