How to Get Better at Logical Problem Solving

A man hunched over a laptop computer, one hand in his hair. He is obviously frustrated.
Photo by Tim Gouw

The more you practice, the better you’ll get–but how do you practice problem solving?  Should you really do nothing but work on side projects, “grind leetcode”, and solve coding katas 24/7 to improve?  While katas serve an important purpose, and it’s great to practice problem solving by actually writing code, there are other ways to work on your logical problem solving skills.

These activities allow you to practice breaking down complex problems into smaller steps by identifying and analyzing problem statements, identifying key information, and considering multiple approaches that could arrive at a solution.  No matter what sort of problem or puzzle you’re solving, the big steps are the same: 

  • distinguish between relevant and irrelevant information, 
  • define the way parts of the problem relate to and interact with each other, 
  • think about various strategies you can use to solve the problem, and 
  • break it down into manageable tasks to arrive at a solution.  

You can find plenty of books, websites, and mobile apps dedicated to logic puzzles and problem solving; a lot of resources are available online for free!


Sudoku is a popular puzzle game that involves filling a 9×9 grid with numbers from 1 to 9–but each row, column, and 3×3 subgrid (also called a “box” or “region”) must contain all digits from 1 to 9, without any repetition.  Grids start with a handful of pre-filled numbers to help players identify numbers that can only go in one specific cell.  After that, the player uses the filled-in numbers to make deductions about what other numbers go in which cells, until the puzzle is fully solved. 

Logic Grid Puzzles

These puzzles involve using clues to deduce the relationships between different elements.  The problem is presented as a set of statements or premises, and the player must arrive at the correct conclusions by making logical inferences.  These puzzles often use deductive reasoning and conditional statements, which makes them a good way to practice using logical operators (AND, OR, and NOT) and truth tables. 

Number Sequence Puzzles 

These mathematical puzzles involve finding the pattern in a sequence of numbers in order to determine the next number in the sequence.  Solving the puzzle requires identifying mathematical relationships between numbers. 

Analytical Reasoning Problems

Solving an analytical reasoning problem involves arranging elements according to specific rules or conditions, similar to logic grid puzzles.  These problems are often used in aptitude tests (like the LSAT practice questions in the link below) and involve analyzing the relationships between statements. 

No matter how you choose to practice problem-solving, take some time to reflect after you solve each puzzle, and think about how you approached the problem and how you arrived at the solution.  What mistakes did you make?  Can you think of another way to solve the problem?  Reflecting on your problem-solving will help strengthen your skills over time, and recognizing what you’ve learned from past experiences will help you apply that knowledge to future problem-solving! 

Logical problem solving is a skill that improves with time and practice!  Start simple, and as you tackle tougher problems, you’ll develop a more intuitive sense of logical reasoning and deduction. Remember, improving any skill is an ongoing process; but if you consistently practice, you’ll become more and more proficient at solving complex logic problems. 

Add a Comment