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Angle ranking strategy


Full Member
Jan 13, 2011
  1. Dental Student
    For people with trouble on angle ranking....

    I usually do really well on angle ranking on CDP and Barron's. Angle ranking depends on the type and kind of angles. For example, is it acute or obtuse? are both legs the same length? are they turned sideways?

    I take angle ranking as a logic problem because there are only four answer choices even though there are 24 combination.

    This is hard because I don't have an image to show you but work with me. The first thing you should do is look to see if there is a 3:1 ratio; which means is there 3 choices for a certain size.


    A. 3,2,4,1
    B. 3,2,1,4
    C. 2,4,3,1
    D. 3,1,2,4

    So for this one you would try to find out if and 3 or 2 is the smallest. Generally it is super hard to tell the difference but if you can then there is no reason to continue if the answer is angle 2.

    If you can't tell then it is probably 3 that is the smallest; and I said PROBABLY. There is just not enough time on the test to second guess too much. I would probably assume angle 3 is smallest if I cannot determine angle 2 is smallest.

    The next thing I did is to compare angle 4 and 1 to see which one is largest. This is probably the most important step to determining the answer without spending too much time on one problem.

    ANGLES SHOULD BE DONE UNDER 30 seconds!!!! You cannot spend 1 minute here!!!

    When comparing angle 4 and 1, it is probably difficult to tell because they will probably be a, for example, 45 degree and 48 degree angle. The secret when comparing angle is to compare two close angle to a third.

    Here is the logic: It is impossible for me to discern a 45 degree and 48 degree angle. But the next angle must be 3 degrees from these two angles! Therefore the other angle must be at most 42 degrees. This makes it much easier for me to discern a 42 and a 48 degrees. It is easy to see the difference between these two; the 42 and 45 is also hard to discern, so they must be next to each other. The two discernible angles have the largest difference in degrees.

    Here is the next logic: If two angle are so close that they are indiscernible, then they MUST be next to each other on the answer choices; no ifs ands or buts about it. Sometimes there is only one option!

    Of course all this requires testing and practice.

    There are certain things you can do to rank angles that have different length legs. The best thing to do is look at the small part of the angle and look back and forth real quick. This is easy if they are next to each other but difficult if it is angle 1 and 4 because you have to look across the screen.

    Sometimes angles around 90 degrees are turned slightly diagonal. This is an optic illusion. You MUST turn your head sideways to see these angles properly.

    There is also a technique in barron's called angle parking. If you are luck enough to get one of these then use it. The smaller acute angle should fit or "park" into a larger angle.


    As you can see, angle 2 is bigger than 1 because it does not park. 3 is smaller than 2 because it does park, so on and so on.

    There is also a technique when I see an obtuse angle rotated 180 degrees. The angles will look like an upside down mirror image, Kind of like a "L" and a "7". The long leg is usually laid down on the horizontal axis. If you move these two angles closer to each othe, the larger angle tip will touch the vertex first. For example:


    As you can see the first tip to touch the vertex is the bigger angle.

    There are a few other tips I have but this is already getting too long of a post. The PAT was not hard except keyhole and hole punch, probably because I didn't study too much for CDP in general. I bought 10 test and did one, but all angles. Overall, I think the cube counting on CDP is dumb and you can use any other source for this. There is no source for keyhole. It was way harder than anything I ever saw. I wish I had used the DAT achiever I paid for because I heard that was more comparable.

    I might give my strategy for other sections but I think it takes some practice and logical understanding of what is going on.
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    Full Member
    Apr 28, 2009
    1. Pre-Dental
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