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Step 4 – ABC’s

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Goal for step 4:

Your goal of the ABC step is to have most of the cube complete. The top two layers will be completely solved.

You’re becoming a pro at this cube. Just look at how much you have done already. Okay… on to the ABC step. This step can be confusing at first, so watch out! But once you get the hang of it, its most people’s favorite step. It’s fun!

Warning: You need to know the 26 letter alphabet to continue! Are you ready? A good prerequisite for this course is kindergarten.

During this entire step 4, the yellow cube will almost always be facing you. We will be looking at different tops, but yellow side will still face us.

 Let’s begin!

So your cube should look something like this right now. Reposition your cube so the white side is in the back and the yellow side is facing front.


1 – Focus piece does not contain yellow.

Shun Yellow Pieces!

Up to now, the only specific color that has mattered is white. The other colors were all treated the same way. In this step, we avoid yellow pieces.

Lets look at what I call the “focus area”. Look at the focus area in the image below. This step is all about the pieces surrounding the yellow center. Notice the cube on the right. The focus piece has two parts: red & blue. If the red or blue were yellow, we couldn’t use that piece.

  What do you do if your focus area includes yellow? Rotate the cube to find another piece that works. (Of course, the yellow side will still be facing you as you rotate.)

When both parts of your focus piece are non-yellow, you are ready to move on to the “T” move.

Question!  What if all of my potential focus areas have yellow? Am I stuck now? I can’t advance to the “T” move until I find a non-yellow piece surrounding the yellow center. But they’re all yellow!!!!!!!!!

Easy. Calm down. Refer to the section further down called, “All of my potential focus areas have yellow! Now what?”


2 – Make the “T”

Now that we have a non-yellow focus area, we can make the “T”. Look at the top color in the focus area. What color is it? In the example below it’s blue. Find its matching side. While holding the front yellow side, we will turn the back two rows until you find the matching color. It should make a large “T” shape!


3 – Declare key word and do ABC’s

For the ABC move we need to first know our key word. Then after we do the ABC move, we find a new key word and do the ABC move again. So how do we find the key word each time? Simple. You just look at the color at the tip of the “T” you made. In the example below, its red. Now where is the red side of the cube? Is it left or right? The answer to that becomes your keyword. In the example below, the key word is “Left”, because red is on the left side.

Info you could probably ignore: Notice the question marks on cube image. Those question marks show where we are about to move the highlighted piece. The ABC move will actually take the highlighted piece and insert it into one of those locations. But… you really don’t need to know that, just follow the instructions and the piece will end up where it needs to go.

Hopefully, you can now identify what your key word is. If not, go back up and look again. In the example below, our keyword is left. So we say out loud, “Left!”

ABC move!

Now that you know the key word, you can do the ABC move. The ABC move is setup so you can easily memorize some moves. Don’t worry. They look harder than they really are at first. And you won’t have to remember them forever. Once you do it a few times, your hands will begin to remember and you won’t need this ABC guide. But for now, say the steps out loud when you do them.

Okay, here are the steps:

(Having trouble memorizing all these steps for the cube? Check out my cheat sheet.) 

Let’s do an example. Let’s start with the letter “A”. It means “Away.” We turn the front of our cube in the opposite direction of our key word. If our key word is “left”, then we will turn the front away from the left side as if our focus area is scared of the left.

Now we turn the bottom layer once to the left. Easy!

If you think about it, the front of the cube is really three vertical columns: Left column, middle column, and right column. We are going to move either the left column or right column. Which one? Right or Left? Our key word decides. In the example below we choose the left column.

The front of the cube also looks like a sandwich. You have a bun on top, bun on bottom, and meat in the middle. We are going to turn the delicious part of the sandwich… the meat. But which way? We let the key word decide. In the example below we turn the meat left.

Tip: It can be difficult to turn the middle row. Do your best. Hold the top row with your left hand, the bottom row with your right hand. Then use your right middle finger to push the middle row from behind. Try it. It’s fun!

Remember that column we pulled down earlier? Now we are taking it back up again. Did you forget which column you pulled down? Was it the right column or was it the left column? No big deal. Just think of the key word.

The next step would be “F” for “Fix your whites”…but before you review that, here are all the steps again:

For your convenience, here is a list below showing ABC for left and right together.

Okay, now the last step of the ABC move is to fix your whites. It doesn’t matter what your key word is at this point. Just reposition the cube so you can see all the white pieces. Move the row of 3 whites to the side with the largest group of whites. More detail in the image below.

Summary for Step 4:

  1. Face yellow towards you
  2. Find a non-yellow focus piece
  3. Make the “T”
  4. Declare key word and do ABC

Those are all the steps. Keep repeating the steps until your finished with the goal. You know when you are done when the top of your cube is white and the top two layers of the cube are solved. If you can do it under five minutes, then you are ready for the next step!



“All of my potential focus areas have yellow! Now what?”

So sometimes you will get in a situation that all four focus areas have some yellow. No biggie. If you have no other options, just pretend that everything is cool. Treat it as if it is a legit color. But no need to make the “T”… just do the ABC part. Should you choose right or left as your key word? Just choose the side that looks like it has a piece that doesn’t belong there. You wouldn’t want to mess up a side that looks complete. Do the ABC and that should change this up a bit.


The below image will tell you if you are done.




Did the ABCs help???

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Get A Cube.

Some have wondered what cube I use. Happy to help. I’m use the Classic Rubik’s Cube   …If that is too old-school, here is the AP-enabled cube, which is pretty cool looking.


Take the 5 Minute Challenge! 

Now scramble your cube! See if you can go through all the previous steps and solve the ABCs.

If you can do it under five minutes, then you are ready for the next step!

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