14 Sep 2020 20:01 IST

Get set for data interpretation and logical reasoning in CAT

Getting a good score in this section has got a lot to do with the strategy and speed

Let’s talk about the preparation plan to ace the Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR) section of the CAT exam, dreaded among the students. There is a great deal of randomness and uncertainty in this section, which is why a systematic preparation and test-taking strategy is required to score well. No matter, how many different sets of sample paper you solve, there is always a chance of seeing something new in the final CAT exam.

As discussed above, there isn’t any pre-defined syllabus for this section, but based on the past trends, let’s categorise the various areas and topics that one needs to be familiar with to tackle DILR.







The above table just provides basic information about the areas that you need to focus on. Know your basics, to begin with. With 32 questions in the CAT 2019, the number of good attempts was around 15-17. Even with an accuracy of 85 per cent, one would have achieved an approximate of 95 percentile in this section.

One should remember well that CAT has always been an unpredictable exam. Also, do make a note of the fact that we have no information about the number of questions to be asked this year although the duration of the test is the same. A student should take into account all the possibilities and be prepared. In terms of gauging the preparedness and relative performance with regard to CAT, one should take full length mocks at regular intervals and analyse them thoroughly. Here are some preparation tips:

Improve your speed

The speed at which you solve math problems and basic multiplication tables or squares or cubes is crucial to crack the calculation based DI sets. The use of approximation will be of great help compared to relying heavily on the use of on-screen calculators.

Don’t narrow down your preparation

Many students just focus on their favourite subject and ignore the other ones. Please understand that the CAT exam these days is built on an integrated model, which is an amalgamation of the LR and DI sets. Hence, cover all areas and do not operate in silos.

Focus on the variety

It’s imperative that you practise variety of DILR sets. The more diverse the sets you solve, the higher the probability of encountering a familiar set in the CAT. It will help you understand and learn the process of solving sets and the correct structure to be used, eventually reducing your chances of losing marks.

Visit the past year CAT papers

We recommend scanning through the last three years’ CAT papers to understand the structure of the sets being asked. This will help you prioritise the areas you need to focus on. The following are the high-frequency sets in the CAT: reasoning-based DI set, Venn diagram, and selection and distribution. In addition to that, you could also solve the DILR sets from CAT papers from 2000 to 2008 for better practice.

Analysis of mock papers

Getting a good score in this section has got a lot to do with the strategies. It is important to scan this section, identify the easy and doable sets, and solve them first. You would never want to be in a situation where you have spent a considerable amount of time trying a difficult set and ultimately quit with no success. Do not be afraid to experiment in the mock papers and devise a strategy for yourself.

Some other useful tips

While scanning through a set, don’t judge it by its face value or the volume of data. Read all the statements intently and go through the questions.

Never assume any information or data that’s not mentioned.

Learn to infer tricky statements where you have words like “only”, “if”, “unless”, “or” “and”, “some”, “at most”, “at least.” These words are crucial especially in sets involving Venn diagram, selection, and maximisation or minimisation.

All the very best to you!