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CAT Paper Analysis for DI

Common Admission Test (CAT) is the largest management entrance exam conducted each year for admissions into the post graduate management programmes of premier institutes in the country. It is also the only exam whose scores are accepted for admissions into the top most B-school of India – the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs).

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Taken by over 2 lakh students annually, CAT is reputed to be the toughest exam to be held in the country. This is so, as it acts as the entry portal to the best business colleges of the nation. This makes the competition fierce and the pressure immense. Only the top notch students are able to crack the CAT and make it through.

As far as changes in the test format and paper pattern are concerned, the IIMs are known to throw in a few bombshells in the CAT 2016every time. This also makes the exam a very dynamic one and students who hope to do well in it must showcase the ability to adapt rapidly to any alterations.


There are three sections in the question paper, according to the latest paper pattern of CAT, one of which is Data Interpretation (DI) and Logical Reasoning (LR). Candidates find DI to be a very daunting part of the paper sometimes, as it has the tendency to become quite calculation intensive. Given that there is a limited time to go through all the questions, the students have to be speedy when it comes to handling large amounts of numerical data. LR is another tricky part of the paper, since even the most seasoned candidates can be thrown off balance when faced with a particularly complex puzzle.

Scoring well in this section depends on how quick the candidate is with numbers and how well his mind can work around a riddle. A keen eye with lots of observation power is also much required and the candidates must practice ample problem sets to hone their aptitude for DI and LR. It is also important for the candidates to get enough exposure in terms of variety, as practicing different types of puzzles will help them with LR.

The table summarising the break-down of DI and LR for the past three years is given below.

CAT Paper Analysis for Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
Time allotted60 minutesAbout 170 mins.About 70 minutes
Total ques.323218 to 20
DI16169 to 10
LR16169 to 10
Type of ques.   
DI4 sets of 4 ques.; Both MCQ and TITA form4 sets with 4 questions each; Bar graph, tables3 sets – table, bar charts, line graphs, pie chart
LR4 sets of 4 ques.; Both MCQ and TITA form; Sudoku, Network, Timelines, Cubes and Graphs4 sets with 4 questions each; Arrangements, Venn Diagrams, Object Distribution3 sets – Arrangements, Networking ques.
Difficulty level   
DINot calculation intensive but difficultModerate in difficulty2 sets were moderately easy but one was very difficult
LRTricky and time-consumingEasy to Moderate time-consumingModerately easy

CAT 2016: Important Dates

The CAT 2016 Exam Dates have been released on 31st July 2016.

ProcessExam DateRead More
Registration ProcessAugust 8. 2016 – September 22, 2016How to Fill CAT 2016 Application Form
Online Tutorial and Sample Paper releasedOctober 18, 2016CAT 2016 Practice Papers
Admit Card DownloadFrom October 18, 2016, 01:00 pm till exam dayDownload CAT 2016 Admit Card
Test DateNovember 27, 2016 
Result DeclarationMid of January 2017CAT 2016 Result


CAT 2015 Paper Analysis for DI and LR

The Data Interpretation (DI) and Logical Reasoning (LR) of CAT 2015 had a total of 32 questions. This section was clearly divided into two sub-sections of DI and LR, with equal division of questions between them. The 16 questions in each sub-category were again arranged as four sets with each featuring four problems.

CAT 2015 saw the introduction of subjective problems in the form of Type in the Answer (TITA) questions. Candidates had to type in the answer to some questions with no options to consult from. In both DI and LR, there were some TITA questions and some MCQ ones.

Candidates found the section of DI and LR to be on the difficult side. Out of the total eight sets presented in this section, only three were direct and simple. Others were tricky and time-consuming. Upon facing the disheartening sets, the students couldn’t focus on solving even those sets that they otherwise could have solved.

The overall attempt for DI and LR was found to be lower than usual and when this section was over, the candidates were left felling heavily disappointed. The time constraints and exam pressure added to the stress of the candidates and they went into the third section of Quantitative Aptitude with a ruffled mind set.

Since the attempt for this section has been pretty low, the candidates could hope for a greater percentile than usual. Correctly solving even 9 to 10 questions, out of the total 32 would fetch the candidates 90+ percentile. The cut off for the IIMs for the section of DI and LR was lower than it usually is.

This section acted as the turning point of CAT 2015. Any candidate, who manged to solve an extra set of questions in either DI or LR, would easily achieve a 99+ percentile. The unusual difficulty level of the paper in this section had the potential to throw up some unexpected results and cause a lot of students to go for a tailspin.


CAT 2014 Paper Analysis for DI and LR

In CAT 2014, the section of Data Interpretation was clubbed with Quantitative Aptitude while Logical Reasoning was clubbed with Verbal Ability. Both DI and LR had a total of 16 questions each. DI had four problem sets with four questions each and so did LR.

The subsection of DI was found to be less calculation intensive than previous year papers. The candidates were required to be observant while solving the sets and pick up on hidden patterns. The questions featured bar graphs and tables while some of the problems even required reasoning to arrive at the answer. Unlike last years’ papers, the topic of Data sufficiency (DS) was found to be absent.

On the other hand, the subsection of LR, featured Venn Diagrams, problems based on distribution of objects and Circular as well as Linear Arrangement questions. The questions were found to be time-consuming and hence, difficult to solve. Those who spent much time trying to solve LR sets missed out on the other questions from Verbal Ability section, as they appeared together in a bigger section.

Serious candidates would have been able to solve around 10 to 12 questions in Data Interpretation (DI) and about 12 to 13 problems in Logical Reasoning (LR) with around 90% accuracy. Performing well in these sections required a cool head and quick problem solving skills.

CAT 2013 Paper Analysis for DI and LR

The exam of CAT 2013 was conducted in numerous sessions over several days and hence, each individual candidate received a unique question paper. Due to this, the number of questions pertaining to DI and LR varied. On an average, there were nine to ten questions in each DI and LR of CAT 2013, which resulted in a total of about 18 to 20 questions for DI and LR combined.

This year, the subsection of DI was presented along with the subsection of QA. In the case of DI, most students had to face three sets of questions. The problems were from the common topics of graphs, bar charts, tables and pie charts. Some of the sets, however, were found to involve Venn diagrams as well. In terms of difficulty level, the overall feel was that of moderately easy to tough. Out of the three sets in DI, most candidates found two to be fairly easy but one was on the trickier side of the scale.

As far as LR is concerned, there were three sets that involved reasoning per paper on an average. Most of the LR sets featured familiar topics such as linear arrangements, circular settings, networks and some puzzles. Similar to the trend seen in DI, two of the three sets were on the easier side while the third was found to be tough.

Those students who were well-prepared must have attempted two complete sets in both DI and LR, which would count for about six questions from each subsection. The overall attempt would then be around 12 questions out of 18 to 20 possible problems. The accuracy rate should have been around 90%. The more serious candidates could have easily gotten around 17 to 18 questions in all, under their belt.


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