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How to Prepare Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning for CAT?

Last Updated - July 29, 2017

CAT is the most anticipated exam in India. It is a portal for candidates seeking admission into the renowned IIMs and many other good business schools. By many of the aspirants, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR) section is considered as the most time-consuming section. Though the questions seem tricky if the correct trick is applied, they become scoring.

Given below are some points to contemplate before moving to “How to Prepare Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning for CAT?”-

  • CAT question paper will be divided into 3 sections namely, Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, Quantitative Ability and Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation.Check Here CAT Syllabus
  • Candidates must answer 30-34 questions in each section, the total number of questions being 100.
  • The number of Non-MCQs in CAT 2016 was reduced to 25% from 28% the year before which was a set back for many applicants.
  • Data Interpretation and Logical reasoning was considered the trickiest section for the 2016 exam though the level of difficulty was similar to 2015.
  • Candidates who are able to solve about 15- 18 questions with an accuracy of 80% will most likely clear the sectional cut off. Check Here CAT Cut Off

The syllabus for CAT is of higher secondary or 10+2 level. It is as decided by the organizing IIM. The level of difficulty of CAT is considered the highest amongst all national level management exams. Lakhs of students apply for this exam which increases the level of competition more.

Pattern of Questions in DI LR

This section consists of about 32 questions, 16 each for LR and DI. The ratio of MCQ to Non-MCQ questions is 3:1. The questions asked in this section are usually formulated into sets. In CAT 2016 and 2015, questions were asked in sets of 4. There were about 6- 8 TITA questions equally distributed among the 2 parts.

The level of difficulty is moderate to high as some problems require a lot of calculation and take up time. Aspirants have to handle a large number of data, interpret diagrams and solve complex puzzles which is quite a daunting task. Even the most well prepared aspirants are perplexed on seeing the question paper.

Check CAT 2017 Exam Pattern

Basic Preparation Tips and Tricks to crack the section

We have mentioned certain tricks and tips to solve questions on topics that have been the favorites of the examiners over the years.

  • Steps in solving Data Sufficiency questions:
  1. Take the first statement and combine it with the main statement and try to find the answer.
  2. Next, combine the 2nd statement with the main statement to find the answer.
  3. If you still do not arrive at an answer using the 2nd statement then add both statements with main statement
  4. If still you do not get the answer simply tick both statements are insufficient.
  • Inequality trick: To solve questions based on inequality, we shall use the King, Soldier and Public technique. While doing so, we should remember the following points-
  1. King is more powerful than Soldiers
  2. Soldiers are more powerful than Public
  3. In case of a conflict between two Kings, then there will be no   conclusion.
  4. In case of a conflict between two soldiers, then there will be no conclusion.
  5. King should have the highest priority, then the soldiers and lastly public.

Applicants can use this table to put the above rules into use for Inequality questions-

King< or >
Soldier≥ or ≤
  • Data Interpretation: Students must read the question properly. They must pay attention to the proper unit present and use approximation techniques wherever possible.
  • Syllogisms: It is a very scoring topic and the accuracy level is high. Candidates must use Venn diagrams to solve these kinds of questions.
  • Blood Relations Concepts: These questions might appear long and complicated however they are quite easy to solve. Use diagrammatic representation to solve these questions. Applicants must know the general blood relations well in order to attempt these questions. Another important thing to remember is that participants should not assume the gender in such questions.
  • Seating Arrangements: The basic steps to be followed for circular seating questions are-
  1. Draw the circle and decide the clockwise or anti-clockwise rotation as per the instructions.
  2. Follow the statements in proper order.
  3. Choose the 1st character such that it is related to at least 2 characters. The co-element should be one that fills maximum seats and whose exact location is known.
  4. At a point with dual possibilities, students must draw 2 figures and see which diagram satisfies all the conditions.

General Preparation Tips

  • For questions on arrangements, first solve questions having only 5 variables. With ample practice move steadily towards 7-8 elements.
  • Students should wisely choose the sets of questions to be attempted. Quickly scan the sets and then decide to solve the easier lot. Do not waste time on the hard questions.
  • Individuals must solve mock papers and previous years’ papers which will help them understand the pattern of CAT better.
  • The key is to read every statement in order and find links between them.

Also Check How to Prepare Quantitative Aptitude for CAT?

Important Topics to Prepare for DI LR

The aim of this section is to derive information from a given set of data and answer the given questions. It is a very time- consuming sections hence students require a lot of practice in order to ace this section. The important topics from the syllabus are given below:

  • Seating Arrangement
  • Blood Relations
  • Propositions
  • Syllogism
  • Data Arrangement
  • Puzzles
  • Statements and Assumptions
  • Clocks and Calendars
  • Sets

Some topics have been a favorite for the examiners and have been asked repeatedly over the past few years. The weightage given to these topics for the last 2 years is given below:

Analysis of DR & LI from previous year

AreaSet DescriptionNumber of QuestionsLevel of Difficulty
Data InterpretationCalculation-based involving ratios, percentages of movies in different languages4Moderate
Calculation-based involving percentage of male and female exam takers4Easy-Moderate
Reasoning-based involving male and female vegetarians and non-vegetarians4Easy-Moderate
Set theory based on gadgets bought4Easy-Moderate
Logical ReasoningPuzzle on derangement of documents across folders4Easy-Moderate
Puzzle based on question paper with two sections and variable marking4Easy
Grouping- Conditionality involving train travel and fares4Moderate
Matrix arrangement involving persons and T-shirt colors4Easy

CAT 2015

AreaSet DescriptionNo of QuestionsLevel of Difficulty
Data InterpretationLine graph and sets of Table4Medium
Reasoning and Calculation based Table Set involving percentage calculation and finding missing values of certain variables4Medium
Reasoning and Calculation based on principles of work4Medium
Set based on grid arrangements4Medium-Difficult
Logical ReasoningNumerical Puzzle Set based on visualization of a geometrical figure4Medium -Difficult
Numerical Puzzle Set Based on finding missing values of the variables4Medium -Difficult
Numerical Puzzle Set based on 5 variables to determine missing values4Medium -Difficult
Set Based on Groupings and Arrangements4Medium

Reference Books for Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

There are plenty of preparation books and other resources available for CAT exam. However, the major problem comes while selecting the perfect book for CAT preparation. Here, we have enlisted some preparation books for DI LR-

CAT Preparation
BookPublisher’s/ Author’s name
How to Prepare for Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning for CATArun Sharma
Guide To Verbal Ability And Logical Reasoning For The CATNishit K Sinha
Data Interpretation and Data SufficiencyAnanta Ashisha
A modern approach to Verbal and Non-Verbal reasoningR S Aggarwal
Trishna's Verbal Ability And Logical Reasoning For The CAT And Other MBA ExaminationsTIME Publisher



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