If you are someone who has been anxious about preparing for DILR, then look no further. This article on How to Prepare for DILR will help you get that head start on your DILR prep. We have framed this article in an FAQ format where we try to answer some of the frequently worried upon questions.
Q: How do I tackle enormous-looking sets in the DILR section?
Megalophobia is the fear of large objects. If lengthy text, huge chunks of data, or even bulky charts give you the creeps, then read ahead.
The first chapter in How to Prepare for DILR 101 is to make peace with your fear of entities that appear huge. You can make peace with the demon under your bed by getting used to a large amount of data, text or visual. But just like all good things, getting used to DILR will take its own time and will require regular efforts. Make it a habit to read at least one data-driven article a day, bonus points if it has charts or graphs. (Pointing enthusiastically towards Bharath’s Reading List).
Q: How do I become an expert at DILR?
A: By being a true beginner first.
DILR questions in a test like CAT cannot be categorized easily. They do not follow the norms of a standard concept. For example, you may not see a direct bar graph or a direct seating arrangement question. The majority of the sets asked are either LR-based DI questions or DI-based LR questions. Check out the syllabus to know more about the type of sets asked in each slot in the past. This will help you gain familiarity in your bid to prepare for DILR. However, the best way to tackle these hybrid sets is to learn to approach the simpler, more direct sets first. Learning the process and approach for basic and direct sets will go a long way in solving complex sets. This will also help in laying a strong foundation.
Q: How much time should I spend in a day for DILR?
A: 25 hours a day
This is not a call to action for an evil genius super-villain to increase the number of hours in a day. This is my way of conveying the fact that any amount of time would not suffice to perfectly master DILR. That being said, the amount of time, in reality, has nothing to do with excelling at a skill. A handful of raisins would take about 8-10 hours to soak up a cup of water. On the other hand, a sponge takes mere minutes to soak up the same cup of water. The level of absorption factors in more than the quantity of time.
Also, your schedule may look completely different from others. It’s difficult to quantify the time required to prepare for DILR. This is where our Study Schedule comes to the rescue. It has specific tasks that you need to complete within a given period. This way, you can move the tasks around in order for them to fit into your schedule.
Q: How do I know which sets to avoid in mocks/CAT?
A: Judge a book by its cover, among other things.
It is true that with a DILR set, what you see may not be what you get. But over time and with enough practice, you would be able to assess a set after going through it for about a minute. Length, complexity, familiarity, the intensity of calculation, and types of questions are some ways in which a DILR set can be judged. But to narrow it down we can tag a question on the basis of time consumption and familiarity. This table can help you prioritize the sets:
A standard set that does not take much time to understand is definitely what you should start with. It’s the ideal starting point as it gives your confidence an instant NOS boost and helps you restore faith in humanity.
Categories 2 and 3
These two categories are a split and the order would change from person to person, set to set.
2 gives us a chance to try something new without the risk of losing out too much time. However, not everyone’s comfortable with trying out new things.
3 gives us the certainty of being able to solve the set, but with a sense of knowing that it would eat up a lot of time.
There can’t be a bigger red flag than a set that is unfamiliar and time-consuming at the same time. Even the set knows that its purpose in the test is to chew off a significant amount of time, energy and the will to continue with the rest of the test. Avoid these at any cost.
Apart from the above-mentioned answers, here are a few other suggestions that could help you get the flair and the flare to deal with DILR:
- Paper > Mind: Avoid solving questions mentally. Put all necessary information and calculation down on your rough sheet. Your mind is going through enough already.
- Approximation > Precision: Most sets and questions, even the calculative ones, do not expect precision. Unless it is a TITA question, your answer means nothing if it doesn’t match one of the answer choices. So, cut yourself some slack, and go easy on the calculation.
- Calculator > Mental Calculation: This point does not apply to simple calculations. But if you’re expecting a long and complex calculation, keep your on-screen calculator ready. Apart from saving time, it will also save you from making mistakes.
Caution: All of the above-mentioned suggestions take time and you cannot master them overnight.
Start inculcating these in your learning/practice/mock sessions and you’ll notice the curve move upwards, slowly, one day… no, one set at a time.
Watch this video on how to prepare for DILR for more insights by Rajesh sir!
Amit Surana is the Quant and DILR Faculty at 2IIM.