How to Prepare for Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning for CAT Exam?

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Before you get into How to prepare for CAT, it is best to know what CAT is all about. If you want to get a holistic idea about CAT Exam’s Syllabus, the selection process, Eligibility, and other details like what other management exams to write and what the syllabus is for those exams - It is best to visit this page. If you already have an idea about all that, read ahead on How to prepare for the CAT Exam from here. This page is specific to the second section in the CAT exam, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning.

If you are looking for information on How to prepare for CAT Quantitative Aptitude Section or How to prepare for CAT VARC Section head on to the respective links.

What is the syllabus for DI & LR section in CAT?

Is there an official syllabus disclosed for the Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (LRDI) section by the IIM’s?

Although the Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning section does not have a fixed syllabus, it is definitely worth spending some time in getting used to different question templates that CAT generally sticks with. The generic Pie Chart and Bar diagram based DI sets help you get tuned to the DILR section from the perspective of how you start looking at data sets, and the conclusions you derive from them.
The image to the right gives you an idea of all the different question templates that are worth starting with, and how long it would take for one to get comfortable with them. To read more, click on this link

Schedule for DILR for CAT - DI

Schedule for DILR for CAT - LR

How to prepare for Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning for CAT Exam

In the last 4 CATs, distinguishing between DI and LR was tricky for quite a few sets. So, the same way, the sets you practice must also be a-typical & off-beat, something unconventional. Practicing for this section has become tougher.

Problem faced by students:

Practice questions are either too easy, or are too tough that the first step is very difficult to figure out. It is very important to understand the thought process of someone who scores well in the section. So, understanding the thought process of an expert when solving a CAT - level DILR question set is what will help you bridge the gap and get to 99th percentile.

Key Takeaway:

Selecting the right puzzle is half the battle won.

Focus enormously on finding the right puzzle in an exam setting. Make sure, you definitely attempt the right puzzles, not the toughest ones.

How to deal with Increasing difficulty of DILR?

The Data Interpretation and Logical reasoning section has become the most crucial section. Among the three, the Data Interpretation and Logical reasoning section is the most challenging in the CAT exam. As mentioned earlier, to deal with this, solving simple and straight forward puzzles is not sufficient. Which brings us to the question, where do we go for CAT quality DILR puzzles?

The best source for such questions is the last 5 year’s Question papers (75 challenging sets). click on this link to find CAT 2017, CAT 2018, CAT 2019, CAT 2020 & CAT 2021 paper in downloadable PDF format.

Besides Original CAT questions, 2IIM has a fabulous course created from scratch, having recent LR DI trends in mind. Signup here to checkout 5 classes completely free. Taking good quality mocks also improves your chances of facing high quality LRDI puzzles.

How to Get comfortable with Data Interpretation for CAT exam?

Although CAT does not stick with template questions in the Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning section, it really helps to be comfortable with a bunch of standard templates to start off your preparation for the Data Interpretation and Logical reasoning section for CAT.

This video will give you an outline of how you can focus on the Data Interpretation parts of the DILR section. Although this does not complete your prep for the section, it is a good point to start your CAT Preparation from. Not feeling intimidated at 30 numbers staring at you from 3 different tables is the first step to tackling this section and this Video helps you understand how you get started with that process.

How to prepare for Logical Reasoning

Most questions require have some aspect of LR in them that will require you to look at these questions as puzzles.To start with, solve puzzles that have standard templates, the grid puzzle, Einstein puzzles, etc.

They help you look at constraints in a different way. You automatically start looking for “that one constraint” that will help you answer two questions. You start looking for a good starting point to any puzzle.

A very popular question that students get is, even if I solve 40 different templates of puzzles, CAT is going to come up with one that I have not solved before. So, how will solving puzzles help me with the Logical Reasoning part in the DILR section? It does. This video explains how.

How to handle Volatile Scores in DILR section of CAT exam?

Sometimes, you get to solve 4-5 sets, but other times, it gets difficult to find one good set to solve during Mocks. How do you deal with this situation? Step 1 is to accept that there is no fool proof plan for this problem. But there are a few helpful points to remember.

Most of these, you automatically pick up with experience in mocks. And by that, we mean, when you get beaten down in Mocks twice, you create a sense of what “not” to do in the exam. If the exam is easy, it is easy for everyone. Same way, if the exam is incredibly difficult, remember that it is the same for another 2.4 Lakh people taking the exam. Don’t let a tough paper put your mood off. Don’t let it get to your head. The answer to the left talks more on this topic.

Everyday practices to help with cracking DILR section

Keeping an eye on any kind of data that you are presented with is a good start. This helps your brain read data sets easier. Wherever you see some data presented, your antennae should go up and you should look for inferences you can make from them. If there are conclusions that the author has come to based on the data, think why it could be wrong, see if it matches with the data.

Beside this, solve puzzles like 2048, sudoku, crosswords, etc to This will help you build a strong sense of intuition. When you look at various constraints at once, the key/crucial constraint should jump up and scream at you. That is what “building intuition” means & this comes with practicing even simple puzzles like sudoku on a daily basis.

Interesting read on DILR preparation

As mentioned earlier, this section has changed over the course of the last 3-4 years. So, how do you deal with this section from the exam point of view? Does Sudoku solving everyday help with preparation?

Important questions like the one's mentioned above and many more answered in extensive detail in this Quora answer. Remember this gives you a good starting step in terms of understanding what is expected out of this Section called LRDI in the CAT exam.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Important facts that you should know about Online CAT Coaching

CAT DI LR started becoming markedly tougher from CAT 2015 onwards. Till CAT 2014, we knew where DI ended and LR began. These days, we find two growth rates with percentages and suddenly we have missing numbers in a grid that we have to puzzle out. 13-14 correct answers would have fetched one a score of ~99.5th percentile in CAT 2015, CAT 2016, 2017 or CAT 2018.

Check out this page - 2IIM Philosophy

We strongly believe on the Quote by Abraham Lincoln “If I had nine hours to chop a tree, I’d spend the first six sharpening the axe.” We start from scratch giving a stubborn focus on fundamentals so that the student gets the opportunity to learn by discovering ideas. The plan is to provide a framework for students to handle tougher questions.
We demystify this exam and break every idea into small digestible chunks which is categorised as theory, exercise and CAT-level questions. The basic idea is to provide a structure with simple questions and 'push' students to discover some thought processes while handling CAT-level questions. We would always love to ensure that the students have enough fun and enjoyment, preparing for CAT Exam.

What are the best blogs or websites to prepare for the Common Admission Test (CAT) - 2IIM's CAT Blog

We at 2IIM CAT Preparation have 55000+ subscribers, 20+ live sessions, 400+ videos, 20 playlists and a vibrant community. There are quite a few Channels that provide free content for CAT Preparation on Youtube. Apart from 2IIM CAT Preparation , Takshzila Shikshak, Khan Academy, Cracku are some of the channels that are doing a decent job. Check out this Quora link for more details: Quora Answer
Youtube Link - Watch

"Why only quant when both quant and verbal are essential to get a high GMAT total score" can be answered in 3 parts.
i. Consistency is a vital plus where all the teaching is done by a narrow set of teachers in an online course. The teacher and the pedagogy matters the most.
ii. The Teaching in a classroom course could vary from City to City and week to week whereas it isn’t in the case of Online. iii. In Classroom, Travel and specific timings won’t be suitable for all but in an online course you have an option to learn anywhere, at any time, at your own pace and in order that you would like to learn. iv. There are three components for actual teaching part - the material, the pedagogy and the teacher. In a good online course, the designing and teaching are done by the same person or group. In a classroom course, the question is created, the idea transmitted are by different groups and then the teacher usually delivers to this script.

P.S: This does not necessarily mean that all online courses are good. You must do a thorough research on the following to find a good Online Course:

1) It has to be modularized so that you can learn at your pace.
2) It has to be on a very good LMS (Learning Management System) that will give you sound analytics and helps you both to learn and to assess where you are.
3) A chance to check out large sections of the course that is available in the course UI, not merely on Youtube channel.

Check out this Quora link for more details: Quora Answer
One more Quora Answer: Quora Answer
Youtube Link - Watch Video
Youtube Link - Watch Video

Of course, the answer is YES and you can crack CAT by preparing from August onwards. And it’s even possible when you begin from September 15ᵗʰ too. Always remember that the Quality matters more than Quantity. Finding 400 hours from somewhere and prepare feverishly in those 400 with good quality will suffice which will end up getting a decent percentile.
P.S: Get out of Quora, Facebook etc. for 4 months and most of them can find their 400 hours. Cheers!
Check out this Quora link for more details: Quora Answer

This Question can be answered in 2 parts:

Making CAT Preparation Enjoyable:

• First of all remember that CAT exam tests basic intelligence of class VIII, IX and X level in a standardized format.
• There is Myth that says “Engineers have an advantage in CAT exam” but the actual scenario is that this exam gives Engineers absolutely no advantage and moreover the discrimination is against Engineers at every stage. The Idea that non-Engineers (or girls, or students from commerce background) have a disadvantage going into CAT Exam is Pish Posh.
• Learn math with a sense of joy. Learn from the basics and retain a sense of wonder about math as the way Archimedes did and who proved, “If learnt well, math is endlessly fascinating”. [P.S: Learn about how Archimedes ended his life in the link below and that story is perhaps apocryphal.
• Mathematics is considered to be the queen of the Sciences since it is a fabulous brain-exercise tool kit and is endlessly fascinating.
• Reading is one of the most joyful activities one can always find. If you can find the right set of books, you can lose yourself for days. It will make you realize that reading can get you out of a funk, prevent you from going into a funk, recharge you, inspire you and do many more wonderful things to the way you think. For a glorious reading list, click here - Reading List for CAT and check out Bharath's Reading List for CAT

Relevance of Entrance with Management: A Simple correlation concept will make you understand. There are students who are very smart but have not cracked CAT. And so we can say with reasonable certainty that someone who scores 99th percentile will be reasonably intelligent. The second 0ne is more relevant as far as the IIMs are concerned. CAT scores and general intelligence in most cases carry a high correlation. Check out this Quora link for more details: Quora Answer

There is famous saying, “There are no shortcuts to Success”. Shortcuts give an illusion of preparation more often and so Run from shortcuts with all your might.

Read more on Quora: Quora Answer

There are plenty of books available for CAT preparation at very low cost. The best basic books for Quant are the NCERT books for classes VI to X and RD Sharma/RS Agarwal. If you want tougher, more relevant questions to practice from, you should visit the best CAT Question bank in the world - 2IIM CAT Questions. It has great questions, even better solutions and some wonderful video explanations. And also follow our Youtube Channel – 2IIM CAT Preparation for a plenty of free preparatory videos.
But if you are really looking for a curated list with a nice article reviewed and sent to you gift-wrapped every day, you should join our Facebook Group – CAT Prep online - 2IIM.
Check out this link - CAT Verbal Reading List and check out Bharath's Reading List for CAT.

There are plenty of websites that will give you this, but be very wary of these. CAT did not release the actual paper from the years 2009 to 2016, so any website giving these is creating these paper without a credible source. The CAT papers from the years 2000 to 2008 are available for free (with solutions) inside the 2IIM Online Course.
There were two sessions each in CAT 2017 and CAT 2018 – these 4 papers are likely to be the best samples for CAT. These can be found here 2IIM CAT Question Paper.
The PDF gives the questions with embedded links to video solutions for all of these.

One should start your CAT preparation by starting to understand that CAT tests at max high school math, common sense and reading habit. • Prepare from first principles so that your basics become automated.
• Don’t just Wander around, don’t learn in a straitjacket.
• Be relentless - this is a marathon testing your temperament and not a sprint.
• Dont merely plan which is the easiest part, execute the damn thing.
• Read a lot with variety and read it all the time.

How to prepare for CAT 2023 - Youtube Video
Live session: How to prepare for CAT?

We all know that the DILR Section of CAT is becoming increasingly difficult with each passing year. It gets to a point where it’s hard to distinguish between DI and LR that appears in actual CAT, so we noticed that and chose to address this. All of us at 2IIM takes the CAT exam every single year to keep us updated and also to know where we stand. Every single year, we ensure that the interface is user friendly allowing students to make navigate easily. We also take one section and revamp that section by improving the Content, Video/Audio quality, etc.

Last year, we are have doubled the content available under the DILR section of our online course. Apart from that, we have also added a testing engine that will allow you to just come and solve a ton of questions (5000+) for practice in the form of tests. You will also have detailed solutions so that you can go back and fix your mistakes.

Check out this Quora link for more details: Quora Answer

2IIM has an Android App for CAT preparation. The app contains lessons, videos, slides and tests put together by a team of faculties who take up the exam year after year.

Read More about the App on Quora: Quora Answer.

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