CAT Preparation Plan for Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning
In the CAT exam, candidates are tested on three main topics- Quantitative Aptitude (QA), Verbal Ability (VA), Data Interpretation (DI) and Logical Reasoning (LR). In recent years, in most of the CAT question papers, 1/3rd weightage has been assigned to Quant and Verbal sections and 1/6th weightage to Data interpretation and Logical reasoning sections.
Also Check CAT 2020 Examination Question Papers
In the CAT 2018 question paper, you will notice that the LR and DI questions are put in a single section. For CAT 2020, the main points about this section are:
- The LDRI section is the second section to attempt in the CAT exam
- As per the trend, this section has about three to four questions in each set
- There is no separate cut off for LR and DI
Over the last ten years, the questions from LR and DI sections have a particular level of difficulty and the number of questions is the same in most exams like i.e. IIFT, NMAT by GMAC, XAT, SNAP.
For instance, in the CAT 2018 paper, the LDRI section was the toughest according to most of the test takers. Hence, it is quite important to understand this section and have a definite CAT preparation plan.
Also Check CAT Preparation Plan 2020
CAT Preparation 2020: Data Interpretation
“Charts/Graphs can convey more information than just numbers” – This is a much believed in principle in the corporate world. Newspapers/Magazines and a lot of important reports use charts/graphs for easy data representation for their audiences. Therefore Data Interpretation does play an important role even after the completion of your MBA program.
One cannot consider DI to be a part of mathematics as it does not rely on any formula, theory or property. It can be termed as a skill that can be acquired with ample practice.
In the CAT exam, most of the Data Interpretation questions are usually in the form of Tables, Line Charts, Pie Charts, Bar Charts, Mixed Charts or any other unusual but structured data representation. Caselets are also quite common in most of the entrance exams including CAT. These contain numerical data in paragraph form and have to be organized for easy understanding of the information.
Primarily all DI sets can be further classified into:
These contain questions that deal with the percentage increase/decrease or nominal increase/decrease. Good command over basic calculation and approximation is necessary to solve these.
Example: In which year has ABC Ltd. witnessed the highest percentage of growth in comparison to the previous year?
These are large data sets and the questions are based on the counting of the number of instances. A lot of patience and focus are needed to solve these accurately.
Example: In how many regions (from the data given) is the male literacy rate of more than 50%, and the female literacy rate less than 25%?
Sometimes certain charts contain data in ranges or with conditions from which the exact answer cannot be arrived at. In this DI set, you can be asked to find a number that can be derived by minimizing or maximizing the number.
Example: What is the maximum number of employees of the range 35 to 45 years would be above 40 years if the average age of employees of this age group is 42 years?
These include specials sets.
Example: Goals of multiple teams playing in a tournament, sales-disposal data of a particular product in market etc. Such sets were quite common in question papers from 2004 to 2008. After CAT went online, questions from this set have significantly reduced. As solving these take a lot of time, these questions are rarely asked in most exams except in XAT.
Data Interpretation Preparation Plan
Having good mental calculation skills will give you a definite edge in any examination. This skill cannot be replaced by the basic calculator you can use in the CAT exam. Mental calculation includes having a quick grasp of tables till 20, fractions from 1/1, 1/2, 1/3 till 1/20, basic addition and subtraction, etc.
Our Advice: Avoid using a calculator in the last 3 months of your preparation. Sharpen your mental skills by practicing basic operations for ten minutes every day.
Approximation skills and use of options:
An apparent difference while preparing for DI and Quant is to keep in mind that “options are a very important part of the questions”.
Typical steps for solving a DI question in CAT should involve the following:
- Step 1: Read the question and understand the requirement.
- Step 2: Review the options to identify the exact accuracy needed in the answer.
- Step 3: Scrutinise the charts/graphs and access the data required.
- Step 4: Look for the correct option and not the exact answer.
Here’s an example:
Suppose you are asked to find 1234 as a percentage of 5678 with four options as shown below.
(1) 32.54% (2) 13.67% (3)21.73% (4) 26.78%
As the options have an acceptable gap, this eliminates the need to find the exact answer. Simple approximation and elimination will do.
The answer should be approximately close to 12 as a % of 56. i.e. 3 as a % of 14.
3/12 would produce a 25%. So the answer is less than 25%
3/15 would produce a 20%. So the answer is more than 20%.
Even though we do not know the exact answer we can safely mark option (c) as the correct option based on simple elimination and approximation.
Our Advice: While solving DI sets of CAT, remember to take a look at the options before you jump into the calculation part. You will eventually develop this habit as you practice regularly.
Regular Practice: It’s a skill, so it has to be a part of your routine.
Our Advice: Devote 5 hours for solving DI every week, which is 5 sittings of one hour each.
CAT Preparation 2020: Logical Reasoning
Logical Reasoning includes puzzles for which a basic common sense and a good amount of practice of the different types of questions are required. Though puzzles can at times be too random, there are some standard types of LR question types that are frequently asked. The LR sets involving the arrangement of data in a tabular structure is an important type of puzzle.
For Example, Eight students living in eight different cities with eight different jobs and having eight different hobbies.
LR problems related to Directions, Blood Relation, Decision Making, Series, Coding-Decoding, Visual Reasoning, Cubes, etc. are some of the other types of questions asked.
Over the last ten years, a study of CAT question papers shows that most questions are based on sets in LR whereas exams like SNAP, IIFT, NMAT, XAT, MAHCET, CMAT prefer independent questions. So, the importance of the question types mentioned in the above paragraph is mainly in other exams apart from CAT.
Various entrance exams have shown a greater inclination towards questions of a certain type:
- NMAT prefers independent LR questions which are not very difficult to solve but are time-consuming considering the format of the exam
- MAHCET, apart from asking normal LR questions, asks an unusual number of visual reasoning questions. These types are very rare in other examinations.
- XAT has a section called “Decision Making”. Generally, 50% of the questions are from the LR section.
- CMAT has independent LR problems that are time-consuming in nature, if not difficult.
- IIFT has questions that are a mix of sets and independent questions.
Apart from conventional LR questions, syllogism and verbal reasoning questions can also be expected as a part of LR section in some of the exams.
Also Check CAT 2020 Results
Logical Reasoning Preparation Plan
For doing the LR round well, a good amount of practice is needed. There are two stages of LR preparation:
- A student starts getting LR Questions correct.
- A student starts getting LR Questions correct in record time and with adequate accuracy.
With sufficient practice, a student can move from stage 1 to stage 2.
Exams of NMAT, CMAT are known for producing time-consuming LR questions that are not in sets. These questions take up a lot of time. Last year’s CAT exam had a time-consuming LR section. XAT has such a section every year. So a regular practice is the only solution.
Our Advice: Devote 5 hours for solving LR questions every week, which is 5 sittings of 1 hour each. Remember to give importance to all the major types while choosing material for practice.
All the Best..!!
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