Friday, June 16th, 2017
In one of the earlier posts, we discussed strategy to prepare Logical Reasoning for CAT in 6 months. However, as we know that in previous two-year CAT papers, Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation was tested under one common section. In order to get a high score in this section, we need to focus on both Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning simultaneously.
Let us start Data Interpretation strategy with a list of topics that had been asked in CAT or in other words, the topics that you need to prepare for Data Interpretation.
We cannot even relatively categorize these into different difficulty levels as we did for Logical reasoning topics. Any of the above-mentioned topics can be easy to solve or can be difficult to leave. Almost all the topics contain comparison cases that might involve a lot of time. Based on the pattern of CAT 2016 (and CAT 2105), we can expect online calculator to be available for CAT 2017 also. Therefore, it is very important for anyone who will take CAT 2017 that he/she is acquainted with the use of online calculator. It will involve a lot of practice and patience. Before going to the strategy part of DI, we need to master few topics that will help us in almost every topic.
Let’s say we have N1 and N2 as numerators and D1 and D2 as denominators of two different fractions respectively. We need to compare both the fractions. We can do this comparison based on the following observations
Here, we have listed some of the common cases that you will encounter while solving the questions. You need to have a good understanding of the relations between numerator and denominator to avoid unnecessary waste of time in comparing fractions.
2. Percentage increase/decrease: percentage increase/decrease can be confusing at times. You need to have clear idea and understanding of percentages. For example
Two similar looking sentences with subtle difference might cause you to end up with a wrong answer
3. Mixture-Allegations: you may find an entire set based on the concept.
5. Decimal conversion
These are the common topics to be studied thoroughly in order to score in Data interpretation section. The whole section is about speed and calculations. Here is a 6 month strategy to prepare Data Interpretation for CAT 2017.
Month 1 and Month 2:
You should devote initial two months in understanding all the topics under data interpretation and practice the mathematics topics that will help you in all the data interpretation questions. Don’t worry about the time you take to solve the set in these two months. Timing will improve in later part of the strategy. Initially you need to know the approach to make for different variety of questions. For almost all the Data Interpretation topics, you can make your own tables to help you with the questions. For example, in a pie chart, instead of referring to each value repeatedly, you can quickly tabulate all the values. This will not make calculations easier but it will surely save little time which one spends referring to values on the computer. Remember, the charts are displayed on the computer screen and you will only have a piece of paper to solve. In some questions where you need to compare values involving calculations for different cases, it might take some extra bit of time to take values repeatedly from the screen. If you have the values written on the paper, it will surely save unnecessarily wasted time. These two months you should practice only questions without considering time taken to solve.
Now, after two months of practice you are able to solve most of the questions, you can start taking sectional mocks. Data interpretation questions are always solvable but some of them takes a lot of time. In addition, with the introduction of calculator, you can expect lengthier calculations. One should be handy with the calculator. This month focus on practicing questions with the help of on-screen calculator. We don’t know what operations does the calculator contain in actual CAT but surely the basic mathematical operators namely: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division will definitely be included. Therefore, the advice is to practice questions with only these operators. Since you have three more months after third month, you can dedicate this month to only calculator practice.
For the past three months, you were concentrating on solving questions and improving your efficacy with on-screen calculator without considering time as a factor. However, time is a big factor and you now need to focus more on improving your timing with questions. Start taking sectional mocks as many as possible. Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation will come under a common section and by now you would also be finished with Logical Reasoning topics and started with sectional mocks and thus, you need to practice time management for both Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation. Do not divide equal time for every set and do not try to solve every set, as it might be difficult sometimes. Taking sectional tests, you will get to know the topics you need to practice more and the topics that you can solve every time accurately. Analyze those weak topics and take some extra effort for such topics.
Similar to Logical Reasoning strategy, practice on sorting topics in mock tests. Since you have 8 sets to solve (4 for Logical Reasoning and 4 for Data Interpretation based on previous year’s CAT paper), you can apply your sorting analysis on both Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation simultaneously. Always read all the 8 sets within the given allotted time. It can happen that you might waste a lot of time on one set and miss the easy scoring set. Penultimate month is sorting month. Sorting and time management for both Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation is to be practiced thoroughly and with multiple approach. You can make your own approach or method but do not stick to a single approach from the start. You need to adjust with the difficulty level of the section. More the number of mocks you take, more you will come to explore your options for the CAT 2017.
Last month is always dedicated to revision and practice. Try to take as many full-length mocks as possible along with revision of topics. A large number of mock test analysis will give you a fair idea about the difficulty level of the section in actual exam. Data Interpretation is one area where you need speed more than anything else. Practice to improve speed with accuracy.