Monday, February 26th, 2018
Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation has become the most important section of the CAT exam over the last few years if you are planning to attend one of the top business schools of the country. The reason behind that it is pretty simple and straightforward. The Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation section of the CAT exam has become bloody hard over the years. A lot of students who get a good overall score and percentile, somehow mess up the LRDI section in CAT. They are not even able to clear the sectional cutoff for LRDI in CAT and end up missing out a great opportunity and a business school of their choice. I hope you do not suffer the same fate and put in the required time and effort to score well in the LRDI section of the CAT exam. In this post, we will discuss various steps that answer the elusive question – ‘How to prepare for the LRDI section’ of CAT 2018 exam.
If you look at the data from the past decade or so, you would realize that Logical Reasoning has typically being 1/6th of the CAT exam and Data Interpretation has also been roughly 1/6th of the CAT exam. Till 2014, Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation were not part of a separate section but were add-ons to the other parts of the CAT exam – Quantitative Aptitude and Verbal Ability. That changed in 2015. The new pattern was announced for CAT 2015. Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation (LRDI) become a separate section and the same structure has continued since then.
In CAT 2015, CAT 2016, and again in CAT 2017 there were 32 questions in the LRDI section. These 32 questions were split across 8 sets of 4 questions each. A CAT aspirant is given 1 hour to attempt these 32 questions.
Needless to say, no one is able to attempt all 32 questions. That means the key for scoring well in the LRDI section is to select the right sets to attempt. Another thing to note is that there are roughly 10 questions out of these 32 that are of the type-in-the-answer variety. There is no negative marking for these questions. Let me add, it is virtually impossible to guess the answer for these so the chances of you getting lucky are pretty slim.
Although there is no guarantee that a similar pattern would continue in CAT 2018 exam but it would be fair to say that LRDI will most probably remain the least scoring section in the CAT 2018 exam. Here is a look at the data from past years.
Past year data:
As you might have realized by now – to clear the sectional cutoff of the LRDI section of CAT exam, even for the top business schools, you need to get just 2 to 3 sets right. Sounds easy, right? Trust me – it isn’t. Otherwise so many CAT aspirants would not be struggling with it.
First of all, you need to understand that there is no well-defined syllabus for the Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation section of CAT. However, you can rely on previous year papers to spot some sort of a pattern. Based upon my experience, I have divided the syllabus into two levels.
Level 1 consists of topics that you need to do to build a base.
Level 2 consists of topics on which you can expect actual questions to be asked in the exam.
We have written about some of these topics in the past and those blogposts are linked below as well. We also keep on updating the syllabus from time to time.
Level 1 topics of CAT syllabus for LRDI section
Level 2 topics of CAT syllabus for LRDI section
Preparation for the LRDI section has to be divided into three key areas:
For concept building you need to understand the process behind solving a question. Questions on stuff like Number Series and Direction sense might never get asked in the CAT exam but the concepts you build while preparing for them will help you in a big way. As a part of our online coaching course for CAT, we provide a large number of videos that help students understand the basics of Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation. It is possible that you as a CAT aspirant might think solving a pie chart is a pretty basic activity, but trust me – even the simplest pie-charts can bamboozle you under pressure. Video tutorials are probably the best way to build concepts.
For practice, it is a good idea to use books and / or coaching institute material. As far as the best book for Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation is concerned, I really like the book by Nishit Sinha. Click on the above link if you wish to read more about it. I also like the material that is provided by IMS and Career Launcher. Somehow, I don’t quite like the TIME material because it ends up being too tough or too time consuming. Once again – these are personal preference and any of the books / coaching material is good enough if you do it properly.
Another extremely good resource for practice is past year papers. As a part of our course, we have solved all previous year CAT questions on video. If you are a student of our online course – I would recommend that you go through all those videos. If not, then also I would recommend that you try and solve all previous year CAT questions from the Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation section. Some of those questions, especially from the earlier years might seem simple but they would help you develop the necessary skills required to ace the LRDI section. We have started adding video solutions for questions that were asked in the Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation section of the CAT 2017 exam in our course already. We hope to wrap that up by 31st March. CAT 2017 questions (click on link to download the questions with answers) are probably the most important ones of the lot.
As far as testing is concerned, you need to attempt at least 10 mock tests because the actual CAT 2018 exam. That would give you a good idea of where you actually stand. Another important thing to do is to analyze the mocks properly. To do that, you need to attempt and understand all questions that were asked in the mocks. These 32*10 = 320 questions would arm you in such a strong fashion that nothing would scare you in the actual CAT exam.
When it comes to timetable for any topic of CAT, I like to suggest the same thing. Do not have targets or goals with respect to what you will finish by a particular date. Do not think that I will start taking mocks in August, so by July end I should have finished the entire videos in the course. That is the wrong way to approach LRDI preparation. It would be a much better idea if you follow one of the two strategies given below to prepare.
Strategy 1 – Study LRDI everyday
Some CAT aspirants prefer to solve 2-3 LR-DI sets everyday. That way, they remain in touch and keep on improving. It is a good strategy but I don’t particularly recommend it. The reason behind me avoiding this strategy for LRDI prep is that I don’t believe it is possible to be so disciplined. Also, if you are doing LRDI in the beginning of the day or if you are doing it in the end when you are tired – the results might differ. Sometimes, you might just end up doing it for the sake of doing it. This sort of push is not harmful but often useless.
Strategy 2 – Allocated days to LRDI prep
I have seen this strategy work better with most CAT aspirants. In this strategy, you allocate days to Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation. For example, you decide well in advance that every Wednesday you would study Logical Reasoning and every Thursday you would study Data Interpretation. In case you miss out on studying on any particular day, you can use the weekend as a back up to make up the lost time. This proves to be slightly more effective because you are studying the same thing for the whole day. It would not only develop your stamina by doing the same thing over and over again but it will also help you develop a deeper understanding of the topic and soon you will see that you are able to solve relatively tougher problems with ease.
I hope that this particular post has given you some idea about ‘How to prepare for the Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation section of the CAT 2018 exam?’ If you liked this post, please share it with your friends via Facebook and Whatsapp.
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