How to improve Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation skills for CAT exam

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

And once you are done with that first step, you start hunting for a solution. The fact that you hate Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation or are afraid of it or it bores you – that is the problem. That is the reason you are not able to perform well in it.

Now there could be various reasons behind it as to how or why it got to this stage but I believe the root of it lies in the fact that you did not prepare for it properly. Very often I have found that CAT aspirants skip the basic steps of preparation when it comes to topics like Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation (even RC) to a certain extent. Now, some of the CAT aspirants are good at this stuff and can directly jump to CAT level problems but a lot of them cannot and should not. The fact that they are not able to recognize this gap is the main reason behind poor performance in exams.

Let me suggest a way to fix the same.

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For Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation, previous year papers are really important. You can find them here: Download Free Books and CAT Material As a matter of fact, if you can get hold of previous year mocks from a coaching institute – that is a wonderful resource as well. Mocks from present year would work too. But all of these are required at the second stage of your preparation. Once you are done with the basics. Time and Work has a set of formulas. To solve problems on sentence correction, you need to learn the rules of grammar first. Very similarly, you need to improve your skills in Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation by doing some basic stuff first.

It is highly unlikely that you will get a straight forward Logical Reasoning / Data Interpretation question in CAT, or for that matter in any other management entrance exam, these days. But to become capable of solving those questions, you need to solve some easy questions first. There are plenty of good books available that will provide you with a large set of easy and basic questions before the advanced ones (Recommended Books for CAT Exam Preparation). If you want to use an online resource, you can try this Indiabix. It has a large number of easy and basic questions.

Once you have these resources and you put in a little effort to prepare – you will see a significant improvement in performance. Here is what I suggest:

Dedicate two days of the week to Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation (one each). On those days (till July), spend majority of your time solving basic questions, watching video tutorials for the hard stuff, going through the solved examples for previous year papers, etc. Some portion of the day should be used in trying to solve difficult questions but not more than 2-3 sets. Also, whichever sets your attempt – make sure you have a detailed solution of the same available with you. Nothing bugs you more than a question whose solution you cannot understand. It is fine to give up on a question but you should never give up on a solution to a question. If you are not able to understand the solution, ask for help from your teacher – I am sure they will be more than happy to sort it out for you. Or they will tell you that you are just wasting your time on stuff like this. It is possible that it is way too hard from a CAT exam perspective. If you do this for few months, your understanding of the topics would improve. Also, if you have complete days dedicated to a topic – that would ensure that you don’t get distracted with other ideas on those days. As a matter of fact, I recommend my students to dedicate complete days to Logical Reasoning, Data Interpretation, Quantitative Aptitude, Reading Comprehension, Verbal Ability instead of doing everything on the same day. That is what mock tests are for.

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Post July, you should focus completely on CAT level questions. This is where mock tests, previous year papers, previous year mocks, etc. come in to the picture in a big way. Now your energy should be focused on developing your skills in such a fashion that you can quickly recognize the questions that you can solve and the questions that you cannot solve. CAT 2015 was difficult, specially if you are considering the Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation section. But please understand that CAT is an exam with relative grading. When a shark is chasing you, you don’t need to out-swim the shark, you need to out-swim the other guy. (Side-note: I got this from a TV series that I just started watching called Billions! Paul Giamatti is amazing in it – as always and I have a feeling that I would be quoting it way too often in days to come). Coming back to the issue at hand, you needed to get 12 out of 32 questions correct in CAT 2015 to get a 90%ile in the Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation section. That means 3 sets out of 8 to clear the sectional cutoffs for almost all the IIMs and an overall decent performance. I know it doesn’t sound hard but a lot of students struggled with it for the simple reason – that they could not pick the right sets easily. So, the key skill that you should focus on in the second stage of your prep is to figure out – what you can and cannot do. Once you are able to select the LR / DI sets that suit you, the job of acing the CAT exam would become a hell lot easier.

I hope you are able to achieve that and do well in CAT this year.If you found this post helpful, I sincerely request you to share it on Facebook so that your friends can also find out about it.

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Ravi Handa
Founder, Handa Ka Funda

Best of luck!

How to improve Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation skills for CAT exam

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