Until last year, Data Interpretation was clubbed with Quantitative Ability while Logical Reasoning was clubbed with Verbal Ability. Students could simply choose to concentrate on QA and VA-RC and still end up clearing the sectional and overall cut-offs in CAT (though I know it was the exact opposite for quite a few students). But the biggest change in CAT 2015 was the clubbing of DI and LR to form a new section (this was how it used to be till a few years back). So this year, test-takers are left with no choice but to do well in either of or both these areas (DI&LR) if they have to clear the sectional cut-offs.
What is a good attempt in this section?
It would certainly be a bit adventurous to estimate a good attempt in this section in without even considering the level of difficulty of the section this year (which will only be known after the test). However, if we were to assume the level of difficulty to be more or less similar to last year, I would probably stick my neck out and say that 35-45% score in this section should be sufficient to secure you a call from the IIMs (subject to your doing well in other sections and overall as well). All said and done, as I have always reiterated, you should be always be aiming to maximize your attempts in any given test and this principle remains unchanged for the DI-LR section.
How to maximize your attempts in the DI-LR section?
Following my post on how to increase your attempts in the Quant Section using the ABC approach, I got quite a few queries asking whether and how the same could be applied to the DI-LR section. The answer is yes, but with a tweak. Let us understand how:
The main difference between the DI-LR section and the QA section is that the DI-LR section comprises sets of questions (mostly 4 each) while QA generally comprises individual questions. So, your decision to commit time to a set of questions has a greater impact than the same to an individual question. Simply put, you know how you feel when you realize after 10 min that the set you chose to solve should rather have been left alone. So, what are the factors that impact your decision to solve a set, or come back to it later or leave it alone? According to me, this decision is based on the nature of the data set and the nature of questions that follow.
Data Set: In DI, the complexity of the data set depends on the number of graphs, type of graphs used and the data values to be worked with. The introduction of calculator may have in a way mitigated the effect that intensive calculations have on time taken to solve DI sets, but I would suggest you to use your discretion based on your comfort in using the calculator. In LR, the complexity of the set is based on the number of variables involved, the number of scenarios to be built and completeness of data for each of the scenarios
Questions: In DI, the questions one would prefer to solve sets with questions that are observation-based or with simple calculations compared to those that involve complex calculations or are inferential in nature. In LR, it is easier to solve sets wherein all questions can be answered once the data set is put into a structure compared to sets wherein each of the questions have additional data that must be used to build further scenarios or complete the data given in the main set.
So, when you solve DI-LR sets – for every set first have a quick look at the data set and the questions that follow and then classify the data set as A, B or C based on the following chart:
All “A” sets should be solved immediately followed by B1, B2 and C, in that order.
All Questions of Some Sets or Some Questions across All?
This is a frequently asked question by most test-takers. The answer is simple – do whatever would maximize your attempts in that section. So, you may choose to skip a question or 2 within a set classified as “A” if you believe they are too complicated and you may even solve 1 or 2 questions of a set classified as “C” if you find they are doable and you have time. The mantra is to do “as many questions” and not “as many sets”
DI first or LR first?
The answer is simple: Go with your strength area first!! I, for example, I would prefer to first attempt the “As and Bs”of LR followed by the “As and Bs” of DI. If time permits, I would then go to the Cs of LR followed by the Cs of DI.
Action points for the last week
Solve 4 DI sets and 4 LR Sets every day with time-limits. Practice the ABC approach while solving the same. Ensure that the quality of DI and LR sets being used for practice are reflective of the CAT. If you have not solved LR and DI sets from CAT question papers before 2009, go ahead and solve them. Alternatively, you can go for section tests or for books like IMS CAT 500. One could also apply the ABC approach to the DI-LR sections of mock tests you have taken so far to understand whether it works for you.
So, all the best and do well in the DI-LR section.