The "unpredictable" section - A guide to DI/LR preparation - Prashanth Srinivasan, IIM A

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    Prashanth Srinivasan is currently pursuing B.Tech (final year) in Production Engineering from NIT Trichy. He aced CAT 2015 with 99.4 percentile and has final admission offers from IIM A and IIM B. He will be joining IIM Ahmedabad, 2016 - 2018 batch.

    Cracking any competitive is all about creating opportunities for scoring in areas others cannot. In CAT, one such area, often neglected is DI/LR. This neglect is due to a lot of reasons ranging from the absence of a well defined syllabus to the excessive length and complexity of the questions asked. In view of this, I have tried to include in this article some DI/LR preparation tips for aspirations, sourced from my own preparation experience.

    1. Data interpretation:

    •   There are 4 major types into which any DI question can be categorised:

            - Simple change (Difference based)

            - Percentage change

            - Change in percentage change

            - Percentage change in percentage change

    The above was stated by a leading CAT trainer. It is absolutely true. Once you start classifying questions like this, you can clearly define your weak areas and start practicing questions of that type.

    •   Any DI caselet will be a combination of easy, medium and difficult questions. Identify and solve the easy and medium level questions first. Remember, solving two questions correctly out of four in 4 minutes is better than solving 3 correctly in 10 minutes, which is better than solving 3 and getting one wrong.

    •  Timing is critical. Practice is necessary on this front. Practice until you can process the question type in your mind and come up with a roadmap for solving it even before you finish reading the question. Then practice more. 8-10 minutes per caselet is ideal.

    2. Logical reasoning:

    •  There are some standard question types in LR also. Some of them are:

          - The Einstein puzzle

          - League tournament questions (Predicting winners and scorelines)

          - Knockout tournament type questions

          - People sitting around a table

        There are other types also. One tip would be to properly record solved LR caselets and group similar ones to form types. This approach gives you confidence and clarity of thought.

    •  In LR, how you begin solving a problem is crucial. Think twice before you put pen to paper, and try to form a mental roadmap to the solution. Again, this requires practice. Your practice must help you reach a stage where you would know within a minute or two whether or not you can solve a particular question.

    •  LR questions can mostly be solved in bulk, as the key to solving all the questions in a caselet lies in completing a diagram/ table. In this sense, LR can really boost or, at the same time really hit your scores hard. This is why timing is critical. If you are stuck in a question for a long time in the exam, besides the obvious negative impact, it also leaves a huge dent on your confidence and makes you nervous. To avoid this, time yourself from the very beginning. 2 minutes to decide whether a caselet can be solved and 8 minutes to solve it.

    In my case, DI/LR was the reason my score got boosted. As I said earlier,  I believe cracking the CAT is mainly about exploring and exploiting the opportunities that others fail to see. Don't be one of the others. All the best.


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