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Strategies to score a 97+ percentile in Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation

Now that we are entering the final phase of CAT prep, it is important to make sure that we are in our best shape come the d-day. Now, all of us are preparing for the day when everything would go according to plan. But what about those days where you will find it extremely difficult to move ahead? The important thing to understand here is that you should be so prepared that you hit the mandatory 97 percentile in a section irrespective of the contents of the test, your frame of mind and other factors that are beyond your control. Let’s look at the sub-section wise things that you could do to be extremely strong on the defensive front.

The following question types will encompass everything that appears in the section:

  1. Arrangements (one to one, one to many, many to many)
  2. Critical Path (single vs. multiple)
  3. Binary Logic (truth tellers, alternators and liars)
  4. Blood Relations
  5. Numerical Logic
  6. Tournaments (Round Robin and Knockout)
  7. Venn Diagrams (2 factor and 3 factor)
  8. Maxima and Minima (2 factor, 3 factor, multi-factor)
  9. Sticks and Coins games
  10. Graphs (snapshots, rolling/progressive)
  11. Tables (complete, incomplete)
  12. Caselets
  13. Data Sufficiency

The entire point of having this section is that, students should not be able to prepare for it. This is the section where nobody has an edge over the other candidate because nobody would have seen the logic beforehand (unless it is a bad CAT year and the sets are straight lifts from past years). So, a lot of aspirants are not very sure of where to draw the line when it comes to practicing LRDI sets.

To start with, the best sources to practice LRDI are past year CAT/XAT/IIFT papers. Also, if you are able to crack the easy-moderate sets in your mock tests, you should be fine. There is a paradox with solving difficult sets that most aspirants fail to notice: if you solve 100 difficult sets, you will probably be able to solve the logic of the 101st set, however it will still take 15-20 minutes to be solved and hence, has to be skipped. In short, there is no point figuring out extremely cryptic sets simply because they will not be worth it.

So, with regard to preparation, you should ideally be looking at these aspects:

  1. 1 LR and 1 DI set every day: The more you practice offline, the better you will get eventually. It is better to do small things everyday than pushing yourself in the last few days. You can refer any of the books available in the market or material provided by your coaching institute.
  2. Mocks: In every mock, no matter how difficult the paper is, focus on hitting 50% of total number of questions. Higher accuracy is always better especially if your attempts are under 20/32.
  3. Fixing approach for different types of questions: There is a limit to the sets that can be made. Exposure to variety, traps, and fixed approaches to problems will help you do well in the section. Also, focus on the thought process. When you see a set, if by the end of first reading, if you know what you are supposed to do, you’re already ahead of a lot of people.

When it comes to compiling and revising sets, here is what you can try:

  1. Note down anything that you haven’t encountered before in a separate book. For example: An Erdos number set or a naya mixer grinder purana mixer grinder set from past CAT papers. What won’t go in this book are sets that are straightforward tick and cross based. For example: 5 people from 5 cities married to 5 people staying on 5 floors.
  2. Don’t save the entire set and questions based on the set. Write down the approach in your words or summarise the set. That way, your brain remembers better. Also, just revising the logic is enough than solving the entire set again. Too much time will be spent without any returns

Have as much variety as possible. There is a limit to how much test setters can push their creativity. So, a set based on water supply from source to multiple places can have 3–4 different variations. Once you’re familiar with these, you can solve any question of similar type. The spread is better than the depth when it comes to LRDI, in my opinion.

D-day plan

  1. Understand whether you need to solve 4 sets*4 questions or 5 sets with*3 questions: This is where a lot of people lose the battle. It is not mandatory that you solve every question under a set. If you have got three correct, and fourth requires you to write multiple cases, might as well move to the next set.
  2. Don’t give up irrespective of the level of difficulty: As it is the second section in the paper and not doing well can have impact on your performance in QA, avoid getting tensed and frustrated. If it is difficult, it is difficult for all and in such cases, even 16–20 attempts will result in an extremely strong score (a scaled score of around 42 would be good enough for a 97th percentile in CAT 2017)
  3. Limited risks: There will be times when you have to take small risks that can be compensated by a good set. If you have solved 20 correct questions and have 5 minutes left, try solving one more set even if you know that it is not possible to solve the whole thing. Take a risk by guessing what the answer could be. You might get unimaginable rewards. On the other hand, be extremely defensive if you have figured out that the section is a scorcher. Risk taking is more a function of the situation than anything else

Having said this, CAT has always surprised students and it may happen that the difficulty assumption is proved false next year. We never know. But, the preparation remains more or less the same. Understanding and adjusting to the level of difficulty, maintaining composure, and keeping attempt accuracy balance can be mastered over a period of time through practice. Deliberate practice.

Wish you all the best for CAT 2017!

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