Deciphering the tips and tricks to gain in an upper hand in CAT is the talk of the town. With the Common Admission Test just being less than a few weeks away, numerous mentors, teachers, peers, and batchmates will present their respective takes and opinions on how to crack the exam with flying colours. Going through the same phase a year back, I will present near you my views on it.

My take will be primarily on the Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation section, which honestly left me in a state of chaos just after the clock struck 11 AM (mine was the morning slot). All those practice-sets cumulatively done over the past six months felt like sand seeping through the hourglass with no positive implications. So, yes, the LRDI section can be trickier and might require a whole lot of brainstorming (for many, except the geniuses out there) before and during the paper.  I will summarise my perspective of the LRDI section through the following ideas/tips/suggestions (call it anything). Some may find it practical, generic, or even useless. But yeah, the list goes as below –

  • LR ≠ DI – Instil this equation in your mind. Solving the logical reasoning questions require different and complicated approaches as compared to the data interpretation section. Additionally, the sets are equally divided into 16 questions for each. Make sure that you gain an edge over either of the two subsections. For me it was DI. Strengths might differ.  A confident mindset in one of the two might help in picking up questions, analysing and even solving them at a faster pace.
  • Scanning – Mocks are the best places to experiment. You would not want your experiment to fail on the D-day. Spare five minutes when you switch to Section-2. Scan the paper and look for sets that seem familiar. Practice in mocks and solving a plethora of data sets will help in segregating what to answer and what to leave. CAT tests your ability to leave questions; count me on that. A quick look at the initial few minutes will save time in the later half an hour.
  • Question paper mode – The CAT interface during the test might become clumsy to handle, particularly in the LRDI section. With a lot of information spread over a long question, it is aptly suggested to switch to the question paper mode while solving the sets. The same will not only help in rendering an ease to take on questions but will also save time in switching through the eight data sets. In the final ten minutes, you can mark your answers. (Do not forget that at all!)
  • Mind-game – If by any chance, you mess up your Section-2, DO NOT PANIC. That will be the worst gift for your CAT preparation and possibilities. Stay calm. Do not let that negativity slip in the QA section. I managed to stay firm and sneaked out a good score in Quant even after a suicidal attempt (wild guesses in the last minute) in LRDI. I will suggest the former part to the aspirants.
  • Perfection – With a few weeks left for CAT, make sure that you do not jump into new and other eternal complicated data sets. This might sound inappropriate, but do spend time on the data sets you have solved before. Be it in your mocks, booklets, compendiums, or question banks; revise and practice. You need not answer all the sets in the main paper. A repeated practice of the sets (a considerably high number I am expecting) will enable in taking a straightforward and applied approach rather than taking the road untraveled.

The LRDI section triggers your performance in the following Quant section as well. Stay thorough with your preparations. Taking CAT’16 into account, correctly answering five sets would have resulted in a very high percentile. That corresponds to ten minutes per set. But for that, an accurate and precise approach is required. Practicing is the only way out to leverage your success and amplify the score and percentile. Additionally, a composed mind for handling the panicky and chaotic situation is the first requisite.

I believe that hard work is a vector quantity. Not only it requires a higher magnitude of success, but also a proper direction. Shoot your arrows in the right direction aspirants! Good Luck!

Devanshu .

Devanshu is currently pursuing his MBA from IIM Lucknow.


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