I took the CAT in 2019 and secured 99.99 percentile in the DILR section. DILR is a very important section in CAT as it gives a level field for all the aspirants unlike Quant and VARC. DILR tests your ability to think on the spot and come up with an optimum approach to solve the problem.
I’ll share my strategy for preparation along with how I approached the section in the mocks for better understanding. The strategy has two parts – Linear preparation strategy and Dynamic preparation strategy
PREPARATION FOR DILR SECTION
There are about 10–12 different topics in both DI and LR which are important from the perspective of the exam. These topics would be available in any material that you are referring to. Sharing an image with some important topics in DILR
Image Source – Career Launcher
- Step 1 – Pick up a topic, read some concepts, if given in the material, or go through a couple of solved examples. This will give you a brief idea of the topic.
- Step 2 – Solve 2–3 sets. Focus more on accuracy than on time and go through the solution and analyze to find the optimum solution. You might end up spending some time on a few sets at the beginning but the analysis will help you while solving sets at a later stage.
- Step 3 – Solve a couple of difficult sets on the same topic when you get comfortable with the topic. This way you’ll end me solving around 4–5 sets on each topic easily.
These three steps are part of the linear preparation strategy and are meant to provide you with a basic idea of all the topics and develop your ability to pick sets and solve them accurately.
Now, once you have an idea of how to approach the sets and you are in the habit of solving sets, it’s time to move to the dynamic strategy. The focus here is to have abstract thinking and solve sets accurately but with a check on time.
All you need to do is solve 4–5 sets daily. So, how do you choose these sets?
Well, the easiest and the most reliable source are the past year question papers. Solve as many sets as possible from previous year CAT papers. They are the best ones to put your learning to test. As you have already focused on accuracy, here you need to keep a check on time and solve sets keeping a stopwatch and note down your accuracy and time required. Spend time on understanding the best approach to solve the set.
Other than the previous year’s papers, you can use the material you have and select sets randomly, or even solve sets available online for free as on Facebook groups like iQuanta. The second strategy is a never-ending one as you’ll have to continue your practice till a week before CAT. So, by the time you reach the end, you would have seen at least 500 different sets and thought differently every time, helping you to develop a mindset that will result in thinking faster and efficiently whenever you come across a new set.
DILR IN MOCKS
Lastly, we’ll talk about how to approach DILR in mocks and how to analyze the sets. Remember analyzing the mocks is as important as practicing questions during the preparations. There’s one big difference when it comes to approaching questions in mocks and solving sets while practicing and that difference is – the choice of sets that you have to make. While appearing for a mock, choosing a set is the most important thing. Choosing a set can be based on different parameters – the set might seem easy to solve, it might not be calculation intensive, it might be a familiar set and many more. What matters is you choose the right set as each set fetches you equal marks.
- Step 1 – Read a set. See if it is possible to solve it in one go. Spend a couple of minutes understanding the set to judge its difficulty level. Leave the set if you think it is difficult.
- Step 2 – Follow step 1 until you find a set that you can solve easily (There are around 1–2 sets that are easily solvable and sometimes even more). Once you get a set that you can solve, try solving as many questions as you can. It is okay to solve only 2 out of 4 questions in a set. As choosing a set is important, choosing the questions is equally important. Don’t stick to a question thinking that you have spent time on the set and hence you must solve all four. Sometimes, the set has only 2 or 3 easy or solvable questions.
- Step 3 – Once you have solved the easy sets, give the sets a second glance, and solve the sets for which you can think of some approach. Approach the set with the thought process in mind and see if it works. If not, be confident enough to leave the set and move to the next one.
Following this approach, you’ll be able to go through all the sets and find the ones that are easy to solve and hence not get stuck on the difficult ones. This will be helpful in maximizing your attempts and eventually score (assuming you have built a good accuracy through the linear preparation strategy).
"The game is not lost until it’s over."
Treat the time-solving sets as a game and solve them with a never giving up attitude. It is with this attitude and your diligence that will help you sail through the DILR section. Also, the more you practice, the better you will fare in this particular section. So, practice as much as you can. Last but not least – If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. Know what you are comfortable with and solve the sets that you are good with and tackle your enemies at the end.
Good luck 🙂
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