Many aspirants consider Logical Reasoning as the toughest part of CAT examination. Logical Reasoning questions usually come with 2-3 bits. A paragraph is given with full of information followed by 2-3 questions. You have to read the information thoroughly and apply your logic for answering these questions. The first and most important step in solving an LR problem is to write down all of the information given in a box, table or diagram. For example, if the problem involves seating arrangements at a round table, always draw the table first and then try various permutations and combinations of people seated around it. Once you have drawn the figure for the problem, you are free to think with a clear mind. LR problems usually contain several statements which serve as clues for solving the given questions. Thus, the problem should always be attempted in a methodical manner, and solved step-by-step, because trying to look at all the information at once will confuse even the best of us.
CAT Logical Reasoning problems are usually ‘all-or-nothing’ type, in the sense that if you crack the crux of the problem then you will be able to answer all/most of the questions that follow; and if you don’t, you will not be able to answer even a single question. This is because if the logic behind the problem is known to you, the questions that follow can get solved easily. Hence, proper selection of problems to solve first is even more crucial here than in Data Interpretation. Often, students fail to solve a problem after investing 10-15 minutes on it. Since the information they have at the end of that time is not much more than that at the beginning, they cannot answer even a single question in the set and have nothing to show for their effort. Problem selection is tricky, so if you find that you are unable to solve it after the first 5 minutes, do the smart thing and switch to another set of the section. Although, you should be very wise in your decision of leaving the question as you can always come back later on the question if you have the time but once you switch the section, you can’t come back to it again. Therefore, for each aspirant, to Attempt or not to attempt is the main question.
Following are 10 Tips to ace Logical Reasoning:
1. Invest some time over a question and study the question carefully before you start solving. A brief explanation of why each choice is correct or incorrect should go to your mind. If you can practice this tip in sample reasoning questions, you will do well on the actual assessment.
2. NEVER assume or use any information that the question fails to give you. This is NOT an assessment of how much you know about a subject in general! Consider ONLY the information given in each reading passage when choosing among the alternative responses.
3. Read both the factual passage and the sentence completion instruction carefully. Both must be considered in making your choice.
4. Be sure to read all the response choices carefully before eliminating or choosing one of them.
5. The questions that ask you to select a valid conclusion, always choose the one conclusion that definitely follows from the information you are given. The questions that ask you to find the invalid alternative, choose the one conclusion that does not definitely follows from the information.
6. Pay special attention to words like "all," "some," or "none" when you read the factual information. Other qualifying words such as "other than," "only" or "unless" are important too. These words can play a critical part in precisely specifying the facts to be used in your reasoning.
7. Pay attention to negative prefixes also, such as non-, un-, or dis-. These can be crucial to specifying the basic facts in the paragraph.
8. You should also be very careful if any response choices that contain the quantifiers "all" or "none". Generally, in both the sample practice questions and in the actual CAT assessment, these words are NOT signs of incorrect response choices. They will appear in both correct and incorrect response choices.
9. Pay close attention to the word "ONLY" and to the phrase "IF AND ONLY IF". Saying "The car lock will open IF AND ONLY IF original keys are used" sets up a highly specific condition that must be met. There is exactly one way to open the car lock - you must use the original keys of the car. By contrast, if the sentence says, "The car lock will open if the original key is used," there may be several ways to open the car lock besides by using the original key.
10. The questions in the assessment will vary in difficulty level, and difficult questions will be mixed in with easier ones throughout the CAT exam Paper. When you encounter a question that is difficult for you, then you should try to draw diagrams or other schematic notes on your "scratch" paper, which are provided to support and confirm your thought processes. Also, bear in mind that you can stop working on a difficult question temporarily and return to it later but it could be done only if you have not changed the section.
Almost everyone asked me regarding from where they should practice DILR questions. My answer is there is no specific book for Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning. You can study the basics from any coaching institute material. And then get into old CAT exam questions. While you do a question from somewhere please do ensure to study all dimensions of the questions. Make your own conclusions. And try to do a timed sectional mock at least once in a week. And a full mock test at least once in two weeks. From my experience, learning from taking/analysing mocks is very important.
I took mocks only with TIME (AIMCAT). Still, I suggest you take AIMCATS and SIMCATS (IMS) if you are aiming above 99.50 percentile. My personal suggestion is to concentrate more on Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning and VA from now itself (6 months before the exam) because I feel that anyone from a good math background can score well in QA with two or three months preparation.
About the Author:
Edwin Jose is currently pursuing his BTech in Mechanical Engineering from College of Engineering, Trivandrum. He aced CAT 2015 with 99.99 percentile and scored a perfect 100 percentile score in DILR section. Edwin works with IQuanta as a DILR mentor and he runs his offline classes in Trivandrum.