How to prepare DILR for CAT?

Updated on 11 August 2023 | 10:03 am | #DILRprep

The Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR) section is considered to be the most ambiguous and intimidating section of CAT. Much like the other two sections, it does not have a defined syllabus. But the challenge arrives due to the aspirants’ unfamiliarity with such topics as they are not taught in school or college. This leads to most aspirants claiming that it is the most difficult section among the trinity. But the truth is that because most aspirants avoid this section and are not well-prepared getting a good percentile is easier due to low sectional performance.

As you read along, you will find that the preparation for DILR is based on practice. While the section has a syllabus that is not limited, regular preparation will familiarize you with the most essential tips and tricks required to reach the answer.

Essential Tips for DILR Prep by GP sir

DILR Preparation for CAT: Exam Pattern and Syllabus

Up until CAT 2019, the DILR section carried 32 questions split across 8 Sets. In the past years, the pattern has changed slightly. The CAT 2022 exam had 20 questions in the DILR section out of a total of 66 questions. This year the sets were split equally with 5 questions per set. While it is impossible to solve all 4 sets, a candidate can begin solving the sets from easy to difficult levels so that they can score well based on the easier questions.
Here is the exam pattern for the DILR section for CAT 2023-

Section Detail

Total Questions for DILR


Total Time for Section

40 minutes

Division of questions

  4 sets of 5 questions each

Marking Scheme

+3 for a right answer
-1 for a wrong answer
No negative marking for TITA

Main Topics

Bar graphs, arrangements, blood relations, missing data, puzzles(games), etc.

What is the right strategy to prepare DILR for CAT?

Before moving on to the right strategy to improve DILR. You must know that there is no 'one' right approach or strategy to improve DILR. Every student has a different strategy of their own. However, here we will talk about the most popular strategy.
It revolves around two things -

  • Time management- Optimising the utilization of time is the major gameplay in this section of the exam. If you are able to manage your time and attempt the right questions accurately, you will be able to ace the exam.
  • Question Selection- It is essential that you are able to select which sets to solve and which not. The sets in the exam are divided into easy, moderate and difficult. Hence, the selection of sets becomes a game-changer.

This implies that the candidate must decide the level of difficulty of each set as per their own capability and finally move on to answer "What sets am I going to answer and in what order (from easy to hard)?"
This whole task shouldn't take more than 5 minutes. So, with an initial sacrifice of 5 minutes, a candidate has now strategized the next 35 minutes and the optimal course of action.
Now apart from choosing the right number of sets, one must keep in mind to solve one set, including all the questions, in 13-14 minutes max. This is more than sufficient time to solve all the sets chosen.
You should also try to include it in your mock tests and eventually set it according to your needs.

Get GP sir’s tips to improve your DILR Prep

Tips to Solve DILR for CAT

  • Practice Mock Tests: Mock tests are essential in getting you accustomed to the paper pattern, syllabus, and time constraints. It will also give you a fair idea of how well you are performing in this section.
  • Review Previous Year Papers: Previous years’ papers will allow you to analyze the level of difficulty and trick questions that often take candidates by surprise. The previous papers will help in devising a strategy for attempting this section such that you get maximum marks.
  • Balance Speed and Accuracy: This section requires you to respond quickly and accurately. Steadily build on your weaknesses and play your strengths to improve your speed and results side by side.
  • Conduct a Performance Analysis: As you progress through your DILR preparation for CAT ensure that you review your performance regularly. After every mock test or practice paper, outline the areas that you still need to improve and areas where you are doing well.
  • Build Your Strategy: Now that you have been observing your own performance and analyzing the previous year's papers you should be able to identify how you can do well in this section. Play by your strengths and identify the order and plan in which you would attempt DILR for CAT.
Begin CAT Preparations Today Essential Tips for DILR Prep by GP sir PDF

Best Books for DILR Preparation for CAT

If you are planning on preparing for the CAT exam by yourself. Here are some books that can help you in preparing for this section-

  • How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CAT - Arun Sharma
  • Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for CAT - Nishit Sinha

DILR for CAT: Scores and Level of Difficulty Over the Years

The section of DILR for CAT has seen many changes across the years. Here is an overview of the past few years:

  • CAT 2022 DILR had a slight change in the exam pattern. The DILR section was divided into 4 sets with 5 questions, unlike CAT 2021’s DILR section.
  • CAT 2021 DILR difficulty level was moderate with 20 questions. The section had 2 sets comprising 4 questions each and 2 sets comprising 6 questions each.
  • CAT 2020 DILR difficulty level was moderate with 24 questions.
  • CAT 2019 DILR was a little easier than the 2018 CAT DILR with 32 questions in total.
  • CAT 2018 DILR difficulty level was moderate with 32 questions.
  • CAT 2017 DILR was more difficult than the 2016 CAT DILR with 32 questions.
Prepare for CAT DILR as per GP sir’s tips


 DILR for CAT is as important as the other sections of the CAT Exam. DILR preparation for CAT also makes an impact on the candidate's selections due to the sectional cut-off announcement by IIMs for Shortlisting Candidates. It’s a difficult and time-consuming section that results in low scores for candidates. So prepare for the section and develop a plan that works for you.

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