How to improve DILR for CAT?

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR) section is considered to be a game-changer and the most unpredictable section in the CAT Examination. So for DILR Preparation for CAT, while one can find a majority of the aspirants claiming that this is the most unpredictable and most difficult section among the trinity, it is far easier to excel in this section with the right approach and the right mindset. Hence right strategy plays an important role to work on the DILR preparation for CAT.

So before starting with preparations for DILR for CAT exam, let's first learn about DILR.

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 two years, the pattern has changed slightly. The CAT 2021 exam had 20 questions in the DILR section out of a total of 66 questions. Solving one set usually ensures that the candidate is able to answer all 4 to 6 questions of that set. While it is almost practically not possible 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 tentative exam pattern for the DILR section for CAT 2022-

 Section Detail Total Questions for DILR 20 Multiple-choice Questions 15 Type in the Answer (TITA) questions 5 Total Time for Section 40 minutes Division of questions 4 sets of questions; 2 sets of 6 questions each and 2 sets of 4 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 for preparing 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 -

1. Time management- Optimising the utilisation 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.
2. 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.

In the limited time, one must utilise the first few minutes (let's say 4 minutes) to skim through all the sets and note down what are the main topics of the sets.
Categorise them like (suppose)

• Set-1: Seating Arrangement
• Set-2: Knockout Tournament
• Set-3: Miscellaneous
• Set-4: Distribution etc.

Then decide the level of difficulty of each set as per one's 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 strategised 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.

Tips to Solve the DILR for CAT

1. 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.
2. Review Previous Year Papers: Previous years’ papers will allow you to analyse 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Build Your Strategy: Now that you have been observing your own performance and analysing 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.

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-

1. How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CAT - Arun Sharma
2. Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for CAT - Nishit Sinha

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

 CAT 2015 56 CAT 2016 43 CAT 2017 45 CAT 2018 44 CAT 2019 48 CAT 2020 34

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

1. The CAT 2021 DILR difficulty level was moderate with 20 questions.
2. CAT 2020 DILR difficulty level was moderate with 24 questions.
3. CAT 2019 DILR was a little easier than the 2018 CAT’s DILR with 32 questions in total.
4. CAT 2018 DILR difficulty level was moderate with 32 questions.
5. CAT 2017 DILR was more difficult than the 2016 CAT’s DILR with 32 questions.

Conclusion

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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