CAT Exam: Analyzing the Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning Section

The Common Admission Test, or CAT, is a national exam administered in India for admission to numerous IIMs and other top business schools. This guide will teach you more about CAT.


In the previous two decades, the CAT has examined quantitative aptitude, verbal ability, data interpretation, and logical reasoning. The majority of CAT papers assigned a third of the weightage to Quant and Verbal, while Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning were assigned a sixth of the weightage. Most CAT papers included a portion that combined LR and DI. Some key points in this section are as follows:

  • It should be the 2nd section of the test
  • As per the history, this section should have sets having 3 to 4 Qs each.
  • There won’t be any separate cut off for LR and DI. It’s a single section.

Despite the fact that many examinations, such as IIFT, NMAT, XAT, and SNAP, have indicated a preference for a certain kind or difficulty of LR and DI problems, they have maintained a roughly equal mix of LR and DI in their test papers throughout the previous ten years.

CAT 2015 exam takers may recall that the LR-DI section was the most tough. It served as a "mood spoiler" in the experiment. As a result, understanding this part and making a strategy for the following three months becomes critical.

Data Interpretation

"Charts/Graphs speak louder than numbers" is a well-known rule in business. Newspapers/magazines, as well as many other essential reports, employ charts/graphs to simply communicate facts to their audience or reader. This highlights the significance of Data Interpretation in post-MBA life.

Because there is no theory, property, or formula, data interpretation cannot be considered a branch of mathematics. It is a talent that must be learned rather than knowledge that must be recalled.

Tables, Line Charts, Pie Charts, Bar Charts, Mixed Charts, and any other unconventional but organized data display are examples of Data Interpretation. Caselets is another variation that has persisted in entrance exam papers. These are groups of paragraphs that include numerical data and must be organized in a logical manner in order to be easily comprehended.

Primarily, all sets may be subdivided into

1. Calculation Based:

These are question sets that deal with percentage increases/decreases or nominal increases/decreases. They need solid command of fundamental computation and approximation.

Example: Which is the year in which ABC Ltd. has witnessed the highest percentage growth over the previous year?

2. Counting Based:

These are often big data sets in which candidates are expected to count the occurrences that match the requirements of the questions. They need patience and effort to guarantee that no mistakes occur.

Example: How many states (from the data given) have male literacy rate more than 80%, and female literacy rate less than 75%?

3. Logic Based:

These are often big data sets in which candidates must count the occurrences that match the requirements of the questions. They need patience and concentration to guarantee that no mistakes occur.

Example: Maximum how many of the employees of the range 35 to 45 years would be above 40 years if the average age of employees of this age group is 42 years?

4. Structure Based:

These include several limited-edition sets. Goals of several teams in a tournament, sales-disposal statistics of a certain product on the market, and so forth. In the years 2004 to 2008, such setups were commonplace. Since the CAT went live, the proportion of such sets has decreased. They are often time-consuming sets and, with the exception of XAT, are unlikely to be included in any other tests.

Data Interpretation – Preparation Plan

1. Calculation Skills:

A strong command of Mental Calculation is a significant advantage in any exam paper. The availability of CAT's "Basic Calculator" cannot compensate for this advantage. Tables up to 20, knowledge of fractions from 1/1, 1/2, 1/3 to 1/20, basic addition and subtraction, and so on are all part of mental calculation.

Our Advice: Avoid use of Calculator during next 3 months. Strengthen your mental abilities by spending 10 minutes daily on basic operations.

2. Approximation Skills and use of options:

The fact that "Options are a very important part of the Questions" distinguishes DI and Quant preparation.

Typical steps of solving a DI Question should follow

Step 1: Read the Question, understand the need.

Step 2: Have a look at the options and understand how accurately the answer need to be found.

Step 3: Now look at the Charts/Graphs and fetch the data required.

Step 4: Try to find the correct option and not the exact answer.

Let’s take an example:

Suppose a question involves finding 1234 as a percentage of 5678 with four options as shown below.





There is no need to locate the exact solution because the possibilities have an acceptable gap. Simple approximation and elimination are sufficient.

The answer should be very close to 12 as a % of 56. i.e. 3 as a % of 14.

3/12 would produce a 25%. So the answer is less than 25%

3/15 would produce a 20%. So the answer is more than 20%.

As a result, while we don't know the exact answer, we are confident in selecting option (c).

Our Advice: When solving DI Sets, make careful to look at the possibilities before diving into the math. A substantial amount of practice will finally instill this habit.

3. Regular Practice:

Because it is a skill, it must be practiced on a regular basis.

Our Advice: Approximately 5 hours of DI solving every week. This should be 5 sittings of 1 hour each.

4. Logical Reasoning

This aptitude includes problems that need basic common sense as well as experience with a range of questions. Indeed, puzzles can be too random at times, but there are particular LR question kinds that appear more frequently than others. The most significant are the LR sets, which include the organization of data in a tabular format.

For example, five people live in five separate cities, each with a distinct occupation and hobby.

Other essential sorts of LR questions include issues involving Directions, Blood Relationships, Decision Making, Series, Coding - Decoding, Visual Reasoning, Cubes, and so on.

CAT papers from the last decade show that CAT likes sets in LR, but tests like SNAP, IIFT, NMAT, XAT, MHCET, and CMAT prefer independent problems. As a result, the relevance of the question types stated in the preceding paragraph is greater in tests other than the CAT.

Various admission examinations have showed a preference for certain sorts of questions.

  • NMAT likes independent LR problems, which, while not difficult to solve, are time demanding given the test structure.
  • MHCET, in addition to standard LR questions, offers a large quantity of visual reasoning questions, which are uncommon in other tests.
  • "Decision Making" is a part of the XAT. LR questions make up almost half of this section.
  • CMAT requests for separate tasks that are time intensive, if not challenging.
  • IIFT generates a combination of set questions and independent questions.
Apart from conventional LR questions, aspirants can expect syllogism and verbal reasoning questions as a part of LR section in some of the exams.

Logical Reasoning – Preparation Plan

One doesn’t need revision in LR but surely needs sufficient practice. There are two stages of LR preparation

1. A student starts getting LR Questions correct.

2. A student starts getting LR Questions correct in optimum time and with acceptable accuracy.

Only practice can propel an aspirant from the first to the second level.

NMAT and CMAT exams are notorious for delivering time-consuming LR problems that appear separately rather than in sets. They slow down the test taker in these tests. Last year, CAT created a time-consuming LR section. Every year, XAT does it. As a result, the only answer is to practice on a regular basis.

Our recommendation: 5 hours of LR solving every week. This should be done in 5 one-hour sessions. When selecting practice material, make sure to prioritize all main variations.

The Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning section of the CAT exam plays a significant role in evaluating candidates' analytical and logical reasoning abilities. By dedicating time and effort to mastering this section, candidates can enhance their overall CAT exam performance and increase their chances of securing admission to top management institutes.

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