How to prepare for CAT DILR section

Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation (LRDI) Syllabus

Although IIMs do not specify any particular syllabus for LRDI section, but questions that have been asked in previous year CAT papers give us a very clear idea of type of questions that we can expect in CAT exam.

Data Interpretation:

  • Tables, Charts & Graphs (Line/Bar/Pie/Triangular/Radar etc.)
  • Raw Caselets
  • Games & tournaments
  • Routes & Networks

Logical Reasoning

  • Arrangements (Linear/Circular/Complex)
  • Selection & Distribution
  • Venn Diagram
  • Puzzles
  • Mathematical Reasoning

While the following topics may not be asked directly in the CAT exam, it helps to practice them.

  • Syllogisms
  • Number Series
  • Coding & Decoding
  • Rank & Ordering
  • Blood Relation
  • Directions
  • Cubes
  • Calendars
  • Clocks
  • Binary Logic
  • Logical Connectives
  • Operator Based Questions


​​​​​​​How to prepare for Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation Section for CAT Exam


DILR section becomes a little tricky for preparation as there are no standard methods or formulae to solve questions. You need to develop your mental reasoning.

Basics: Start with solving the basic questions of each of the topics mentioned above. The Concept Review Exercises will help you cover the basics of all these topics. You may also refer to any online/offline source for practicing basic level questions.

Higher Level Questions: Next move to solving the higher level questions from the CAT relevant topics. Practice Exercises should help you cover that. A very important source for practicing CAT level questions is previous year questions. You may choose to practice them at your leisure or take them as mocks and then analyze. Apart from Apti4All's CAT study material, other sources that you can refer to is study material of various coachings (TIME, IMS, Career Launcher, TestFunda etc.).

The kind of questions that have been asked in past 5-6 years in CAT are quite unique and it would be difficult to find such questions in any of the books. The best source to find such quality LRDI sets would be previous year mock tests. If you can get hold of previous year mock tests of various coachings that would be the best place to prepare for higher difficulty level questions. 

The best way to go about practicing highest difficulty level questions is to attempt 2-3 sets on a daily basis. Please note that the kind of LRDI questions being asked in CAT now are very unique. Hence, be very specific where you prepare from. The idea is to quickly go through the basics and then practice CAT level LRDI questions. You should not be spending too much time solving basic questions.

You should lay equal emphasis on LR as well as DI. You might find yourself in a pickle if you prepare only one of LR or DI and the exam has difficult questions from that section. Moreover, recently CAT has featured sets which require a mix of LR and DI skills to solve them.

Apart from solving CAT relevant questions, it would be of great help if you solve puzzles like Sudoku on a daily basis. This will help you immensely in developing the mental ability required for CAT exam.

Sectional Tests

You don't always have to write a full length mock. You should also write sectional tests to improve your score and finalize your strategy for LRDI section.


Test Taking Strategy


Writing mock tests is the most important part of your preparation. Writing mocks and analyzing them properly helps you figure out the strategy that suits you the best during the exam. Selection of sets is very crucial for LRDI section. 

Set Selection

While attempting this section don’t start with the first set straight away. Try to glance through the sets and try to choose the easier sets. 

There are two ways you can do this.

  • During the first 4-5 minutes, glance through all the sets, pick out 2–3 sets which seem easy. Then solve the sets one by one in your preferred order. 
  • Instead of looking at all the sets for 4–5 minutes, just look out for 1 or 2 easiest sets, and start straight away with them.

Once you are done with the easier sets, move on to the more difficult ones.

The Art of Leaving

Selection of sets is the most important aspect of test taking while leaving questions comes very close at 2nd spot. It might happen that a set seemingly easy at first glance turns out to be a difficult one. After spending 4-5 minutes on a set if you realize that you are going nowhere you should leave the set immediately and move on to the other sets. You can't afford to spend 15-20 minutes on a single set in a 40 minutes exam. If time permits you may come back to the particular set later on.

When you attempt a set it is not necessary that you would be able to solve all the questions. If might happen that a set has 1-2 very difficult questions where either you are stuck or it is taking a lot of time to solve them. It is quite ok to leave a set partially attempted.

Fluctuation in Marks

In the first few mocks you might experience great level of fluctuation in your marks in LRDI section specially. This is because of the nature of exam i.e., a set of 4 questions. If you understand a particular set you may be able to solve all or at least 2/3 questions otherwise you won't be able to solve any. With enough practice you would be able to overcome these fluctuations and by the time you write your last 5-10 mocks, you would be able to see your marks stabilizing.

Previous Years CAT Papers

A very important aspect of preparation for any competitive exam is practicing questions from previous year papers. We recommend practicing questions till CAT 2020 while writing CAT 2021 papers as mocks. You won't get better mocks than actual CAT exams.

Solve previous year LRDI questions

To sum it up, practice, practice and more practice is the only key to ace LRDI section in CAT.

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