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CAT: Six tips to crack 'Reasoning'

Dr Shelley Verma | August 31, 2005

Part I: Does 'reasoning' puzzle you?

Intimidated by puzzles, crosswords and problems?

Then you could find the Common Admission Test's Reasoning Ability section difficult.

We bring you tips on how to do well in this important CAT component.

How to practise on your own

Source puzzles from the following books.

• The Great Book Of Puzzles And Teasers by George J Summers (an excellent book)
• Puzzles by Shakuntala Devi
• Verbal And Visual Reasoning by R S Aggarwal
• Older versions of Barron's / Princeton / ETS books on GRE and GMAT (Reasoning is no longer a part of new version of GRE)
• Tips to improve your reasoning abilities

~ Spend more time reading the question

Don't jump to solve it instantly. The purpose of this section is to check your persistence, ability to assimilate data, make judgments based on given conditions and do all this within the given time. So, read carefully and create a mental picture of what is needed.

Analyse the problem. Only then, attempt to solve it.

~
Assess and arrange

Work out a particular structure of relationships. Organise the information in a schematic manner by using tables, symbols, and diagrams.

This minimises the work involved and helps you solve a different set of questions based on one main problem.

~ Solve, don't judge

Each question is followed by multiple choices, of which only one is correct.

Limit yourself to finding the answers needed and nothing more. Don't be judgmental or make unwarranted assumptions; remember, you are required to work within the given parameters.

~ Use the elimination method

Before solving the problem, check the answer choices to know what form your own solution will take.

Eliminate choices that are completely off the mark, or can be ruled out by individual conditions.

Remember to check and recheck the answers so that you are sure you are making the correct choice.

~
Don't be obsessed with problems you cannot solve

Agonising over a problem makes you lose valuable time. You may actually be on the wrong track altogether.

Move on, instead of lingering over a different problem; you can come back to it later if you have the time.

~ While preparing, choose variety over quantum

Don't spend too much time practising the same kind of questions.

Instead, practise a variety of questions that you can recall later. Concentrate on familiarising yourself with a range of problems.

You can do well in this section, as the solutions are comparatively easier when compared to the Quantitative Analysis section. So, go ahead and score!
Part I: Does 'reasoning' puzzle you?

DON'T MISS!

Dr Shelly Verma is on the faculty of Economics at the University of Delhi. She has designed and authored comprehensive online programmes along with supporting books for GRE and GMAT for US companies. She is affiliated with various training institutions for Verbal and Logical Reasoning, Group discussions, PDP and also does career counselling.

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