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CAT: Crack Data Interpretation, Logic 

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The countdown has begun for the Common Admission Test scheduled for November 16, 2006.
We have already covered Reading Comprehension, Verbal Ability and Quantitative Analysis.
This time we look at Data Interpretation and Logical Ability/ Data Sufficiency.
Normally, DI accounts for 25 to 30 marks and LA/ DS accounts for the rest. However, these days, it is sometimes difficult to differentiate between DI and Logic. In CAT 2005, there were no Data Sufficiency questions.
Skills needed for this section
The trend has shifted from easytounderstanddatawithdifficultcalculations to more logical questions with lesser calculations.
Though the trend has moved away from long and complicated calculations, it's not advisable to attempt CAT without being reasonably good at quick calculations and approximations.
To start with, you should know how to interpret various data formats. Tables, line graphs, bar graphs, pie charts, three dimensional graphs, flow diagrams and cumulative frequency tables are some of the data formats that have featured in CAT over the years.
But one of the most critical foundation skills you need to develop to do well in CAT is understanding percentages. You should have a very good idea of percentage calculations, comparison of fractions (to determine highest/ lowest percentage), average annual growth rates and related concepts like market share, market share increase and decrease, etc.
DI problem solving
DI is a skill and it requires continuous practice. You may notice that your improvement is slow for the first few weeks; then it picks up. Make sure you spend some time on DI every two to three days days, even if it is only a couple of hours. You need good quality problems to practise on.
Unfortunately, there is a dearth of quality 'logical' DI problems that is the trend in CAT these days. I would suggest Mock CATs as a source.
It is very important to analyse any exercise or test you have solved. Focus on the method of solving and the clarity with which you are able to understand the problem. The second and third time you solve a problem is when you see it with clarity.
Logical ability
The key to doing well in logic is similar. You need a methodology or approach to logic questions, as well as regular practice in solving a wide variety of questions.
The basic approach should focus on:
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Rahul Reddy is an MBA from IIM Calcutta prior to which he completed his Bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering from Kakatiya University. After working for organisations as Lakme Lever and Mirc Electronics (the marketers of ONIDA brand of TVs) he began teaching at T.I.M.E. Hyderabad and then set up the T.I.M.E. centre in Kolkata. He has an experience of over four years in training for CAT and is now one of the directors of T.I.M.E. Kolkata.
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