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CAT: 'Should I 'attack' DI or LR first?'
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November 13, 2006

The Common Admission Test poses challenges in various areas. To some, Data Interpretation is the intimidating section. 

A CAT aspirant posed this question during a recent chat on November 10: 'Should I 'attack' DI or LR first? Which area carries more marks?'

Sai Kumar and Sunil Kumar, CAT trainers from T.I.M.E offered this advice: 'DI has always carried more marks than LR, but then history means nothing when it comes to this year's pattern. As regards which should be done first -- it boils down to your personal preference and your strengths in these two areas.' 

For those of you who missed the chat, here is the transcript:


neel asked, should one begin with caselets or standalone questions for di
Sai answers, Dear Neel, it goes without saying that attempting caselets will be more value for time as opposed to doing some very tough stand-alone questions. Obviously, this strategy will be of no use if there are no caselets in DI, which is highly improbable.



deep asked, what is the best way to crack DI in this exam
Sunil answers, To begin with, Deep, if you have taken any mock CATs so far, do revise those DI papers thoroughly. Secondly, do not have any preconceived notions about the kinds of questions to be attempted. Most importantly, you should not try to answer "all" questions under any given set.



srinu asked, what shud be approach for cracking DI??? i mean to cross the cutoff + 2-3 marks
Sunil answers, Dear Srinu, please refer to the response given earlier to Deepu's query.



Bond 007 asked, Dear Sir, Q:- Is it true that the avg. starting salary quoted by respective B-Schools ( e.g. 5 lakhs/annum or 6 lakhs/annum etc ) is infact CTC , and that the actual CASH in HAND is only 60-70 % of the salary quoted ????? Will Fringe Benefit Tax change this ????? Plzzzzz Reply for the sake of thousands of confused MBA aspirants !!!!!!!
Sai answers, Bond it is best that you leave the espionage work to the 'weeklies'. And the best way to answer this question is to get into a top B-school. As an afterthought, this could well form the idea for a DI caselet on November 19!



SUNIL asked, Hello Sir. Plz tell me how to tackle the Q's based on 5 to 10 conditions & followed by 4 to 5 Q's, e.g; A eats idli, B eats 5 samosa's, C eats Sandwhich which is double the no. of idli's taken by A. so on������� Hope you got the Q. Plz suggest the way to tackle such Q's as it consists of large no. of Q's comparatively.
Sunil answers, Firstly, you should delve into such complicated sets only if you consider yourself very good at reasoning. When you do attempt it, first read the directions and only then read and gauge the questions to find out the extent to which you have to actually solve. Proceed only if you think you still are confident. There may be one or two questions that can be answered directly from the conditions.



arunkumar asked, hai sir , how to select easy question's frm aset of questions
Sai answers, There is no standard way for everyone. A good quick reading of the question would enable you to guage the difficulty level of the set. You could mentally try and compare it with a similar question from one of your mocks and if you are fairly convinced that you have seen this type earlier and were able to solve it, go for it.



sandy asked, HI sir, my scores in DI are varying what should be stratgy in last days
Sunil answers, Sandy, please refer to the reply to Deep's query.



TiMeDelhi asked, What's the AVG CUTOFF of D.I, & QUANT if we consider since 2003?
Sai answers, On an average, it's been around 12-14 for DI and 9-12 for Quant.



omk asked, Sometimes there are sitter in seemingly very tough DI sets. How to identify DI sets?
Sai answers, Refer to the earlier answers to Arun and Sunil.



anirban asked, wat composition r u expecting in this section?only DI or DI+LR+DS???
Sunil answers, Going by the way the CAT has been merging the three areas of DI, reasoning and DS, it is quite possible that the questions may not be classifiable into any one area.



meena asked, Hi Sai, are we expecting some drastic change in the DI section this year since the time has increased to 2.5 hrs this year .
Sai answers, Meena that's the million dollar question that everyone is seeking an answer to. Seriously, we do not know if there are going to be any 'drastic' changes this year. But if you have taken enough mocks, you would be prepared for any eventuality.



das asked, wat is the ideal time one shud devote in this section??
Sunil answers, Ideally, you should budget for an initial 45-45-45 minute distribution, and then ten to 15 minutes, at the end, in the section which you feel you can maximise your score.



arunkumar asked, hello sir,wat should be one's approach to clear cutoffs in DI&LR
Sunil answers, Arun, this query has already been answered. Please refer to the response to Deep's query.



omk asked, I get mentally exhausted after about 1.5-2 hrs of giving CAT mock test. Considering this what should be my strategy to do DI, because this is the section I do last, and always end up scoring less than what I can.
Sai answers, When pressed for an answer to the secret of his strength, Asterix says 'Lots of fluids from the druids pots'! Building mental stamina is an imperative for lengthy papers. If we can watch a 3 hour 'Sholay' repeatedly, I see no reason why we can't hold our attention for 2.5 hours of CAT.



Anurag Agarwal asked, Hi, I am having problems in complex calculations based problems. Please tell me if its worth to devote the time to such questions. Or I should try and attempt the scenario based problems wherein if we get the picture, all questions can be solved...
Sunil answers, Since any question in the section is equally good/bad as far as marks are concerned, at this point of time, you should only look at attempting questions that you are comfortable with. Also, CAT has not been too intensive on calculation-based questions over the past few years. So relax.



Nagaraj asked, Please advise me who will give nice tutorials for the CAT ?
Sai answers, Please head for the nearest 'T.I.M.E' centre.



arnabdutta asked, in the last two years the DI section has been changed a lot and instead of separate ques on DI and LR we now get questions that combine DI and LR.moreover focus has shifted from calculation intensive questions to logical ones. do u expect any changes in the pattern this year. i mean what is your guess in this?
Sunil answers, We expect the trend to continue, but then CAT is known to throw up surprises at the last moment. So, be prepared for anything.



chakradhar asked, how can i improve my RC reading
Sunil answers, You cannot make a big difference to your RC in such a short period, but remember that concentration is as important as reading speed, to perform well in RC.



das asked, wat shud be the plan for the week to com for this section??
Sai answers, Understanding the DI set is half the battle won. So, Das, please review all questions from the mocks that you have in your possession. This way, you will ensure that you have a clear idea about as many different sets as possible. We wouldn't suggest that you go through new material at this point of time.



TiMeDelhi asked, Among LR & DI which part contains more marks?Which should be attacked first?
Sai answers, Historically, DI has always had more marks than LR, but then, history is nothing when it comes to this year's pattern. As regards which should be done first -- it boils down to your personal preference and your strengths in these two areas.



anirban asked, hw mch r u expecting the cutoff in DI this yr cosdering the same diff level as tat of last yr?
Sunil answers, We strongly discourage you from speculating beforehand on the cutoffs for the paper.



Sai answers, Around 1400 seats, but all that matters is your seat. Reserve kar lo bhaiyya!



arnabdutta asked, also that CAT's duration has been increase to 2.5 hrs, IIMs have said that this is to give additional time to the students. does that mean that the overall difficulty level is going to be the same? or the difficulty may be increased proportional to the additional time as compared to cat'05
Sunil answers, As regards the statement that " is to give additional time to the students..." we would only ask you to be careful about the sources that you believe. As regards the expected difficulty level, the increased competition should, on the whole, call for an increased level of difficulty. But then, even a simple paper, given in a totally new pattern, can become difficult. So, do not try to predict the paper's level of difficulty.



SUNIL asked, What's ideal place to take on WEAKEST Section? In LAST/ MIDDLE/ FIRST?
Sunil answers, One's weakest section is best taken sandwiched between one's strongest and the next strongest sections.



TiMeDelhi asked, In order to take admission in institutes like SP JAIN, TAPMI, IMT, MDI. do one need to CLEAR Section CUTOFF's like IIM's, or ONLY OVERALL CUTOFF CONSIDER FOR THE SAME?
Sai answers, Only MDI has sectional cutoffs, which are at around 85 percentile in each section and an overall of 97 percentile. SP Jain is around 90-95, with no sectional cutoffs. It is also known to go more with the profile of the candidate. TAPMI and IMT might not impose sectional cutoffs but have an overall cutoff of around 92 and 93-94 respectively.


Next: Part II of the transcript

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