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Tips and strategies to solve QA and DI

Last updated on: August 4, 2011 11:15 IST

Photographs: Rediff Archives

In on online chat hosted by Get Ahead on August 3, expert and IIT alumnus Aziz Manva addressed reader queries andsharedtips on solving various sections in CAT 2011.

Here's the unedited transcript:

QADI asked,sir, how should one tackle questions in algebra?
Aziz Manva answers,it depends on the area of algebra. For instance, for questions in numbers and inequalities, it is often useful to substitute suitable values rather than trying to solve question algebraically. For surds, indices and logarithms, try and remember the various properties
QADI asked,hello Aziz are you around you are not answering...
Aziz Manva answers,i have just answered your previous question. Let me know if you have a specific doubt in some chapter
mitwa asked,is quant very difficult to handle? how many hours should i practice in a day? can you suggest any strategy
Aziz Manva answers,Quant is not very difficult to handle, but it is possible that you find certain chapters difficult. Try and identify the chapters where you are weak. For these chapters, look at theory as well as practice. For chapters where you are stronger, practice it atleast once a week. An hour daily should be fine.
abhitesh1 asked,and since only 3 months are left, is it possible to improve vocab as i m very weak at vocab? or is would be wiser to concentrate on RCs, and other things
Aziz Manva answers,As far as CAT is concerned, it will be better if you concentrate on RC and comprehension rather than vocab
abhitesh1 asked,hi sir, according to the new pattern, are the people who r weak in VA are in trouble? i mean did the emphasis on VA increased? how should we prepare for VA according to new pattern?
Aziz Manva answers,Not necessarily, we cannot say that the emphasis on verbal will definitely increase or decrease. What the IIMs mean that instead of having people who used to score very heavily in QA and DILR but just clear the cut-off in VA, they now want people to do equally well in both sections
aadil asked,i face difficulties in handling cat level problems on NUMBERS... any suggestion on how to face a whole new dimension of such questions or any links or websites which will provide me some awesome stuff on this topic?
Aziz Manva answers,Most questions on numbers are based on three main concepts - prime numbers, factors and remainders. You need to clearly understand the properties related to these three areas. Also, problems on numbers can often be solved faster through substitution of suitable values rather than solving it properly.

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'Focus more on triangles, circles and quadrilaterals'

Rohitesh asked,Hi Aziz Manva...Now that the Pattern has been changed and the Quant and DI sections have been clubbed.. How shud i manage my 70 min within these two sections??
Aziz Manva answers,You should try and scan the paper for the first 5 minutes or so. Then for the next 40-45 minutes, solve approx 19-20 questions (from both QA and DI, depending on whatever you can). Then for 5-10 minutes, review and identify some questions that you can answer. Finally, in the last 15 minutes, answer 6-7 questions from the ones that you reviewed.

aadil asked,i also heard IIMs take GRE scores from this year... IS it true? If yes, what will be d approxiimate cut-off
Aziz Manva answers,Currently, there is no such information available. If there is any such announcement, we will update the same
Sidd asked,The problem I face is that I am able to solve questions w/o a time limit at home but when faced with the two minute per question scenario in my mock CAT, I am unable to complete a lot of do I overcome this difficulty?
Aziz Manva answers,This will mainly come with practice. Right now, you need to see what time you take to solve on question. Gradually you need to reduce that time by 10%, then by another 10% and so on. You need to try and target around 2.5 minutes per question.
ps asked,Does age matter? i an engnineer aged 26.. Havent had very good schooling.. and have just become aware of CAT. Is IIMs Possible?
Aziz Manva answers,None of the constraints that you have mentioned are a problem to get into the IIMs. don't worry and just work hard.
aashna asked,CAT is mostly about Process of Elimination. do you have any specific suggestions on how to maximise the right result
Aziz Manva answers,Not all areas in CAT are based on elimination. Certain chapters in Verbal (such as para jumbles or word usage) or in DILR suit more to elimination. Elimination is also possible where 3 or more sentences are given and you have to identify which ones are true/false. Here, you can consider one sentence at a time and eliminate relevant answer options.
Sidd asked,Is there any clarity on how the questions in a section will be distributed...I many questions will be from QA and how many from DI...will it be a 50:50 split in both sections???
Aziz Manva answers,it could either be a 2:1 split i.e. 20 from QA and 10 from DI or it could be a 1:1 split i.e. 15 questions from each. However, the actual breakup may vary.
Rohitesh asked,In the earlier pattern i always used to face a big problem and that is getting struck in a section i.e Quant. this led to devoting less time to DI and LR. According to you how will i fare in the New pattern??
Aziz Manva answers,It could happen if you try and attempt all the quant questions within the QA + DI section and consequently, miss out on a couple of easy DI questions and end up attempting some tough quant questions
muqaddar asked,solving maths problems need patience. it is difficult to be patient when there is so little time how can i work on that. any suggestions
Aziz Manva answers,This can only come with practice. There is no other alternative
striker asked,sir, what's the best way to learn grammar?
Aziz Manva answers,You can look at any good reference book such as Wren and Martin but in CAT you need to focus more on comprehension than grammar
mitwa asked,is there a way to memorise formulae i am quite weak with remembering them
Aziz Manva answers,More than memorising formulae, understand how and where they are applied
Sidd asked,Will we be allowed to choose which section to start with in the CAT? I usually prefer to start with verbal & then move to QA & DI?
Aziz Manva answers,Currently it seems that QA + DI will be the first section (so, no selection) but we will get a perfect idea only once the official notification is out.
de asked,please to manage time in Verbal ability & LR within 70 mins?
Aziz Manva answers,Scan the paper for 5 minutes and identify questions that you feel you can easily solve (either from Verbal or LR) as well as questions you feel are manageable. Then, solve these two categry of questions for around 40-45 minutes. After this review your paper and solve 6-7 questions in the next 10-15 minutes
aas asked,i wanted to know more about solving geometry problems. i have always disliked geometry. i like alegbra more
Aziz Manva answers,Focus more on triangles, circles and quadrilaterals. They are important chapters for CAT
striker asked,Rc's aren't much of a problem, I face a lot of difficulty in finding the error in a sentence and other such type or q's.
Aziz Manva answers,First look for simple error types such as tense, singular-plural, gender etc. Then look for clauses. Then look for errors such as adverbs, prepositions, pronouns and conjunctions. Finally, look for stuff such as parallelism, modifiers, etc
Rohitesh asked,Well my preparation has not been to a satisfied level due to my busy work schedules and now that only 3 months are left how should my preparation be? Should it be confined to Mock Test Series and Practise or should i have to go through the basics and brush them up again and again?
Aziz Manva answers,Attempt a couple of mock tests, analyse them thoroughly and identify chapters where you need to brush up theory and where you simple need to practise. Based on that, prepare for around 2 weeks. Then, repeat this process. You can also get this study plan under "Study Plan for Working Professionals" on
aas asked,i can only spare one hour a day. do you have any suggestion on how i can make use of that how should i start what books should i read for basics
Aziz Manva answers,U can try and do some reading when you travel. In the one hour that you have, try and do theory of a chapter on one day and make notes. Revise the notes when you travel to (or from) office or college. Next day, practice questions from that chapter. Thus, in one week, you will be able to complete 2-3 chapters, atleast.
Kapil asked,my accuracy in RC is very less.. any suggestion for improving accuracy in comprehensions?
Aziz Manva answers,Try and read on varied topics. for unknown words, look at not only the meaning, but also the word usage, the context in which the word is used, multiple meanings og the word, their use, synonyms, antonyms, etc. Also, for each passage, try and create a title, summary, theme, tone, etc

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'More than marks, focus on attempts and accuracy'

Photographs: Rediff Archives
Sidd asked,Will there be sub-sectional cut off??? Like a cut off for quant as well as a seperate cutoff for DI?
Aziz Manva answers,Seems unlikely at this stage. There should be two sectional cut-offs and one overall cut-off
Anand Joshi asked,Sir, when i attempt VA questions, though my vocabulary is quite upto the mark, Idioms and phrases generally asked pose a big threat.I would love some suggestions !!
Aziz Manva answers,Generally, more reading and better observation while reading will help. once you observe an idiom in whatever you read, see what it does to the meaning of the sentence. With more practice you will become better at idioms and phrases.
mugdha asked,i read that this time pattern is more student friendly. what does that mean
Aziz Manva answers,Will get a perfect idea only when the new tutorial comes out. Lets hope for the best
Rohitesh asked,So according to you how many ques in each sections should be minimum attempted with confidence to cross a mark of 95%tile???
Aziz Manva answers,Atleast 23-25 with accuracy of around 80-85%
udayp asked,i think some institutes will consider sectional cut offs also this year anyone has any idea which institutes are doing that
Aziz Manva answers,Sectional cutoffs are always considered by all institutes taking CAT in order to give calls. So, you will need to clear sectional cutoffs as well as overall cutoffs
Kapil asked,thanks a lot for your valuable time..this chat session has definitely helped me.
Aziz Manva answers,You are welcome
mohan asked,is there anywhere i can subscribe to free mock tests? how many mock tests can i get for free how much do they charge and how useful they are for students who canot aford coaching
Aziz Manva answers,We have a free mock test available on on our site Also, we have other full length CAT mock tests which can be purchased.
zizou asked,In a fix... How to prepare for DI and Logical Reasoning??
Aziz Manva answers,Breakup you preparation in terms of chapters and see which of them are weak and which are strong. That will give you the indication as to how to prepare for each of them. For some, you will need to only practice, for some you will need to go back to theory
lol asked,what question breakup is expected of VA+LR section? and LR is expected to be mathematical or critical reasoning types?
Aziz Manva answers,Could be either 20 + 10 or 15 + 15. Also, we believe it will include both, some questions on analytical and some on critical reasoning
mohan asked,how many mock tests are available for free? much do you charge for full length tests? how often should i take mock tests? how much practice is needed before i take the mock test?
Aziz Manva answers,1 mock test is free. There are 16 other full length mock tests (plus 14 other full length tests) available at Rs. 1875. However, we have a 25% discount going on, so u can get it for Rs. 1406
zizou asked,but is there any basic book or material for DI/LR?From where do we get the theory of DI/LR?
Aziz Manva answers,There are a number of books in the market. TestFunda material also has complete DILR theory with solved and unsolved examples
amit asked,Hello.Which books are good for different sections of cat ??
Aziz Manva answers,At this stage, if you already have some material, it should be fine. However, TestFunda also has complete CAT material covering all aspects of CAT prep
hetu9999 asked,in how many period we can finish up our syllbus
Aziz Manva answers,There is no fixed period as such. However, if you start now and prepare systematically, you can finish by end of October
mohan asked,that is quite affordable i think will i get it on your website directly? where will i get the syllabus from? m taking CAT for first time
Aziz Manva answers,Sure. You will be able to get all these details on our website itself.
Sidd asked,There are rumours that the JMET will be scrapped from this year and use CAT scores...if so then what will be the percentile range that we will need to score?
Aziz Manva answers,Can't say at this stage. But the percentile range for IIT B should be close to the percentile for MDI
zizou asked,How to improve analytical and critical reasoning?Please enlighten!!
Aziz Manva answers,For analytical reasoning, you will need sustained practice with the art of eliminating answer options and for critical reasoning, you will need to go through theory and then understand how options differ subtly
zizou asked,Can we get separate test funda material of DI/LR??
Aziz Manva answers,Yes, you can. We have a separate courseware only for DILR
manu asked,How many questions there would in total including both the sections?
Aziz Manva answers,Total -- 60 questions Each section will have 30 questions and 70 minutes will be alloted to each section
zizou asked,How to improve profile for CAT in case i manage to nail CAT??
Aziz Manva answers,Try and stya updated on current affairs plus politics, economics etc in the next 6 months. Also, if you have some hobby, develop it. If you don't, build one.
hunar asked,with the recent changes, will there also be changes in cut offs at IIMs? the official CAT website does not even update itself regularly. is there any other official site which will keep us updated about changes related to CAT and all
Aziz Manva answers,There should be changes. However it is impossible to predict the nature of these changes currently
amit asked,What should be the kind of preparation for the cat ??
Aziz Manva answers,It has to be a mixture of test taking, theory, practice and analysis over the next three months. You will have to create some schedule for yourself and stick to it.
manu asked,Thanks sir for your reply...but i just saw your recent post you stated we have to attempt 23-25 questions per section with 80-85% accuracy to get more then 95%ile... it would be something like 95+ marks??is it correct?
Aziz Manva answers,More than marks, we need to focus on attempts and accuracy as marks will get normalised (which is out of our control). Assuming a +3 and -1 breakup, it would mean a raw score of around 110.
Sidd asked,Can we expect the questions to get tougher or easier in CAT 2011 based on the new format as compared to CAT 2010?
Aziz Manva answers,Can't say at this stage but observe that the time alloted per questions is still approximately the same. i.e. a little more than 2 minutes. In that sense, the difficulty level should not change drastically
zizou asked,Ideally,how many hours should we put in for the next three months if we need to nail the CAT approzimately??
Aziz Manva answers,If you are working, then around 1 to 1.5 hours daily and 6-8 hours on holidays. If you are at home than 4-5 hours everyday (with breaks)
Aziz Manva says,Thank You for you questions and having the patience to wait for my replies. Unfortunately, I will have to wind up here. Wish you all the very best!