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DILR For CAT: How To Crack The Toughest Questions

The Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning section ie. DILR for CAT haunts many candidates. It is also a fact that this is the section that can make the most difference in your percentile score

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Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning ie. DILR for CAT is of great emphasis. It holds almost a third of the total CAT marks. For many candidates, this is the most challenging part of the exam.


Questions in the DILR for CAT often include a set of data in the form of charts or graphs or sets. The candidate has to analyze the data and answer the questions that follow.


In this article, we are going to discuss how to crack the DILR for CAT. This content has these sections:


  1. What is DILR?
  2. What is the DILR syllabus?
  3. Why are we asked DILR?
  4. DILR marking scheme
  5. How to solve DILR problems
  6. Strategy for DILR for CAT
  7. Examples of DIRL problems


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What is the DILR syllabus?


CAT exam is very innovative in terms of designing the questions. You may encounter a type of question you may have never seen before. This is why it is important to have a great level of practice with a variety of questions. So you can solve any question regardless of its format.


But no matter what, there are only so many types of questions that can be designed. You are sure to encounter many questions similar to the ones you have practiced.


Data interpretation and logical reasoning test your data interpretation skills, your speed, and your decision-making ability. Following are the topics that are asked in the DILR for CAT:


  • Interpretation and Analysis of Data
  • Text Interpretation
  • Venn Diagrams
  • Tables
  • Graphs (line, area)
  • Charts ( bar, pie)
  • Blood Relations
  • Coding & Decoding
  • Logical sequence
  • Data structure
  • Assumption
  • Calendars
  • Clocks
  • Binary Logic
  • Seating arrangement
  • Premise
  • Conclusion
  • Linear and Matrix Arrangements


Why are we asked DILR?


So what is the importance of data interpretation and logical reasoning as a manager and why is this section in CAT as well as many other management entrance examinations.


With the rise of the digital age, data is in abundance. For the first time in history, we have more data than we can possibly analyze. We have quantitative data ranging from what consumers buy, at what season what product sells, which user uses which apps, at that time, talks to whom, how much, and much more. 


Decision making in today’s business world is faster than ever. Thanks to tools and methods to analyze and sort data, capable of delivering Key Performance Indicators(KPIs). Today’s business decisions are data-driven.


There are multiple sources of data today. It needs special tools to make sense of all this big pile of data.


All this data is of no use unless it is interpreted into meaningful information that is valuable and executable. This is why it is such an important skill required in DILR for CAT.


In the DILR section, questions accompany some data in the form of graphs, charts or any other form. The candidate has to analyze the data. This is also an important skill that the candidate will require as a manager.


You should be able to identify the meaning quickly. You should know how to approach to find what the question requires. You need to make the correct calculations. 


You should be able to make links between different parts. You should be able to identify key trends as per the data. You need to connect the information from other sources too.


The calculations involved in the DILR for the CAT section commonly include percentages, ratios and proportions, statistics, and making conclusions based on the calculations. 


A business manager or someone in a position of leadership is required to make key decisions based on the interpreted data. This is where the logical reasoning part comes into play.


Making meaning of data is one thing and taking important decisions based on that information is another. You should be able to offer solutions. For this, you need great analytical skills.


When interpreting such data, a manager must try to differentiate between correlation, causation, and coincidence. There are many other biases – but you also have to consider all the possible factors involved that may have led to the result. There are many data interpretation techniques you can use.


There are also times when the data you have at your disposal is insufficient to draw any conclusion. To reach a consensus, more data is required. For this, you should be able to identify the need for more data.


Problems related to data sufficiency develop and test your reasoning skills and make you analyze complex scenarios. In the corporate world, you will come across reports which do not contain complete information. This DILR section in CAT is basically a test of your logical reasoning skills and decision-making capabilities. 


Find the list of  Top CAT Coaching Institutes in Delhi here


DILR Marking Scheme


In CAT 2019, out of 100 questions, 32 were from Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning. Of these, 24 were from LR and 8 were from Data Interpretation (DI). However, it is increasingly becoming difficult to separate the questions into categories.


Out of these 32, 24 were objective type questions and 8 required answers to be written directly.


You are awarded 3 points for a correct answer. For each wrong answer, 1 mark is deducted.


You are provided 60 minutes for solving DILR for CAT, like every other section.


How to solve DILR problems?


Now that we have learned about the importance, syllabus and the marking scheme of the DILR for CAT, let us talk about the ways and techniques of solving DILR problems. These are the ways in which you can get better at solving DILR problems.


The first and most important step is practice. You need to practice as many DILR questions as your schedule allows you. A good ballpark is to solve 3-4 DILR questions every day.


Treat the questions as puzzles. The more you solve the better you get. Even when you are not able to reach an answer, it is developing your ability. You only need to put time and effort. If at first, you find that they are too tough, just have patience. If scoring a high percentile in CAT is your goal, you must not ignore the DILR questions.


The questions in the DILR sections are getting more difficult with each passing year. There are also new varieties of questions every year. The practice is your only weapon.


Another thing about practice is you should always get feedback from a personal teacher. If you just keep practicing without someone who can give you pointers and advice to get better, you are not performing at your best.


For example, you might be solving a particular question in a certain way, while there is a much more concise and faster way. A mentor is important in this sense. You should always get feedback on your efforts from an expert.


Practice will also help you build confidence in your problem-solving skills. You may find yourself being at ease at the prospect of a difficult question. This is an important development, both for the CAT and for you as a manager.


When you encounter a problem, how do you react to it? Are you afraid of how should you approach it? Or are you confident that no matter what it is, there is always a solution?


Mock tests

Mock tests must be given as seriously as you give the CAT. Mock tests teach you how to approach the paper, what to solve, what to skip, what strategies to adopt.


Regularly solving mock tests lets you track your progress and compare where you stand relative to the competition. Ideally, you should solve one mock test every week during the preparation stages.


This frequency should be increased to one mock every day, the week preceding your CAT exam.


A good way to approach mock tests is to decide how many questions you are going to solve beforehand. A good benchmark starts from 40% and raises that percentage as you practice more and more tests. 


With time your speed will increase and you will be more familiar with the test process. This will prove fruitful on the D-day.


There is a correct way to take mock tests that will maximize your gains.


  • Sit for the mock test at the same time your CAT exam session is.
  • Try to minimize distractions. Keep the atmosphere just like the exam hall.
  • Don’t get up unless it is an emergency. Develop the habit of seating for the whole duration of the exam ie. 3 hours. Keep your water with you and tell your family not to disturb you.
  • Treat the mock as you’d treat the real CAT.
  • After the test, analyze what your mistakes were and how you can correct it for the next time.
  • Never try to attempt all the questions. Decide the target of the percentage of questions you are going to attempt. Even if you solve 50% questions correctly, you’ll have an amazing percentile score.
  • Minimize your negative marking DILR marking scheme

Speed of calculations


The DILR section involves lots of calculations. You need to develop speed and accuracy of calculations. Sometimes the calculations are confusing and you need to know the correct approach.


During practice, try doing calculations in your mind sometimes without using the pen. As you do it more, you will develop the skill of making long calculations without putting the pen on paper. All toppers are good at this technique.


Never use calculators during practice. You are robbing your brain of the opportunity to develop speed. Think of your practice sessions as a workout in the gym. The more you work, the more your calculation muscles will develop.


You need to have patience and not give in to easy techniques. They will prove useless in the exam.


You should only start using the calculators before a week or two before the exam. That too, the version that the CAT will provide. The purpose of this is to get acquainted with the on-screen calculator.



The DILR for the CAT section is indeed calculation-intensive, but solving a DILR question not only involves calculations but a proper understanding of the sentence. Sometimes, the language of the question is confusing. You may end up solving for something whereas the question asked for something else.


As you practice your reading comprehension(RC), this part will get better. This is why a balanced approach to preparation is necessary.


Strategy for DILR for CAT


A DILR for the CAT section comes in different sets of questions. A set of questions has the same data and questions are interrelated.


In general, you can expect a total of 8 sets having 3-4 problems each. 2 of these sets would be Data Interpretation (DI) and 2 would be from LR. The rest would be a combination of both LR and DI.


The first thing you should as you open the section is to skim through all the questions. You can take 5 minutes to do that. Don’t just randomly choose a question to solve. Your choice of a set should be based on sound reason, like the ones discussed here.


Never just start solving questions as soon as you see the paper. You may end up in a difficult question while the easy ones are later into the paper.


Decide and mark which sets appear easy and medium and may take less time and which ones will take more time and calculation.


  • A good way to decide which ones to pick is familiarity. If you find a set that is similar to some settings you have practiced, choose that one over a set that appears totally new.
  • Another way is to compare how many lines of data are there in the set. Choose the one that has less.
  • Choose the set that has questions that require less calculation. If you find a set where a solution to one question takes you closer to the solution of the next question, prefer that. Don’t choose sets where a new condition requires you to recalculate everything again.


Remember that you don’t need to solve all the questions. Stick to your percentage goal. All questions carry equal weightage, so solve the easy ones first and ensure that the solution is correct. 


Start attempting the questions in the order of increasing difficulty. Remember how many questions you need to solve correctly to reach your percentage goal. 


Only after you are satisfied that you have solved all the easy and medium sets should you move on to the difficult sets.


Don’t spend more than 15 minutes on any set. You have to know when to keep going and when to give up. 


However, don’t get disappointed and leave the set if you can’t reach an answer in the first 5 minutes. With practice, your choices and judgment of the easy and difficult sets will get better.


List the data


Always list all the data that is given in any DILR question and that you found out. Write this in a separate area on the sheet so it gives clarity.


Decode the data given in the question. Understand it completely before starting to solve questions.


Keep your solutions neat and clean. Otherwise, you may have to start over if you can’t make sense of your calculations.


DILR for CAT examples


Now let’s look at some DILR questions.


Example 1: Logical reasoning


Aman. Badshah, Krish. viru and shourya are 5 friends. All of them are of different heights. The tallest person’s position is numbered 1, the next tallest 2, and so on, till the shortest whose position number is 5.


  1. The sum of Aman’s position number and shourya ‘s position number is the sum of viru’s position number and Krish’ position number.
  2. Krish is not the shortest and Aman is not the tallest.
  3. Krish is shorter than Aman, and viru is shorter than badshah.


Q1. Who is the tallest?

  1. Badshah
  2. Aman
  3. shourya
  4. Either Badshah or Aman
  5. Cannot be determined


Q2. If viru is shorter than Krish, then the sum of the position numbers of which of these combinations is/are a perfect square?


  1. Badshah and Aman
  2. viru and shourya
  3. Krish and Badshah
  4. More than one of the above
  5. None of the above


Q3. If viru is shorter than Krish. then which of the following is true?


  1. If they are made to stand in order of decreasing heights, no two persons whose names start with consecutive alphabets stand next to each other.
  2. The sum of the position numbers of Krish and Aman is equal to the position number of shourya.
  3. The sum of the position numbers of viru and shourya is a prime number.
  4. Badshah is not taller than Krish.
  5. None of the above


Example 2: Data Interpretation


The following table gives the result of the north soccer competition. Matches were played round-robin (each team playing against another once) and the teams participated were Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Assam. The table has some data missing:


 Match playedWonDrawnLostGoals forGoals against
Uttar Pradesh2 1 24
Madhya Pradesh2   37
Assam     1


Q1. What is the total number of matches played in the whole competition?

  1. 3        2. 6  3. 9  4. None of these


Q2. What did the scorecard read in favor of Madhya Pradesh in Madhya Pradesh-Assam match?


​1. 2-5           2. 1-5 3. 1-4      4. 1-6


3. How many matches did Madhya Pradesh lose?

  1. 0       2. 1 3. 2     4. 0 or 1


  1. How many goals did the Assam score? 
  2. 5       2. 1 3. 3     4. 7


Example 3:

Princy, Kesha, Rosie, and ridhi were the four finalists in a dance competition. Ayush, Bablu, Ganesh, and dev were the four music composers who individually assigned items to the dancers. Each dancer had to individually perform in two dance items assigned by the different composers.


The first items performed by the four dancers were all assigned by different music composers. No dancer performed her second item before the performance of the first item by any other dancers. The dancers performed their second items in the same sequence of their performance of their first items.


The following additional facts are known.

  1. No composer who assigned an item to princy, assigned any item to Kesha.
  2. No composer who assigned an item to Rosie, assigned any item to ridhi.
  3. The first performance was by princy; this item was assigned by Bablu.
  4. The last performance was by Rosie; this item was assigned by Ganesh.
  5. The items assigned by Ayush were performed consecutively. The number of performances between the items assigned by each of the remaining composers was the same.


Question 1:


Which of the following is true?

  1. The second performance was composed by dev.
  2. The third performance was composed by Ayush.
  3. The second performance was composed by Ganesh.
  4. The third performance was composed by dev.


Question 2:


Which of the following is FALSE?

  1. Kesha did not perform in any item composed by Ganesh.
  2. Rosie did not perform in any item composed by bablu.
  3. ridhi did not perform in any item composed by Ayush.
  4. princy did not perform in any item composed by dev.


Question 3:


The sixth performance was composed by:


  1. Ganesh
  2. Ayush
  3. Bablu
  4. Dev


We hope you found this definitive guide for the data interpretation and logical reasoning ie. DILR for CAT helpful. Check out our other articles.


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Gaurav is a Content Writer at IIM Skills. He has a B.Tech. degree but then he switched to the creative side by doing his master's in advertising and public relations. Gaurav is also a part-time blogger and graphic designer currently living in Mumbai

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