After the previous posts, a few of you had commented saying that you are eagerly awaiting the post on the DI-LR section. The earnestness is understandable since most of you who are facing the SimCATs will know that the DI-LR section is one that will make or break your CAT. If it goes well, you will take that confidence into the QA section finish strong. If you choose How to select the right DI-LR sets goes south then you will start feeling the fatigue and will fade away in the last section. The latter has been the case with most test-takers over the years.
As a paper, the CAT has always been fun to take because of the inventiveness of questions. Some of the best CAT papers — 2005-2008 — were a treat (not from everyone’s perspective) because of the high quality of the questions posed. For us test-prep professionals, taking the paper-based test in December was like the culmination of a year of work; the calendar year kinda ended with the CAT. I still remember coming out of CAT 2006 and thinking about the awesome Erdos Number LR set and not resting till I solved it fully. The CAT Day would end after all of us had agreed on all the answers — something that never fully happened with the VA-RC section — before putting it out for students and waiting for the Official Answer Key.
Since the test went paper-based in 2009 that sort of post-test excitement has disappeared. Not just that, the level of the paper dropped drastically as well — especially QA, DI, and LR — since they had to make 40 different papers. It was since 2014, from when it being conducted in fewer slots, that the DI and LR sections returned to a level that could be called CAT-level. Going by the last three CATs and the overall tilt of the IIMs towards making the test an even playing field for aspirants from all backgrounds, it is likely that the trend of keeping the QA easy and the DI-LR tough will continue.
They need to level the playing the field but not the level of intelligence! So this post will be geared towards helping you fine-tune your strategy and ability with respect to the DI-LR section. We will start with a strategy and then move on to the specific handling of sets. The first step is to select the right sets across DI and LR.
Of all the skills that tested on the CAT, the ones that almost essential or indispensable to a business manager or leader are the ability to interpret data and the ability to reason. So it goes without saying that you do not have a choice between liking one or the other because it is not a question of a clearing a test but the question of your very suitability for the program and career you are choosing! So the first rule — you cannot have a favorite between the two. Your job is to choose the right sets irrespective of whether they belong to DI or LR.
On one test it can be 4 DI, 2 LR on another it can be 1 DI, 4 LR — you choose as per the paper but not as per preset rules. There is a difference between playing preset tunes on an electronic keyboard and actually playing the keyboard. So this straight-away eliminates the problem of how to allocate your 60 minutes. You scan all the sets and choose the 4 easiest ones to start with and then pick two more if the time and the level of difficulty permit.
This is very important in the context of the current nature of DI-LR sets. The tougher the DI-LR section gets the harder it will be for your say where DI ends and where LR begins, the lines between the two have gotten really, really blurred. So you will be better off setting your goal to be to choose and do 4-5 sets among 8 sets in 60 minutes. Let’s know How to select the right DI-LR sets. from an old SimCAT, which had a DI-LR sectional cut-off of 21, to see how this choice is best done.
How to choose the right DI and LR sets
Before we jump into the DI-LR sets of SimCAT 2, we should define a few terms for ourselves.
Standard Set versus Unique Set
We know what standards sets mean — these are the staple of most LR section — Linear Arrangements, Matrix Arrangements and the most standard one of them all, the good ol’ Sports Set! It goes without saying that we do not need to define what Unique Sets are.
Plugin Conditions versus Deductive Conditions
Not all conditions are alike. There are broadly two types of conditions Plugin Conditions that can be directly represented in a table — Ajay was from Bhagalpur or the Navin is not an Architect. Deductive Conditions are those cannot be directly inserted into a table but will yield information when used with plugin conditions that can then be represented in a table. The deceptive conditions can be purely logical in nature such as no two players scored the same number of runs or numerical as well such as the average weight of the five tallest people was 3 kg lower than the average of the five shortest people.
Open Sets versus Closed Sets
Another thing which is probably the most important thing to determine while you are reading a set is whether it is a closed or an open set. What do I mean by an Open Set? An Open Set is one where the set is never fully solvable or the table can never be fully completed. There are a set of conditions based on which there can be few or many possibilities, tree-diagram, and hence the questions will end up being based only on the information given provided, you are not expected to crack the whole set and/or the question itself will provide additional information — if X is present in the group then in how many different groups can be formed — which you have to use to arrive at the answer and/or questions involving inequalities or conditionalities answer options have CANNOT BE DETERMINED. Hence, to evaluate whether it is an open or a closed set you have to quickly browse through the questions as well.
If you have understood these classifications properly or in other words if you have been able to relate these classifications to the sets you have practiced then you will easily agree that the easiest ones will be Standard & Closed sets with Plugin Conditions. As each of these three settings — Standard, Plugin, Closed starts to change the sets will get progressively harder with the toughest ones being Unique, Deductive and Open Sets.
So your first task is to read a set in under three minutes evaluate it through this lens. Once you evaluate a set, you have to rate it on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being a cakewalk set that you can solve in 5 minutes, to any set that needs to be left alone being classified as 5 or below. I know this is easier said than done but if you solve enough sets you will develop this judgment. Let us take each of the sets from a SimCAT and do this exercise. Please read the set, evaluating and classifying it as you read, before you read my take on it.
SET 1 | How to select the right DI-LR sets
While there have been sets that involve carry-over of numbers from one year to the next, at this stage of your prep you would not have seen too many of this type. Also from the questions, it is clear that it is a closed set that will need you to deduce all the missing values to answer the questions and hence definitely something that will take time.
VERDICT: Non-standard, Plugin + Deductive, Closed; RATING: 5
SET 2 | How to select the right DI-LR sets
A standard set based on arrangements, last year’s CAT had an LR set that was very close to this and it was the easiest of the DI sets. The conditions are deductive but it’s simple big numbers based deductive rather than averages or ratios and also it is not a set that opens into a tree diagram. From the questions,…
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