Game-Set-Match : Ace LRDI with a 99.83 percentiler!
Here at the Unconventional MBA, we try to keep things short and to the point.
So when we decided to do posts on strategy, the last thing we wanted was to drown you in too much info (or as we call it, information overkill). That's exactly why you’ll find only a couple of articles on every section of the CAT.
Now for the famous (or should I say infamous) LRDI section, we thought we’d reel in a bona fide LRDI expert, who not only scored a whopping 99.81 percentile in this section, but is also a student at IIM-Ahmedabad (2020-2022)!
Meet Gauri Sharda! Gauri is a B.Com (Hons.) student at Hansraj College (DU) and joins IIM-A as a fresher.
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Read on to know more about her background and what is it exactly that got her such a coveted percentile.
I am Gauri Sharda, currently surfing through my last few days as an undergraduate student of B.Com (Hons.) at Hansraj College, University of Delhi; all poised to start my journey as a PGP student at IIM Ahmedabad this fall.
I took CAT 2019 and scored a 99.83 percentile overall, and was able to get interviews calls from all colleges I had applied to.
A little about my background:
10th – 9.6 CGPA | 12th – 96.4% (Commerce)
B.Com (Hons.) – 83.6%
Hansraj College, Delhi University
Today I’ll be taking you through the process which helped me achieve a scaled score of 62.7 (or a percentile of 99.81) in the Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DI-LR) section.
Just a background on my preparation, I had joined IMS Karkardooma, East Delhi for my CAT coaching and started seriously preparing around January. Most of the resources I studied from and the mocks I took were theirs. The mock tests started around June as far as I remember, and I had a decent start in this particular section.
Initially, I was scoring around 34, 36, and even 40 in certain mocks but somewhere things started going downhill and I scored just 17, 16, and 11 in 3 consecutive mocks. I realised that I needed to change my current “technique” of just winging DI-LR (which had seemed to work pretty well by then) and analyse different approaches.
So I’ll try to cover 2 things here - firstly, what approaches I took to improve my score by working on increasing my attempts and secondly, what different ways can one attempt the section in the test.
How I increased my attempts
I started off by making an Excel Sheet and filling in the resources I had available. These included the set categories in the books, the mock tests I had taken till then, and whatever online resources were available on IMS’s app.
I divided them on the basis of the category they belonged to (set theory, linear arrangement, pie charts, grouping, caselets, etc). For the next few days, I stopped working on the other two sections almost entirely.
Instead of looking for new resources, I started redoing the existing, already attempted ones I had. Only this time I started timing the sets and recording them in the Excel sheet along with the number of questions I attempted per set and my accuracy in them.
4 days and 160 sets later, I had a good amount of data to analyse and could now start figuring out what type of categories I was good at and the ones which were not good for my health at all. With this analysis done, I had in hand the questions which would work for me (which meant I could attempt them first to save time and gain confidence), the ones I’d have to outright throw in the bin (if they did not make sense to me within the first 1-2 minutes) and the ones with potential (I could to spend some time on these to try the various techniques of attempting).
A copy of my excel sheet is available here. Do have a look and try this technique out for yourself!
The key here is to try and develop a go-to technique for each particular category.
Now you can’t just use whatever everyone else is using. You must find the technique which makes the most sense to you. For example, when there were questions on matching like a family, their locality and maybe the mode of transport they use, I knew I was going to use a Grid format, rather than just matching or ruling out.
The different strategies
I zeroed in on 3 basic strategies people use in this section:
Case 1: You quickly glance through all the 8 sets to just get an idea about the category and then start attempting them one by one based on gut-feeling.
Case 2: You spend about 1-2 minutes trying to read and comprehend each set. You then immediately start working on the one that makes sense to you first and then move on to the successive sets. Case 3: You spend about 1-2 minutes trying to read the set and identify it on the basis of easy, medium and hard. You create a chart on your sheet and write down the category alongside the difficulty level.
SET 1 - Circular Arrangement; Hard
SET 2 - DI Chart; Easy
SET 3 - Set Theory; Medium
You begin with the easy ones, solving them quickly before moving on to the ones with higher difficulty because a sense of confidence and achievement is most important in this section.
I had started with the Case 2 strategy initially and it was working well for me before I made the crash landing.
At this point, I adopted the Case 3 strategy which worked really well for me in the mocks that followed and ultimately on the D-Day as well. I attempted 20 questions overall, spanning over 7 sets.
My two most important take-aways:
1. Do not remain stuck on one set thinking that “I have spent 15 minutes on this, in another 2 or 3, I’ll crack it.”
NO! If you couldn’t solve it in the 15 minutes, chances are, you won’t at all.
After a maximum of 12 minutes, move on to another set. Also, do not take the hangover of the previous section or set (those wasted 12 minutes) onto the next set because that would be really really bad.
Start each set with a fresh mind. Your hold on your mental and emotional faculties is of utmost importance.
2. You DO NOT have to attempt all 4 questions of a set just because you have started it.
Some mix and match, or a combination of 2 or 3 questions from multiple sets will also do wonders and get you a good score. Whenever I felt 1 or 2 questions were comparatively tougher or unnecessarily complex, I would just attempt the easier ones and move on to the next set. This worked out well for me.
I hope this helps you out in this level playing ground, popularly called the DI-LR section.
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