If you have ever appeared for any competitive exam or management exams like CAT 2018, then you would know that if there is any topic that takes you for a really good spin, it is Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning. It is probably the least favorite of a student who did not opt for Science stream in their high school days. At least for me it used to be, but then I got my way with it. DI and I, we had a deal. The only condition was that I would invest 3 hours daily with it. Trust me, it was the most unusual relation. I started practicing for a competitive exam which had only 7-8 questions carrying around maximum of 14-16 marks. But to attempt that too felt like breaking ice with my bare hands. I tried a lot at first, even got exhausted and finally I began understanding how to deal with it. And guess what when I sat for the exam next time I attempted the DI and logical reasoning first and to my surprise they all were correct. If you also want to make your preparation stumble free then read these tips to see how I prepared for Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning. Related: How to Prepare for CAT Quant Section?

But before we jump to the tips I want you to promise yourself that you will spend at least 3 hours for DI and LR. you may adjust your time as you require later on but for the starting 2 week, there is no compromise to be made. Alright then here we go


The first and foremost thing that I did was to check whether the exam I was appearing for did actually have DI and LR as components in the syllabus. Once I knew that I actually tried to browse online for some sample papers to see how much syllabus of DI and LR I needed to cover for my competitive exam. Since it is not possible to check each and every site, I sticked to some generic ones I thought provided me sufficient to think upon.

For exampleI found that Time and Clock, Calendar, pie charts, graphs, streams, boats, relations were the most common topics that were essential parts of Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning. I focussed on them. You may begin with pie charts since that is the easiest. For that i began with simple percentage formulas first such as how to calculate profit and loss/ how to find total income/ division/addition/subtraction etc.


One book that I relied upon for the preparation purpose was Quicker Maths by M Tyra. it is probably the most concise of all out there. Covers the definitions, concepts, questions, solutions separately in small section. Plus with over dozens of practice questions.

Some books for you to scrounge:-

Data Interpretation/ Logical Reasoning:-

Magical book on Quicker Maths by M Tyra

  • Data Interpretation Magical Book Series by NA
  • An advanced approach to Data Interpretation by R.S Aggarwal
  • Mental  Ability Reasoning, Logical Analytical, Data Interpretation, Arithmetic Special by Vijeta Competitions Editorial Board
  • Data Interpretation and Reasoning by S.L Gulati

Once I found out which book I wanted to study I sticked to it for reference. Do not waste time buying 3-4 books for one topic because ultimately you will end up reading only 1. Therefore it is better to get your hands on the one that you find might answer all your queries and stick to it until you have completed it.

Don’t Play with time

If you really want to do well in your exam, then you will have to stick to the schedule seriously. Whether you study in daytime or nighttime, you should devote the time as you have planned. No cutting on that.

Make sure that if you have allotted 2 hours for pie charts then finish one portion of the pie charts only. Do not leap onto solving graphs in the next 1 hour. This made me confuse when i switched to other topics in between when I was done with one day’s schedule. Then I corrected my methodology and only covered pie charts in 4 days. I took up more than 100 questions in those 4 days and felt ready for all sorts of pie charts. Then I started with graphs.

Tricks and turns

To solve mathematical problems speed is the key. Try to watch video tutorials in breaks to learn short tricks for mathematical problems. There are hindi tutorials as well which you might like. All these formulae usually do have a short way to reach the solution, you just need to know which is the convenient one for you. I saw that there were also short methods to learn tables till 20, calculate square roots, etc.

Hear the Question?

DI and LR require brief reading. Do not attempt to solve the DI And LR part without reading it twice. The tricky formulation of words might create confusion, on the contrary to which the answer is quite simple. Some questions do not even need use of formulas. There are questions that can be solved just by reading the graph. You should read the pie chart or graph carefully and then see the question.

Do not put unnecessary methods when not required. For solving LR, I drew some pointers such as using (+) sign to denote females and (-) sign to denote Male. so that when the question came on relations such as how many female members were there in the family, I counted the (+) signs and it saved a lot of time.

For instance:-

  1. there are two families in which X is the brother of Y, but Y is the sister of Z who is not a boy. Z is not related to N who is a female but do not have any relation with X,Y or Z then how many female members are there in the family.

I immediately used (+) and  (-) to denote each. Let us check the statement one by one

  • Since X is the brother use (-) for X.
  • Y is the sister (use + sign) of Z (who is not a boy) then it must be a girl, so use (+) sign again
  • Now N is a female but she has no relation with X,Y or Z. so she will not be counted in the family
  • Now count the positive signs
  • Then there are only 2 female members in the family

This way you can easily find out how to put short tricks/symbols to answer the LR questions.



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