Over the last few years, the DI section of CAT has moved from “Data Representation” to “Data Interpretation”. Confused? What we mean to say is that in the past, your decision of whether to attempt or not attempt a particular set depended on what kind of Data Representation it was. Thus a student comfortable in graphs would search for sets containing in the paper and solve them. Or for that matter, a student who was not so comfortable in caselets would end up skipping all the sets on in a paper. However this strategy would no longer be valid. CAT has moved beyond a caselet or a graph or a table or so as to say, it is no longer important to establish how is the data represented. As the statistics suggest, graphs have almost gone missing in the last 8 CAT papers and special kind of data representations have crept in.

What do the Statistics show?

  1. There were a total of 27 ‘Graph’ based sets out of a total of 61 in CAT papers from 1990 to 2000. However in the subsequent years, from CAT 2001 to 2008, there were only 11 ‘Graph’ based sets out of a total of 62 sets. Clearly graphs are getting less popular amongst the CAT examiners.
  2. Out of a total 62 sets from CAT 2001 to CAT 2008, there were a whopping 32 sets based on ‘Tables’. Clearly indicating that DI is no longer a game of ‘Data Representation’.
  3. From CAT 1990 to 2000, a total of 37 sets out of 61 were based on Averages and Percentage, while the same figure for CAT 2001 to 2008 was 14 out of 62, indicating that newer types of logic are coming to fore and hence DI is clearly moving towards ‘Interpretation’.
  4. With the CAT going online in 2009, the DI sets became more calculation intensive in the last six years.

What is more relevant today is, how can the data be interpreted? If you were to analyze the last 8-10 years CAT papers there is a clear trend emerging in DI section in terms of the kind of interpretation you need to do to solve a DI set. We have classified them under the following 8 groups:

  1. Averages and Percentage Based
  2. Calculation Based
  3. Counting Based
  4. Creating Multiple Scenarios
  5. Plugging Missing Data
  6. Venn Diagram Based
  7. Networks and Paths
  8. Reasoning Based

Let us see examples of each one of them so as understand them better:

Averages and Percentage Based Sets

These sets would require you apply concepts of Percentage change, Weighted Average and Ratios to concepts. Most of the line graphs and pie charts are based on percentages.

Here is a CAT 2007 set that is based on Averages.

Calculation-Based Sets

These sets are heavy on data and require you to perform a lot of calculations to get the answers. The good thing about these sets is that in most of the cases the answer options are wide apart. Hence there is a possibility to approximate the values and calculate. However, these sets are generally avoidable as they are time consuming and also prone to errors.

Here is another CAT 2007 set that is based on Calculations.

Counting-Based Sets

These sets are extremely easy and take less time to solve as most of the questions only require you to count certain values to get the answers. In case you find such a set in your paper, it should be the first one that you should attack.

Sets based on Creating Multiple Scenarios

These are the sets in which one single scenario may not help you to get all answers. You need to create a new scenario for every question. Hence these questions take a lot of time to solve and must be avoided wherever possible.

Here is a CAT 2005 set based on creating multiple scenarios.

Sets based on Plugging Missing Data

In these sets some of the values are deliberately not revealed by the examiner. You need to find these missing data first and then answer the questions. These sets are extremely risky to attempt as you are never sure whether you will be able to extract all the missing data from the given information.

Here is a CAT 2004 set based on plugging missing data.

Venn Diagram-Based Sets

These sets pertain to two or more different types of sets and the relationship between the values of these sets. You need to draw Venn diagrams to represent these sets and establish relationship between different data values.

Here is a CAT 2003 (Nov) set based on Venn Diagram.

Sets based on Network and Paths

These sets require you to establish relationship between different paths in a network and get the answers. These sets are usually easy and must be solved as a part of one of the first few sets.

Reasoning-Based sets

These sets are based on some underlying logic that binds different data values, and are beyond simple mathematical relationships. Your ability to crack these sets depends on whether you have been able to crack this logic between the data values. Again very risky sets to attempt as you may never know the amount of time it may take to crack these sets. For all you know, you may end up leaving these sets after having spent considerable amount of time.

Here is a CAT 2004 set based on Reasoning.