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The DI Game .Play it!

An Insightful and Comprehensive Report on the Data Interpretation section of the CAT, that includes Trends and Analysis of the past CAT papers, Strategies to crack the DI section and Important tips to attempt specific questions with lots of examples from the actual CAT.

Table of Contents
Introduction .. 3

How is Data Interpretation in CAT different?


Types of Data Representation ..

The changing Trend of DI in CAT



How to prepare for DI in the last two months


Annexure: Trends of DI from CAT 1990 to CAT 2008


1. Introduction
Managers have to deal with large amount of data in order to make informed decisions. As a marketing manager, you may have to make critical decisions on the launch of your new product based on the data provided by your market research department. As a finance manager, you need to analyze the financial data of your company and make critical decisions pertaining to some important factors. As an HR manager, you need to go through records of your employees in order to take decisions regarding appraisals and evaluation. Hence managers need the aptitude to process large amount of data and draw quick conclusions out of it. This, perhaps, is the reason CAT has a section dedicated to data interpretation Data can be represented in the form of tables, graphs or even caselets. Data represented in the form of a table is raw and usually is quite time consuming to process such data. Analyses such as trends, problem areas, percentage distribution are quite difficult to perform when the data is represented in the form of a table. Graphs on the other hand represent the same data visually. Graphs offer the luxury of processing data by observation as we can easily see the trends and distribution. Even problem areas are easy to identify by looking at the deviation from the trends. Representing data in the form of caselets is quite uncommon in the real world. However, it is very popular with car examiners. In this case, date is hidden between paragraphs and you have to unearth the data as you go on reading the paragraph. This is probably the worst case of data representation when it comes to analyzing and drawing conclusions out of it

2. How is Data Interpretation in CAT different?

At first glance at a set, no one can grasp what the set is pertaining to. It i s as you go on reading and solving and unearthing information bit by bit, the set reveals itself as a whole. The sets are logical, based on reasoning. Before one attempts to solve the question, he will have to think over it for 57 mins. The questions in such sets are NEVER direct. Most of such sets have to be left directly on the face of it. The Online Angle! What are the challenges you could face in DI by virtue of CAT going Online? 1. A possibility of drop in the difficulty level of DI sets, sort of modeling itself on the GRE. 2. Interpreting data would be tougher online especially since you cannot use a pencil or any other guidelines to help you figure out exact values. 3. Because of limited scope of screen size, big tables heavy on data may go missing. The trend has shifted from easy-tounderstand-data-with-difficult-calculations to more logical questions with lesser calculations. Though the trend has moved away from long and complicated calculations, it's not advisable to attempt CAT without being reasonably good at quick calculations and approximations. In recent years, some of the questions in this section have become tougher. What must be remembered is that, like other sections as well, if you make sure that you are familiar with the type of questions that you get and the possible methods of solution, you should be able to manage a decent score

3. Types of Data Representation

Tables refer to the arrangement of data in the form of rows and columns. Positives: Data is available in compiled form, hence there is no ambiguity in interpretation. Data Values are directly given and hence one need not spend time finding the accurate Values.

Negatives: Trends cannot be easily established in the table. One can get confused over the sheer volume of the data.

Cheat Code to crack DI sets containing Tables?

1. Do not get carried away by the sheer amount of data, the set may be easy for all you know!! Check out this table from CAT 2002.

The following table gives details regarding the total earnings of 15 employees and the number of days they have worked on complex, medium and simple operations in the month of June 2002. Even though the employees might have worked on an operation, they would be eligible for earnings only if they have a minimum level of efficiency. Total Earnings Medium Simple 636.53 461.73 79.10 497.47 159.64 Total Days Medium Simple 0.00 23.00 1.67 16.00 4.00 8.50 4.67 7.33 13.33 0.00

Emp.no 2001147 2001148 2001149 2001150 2001151

Complex 82.98 51.53 171.71 100.47 594.43

Total 719.51 513.26 250.81 597.95 754.06

Complex 3.00 3.33 5.50 6.00 9.67

Total 26.00 21.00 18.00 18.00 23.00

2001156 2001158 2001164 2001170 2001171 2001172 2001173 2001174 2001179 2001180

89.70 472.31 402.25 576.57 286.48 512.10 1303.88 1017.94 46.56 116.40

109.73 735.22 6.10 117.46


776.19 1262.76

89.70 582.04 1351.14 576.57 292.57 629.56 1303.88 1017.94 822.75 1379.19

8.00 1.39 5.27 21.00 8.38 10.00 25.50 26.00 2.00 5.00

0.00 9.61 12.07 0.00 4.25 8.50 0.00 0.00 19.00 19.00

1.00 0.00 0.67 0.00 0.38 3.50 0.50 0.00 0.00 0.00

9.00 11.00 18.00 21.00 13.00 22.00 26.00 26.00 21.00 24.00

1. The number of employees who have earned more than 50 rupees per day in complex operations is _____. (1) 4 (2) 3 (3) 5 (4) 6

2. The number of employees who have earned more than 600 rupees and who have more than 80% attendance (there are 25 regular working days in June 2002, and some employees might be working overtime as well) is ______. (1) 4 (2) 5 (3) 6 (4) 7

3. The employee number of the person who has earned the maximum earnings per day in medium operations is _____. (1) 2001180 (2) 2001164 (3) 2001172 (4) 2001179

4. Among the employees who were engaged in complex and medium operations, the number of employees whose average earning per day in complex operations is more than the average earning per day in medium operations is _____. (1) 2 (2) 3 (3) 5 (4) 7

At the first glance, it seems that this table has too data intensive and hence should not be attempted. But on second thoughts if you look at the questions, you will find that this is a simple set pertaining to counting some values. So rather than getting carried away by the volume of data, you need to have a look at the questions as well.

2. Modify the question such that the answers can be easily calculated. Check out this table pertaining to CAT 2005.
The table below reports annual statistics related to rice production in select states of India for a particular year. Total Area (in million hectares) 6 4 34 % of Area under Rice Cultivation 20 60 20 Production (in million tonnes) 1.2 4.8 6.8 Population (in millions) 6 32 56

State Himachal Pradesh Kerela Rajastan

Bihar Karnataka Haryana West Bengal Gujarat Punjab Madhya Pradesh Tamil Nadu Maharashtra Uttar Pradesh Andhra Pradesh

10 19 4 9 20 5 31 13 31 24 28

60 50 80 80 60 80 40 70 50 70 80

12 19 19.2 21.6 24 24 24.8 27.3 48 67.2 112

83 53 21 80 51 24 60 62 97 166 76

1. How many states have a per capita production of rice (defined as total rice production divided by its population) greater than Gujarat? (1) 3 (2) 4 (3)5 (4) 6

2. An intensive rice-producing state is defined as one whose annual rice production per million of population is at least 4,00,000 tons. How many states are intensive rice-producing states? (1) 5 (2) 6 (3) 7 (4) 8

In the first question, we need to find the ratio of production to population i.e. divide the second-last column with the last one and find out how many of these values are greater than that of Gujarat. However one may find that this division results in values in fractions and hence difficult to compute. Instead, if we were to modify the question and calculate the ratio of population to production and find out how many of these values are less than that of Gujarat, the entire calculation becomes oral. For example, for Gujarat this value is between 2 and 3. We can find that the only states for which this value is less than that of Gujarat are Haryana (1), Punjab (1), Maharashtra (2) and Andhra Pradesh (0). Similarly in the second question, we need to simply figure out that the values of the second last column need to be multiplied by 10 and this needs to be divided by the values of the last column. The states where this value is more than 4 is Haryana, Gujarat, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.

While tables express actual numbers, graphs are a diagrammatic representation of data. They bring out the relationship between data more clearly than numbers in a table. For example, a pie-chart can bring out clearly the percentage that Anil Ambani owns of Reliance Communications Ltd and the fact that he is the largest shareholder, while a table would require you to actually calculate the percentage of each shareholder's ownership to find out the largest shareholder. Graphs are far better to understand changes in variables whether a particular value has risen or fallen over the past few years and hence analyze the trends.

Pie Charts
They derive their name from its shape, like that of a pie divided into various portions. They always represent data in the form of a percentage of the total, with the total percentage being 100. In such a chart, the length of the arc (and therefore the angle each sector subtends at the centre) is proportional to the quantity it represents. Such charts are often used in the corporate world and in newspapers. Since a circle comprises 360 degrees, each percent of a pie-chart is equal to 360 divided by 100, or 3.6 degrees. This fact will be important for the calculations you are expected to perform. Positives: More effective in calculating the percentage share of each element in the total. Questions based on comparisons can be effectively solved using pie charts. One pie chart can represent only one data set. Hence, when a question pertaining to pie chart is asked, in most cases data pertaining to only one or two data sets are asked. Because of this a student need to handle only limited number of data values.

Negatives: Less accurate than tables as one may take time to establish values. Trends cannot be established in a pie-chart.

Cheat Code to crack DI sets containing Pie Charts?

1. Ignore the overall value in comparison based questions and avoid calculating every value. Here is a CAT 2002 set to illustrate the same.
Chart 1
China 15%
Switzerland 20%

Chart 2
Switzerland 11%

China 17%

Pakistan 12% India 20% Turkey 16% USA 17%

India 26%

Pakistan 16%

USA 15%

Turkey 15%

Chart 1 shows the distribution by value of the top 6 suppliers of MFA Textiles in 1995. Chart 2 shows the distribution by quantity of the top 6 suppliers of MFA Textiles in 1995. The total value is 5760 million Euro (European Currency). The total quantity is 1.055 million tonnes. 1. The country, which has the highest average price, is _____. (2) Switzerland (3) Turkey (4) India

(1) USA

In the above question, a normal tendency would be to calculate the value and quantity for all 6 suppliers and find out for which country is this ratio the highest. However you need not do this! Since the overall values of both the pie-charts are same for all the countries, we need to simply compare the ratio of the respective percentages of the two pie-charts. This ratio is close to 2 for Switzerland (20 / 11). No other country is even close to this.

2. Replace big values by small values for comparison sake. Consider this CAT 1999 set for example.
Consider the information provided in the figure below relating to Indias foreign trade in 1997-98 and the first eight months of 1998-99. Total trade with a region is defined as the sum of exports to and imports from that region. Trade deficit is defined as the excess of imports over exports. Trade deficit may be negative. A. B. C. D. E. F. U.S.A. Germany Other E.U. countries U.K. Japan Russia G. H. I. J. K. Other East European countries OPEC Asia Other L.D.C.s Others

Source of Imports
1997-98 Imports into India $40,779 million
K J 4% 1% I 14% A 9% B 5% C 12% D 6% E 5% F 2% G 19% I 16%

1998-99 Imports into India (April-November) $28,126 million

K J 5% 1% A 9% B 5% C 13% D 6% E 6% F 1% G 21%

H 23%

H 17%

Destination of Exports
1997-98 Exports from India: $33,979 million
K J 5% 1% I 20%

1998-99 Exports from India (April-November) $21,436 million

K J 5% 1% I 18% A 23%

A 19%

B 6%

B 5%

H 10% F 3% G 10% E 6% D 6%

C 14%

H 10% F 2% G 12% E 5% D 5%

C 14%

1. What is the region with which India had the highest total trade in 1997-98? (1) USA (2) Other EU countries (3) OPEC (4)Asia


In the first question above, though we can shortlist OPEC (H) and Asia (I) by the sheer value of the percentages, it would take a little while to shortlist between the two. What you could have done is instead of taking the values as $40,779 and $33,979, we could have approximated it as 41 : 34 or approximately 6 : 5. Now, with these values, we can compare H and I easily. For example, in case of H, the total trade would be (23 6) + (10 5) = 188 and in case of I it would be (14 6) + (20 5) = 184. Clearly the value is higher for H i.e. OPEC.

3. Deploy smart techniques to do percentage calculations. Check out this CAT 1995 question.

Operation Profit Rs. 120 lakhs Tax 9% Interest 28% Retained Profit 25%

Operation Profit Rs. 150 lakhs Tax 12% Interest 42% Retained Profit 20%

Depreciation 30% 1990-91

Dividend 8%

Depreciation 18% 1991-92

Dividend 8%

1. The interest burden in 1991-92 was higher than that in 1990-91 by _____. (1) 85% (2) 87.5% (3) 90% (4) 92.5%

The above question can be solved in two ways: Traditional Method: Interest in 1990-91 = 28% of 120 = 33.6, Interest in 1991-92 = 42% of 150 = 63. Hence Percentage increase = 29.4 / 33.6 = 87.5%. Obviously, this would involve some bit of caluculation. CPLC Method: Overall Operating Profit has increase by 25% i.e. from 120 to 150 (this can be done mentally). The percentage share of interest has increased by 50% i.e. from 28 to 42 (this can be done mentally). Hence, the overall Percentage increase in interest value will be successive percentage of these two values i.e. 25 + 50 + 12.5 = 87.5% (this can be done mentally as well.


What is also means is that if we were required to find that component which has undergone the highest / lowest percentage change over the two years, you can simply find out that component that has undergone the highest / lowest percentage change in its market shares and get the answer. You need not bring the overall values (120 and 150) into the picture at all!

Bar Graphs
Bar graphs represent data in the form of columns or bars. Bar graphs can be horizontal or vertical. The length of the bar is proportional to the data value represented by it. Positives: Trends can be easily established as compared to tables and pie-charts. Comparative type questions can be easily solved by visual inspection of graph.

Negatives: Less accurate than tables as at times, especially when the grid lines of the graph are missing because of which exact value of the bar cannot be accurately established. The graph may get a little complicated in case of multiple bar chart or stacked bar chart.


Cheat Code to crack DI sets containing Bar Graphs?

1. In comparison based questions use the lengths of the bar and not exact values to solve the questions visually. Here is a CAT 2003 (Feb) DI set to illustrate the same.
Per Capita Availability of Tea (gm) in Chaidesh 600 500 400 300 200 100 0 Year 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999

(Note: Availability is defined as production less export) Production and export of Tea (Chaidesh) 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700

Export (million kg)

Production (million kg)

1. In which year during the given period was Chaideshs export of tea, as a proportion of tea produced, the highest? (1) 1995 (2)1996 (3) 1997 (4) 1998


It is clear that to solve the above question we need to look at the second graph. However, rather than struggling to get the exact values and then spending more time diving them to get the answer, we can do better by solving the question visually. The question boils down to diving the un-shaded bars by the shaded ones and find out for which year would this value be the highest. For a fraction to be the highest, its numerator should be as high as possible and the denominator should be as low as possible. In other words, the unshaded bar should be as long as possible and the shaded bar should be as short as possible. This is clearly seen for the year 1995.

2. Use the gridlines effectively for quick calculations Let us solve this CAT 1996 question to understand the same.
All values are in lakhs 225 200 175 150 125 100 75 50 25 0 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995

Profit Revenue Expenditure

1. The total revenue collected from 1991 to 1995 is approximately______. (1) Rs.850 lakhs (2) Rs.887.5 lakhs (3) Rs.912.5 lakhs (4) 950 lakhs

One way to solve the above question is to add up the exact values and get the answer. The other way is to establish every value of the Revenue in terms of Gridlines. For example, in 1991, the value of Revenue corresponds to 5.75 gridlines. Similarly for 1992 it is 6.5, for 1993 it is 7.5, for 1994 it is 8 and for 1995 it is 8.75. If we were to add all, we get a value equivalent to 36.5 gridlines. Since we know every gridline corresponds to a value of 25 lakhs, every 4 gridlines would correspond to a value of 100 lakhs or 36 gridlines would correspond to a value of 900 lakhs. Plus another 0.5 grid lines corresponds to 12.5 lakhs. Thus the total revenue for the given 5 years is 912.5 lakhs. This method helps you to deal with single-digit or two-digit values and hence enhance your calculation speed.


Line Graphs
Line graph represents data in the form of straight lines that connect various data values. Both line graphs and bar graphs are used to convey same things and hence can be used inter-changeably. For example, a line graph can be generated by joining the tip of the bar graph. Positives: Trends can be even better established in Line graphs than Bar graphs. Questions pertaining to percentage change and growth rates become easier to solve using line graphs.

Negatives: It has a similar disadvantage as the Bar graph in terms of establishing the exact values. Line graphs can only indicate the value at the end of a certain period and not between any two values.

Cheat Code to crack DI sets containing Line Graphs?


1. Use the advantage of looking at slope of the line in questions pertaining to growth rates. Let us have a look at this CAT 2003 (Nov) example to drive home the point.
The length of an infant is one of the measures of his/her development in the early stages of his/her life. The figure below shows the growth chart of four infants in the first five months of life.


60 Length (cm)
Seeta Geeta Ram Shyam





1. Who grew at the fastest rate in the first two months of life? (1) Geeta (2) Seeta (3) Ram (4) Shyam

2. Among the four infants, who grew at the least rate in the first five months of life? (1) Geeta (2) Seeta (3) Ram (4) Shyam

The growth rate or the decline rate is calculated as the growth or the decline as a percentage of the initial value. For this rate to be highest, the growth or the decline has to be the highest on a very small initial value. While for this rate to be the lowest, the growth or the decline has to be the lowest on a very high initial value. For the first question, we need to compare the values pertaining to the 0th month and the 2nd month. Now looking at the slope (steepness) of the graph, it is clear that the answer is Geeta. For her the growth is the highest and that has happened on a very small initial value. For the second question, we need to compare values pertaining to the 0th month and the 5th month. Again, it is very clear that the answer is Shyam. The growth is the least in his case and that too on a very high initial value.


2. Beware that in a Line graph you can only know value at the end of a certain time period and not the values in between two time periods. Here is a CAT 2003 (Feb) set to understand this.

Prices of Essential Commodities 80 70 Prices (Rs.) 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 1996 1997 1998 1999 Year 2000 2001 2002 Rice (kg) Dal (kg) Edible oil (kg) Egg (dozen) Chillies (kg) Onion (kg)

In the above graph, how many times during the given time period do you think was the price of Rice and Onion the same? From the graph, it seems like 3, because the two graphs intersect thrice once between 96 and 97, once between 98 and 99 and once at 2000. However, we can only be sure about the year 2000. What is important to know is that the line graph can only show the values at the end of a particular time period (in this case year). We can never comment what happened in between two years. For example, at the end of 1996, the price of Rice was Rs.12/kg and at the end of 1997 it was Rs.10/kg. Similarly, the price of Onion was Rs.10/kg and Rs.18/kg between these two time periods. We had to join these two points by a straight line, and they intersect at a point (in this case at Rs.11/kg). This is no way indicates that the prices of these two commodities had been Rs.11/kg between 1996 and 1997.



In caselets, the mathematical data is represented in the form of a paragraph. Hence extracting data and establishing relationships between different data values becomes difficult. However caselets are very popular with that CAT examiners. Positives: Most caselets seem difficult due to lack of data values, but are very easy when you get down to solving them.

Negatives: Data values are not easily available and hence you need to have a lot of patience to decipher a lot of it after reading the passage.

Cheat Code to crack DI sets containing Caselets?

1. Represent the data in a form such that you can easily extract the data for the questions that follow Let us look at this CAT 2005 set to understand this.
Help Distress (HD) is and NGO involved in providing assistance to people suffering from natural disasters. Currently, it has 37 volunteers. They are involved in three projects: Tsunami Relief (TR) in Tamil Nadu, Flood Relief (FR) in Maharashtra and Earthquake Relief (ER) in Gujarat. Each volunteer working with Help Distress has to be involved in at least one relief work project. A maximum number of volunteers are involved in the FR project. Among them, the number of volunteers involved in the FR project alone is equal to the volunteers having additional involvement in the ER project. The number of volunteers involved in the ER project alone is double the number of volunteers involved in all the three projects. 17 volunteers are involved in the TR project. The number of volunteers involved in the TR project alone is one less than the number of volunteers involved in the ER project alone. Ten volunteers involved in the TR project are also involved in at least one more project.


The above set can be represented in the form of a Venn Diagram having three sets TR, FR and ER. Similarly, you can represent data in the form of a Table or a Network. The idea is to help us get the required data with a single glance upon reading the question.

2. Always start a caselet with a value that you can directly plug in. Have a look at this CAT 1991 caselet:
Ghosh Babu deposited a certain sum of money in a bank in 1986. The bank calculated interest on the principal at 10 percent simple interest, and credited it to the account once a year. After the 1st year, Ghosh Babu withdrew the entire interest and 20% of the initial amount. After the 2nd year, he withdrew the interest and 50% of the remaining amount. After the 3rd year, he withdrew the interest and 50% of the remaining amount. Finally after the 4th year, Ghosh Babu closed the account and collected the entire balance of Rs. 11,000.

The only value that one can see in the entire caselet is that at the end, he had a balance of Rs.11,000/-. This is good place to start this caselet from. Try to work out other values from this value now.

Combined Data Sets

Data is represented in two or more different types of data sets. It could be combination of a table and a graph or two or more graphs. You may have to correlate the data in different data sets to solve these questions. Thus interpret ting data takes time. These type of sets are very common in GRE. However since CAT is going online, there is a good chance that these sets may figure in CAT as well. However our gut feel is that if such a set comes in CAT, then it would not be heavy on data and be an easy set to interpret because of the limited space on the computer screen.


Cheat Code to crack DI sets containing Combined Data Sets?

1. Try to establish a relationship between different data sets Here is CAT 1996 set to understand Combined Data sets:
Table I gives the percentage of students in the class of MBA who sought employment in the areas of Finance, Marketing and Software. Table II gives the average starting salaries of the students in Rs. per month, in these areas. The graph gives the number of students who passed out each year. Table I Marketing 36 48 43 37 32 Table II (Rs./month) Finance Marketing Software 5,450 5,170 5,290 6,380 6,390 6,440 7,550 7,630 7,050 8,920 8,960 7,760 9,810 10,220 8,640

1992 1993 1994 1995 1996

Finance 12 18 23 19 32

Software 19 22 21 16 20

Others 33 12 13 28 16

1992 1993 1994 1995 1996

1300 1200 1100 1000 900 800 700 600 92 93 94 95 96

Number of students who passed out

If you realize, in the above set, you need to first get the number of students who passed out every year from the line graph given below. For Eg. 800 students passed out in 1992. Of these students, what percentage of students opted for what specialization is given in Table 1. Thus, of this 800 students, 12% opted for Finance which accounts for 96 students. And finally, the average starting salaries of these specializataions is given in Table 2. Thus, in 1992, the average starting salaries of 96 students who opted for finance was Rs.5450 per month. It is important to also note that the average starting salaries of students who opted for Other specialization cannot be established.


4. The Changing Trend of DI in CAT

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? The Annexure at the end of this report will help you to draw the following inferences: 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.

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:

1. 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.
A health company's R&D department is trying to make various diet formulations, which can be used for certain specific purposes. It is considering a choice of 5 alternative ingredients (O, P, Q. R. and S), which can be used in different proportions in the formulations. The table below gives the composition of these ingredients. The cost per unit of each of these ingredients is 0: 150, P: 50, Q: 200, R: 500, S: 100.

Composition Ingredient O P Q R S Carbohydrate % 50 80 10 5 45 Protein % 30 20 30 50 50 Fat % 10 0 50 40 0 Minerals % 10 0 10 5 5

1. For a recuperating patient, the doctor recommended a diet containing 10% minerals and at least 30% protein. In how many different ways can we prepare this diet by mixing at least two ingredients? (1) One (2) Two (3) Three (4) Four (5) None

2. Which among the following is the formulation having the lowest cost per unit for a diet having 10% fat and at least 30% protein? The diet has to be formed by mixing two ingredients. (1) P and Q (2) P and S (3) P and R (4) Q and S (5) R and S

3. In what proportion P, Q and S should be mixed to make a diet having at least 60% carbohydrate at the lowest per unit cost? (1) 2:1:3 (2) 4:1:2 (3) 2:1:4 (4) 3:1:2 (5) 4:1:1

4. The company is planning to launch a balanced diet required for growth needs of adolescent children. This diet must contain at least 30% each of carbohydrate and protein, no more than 25% fat and at least 5% minerals. Which one of the following combinations of equally mixed ingredients is feasible? (1) O and P (2) R and S (3) P and S (4) Q and R (5) O and S


2. 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.
The following table shows the break-up of actual costs incurred by a company in last five years (year 2002 to year 2006) to produce a particular product: Year 2002 Volume of production and sale (units) Costs (Rs.) Material Labour Consumables Rent of Building Rates and taxes Repair and maintenance expenses Operating cost of machines 1000 50,000 20,000 2,000 1,000 400 800 30,000 Year 2003 900 45,100 18,000 2,200 1,000 400 820 27,000 Year 2004 1100 55,200 22,100 1,800 1,100 400 780 33,500 Year 2005 1200 59,900 24,150 1,600 1,100 400 790 36,020 Year 2006 1200 60,000 24,000 1,400 1,200 400 800 36,000

The production capacity of the company is 2000 units. The selling price for the year 2006 was Rs. 125 per unit. Some costs change almost in direct proportion to the change in volume of production while others do not follow any obvious pattern of change with respect to the volume of production and hence are considered fixed. Using the information provided for the year 2006 as the basis for projecting the figures for the year 2007, answer the following questions: 1. What is the approximate cost per unit in rupees, if the company produces and sells 1400 units in the year 2007? (1) 104 (2) 107 (3) 110 (4) 115 (5) 116

2. What is the minimum number of units that the company needs to produce and sell to avoid any loss? (1) 313 (2) 350 (3) 384 (4) 747 (5) 928

3. If the company reduces the price by 5%, it can produce and sell as many units as it desires. How many units the company should produce to maximize its profit? (1) 1400 (2) 1600 (3) 1800 (4) 1900 (5) 2000

4. Given that the company cannot sell more than 1700 units, and it will have to reduce the price by Rs.5 for all units, if it wants to sell more than 1400 units, what is the maximum profit, in rupees, that the company can earn? (1) 25,400 (2) 24,400 (3) 31,400 (4) 32,900 (5) 32,000


3. 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.

The table gives the data about four different crops, their different quality categories and the regions where they are cultivated. Based on the information given in the table answer the questions below:

High Crop1 Medium Low High Crop 2 Medium Low High Crop 3 Medium Low High Crop 4 Medium Low

R1, R2, R3, R4, R5 R6, R7, R8 R9, R10, R11 R5, R8, R12 R9, R13 R6 R2, R6, R7, R13 R3, R9, R11 R1, R4 R3, R10, R11 R1, R2, R4 R5, R9

1. How many regions produce crop 1 or crop 2 in medium quality and also produce crop 3 or crop 4 in low quality? (1) 0 (2) 1 (3) 2 (4) 3

2. Which of the following is true? (1) All medium quality crop-2 producing regions are also high quality crop-3 producing regions. (2) All high quality crop-1 producing regions are also medium and low crop-4 producing regions. (3) There are exactly four crop-3 producing regions which also produce crop-4 but not crop-2. (4) Some crop-3 producing regions produce crop-1, but not high quality crop-2. 3. How many low quality crop-1 producing regions are either high quality crop-4 producing regions or medium quality crop-3 producing regions? (1) 1 (2) 2 (3) 3 (4) 0


4. 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.
The table below presents the revenue (in million rupees) of four firms in three states. These firms Honest Ltd., Aggressive Ltd., Truthful Ltd. and Profitable Ltd., are disguised in the table as A, B, C and D, in no particular order. States UP Bihar MP Firm A 49 69 72 Firm B 82 72 63 Firm C 80 70 72 Firm D 55 65 65

Further, it is known that: (1) In the state of MP, Truthful Ltd., has the highest market share. (2) Aggressive Ltd.s aggregate revenue differs from that of Honest Ltd. by Rs. 5 million. 1. What can be said about the following two statements? Statement 1: Honest Ltd. has the highest share in the UP market. Statement 2: Aggressive Ltd. has the highest share in the Bihar market. (1) Both the statements could be true. (3) At most one of the statements is true. (2) At least one of the statements must be true. (3) None of these

2. What can be said about the following two statements? Statement 1: Aggressive Ltd.s lowest revenues are from MP. Statement 2: Honest Ltd.s lowest revenues are from Bihar. (1) If statement 2 is true then statement 1 is necessarily false. (2) If statement 1 is false then statement 2 is necessarily true. (3) If statement 1 is true then statement 2 is necessarily true. (4) None of the above 3. What can be said regarding the following two statements? Statement 1: Profitable Ltd. has the lowest share in the MP market. Statement 2: Honest Ltd.s total revenue is more than that of Profitable Ltd. (1) If statement 1 is true then statement 2 is necessarily true. (2) If statement 1 is true then statement 2 is necessarily false. (3) Both Statement 1 and Statement 2 are true. (4) Neither Statement 1 nor Statement 2 is true. 4. If Profitable Ltd.s lowest revenue is from UP, then which of the following is true? (1) Truthful Ltd.s lowest revenues are from MP. (3) Truthful Ltd.s lowest revenues are from UP. (2) Truthful Ltd.s lowest revenues are from Bihar. (4) No definite conclusion is possible.


5. 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.
The Deans office recently scanned student results into the central computer system. When their character reading software cannot read something, it leaves that space blank. The scanner output reads as follows: Name Aparna Bikas Chandra Deepak Fazal Gowri Hari Ismet Jagdeep Kunal Leena Manab Nisha Osman Preeti Rahul Sameer Tara Utkarsh Vipul Finance D A D C Marketing B D D B F C B A A D D C C A B B A F F C Statistics F F A B A A B B A Strategy F F D Operations GPA 1.40 2.40 3.20 2.40 3.80 2.80 3.80 1.80 3.20 3.60 4.60 3.20 4.20 2.40 3.0 2.40





In the grading system, A, B, C, D and F grades fetch 6, 4, 3, 2 and 0 grade points respectively. The Grade Point Average (GPA) is the arithmetic mean of the grade points obtained in the five subjects. For example Nishas GPA is

62460 3.6 . 5

Some additional facts are also known about the students grades. These are: (a) Vipul obtained the same grade in Marketing as Aparna obtained in Finance and Strategy. (b) Fazal obtained the same grade in Strategy as Utkarsh did in Marketing. (c) Tara received the same grade in exactly three courses. 1. In Operations, Tara could have received the same grade as ______. (1) Ismet (2) Hari (3) Jagdeep (4) Manab

2. What grade did Preeti obtain in Statistics? (1) A (2) B (3) C (4) D


3. In Strategy, Gowris grade point was higher than that obtained by ______. (1) Fazal (2) Hari (3) Nisha (4) Rahul.

4. What grade did Utkarsh obtain in Finance? (1) B (2) C (3) D (4) F

6. Venn Diagrams 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.
New Age Consultants have three consultants, Gyani, Medha and Buddhi. The sum of the number of projects handled by Gyani and Buddhi individually is equal to the number of projects in which Medha is involved. All three consultants are involved together in 6 projects. Gyani works with Medha in 14 projects. Buddhi has 2 projects with Medha but without Gyani, and 3 projects with Gyani but without Medha. The total number of projects for New Age Consultants is one less than twice the number of projects in which more than one consultant is involved. 1. What is the number of projects in which Gyani alone is involved? (1) Uniquely equal to zero (3) Uniquely equal to 4 (2) Uniquely equal to 1 (4) Cannot be determined uniquely

2. What is the number of projects in which Medha alone is involved? (1) Uniquely equal to zero (3) Uniquely equal to 4 (2) Uniquely equal to 1 (4) Cannot be determined uniquely


7. 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. Here is a CAT 2001 set based on Network.
The following sketch shows the pipelines carrying material from one location to another. Each location has a demand for material. The demand at Vaishali is 400, at Jyotishmati is 400, at Panchal is 700, and at Vidisha is 200. Each arrow indicates the direction of material flow through the pipeline. The flow from Vaishali to Jyotishmati is 300. The quantity of material flow is such that the demands at all these locations are exactly met. The capacity of each pipeline is 1000.





1. The quantity moved from Avanti to Vidisha is _____. (1) 200 (2) 800 (3) 700 (4) 1000

2. The free capacity available at the Avanti-Vaishali pipeline is _____. (1) 0 (2) 100 (3) 200 (4) 300

3. What is the free capacity available in the Avanti-Vidisha pipeline? (1) 300 (2) 200 (3) 100 (4) 0

8. 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.


The year was 2006. All six teams in Pool A of World Cup hockey, play each other exactly once. Each win earns a team three points, a draw earns one point and a loss earns zero points. The two teams with the highest points qualify for the semi-finals. In case of a tie, the team with the highest goal difference (Goals For Goals Against) qualifies. In the opening match, Spain lost to Germany. After the second round (after each team played two matches), the pool table looked as shown below.

Pool A Teams Germany Argentina Spain Pakistan New Zealand South Africa Games Played 2 2 2 2 2 2 Won 2 2 1 1 0 0 Drawn 0 0 0 0 0 0 Lost 0 0 1 1 2 2 Goals For 3 2 5 2 1 1 Goals Against 1 0 2 1 6 4 Points 6 6 3 3 0 0

In the third round, Spain played Pakistan, Argentina played Germany and New Zealand played South Africa. All the third round matches were drawn. The following are some results from the fourth and fifth round matches. (a) Spain won both the fourth and fifth round matches. (b) Both Argentina and Germany won their fifth round matches by 3 goals to 0. (c) Pakistan won both the fourth and fifth round matches by 1 goal to 0. 1. Which one of the following statements is true about the matches played in the first two rounds? (1) Pakistan beat South Africa by 2 goals to 1. (2) Argentina beat Pakistan by 1 goal to 0. (3) Germany beat Pakistan by 2 goals to 1. (4) Germany beat Spain by 2 goals to 1. 2. Which one of the following statements is true about the matches played in the first two rounds? (1) Germany beat New Zealand by 1 goal to 0. (2) Spain beat New Zealand by 4 goals to 0. (3) Spain beat South Africa by 2 goals to 0. (4) Germany beat South Africa by 2 goals to 1. 3. Which team finished at the top of the pool after five rounds of matches? (1) Argentina (2) Germany (3) Spain (4) Cannot be determined

4. If Pakistan qualified as one of the two teams from pool A, which was the other team that qualified? (1) Argentina (2) Germany (3) Spain (4) Cannot be determined


5. Strategies for Cracking DI Section of CAT

1. Selecting the Right Sets
Most of the times, your performance in the DI section depends on your ability to choose the right sets. In a CAT DI section, not all sets are worth attempts. There is a good spread of easy and difficult sets. The objective is to choose the easy sets and avoid the tough and timeconsuming ones. What is also important is to prioritize the sets that you have chosen to solve so that you dont end up spending too much time on any one set. How does one select or reject a set on the face of it? There are many factors that can decide this.

1. Familiarity Representation




Sometimes the CAT examiners represent the data in a format that may be unfamiliar to you. Because of this there would be a big risk to attempt such a set as you never know how much time you might end up spending in deciphering it. Here is a CAT 2008 set to illustrate the same:


2. The nature of the Data Values Sometimes, your set may have data values that are big (4 digits and more) or values that are in decimals. Usually such values are not so friendly to calculate. Hence such sets should usually be avoided.


Here is a CAT 2003 (Nov) set that falls in the above category.
In a Decathlon, the events are 100 m, 400 m, 100 m hurdles, 1500 m, High jump, Pole-vault, Long jump, Discus, Shot Put and Javelin. The performance in the first four of these events is consolidated into Score-1, the next three into Score-2, and the last three into Score-3. Each such consolidation is obtained by giving appropriate positive weights to individual events. The final score is simply the total of these three scores. The athletes with the highest, second-highest and the third-highest final scores receive the gold, silver and bronze medals, respectively. The table below gives the scores and performances of nineteen top athletes in this event.

Name Eduard Hmlinen Michael Smith Tomas Dvorak Uwe Freimuth Torsten Voss Erki Nool Christian Plaziat Jrgen Hingsen Siegfried Wentz Guido Kratschmer Daley Thompson Frank Busemann Alexandr Apaichev Grigory Degtyarov Robert Zmelik Dave Johnson Steve Fritz Bruce Jenner Dan OBrien


Final Score 8802 8855 8796 8799 8880 8768 8775 8792 8856 8861 8905 8803 8823 8832 8811 8827 8846 8897

Score1 491 174 499 441 521 408 563 451 470 575 582 568 492 339 494 366 427 483 408

Score-2 5322 5274 5169 5491 5234 5553 5430 5223 5250 5308 5392 5370 5196 5455 5370 5163 5280 5331

Score3 2989 3407 3128 3124 2868 2808 2781 3033 3137 3064 3003 2945 3115 3114 2883 3114 3119 3200 3120

100m 10.74 11.23 10.63 11.06 10.69 10.71 10.72 10.95 10.85 10.58 10.55 10.60 10.92 11.05 10.78 10.78 10.75 10.94 10.36

High jump 2.08 1.97 1.91 1.97 2.10 1.99 2.10 2.00 2.05 2.00 2.11 2.04 1.95 2.08 2.06 2.10 2.04 2.03 2.09

Polevault 4.8 4.9 4.7 4.8 5.1 5.4 5.0 4.9 4.8 4.6 4.6 4.8 4.8 4.9 5.1 5.0 5.0 4.8 4.8

3. Ability to extract Data Values from the set Some times that set may be familiar to us and the data values may also be friendly, however it may be difficult to extract the exact values from the set. Since we spend considerable amount of time in calculation, we better take the correct data values and calculate. Again it is better to ignore such sets.

The following CAT 1999 set is a good example of this.


The price fluctuations of four commodities arhar, pepper, sugar and gold during the period from February-July 1999 are described in figures below:

4. Other factors Apart from the above factors, there are some other reasons why you may choose to leave or do a particular set compared to others. These are: How many questions follow a particular data set? Since you are spending considerable amount of time in deciphering the data set, you might as well take maximum advantage of the time you investested. Are the answers options too close of far apart? Close answer options mean, possibility of approximation are ruled out. You need to spend that extra time to calculate the answer up to the last decimal place. Is there a Cannot be Determined or None of these in the answer options? You are not sure of your answer and need to spend that extra time to double check whether the answer is indeed one of them, or you have made some mistake in calculation or overlooked some part of the information.

5. The Correct Trade-Off between all the evils 33

Having said all of the above, it is important to note that you may not have get a set that satisfies all your requirements. Every set will have some drawback or the other. There may some sets that may not be familiar to you, some others in which the data values are not good enough and others where you may not be able to extract the exact values. This does not mean you should end up leaving all the sets. Probably you may have to TradeOff one evil for another and decide which of the evils is better to live with, in the light of your strengths. In other words, life wont be a smooth highway ride as far as DI is concerned. You need to overcome some of the hurdles and avoid treading on some others.

2. Dont get stuck in a jam!

At the end of the day all of us are fighting against time. This is more true for DI as you may end miscalculating your time distribution across sets if you are not sensitive to the time that you are spending on every question. The crucial decision that you need to take is All of Some or Some of All. What it means is, whether it is advisable to solve All questions from Some sets or Some questions from all sets. You need to take the former strategy if you could not short-list sufficient number of DI sets in your CAT papers. Since there are a only a few sets worth attempting, you need to solve almost all the questions from them if you need to have sufficient number of attempts. On the other hand, if you that almost all the sets are equally good or equally bad, then you may take the latter strategy. In this strategy you attempt all the sets, but skip specific questions from every set that are difficult or time consuming. Thus key to attempting a DI section is to keep moving on and not get stuck on any question or any set.


6. How to prepare for DI in the last two months?

1. Work on Speed Calculations It is too late in the day to work on your calculations. However, if you have still havent mastered it, spend a good 3-4 days on calculations. It can still do wonders! Things like Reciprocals, Squares, Square roots, Cubes, Cube Roots etc. Work the calculations out mentally. Initially it may take more than you might want it to be taking, but this habit once formed will go a long way in helping you for DI. Working on Calculations is like swimming. Once you know it, you know it. From then on you can only work on getting better. 2. Study the DI trends in actual CAT papers Preferably solve the DI sections of all the CAT papers from 2003 onwards. Try and understand how the questions have changed from the previous years. The annexure given at the end of this report can help you in this. This should take not more than 3 days. 3. Solve Section Tests rather than Individual Sets What is important is to simulate the CAT. Hence rather than focusing of solving individual questions, you need to solve as many section tests as possible. Take these tests under timed settings, with emphasis on selecting and prioritizing the sets.


Trends of DI from CAT 1990 to CAT 2008 CAT 1990 to CAT 2000
Interpretation Format Calculation Based 1990 Average / Percentage Based Calculation Based 1991 Average / Percentage Based Creating Multiple Scenarios Average / Percentage Based Creating Multiple Scenarios Venn Diagram Based Average / Percentage Based 1993 Reasoning Based Plugging Missing Data Calculation Based 1994 Average / Percentage Based Plugging Missing Data Average / Percentage Based Creating Multiple Scenarios Calculation Based 1996 Average / Percentage Based


Table 2 Sets (10 Qs) 1 Set (5 Qs) 1 Set (5 Qs) 1 Set (4 Qs) 1 Set (4 Qs) 1 Set (4 Qs) 1 Set (5 Qs) 1 Set (4 Qs) 1 Set (4 Qs) 1 Set (4 Qs) 3 Sets (15 Qs) 1 Set (5 Qs) 2 Sets (10 Qs)

Graph 1 Set (4 Qs) 1 Set (3 Qs) 2 Sets (10 Qs) 2 Sets (8 Qs) 2 Sets (5 Qs) 3 Sets (13 Qs) 3 Sets (15 Qs) 2 Sets (10 Qs)

Caselet 1 Set (5 Qs) 1 Set (5 Qs) 1 Set (4 Qs) 1 Set (5 Qs) 1 Set (4 Qs) 1 Set (4 Qs) 1 Set (5 Qs)

Special Format 1 Set (5 Qs)





Interpretation Format Calculation

Table 1 Set (8 Qs) 2 Set (10 Qs) 1 Set (6 Qs) 1 Set (7 Qs) 3 Sets (14 Qs)

Graph 2 Sets (12 Qs) 1 Set (5 Qs) 2 Sets (12 Qs) 2 Sets (10 Qs) 1 Set (4 Qs) 2 Sets (10 Qs) 1 Set (6 Qs)

Caselet 1 Set (5 Qs)

Special Format


Average / Percentage Based Calculation Based


Average / Percentage Based Calculation Based


Average / Percentage Based Calculation Based


Average / Percentage Based

CAT 2001 to CAT 2008

Year Interpretation Format Calculation Based 2001 Counting Based Networks and Paths Calculation Based Counting Based 2002 Reasoning Based Networks and Paths Calculation Based 2003 (Nov) Average / Percentage Based Counting Based Venn Diagram Based 1 Set (6 Qs) 2 Sets (5 Qs) 3 Sets (9 Qs) 1 Set (3 Qs) 1 Set (4 Qs) Table 2 Sets (8 Qs) 1 Set (8 Qs) 3 Sets (10 Qs) Graph 2 Set (9 Qs) 1 Set (6 Qs) Caselet Special Format 1 Set (3 Qs) 1 Set (3 Qs)

1 Set (4 Qs)
1 Set (3 Qs) 1 Set (3 Qs)



Interpretation Format Calculation Based Average / Percentage Based

Table 3 Sets (12 Qs) 1 Set (3 Qs) 1 Set (3 Qs) 1 Set (3 Qs) 1 Set (4 Qs) 1 Set (4 Qs) 1 Set (4 Qs) 1 Set (5 Qs) 2 Sets (8 Qs) 1 Set (4 Qs) 1 Set (4 Qs) 1 Set (5 Qs) 1 Set (3 Qs) 1 Set (3 Qs)

Graph 1 Set (4 Qs) 1 Set (4 Qs) 1 Set (4 Qs)

Caselet 1 Set (4 Qs) 1 Set (4 Qs) 1 Set (4 Qs) 1 Set (5 Qs) 1 Set (5 Qs) 1 Set (4 Qs) 1 Set (5 Qs)

Special Format 2 Sets (8 Qs) 1 Set (5 Qs) 1 Set (3 Qs)


Reasoning Based Plugging Missing Data Venn Diagram Based Calculation Based Average / Percentage Based Counting Based


Creating Multiple Scenarios Reasoning Based Plugging Missing Data Venn Diagram Based Average / Percentage Based Creating Multiple Scenarios Networks and Paths Reasoning Based Calculation Based



Average / Percentage Based Plugging Missing Data Networks and Paths Calculation Based Average / Percentage Based


Plugging Missing Data Reasoning Based Creating Multiple Scenarios


The Learning Concepts, Ideas, Quotes, Views and Opinions of the report has been contributed by Prof. Manish Salian He is the Academic Head of CPLC, a premier MBA Entrance Coaching Company in Mumbai. Value Education with Personal Attention


Value Education with Personal Attention

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