Updated: Aug 22
This is a requested post by the blog members who are using Arun Sharma's Logical Reasoning book for CAT 2020 Preparation. I have already written a similar post for Quantitative Aptitude which you can check for your reference. This post will share how a self-preparation book for LR can be used to prepare your mindset for an exam like CAT. Disclaimer - I am not endorsing this book, the views presented are my personal opinions and the suggestions can be deployed to other preparatory books as well. So, feel free to purchase any you wish to. I used the second edition of Arun Sharma's Logical Reasoning book:
Who should use this Book?
This book is pretty basic in nature. I'd recommend this book to only an individual who:
Has never solved Logical Reasoning questions before.
Wishes to understand the shortest approach to solving LR questions.
Is preparing for multiple exams (including the Common Admission Test).
In my personal opinion, this book is not for someone who is looking for an additional source of CAT level Logical Reasoning questions. This is because this book's main intention is to familiarize you with the LR basics, not to offer a repository of CAT type Logical Reasoning questions.
Does that mean this book cannot help a CAT aspirant? It can definitely help! Just like you cannot solve Quant questions without knowing the basic concepts and formulas, you cannot solve the CAT level Logical Reasoning sets if you aren't familiar with the tricks used for the different concepts of LR. Let me give you an example that I have shared in the Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning Tips earlier:
For Example: In a circular arrangement question, the moment you read that you’re supposed to arrange 4/6/8/10 people around a circular table, you should know the trick to plot the circle quickly -
Now, these tricks can be found in Arun Sharma's book both in the Reaction Tracker (explained ahead) and the Detailed Solutions. What I meant to say earlier was that you shouldn't use this book if you already know such tricks (due to your coaching or any other material) or if you just need a question bank.
Components of the Book
Under this section, I will be sharing the components of the book and how to use them depending on your existing level of preparation.
I. Reasoning for CAT
This section of the book focuses only on CAT. Hence, the two parts under it - Logical Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning are both a part of the CAT syllabus and in the past, questions have been asked on the topics covered under this section.
Ia. Logical Reasoning
The first part under Reasoning for CAT is 'Logical Reasoning'. The difference between Logical Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning is that the former is based more on numbers and mathematics while the latter is based on words and language.
The first chapter under this part comprises of some Important Concepts that are used in Logical Reasoning. If this is the first time you're being exposed to a Logical Reasoning book/material, I would strongly suggest you to go through this chapter. Most of the coaching institutes begin with this chapter in their first LR class. But, this book does even more.
It explains the basic concepts in detail and then follows them up with an example. The example is further broken down into the solution, all the steps to be taken (deductions) and even some notes on interpretation by the author on how such questions should be handled in the CAT exam.
The other chapters include topics like:
These chapters follow a similar pattern within. Each chapter has the following sequence:
1) Basic Introduction - Please note that unlike QA, this book doesn't share core concepts at the beginning of each chapter. Instead, there are a couple of small paragraphs that introduce the skills required to be able to solve the questions of the particular chapter. In my opinion, you can skip this.
2) Example - Each introduction to the chapter is followed by an example. This example generally has 4-5 follow-up questions. It is recommended that you solve this example without setting a time limit and without jumping to its solution directly. The reason is the next step.
3) Reaction Tracker - This is one of the most useful tools of this book. Arun Sharma has defined a Reaction Tracker as:
The step-by-step account of exactly what reaction should go in your mind as you solve an individual question in reasoning.
Consider this like the tutor in a coaching centre who explains at the end of the class how the question was to be solved. The reason I mentioned that you shouldn't jump to the solution of the first example directly is because you need to compare your approach of solving the example with the approach mentioned in the Reaction Tracker. You need to see which step are you missing. That will build a Logical Reasoning bent of mind.
4) Solved Examples - The Reaction Tracker is followed by a couple of more solved questions which you should attempt in the same way. Don't time yourself or look at the solution. Just observe your approach and compare it with the one used in the solution after attempting.
5) Exercise Questions - Just after 4-5 sets, you will reach the exercise questions of the particular chapter. My recommendations in regard to this exercise are:
Take a break after doing the solved examples and before beginning the exercises.
Before you begin, split the entire exercise into number of sets. Use one chapter to gauge how many sets are you able to solve in one sitting. Then note down in front of each chapter (in the index) how many sittings is the exercise of that chapter going to take. For example, I loved Logical Reasoning, so I used to solve 7-8 sets in one go. That meant about 2 sittings per chapter.
You can use the number of sittings required to design your timetable for CAT preparation just like you use the number of questions in Quants.
Never solve them mentally. Use a paper and pen and neatly make the desired diagrams or illustrations. This habit will help you in the long run. The biggest mistake aspirants make in LR is to skimp on the space they use for solving an LR set. You will get as many sheets as you need in the final exam. So, don't draw/write illegibly.
Don't time them. The beginning of your journey to develop logical reasoning should not be based on how quickly can you solve the questions. But, how well can you use the shortest, the correct approach to solve it.
Don't jump to the solutions. Unlike Quants, where I had suggested an approach to focus on attempting the questions than solving them, you must solve the Logical Reasoning sets irrespective of how much time and effort they consume.
This is because QA is based on formulas and concepts, if you don't know them, you will have to look at the solution to learn. But, LR is based on a certain bent of mind required for thinking logically. This bent of mind can only be created by forcing your mind to think more logically, looking at the solution will not help.
Having said that, don't spend all your time on one set. Try your best to solve each set, but after a stipulated time (each person has his/her own - mine was about 10-15 minutes), you should skip to the next question. But, after the entire exercise is done, take a break and come back to the questions you couldn't solve.
Use a fresh piece of paper (don't use the diagram you drew earlier). Try the sets you couldn't solve and think what you must have missed the first time. Read each statement clearly. If you're unable to solve it even this time, then you become eligible to look at the solution.
6) Answer Key - This is just to reveal what the right answer is. I wouldn't focus too much on it. The detailed solution is what matters more. 7) Detailed Solutions - Now, there are just two rules to use this part of the book:
Rule 1 - Don't look at the solution after solving each set. It would make you feel more tired. Instead, solve the number of sets that you can in a particular sitting and then look at their solutions immediately. This is because of two reasons.
First, your approach will be fresh in your mind when you analyze the solutions immediately.
Second, you can deploy the learning to solve the remaining questions of the exercise.
Make sure to take a break after each sitting. There's a reason they are called different sittings and not one.
Rule 2 - While analyzing the solutions, you might come across certain frameworks, tricks or some unique kinds of questions. It is a good idea to create a notebook similar to the formula book in QA. It won't be as elaborate but would help you retain more and eventually become a part of your revision ritual for CAT preparation.
Ib. Verbal Reasoning
This part is more or less similar to the Logical Reasoning part with the only differences being the depth of the Basic Introduction and the Reaction Tracker. The introduction of the chapters under this part should not be skipped. It contains concepts that you will need to solve the exercises. The chapters under this part don't contain Reaction Trackers or as elaborate solutions as the previous part. This is because the author might have trusted that by this time, the readers would have developed the bent of mind needed for Reasoning.
Ic. LOD Based Exercises
There are three kinds of exercises given under this section based on the Level of Difficulty - LOD I, LOD II and LOD III. The CAT exam is known for its hard DILR sets. So, going through all the exercises (even if you are unable to solve all of them by your own) is a good idea. But, you need not take this endeavour up at the very beginning. Completing the basics is the key, getting familiar with the different types is important. Hence, I'd suggest you to solve LOD I while you're preparing your basics i.e. by the end of July/August. This will be sufficient for you to be able to attempt the mocks as per your timeline. You can solve LOD II and III after August to improve your score further in the DILR section.
II. Reasoning for Other Exams
A lot of people tend to skip this section. Since I self-prepared for a couple of months, I had some extra time at hand during my CAT preparation. I went through these questions too, even though these types are not directly asked in the CAT exam. They definitely help you in two ways:
Some types come as a part of the CAT question set. For Example - Arrangement questions often make use of Blood Relations statements.
These types will help you build the reasoning bent of mind you need for CAT. They are popularly known to enhance reasoning skills, a reason why they are asked in most government exams.
III. Reasoning Archives
This section contains past year questions of exams like CAT, SNAP, XAT, IIFT and some tests and model test papers. In my opinion, you should prefer solving such questions only if you have time. Else, take them up after August when you need resources to improve your DILR scores.
So, this was a fairly long post on how to use Arun Sharma's book on Logical Reasoning for CAT. If you wish to purchase it, it is available on Amazon. But, remember what I said - you don't need this book as an extra source. Buy it only if you wish to create that bent of mind for reasoning. If you have other material that is good, it will suffice to achieve the same objective. I truly hope this post helps you.
For a similar post on Arun Sharma's QA book, watch this video -
Some more posts: