DILR is an Achilles' heel for many. Personally, my DILR scores in the mocks used to be quite inconsistent – I couldn’t understand why it was happening because I wasn’t being able to develop a fair idea of where I stood.
This section of the CAT exam can be largely unpredictable, for you never know which sets may fall into your basket. And you may have practiced 100 sets, the exam will mostly have the 101st one. Hence, it is important to develop a strong but flexible strategy to tackle it.
First of all, overcome your fear.
Have a clear frame of mind, approach it without inhibitions. Don’t unnecessarily make yourself believe that this is too difficult, or that you can’t crack it. Nothing is impossible, and the first step to reaching your destination is starting the journey.
Begin with choosing strength areas.
Identifying questions is very important. While practicing exercises and during mocks, you must’ve observed certain types of sets which you are mostly able to do, and certain types which are a problem.
For those that you’re able to do, improve your strength by working on your speed, to ensure that in the exam, such questions fetch you marks AND take minimum time.
For the other category of questions, you have two options. Pick up a topic from a difficult area, practice, practice and practice so that it BECOMES your strength. The other option is to feed into your brain that this is a question type which I’m not good at, hence I will NOT attempt it. This is a crucial step which ensures that you don’t face a DOUBLE LOSS in the exam – wasted precious minutes without gaining (or potentially even losing) precious marks.
Develop an exam strategy.
DILR is not about attempting as many questions as quickly as possible. It’s more about attempting the RIGHT questions with HIGH accuracy. The Question Paper button becomes a God-send here.
People broadly follow one of the two major strategies –
1. Do the sets in order:
Look at Set 1 – if doable, attempt then and there, else move to the next, and so on.
2. Make your own order:
Glance at all the sets, divide them into 3 categories – must do, might try, must leave.
The 1st 6-8 minutes spent on viewing all the sets are an investment, not a wastage, because even one set wrongly chosen can be a make-or-break.
I have tried BOTH. I initially followed Type-1, then came across Type-2 in a similar article as this one, and realized that this worked for me better. It’s no hard-and-fast for you to pick from only the above two. Every person has a unique approach, and you may want to develop a strategy that works for only you.
Finally, be consistent.
90% of DILR does not have formulae, so you can’t really learn it in a day. It requires continuous practice from mixed sources to improve your techniques, speed and accuracy.
From once being my weakest section, DILR became my strongest. If I can do it, so can you. Take it up as a challenge – You defeat it, don’t let it defeat you.
Vanyaa Kansal, is a final year student of Bachelor of Management Studies (BMS) from Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies, University of Delhi. She secured a CAT percentile of 98.83, XAT 96.3, and she has calls from IIM Calcutta, Lucknow, Indore, Kozhikode, Shillong, CAP, Bangalore's PGPBA, and XLRI BM+HRM among others. She has converted SPJIMR for the Finance Specialization in the batch of 21-23.