The general feeling once the Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning section pops up on the screen while sitting for the Common Admission Test, can often appear perplexing, making one feel trapped in quicksand.

But one must remember that the most difficult paper is always the easiest to score in if one change the conditions. It’s not an eight set exam. It’s a 14 question exam.

In Cat attempting 14 questions in DILR with 100 per cent accuracy will be 98 to 99 percentiles. Thus, one must walk in knowing that he/she is chasing a target and not setting a score.

The key is to keep one’s approach simple. Every year the paper comprises a mix of difficult and not-so-difficult sets. The first step is identifying the latter. Unlike the Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension and Quantitative Ability sections, the DILR section requires a fixed strategy — the 10 to14 rule.

Spend the first 10 minutes of the paper to identify the priority order in which the sets can be solved. Use the next 50 minutes to solve 14 questions. These not necessarily have to be from four sets, they could be two questions each from seven sets or any other combination one prefers.

The context is just identifying the 14 questions and solving them. Thus, if one becomes aware that this is all that is needed to be amongst the top one per cent of all Cat examinees, one’s approach to the section would be different.

The kind of questions in DILR while myriad, focus on five to six specific kinds of approaches. In general, one will find the following — arrangements: linear, circular, matrix; games and tournaments; set theory; selection based/missing data type; graphical/ tabular kind of questions and reasoning based DI. In general, these are puzzles and are slightly offbeat kind of questions.

All the types stated above except the last one fall in the “familiar” category. It’s the “unfamiliar” sets that’s, generally, an issue. To face it one must start calm and end calm.

Throughout, use time and choose questions judiciously, focusing on the areas of strengths. This simple strategy, if applied properly, will ensure success and help one understand why this section is the easiest to score in when it comes to Cat.

One must rigorously follow the laid-out strategy, in mocks and accordingly identify the areas of strengths and weaknesses. Doing so will most definitely guarantee a good percentile in DILR.

Taking plenty of mocks will enable one to put a leash on it and fine-tune his/her strategy. The DILR section is the easiest in Cat. It is our mind that overplays the myths and our own inhibitions that make it look like a mountain we cannot climb.

The writer is group product head, Career Launcher.