DI-LR, as we know, has been the nemesis of many a CAT aspirant over the past few years, and every serious aspirant asks me that — how do I improve my DI-LR skills.

Over the last two years, I thought that it is primarily about two things — *set selection* and comfort with *mathematical reasoning *(many sets over the last few years have been based on Arithmetic and Modern Math concepts).

But even so, I knew that to select the right sets and then solve 4 sets, one needs to solve the two easiest sets quite fast, and this pace would come from the regular practice of DI-LR sets (irrespective of difficulty level) and Sudoku.

Even then I still felt that a lot was left to the “natural” capability of the student. There was nothing concrete I could communicate (apart from a 5-minute average for Medium Sudoku sets) like say a particular reading speed or a particular set of concepts.

What core strength does a student need to crack DI-LR and how can he or she develop those skills through a particular kind of targeted practice.

The reason I thought about core strength is that I have been doing yoga, strength training, and breathing exercises quite regularly and I realised that there is no point in trying to do a few asanas and kettlebell moves unless one had a certain amount of strength in the key areas — *core, legs, lower back* — and mobility — *hips and back*.

In this current season of training, the trainer that I am working with did not even make me do many of the asanas for close to 8 weeks or more, asanas that other instructors start from day one and one keeps doing for years hoping to get better. This guy spent months just working on strength and mobility so that when he finally made me do an asana, it just felt right — both the strength and the flexibility were there to go into and hold the pose (which never happened in years practice before)

And that is what led me to think about exercises to build core strength for DI-LR. Can there be a specific way to practice and specific sets to practice that can get impart the desired strength and speed to the LR muscle in the head?

And in the process, I jogged back to my first teaching assignment back when I had just finished my engineering (mechanically) – teaching Analytical Reasoning to GRE students.

I managed to download the ETS GRE Big Book (it is no longer in print) that has 27 full-length tests with two AR sections per test, each section had 25 questions to be answered in 30 minutes, with approximately 18-19 LR questions spread over 4 sets and 6 CR questions.

I started doing a few sections just to gauge their utility from a CAT Prep perspective. I felt that compared to the CAT LR sets they were way too easy, I could solve the questions within time and I made 2-3 silly mistakes every single time and every section had only 1 or 2 questions that were tricky (back in the day all of us used a get a perfect score on this section). But the sets felt like good practice since they are well-designed and needed you to think a bit.

I felt that these sets can be a good starting point to develop LR skills but to yield maximum benefit to the

entire spectrum of studentsI needed to add one bit of complexity —solve it without putting pen on paper unless absolutely necessary.

What this meant was that on an A4 size paper I wrote down numbers 1 to 25 (to note down the answers) and had the rest of the space available for rough work, I would consider myself good only if I solved the entire section within the time limit with barely anything written on the paper and with no more than 1 mistake.

The moment I set this restriction I felt that a 30-question practice session could serve as a great LR core conditioning exercise since I never solved LR sets mentally. While in the Math posts on this blog, I have advocated reducing writing to a minimum, I myself never did the same for LR. I felt that these sets were at the right difficulty level to solve without putting pen to paper.

To solve these mentally I had to do strengthen four core skills

- Remember the conditions and the set better
- Decode the logical implications of the information provided in the set and the questions better
- Always find the most optimum route to answer instead of random trial and error
- Concentrate harder

Each of the above things is a core LR strength that is needed to solve any LR set and the first three also apply to QA as well and the last one for the entire test.

I realised that just by setting this simple constraint I was forcing myself to get better, I forced myself to sharpen that tip of the pencil to a finer point and sometimes that is the difference between a *great* sketch and a *good* sketch.

Let me take a set and demonstrate what I mean by solving a set mentally, this would mean that all of you would have to imagine things visually 🙂

Solve the set on your own first and then go ahead and read my solution.

A museum curator must group nine paintings — F, G, H, J, K, L, M, N, and O-in twelve spaces numbered consecutively from 1-12. The paintings must be in three groups, each group representing a different century. The groups must be separated from each other by at least one unused wall space. Three of the paintings are from the eighteenth century, two from the nineteenth century, and four from the twentieth century.

Unused wall spaces cannot occur within groups.

G and J are paintings from different centuries.

J, K, and L are all paintings from the same century.

Space number 5 is always empty.

F and Mare eighteenth-century paintings.

N is a nineteenth-century painting.

**1.If space 4 is to remain empty, which of the following is true?**

(A) Space number 10 must be empty.

(B) The groups of paintings must be hung in chronological order by century.

(C) An eighteenth-century painting must be hung in space 3.

(D) A nineteenth-century painting must be hung in space 1.

(E) A twentieth-century painting must be hung in space 12.

**2. If the paintings are hung in reverse chronological order by century, the unused wall spaces could be**

(A) 1,5, and 10

(B) 1,6, and 10

(C) 4,7, and 8

(D) 5, 8, and 12

(E) 5, 9, and 10

**3. Which of the following is a space that CANNOT be occupied by a nineteenth-century painting?**

(A) Space 1

(B) Space 6

(C) Space 8

(D) Space 11

(E) Space 12

**4. If J hangs in space 11, which of the following is a possible arrangement for spaces 8 and 9?**

(A) F in 8 and M in 9

(B) K in 8 and G in 9

(C) N in 8 and G in 9

(D) 8 unused and H in 9

(E) 8 unused and F in9

**5. If the twentieth-century paintings are hung in spaces 1- 4, which of the following CANNOT be true?**

(A) Space 8 is ·unused

(B) Space 9 is unused

(C) F is hung in space 6

(D) M is hung in space 12

(E) N is hung in space 9

**6. ****If the first five paintings, in numerical order of spaces, are F, 0, M, N, G, which of the following must be true?**

(A) Either space 1 or space 4 is unused.

(B) Either space 7 or space 12 is unused.

(C) H hangs in space 11.

(D) Two unused spaces separate the eighteenth-century and nineteenth-century paintings.

(E) Two unused spaces separate the nineteenth-century and twentieth-century paintings

*A museum curator must group nine paintings — F, G, H, J, K, L, M, N, and O-in twelve spaces numbered consecutively from 1-12. The paintings must be in three groups, each group representing a different century. The groups must be separated from each other by at least one unused wall space. Three of the paintings are from the eighteenth century, two from the nineteenth century, and four from the twentieth century.*

*Unused wall spaces cannot occur within groups. *

*G and J are paintings from different centuries. *

*J, K, and L are all paintings from the same century.*

*Space number 5 is always empty.*

*F and M are eighteenth-century paintings. *

*N is a nineteenth-century painting.*

**Things to make it a point to remember:**

- 20th-4, 19th-2, 18th-3
- JKL – 20th, N – 19th, F&M -18th

**INFERENCES from the information as I am reading the conditions first one to the last one**

- J, K & L have to be from 18th or 20th (since 19th has only 2)
- F, M are from the 18th, so J, K & L have to be from the 20th (else total of 18th will be 5)
- G is 18th or 19th (since it is from a group other than J)
- H and O can from any century

**1. If space 4 is to remain empty, which of the following is true?**

This is a *must-be-true* question and hence I can derive the answer before going to the options.

- If 4 is empty and 5 has to be empty as per the conditions then the spaces 1,2, and 3
- cannot have 20th century since there are 4 paintings
- cannot have 19th-century paintings since there are 2 paintings, which means that from 6 to 12, 7 places the rest of the 7 paintings from the other two sets have to be placed without a gap, but a gap has to be there between two sets of paintings.
- have the 18th-century paintings are.

Now I will go to the options and search for an option that says 18th must be in 1-2-3

(A) Space number 10 must be empty.

(B) The groups of paintings must be hung in chronological order by century.

**(C) An eighteenth-century painting must be hung in space 3.**

(D) A nineteenth-century painting must be hung in space 1.

(E) A twentieth-century painting must be hung in space 12.

**2. If the paintings are hung in reverse chronological order by century, the unused wall spaces could be**

*This is not a MUST-be-true but a could be true so, after drawing basic inference and I can go to the options.*

Reverse chronological order means 20th, 19th, 18th.

Space 5 is empty, and after that, there are 7 places, so the four 20th-century paintings have to be in places 1-2-3-4. Now I will go to the options to check which one can be the set of unused spaces.

(A) 1,5, and 10

(B) 1,6, and 10

(C) 4,7, and 8

**(D) 5, 8, and 12**

(E) 5, 9, and 10

The first three options can be eliminated since spaces 1 to 4 cannot be unused, the 20th-century paintings hang there.

I try out option D, — 5 unused, reverse chronological order so next set has to be the two 19th-century paintings in 6 and 7, 8 is unused, three 18th-century paintings in 9, 10, 11, and 12 is unused; no rule is broken and hence this could be true. I will not try to substitute option E unless I want to double-check

**Which of the following is a space that CANNOT be occupied by a nineteenth-century painting?**

*Since it is CANNOT-be-true question, in a way the opposite of the must-be-true question, and since there is no additional information, I have to jump to the options and proceed.*

(A) Space 1

If a 19th is in Space 1 it has to be in Space 2 as well, and since there has to be a gap between one group and the other 3 has to be empty, 5 is anyway empty, and nothing can be kept in space 4, so all the 7 paintings from 20th and 18th have to go into the 7 spaces from 6 to 12 without a space between the two periods, which is not possible and hence this is the answer. I do not even need to check the rest.

**If J hangs in space 11, which of the following is a possible arrangement for spaces 8 and 9?**

*It is a could-be-true question, so I should deduce whatever I can before I jump to the options.*

J is a 20th century painting and it is in 11 so the other three have to be in a group along with J, so the 20th century paintings can be

- in 8,9,10,11 (with J being the last) and unused spaces in 7 and 12
- 9,10,11,12 (with J being the third) and unused space in 8
- Both cases put together, 8 has to be filled with a 20th century painting or unused and 9 has to be filled with a 20th-century painting

Now to the options.

(A) F in 8 and M in 9

(B) K in 8 and G in 9

(C) N in 8 and G in 9

**(D) 8 unused and H in 9**

(E) 8 unused and F in9

A, B, C, and E can be eliminated since they all have paintings that are definitely not from the 20th century. Hence, option D.

**5. If the twentieth-century paintings are hung in spaces 1- 4, which of the following CANNOT be true?**

*As I mentioned before a CANNOT-be-true is another version of must-be-true and since they have given some additional information in the question I can make deductions before I go to the options.*

20th-century paintings are hung from 1-4, means that from 6 to 12 there are 7 places and 5 paintings to be hung, the two blanks, can bith be between the two groups, or one between the two groups and one at 6 or 12.

I can now jump to the options.

(A) Space 8 is unused

8 is unused, means the free spaces are 6-7 and 9-12, where the 19th and 18th century paintings can go respectively, so this can be true

(B) Space 9 is unused

If 9 is unused, then the free spaces are 6-7-8 and 10-11-12 where 18th and 19th century paintings can hung

(C) F is hung in space 6

F and M along with another painting form the three 18th century paintings and can occupy 6-7-8, 9 has to be unused and then the two 19th century paintings can follow.(D)

(D) M is hung in space 12

If M is in 12 the other two 19th-century paintings have to be in 10 and 11, 9 has to be empty and the two 19th-century paintings can be hung in spaces 6 to 8.

**(E) N is hung in space 9**

Since all the above options are possibe this has to be the answer.

**6. If the first five paintings, in numerical order of spaces, are F, 0, M, N, G, which of the following must be true?**

All of these paintings are not from the 20th century so they cannot be the first five in this order after Space 5, since there will not be any space for all 9 paintings including the 20th-century ones.

So at least a few have to be before space 5. F & M are 18th-century so F-O-M have to be together — 1-2-3 (with 4 & 5 unused), or 2-3-4 (with 1 & 5 unused). I can now jump to the options.

**(A) Either space 1 or space 4 is unused.**

All of this reasoning was done and has to be eventually done mentally without putting pen on paper. If you think about it, the reasoning is always a mental process, all you need to do it is to de-couple it from writing.

**Practising with a plan and purpose**

There are only 54 section tests in the book so you have to make the most out of each session.

- Keep a separate notebook to practice these sets.
- One page to note down the answers and the following ones to solve.
- Your first goal should be to solve the questions in the desired time-limit (with writing)
- Only if you are able to solve the 25 questions within 30 minutes comfortably should you try to solve without putting pen to paper
- Do not try to go the whole hog mentally, start by decreasing the writing while increasing the thinking.
- After every set, do a proper analysis of the wasted effort or moves during each set and the reasons for the mistakes, if any
- Did not remember information
- Did not draw deductions and directly jumped to the options

- Consciously make changes while solving the next set.
- Do not ever do two sets in a row without analysing the first one and setting goals for the next.
- Do not solve more than 2 sets in a day, since you will just run through them without getting any better.
- Ideally, you should dedicate 27 (2 sections a day) or 54 (1 section a day) straight days of practice to see a substantial improvement (Do not practice if you are low on mental energy just because I said you have to)

When I started I used one page for the answers and maybe scribbled on a page and a half, and made 2-4 mistakes.

By the 7th set, I barely wrote anything, and even that little I felt was not necessary, I could have reasoned my way through. My mistakes had come to 1.

All the mistakes boiled down to not remembering information from the set or misremembering it.

This can be useful for test-takers at all levels

- Those who are weak at LR need to develop the ability to solve a section of this difficulty in 30 minutes; if you cannot solve 4 sets this level in 30 then you cannot solve 4 sets of CAT level in 60.
- Those who are good can use this to solve cleaner and faster
- Those who are very good (are gunning for a 99.50 plus) can use this as an ideal warm-up
- And at any level, if you have a silly-mistake problem this is the practice to fix it

Keep a track of how your book is looking as you are progressing, it should keep getting cleaner and cleaner with only the numbers and the answers remain.

One of my favourite athletes is Kohei Uchimura, who is considered one of the greatest gymnasts of all time. Gymnastics is a discipline where the first goal is to become as close to a machine as you can, and once you can do that you can bring complexity and creativity into your routine. All routines are thus rated on complexity and execution. Every time the landing is not perfect one drops points.

One of the commentators during the last Olympics said that you can take a picture of him at any point during his routine and it will be beautiful, at no point will his legs not be absolutely together and toes pointing out like an arrow. Uchimura said the secret to his success is the way he approaches practice, he puts in a lot of thought both during and into his practice.

I watched the replay of his all-round gold at the Rio Olympics and I have to say that I have not seen a demeanour like his on the face of any sportsman absolute control before, during, and after his routine.

One eventually needs to develop that sort of calmness, precision, and accuracy every single time one steps out to solve.

I feel that if you can dedicate the month of June towards this, you will be better off for the rest of the season.

Hello sir, thank you for this amazing post. This surely will help.

Sir I wanted to ask you something regarding job,

May I have your official mail I’d or any other way of communication.

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You can post it here.

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Great post sir! Having all the conditions in mind and looking for a constraint which can crack open a set is at the core of most LR questions. It is the muscle to train for when developing skill in this section.

Also, is there a typo in Q. 5? The question reads “If the twentieth-century paintings are hung in spaces 1- 4, which of the following CANNOT be true?” i.e., we need to begin solving by taking the 20th century paintings in 1-4, and then looking at the options for what isn’t possible. In that case, (E) should be the right choice, since we can’t have N in space 9 (it belongs to 19th century so it must be accompanied by the other painting from 19th century at space 8 or 10. In either case, we won’t be able to then put the 3 paintings of 18th century without touching the 19th century ones or we would have to break them which isn’t allowed).

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Hi Abhineet,

Thanks for pointing the discrepancy, the answer is E.

Glad you found the post useful.

All the best!

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thank you sir for guiding us so well, ill follow this routine this month and inform you about the results.

sir i need help to improve my quant, sir plss help me as i m unable to attempt even basic ques how i can improve it.

if possible thn can you give a routine for it like this routine

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This post reminds me of your audio-only-vlog(!) about D-day preparation where you mentioned attempting to solve Quant section without pen and paper.😁

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I figured that the earlier we start the better!

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Thank you for the post, sir! It is really helpful.

I have request though – all above seems to improve my logical reasoning part of LR/DI. Could you suggest a similar resource or method for DI as well?

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Glad you found the post useful, Ashwin.

The same process can work for DI, you can solve sets from the Learn Module of myIMS.

All the best!

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Hello Sir,

Thank you for this post. Sir, this is my second attempt and i performed poor in my first attempt of CAT. I always feared DL LR section and hence failed at it. Considering a journey from scratch can you please tell me what should i do from now to strengthen this area for both DI and LR apart from what you have mentioned in this post.

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Hi Vaishnavi,

You can do this and once you are done with this you can watch all the DI-LR concept videos in the LEARN Module of myIMS and start solving questions from there.

Hope this helps,

Al the best!

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Hi Sir I am following your suggestions religiously. Sir one issue I could find the answer key after every set but couldn’t find the solutions. Kind help with this.

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There are no solutions to that, it’s a book with 27 Actual Tests and Answers. Obviously, ETS is a testing body and they are not obliged to provide explanatory answer. Just like IIMs will release the paper and key but not give explanations.

I am sure if you think hard you should be able to get the answers.

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sir i need your help in improving my quant, as my quant is reakky very weak

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Hi,

I will be doing webinars similar to the ones I have been doing. If you are really weak in QA then you have to take up classroom or online LIVE classes program.

All the best!

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GREAT POST

Really helpful

Hope next post coming soon…

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Thank you for the post, sir. I have started practicing the sets daily. But I am able to do one set in 40-42 mins. How can I reduce it to 30 mins?

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Hi Sir,

I’m going for an MBA (IMS A++ category) this year.

A couple of years back in final year of engineering, I’d taken the GRE (score of 314/340 and an AWA of 4/6) and the TOEFL (113/120). A lack of technical inclination and of course, impossible immigration made me leave that MS route for the job that I had in hand, 0% regrets looking at the situation now! Had given the 2018 MBA MMS CET as a dry run, no prep, had a 96.21 percentile.

Coming to the 2019-20 Indian MBA test season, 13 MBA exams and 5 government ones on the side to try them out. MBA exams taken were cat, xat, iift, nmat, snap, tissnet, cmat, micat, mat, atma, ibsat, srcc-gbo and the MBA MMS CET. Government exams taken were ibps po, ibps clerk, RBI assistant, RBI grade B, ssc-cgl. A total of 18 exams in 2019-20.

Now, I didn’t get a top 15 Indian MBA call and rightly so because there wasn’t much of a preparation in any of these. All the way from the GRE, it was passive video consumption on concepts, problems, workshops and past paper solving.

Even if there wasn’t any exceptional, outlier-ish performance in any of these, can the fact that I’d taken all of these exams be leveraged in my MBA summers and finals interviews? If yes, what would be the ideal way to put it?

I know that the query sounds odd, but it’s a genuine curiosity of mine. Thanks!

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Hi Dabbler 🙂

Well, honestly there is no way you can justify this since it will only reveal a clear lack of strategy about what you want to do; the worst part being the government exams (with the exception of the RBI exam).

There is a saying in my mother tongue — do not roll around where you have fallen down 🙂

So wipe that slate clean and brand new pitch that focusses only on your skills and the best parts of your story.

All the best!

Tony

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The shock, awe, ‘different from the pack’ factor won’t work in front of the recruiter, LOL! They’re probably looking for the opposite.

Good talk, Sir. Looking forward to more of your articles and posting comments on them, if applicable.

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🙂 Well, that would work if it was truly different from what others did, say work in a very, very different sector, or spent a year on a serious hobby or area of interest and went somewhere with it.

What you did was not run with the pack but run all over the park, and from where the interviewer is sitting run indiscriminately at that 🙂

There will be an article a week 🙂

All the best!

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The shock, awe, ‘different from the pack’ factor won’t work in front of the recruiter, LOL! They’re probably looking for the opposite.

Good talk, Sir. Looking forward to more of your articles and posting comments on them, if applicable.

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Absolutely amazing article.

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Glad you liked it, Ankit.

All the best!

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Hi Sir,

I have been following the selection strategy which you had mentioned in your previous posts. I am able to select 4 sets in 10 minutes, but, I am not able to get all the questions in the 4 sets which I have selected, correct. I tend to get marks in the 35-40 range in every SIMCAT, Take-Home and every sectional test which I have given. Also, there is this feeling that if I have selected the 4 sets and already given 10 minutes, then I must solve the sets. So then if I don’t get the answer/not able to solve it, I tend to give 15 minutes to the set. But, then too, I am not getting all 4 questions correct.

And, when I see questions which are open, I usually do not select those sets. But, they turn out to be easier. And I am able to solve the sets which I didn’t select after the test within 10 minutes, but, not able to solve the 4 sets which I selected during the time of the test.

Also, going by the P-value I am selecting the sets which have a value of around 20 and one set which is having a P-value of around 15.

Kindly help with this sir. Thanks!

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Hi Shubham,

Firstly, 35-40 is a decent score at this stage of the season, which means that you are clearing the cut-off by a decent margin.

From the p-values, it is clear that you are choosing the tougher sets.

What I want you to do is to do a rating for the all the 16 sets, across the first two SimCATs, and see if the way you are doing the rating during the 60 minutes of the test is not perfect.

Also, two things: like in the stock markets you need to know when to exit from a DI-LR set, just because you give 15 minutes it does not mean that you have to get 12 marks! May be 9 marks in 12 minutes is a much better return and it is the case since sets tend to have one or two unnecessarily tough questions.

And to close, when we solve at home, things always seem a tad easier since there is no timer and also because we have already read the set.

So try to take a relook at all the ratings and see if you would have done anything differently.

All the best!

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Hello Sir,

Last Year I gave CAT and I scored a pretty decent percentile too.

This year I again started preparing from scratch and I m doing it from the last 1.5 month but still, in the LRDI section, I am feeling discomfort and facing difficulty.

I had solved all the basic sets for improving speed and brushing up the concepts but still, I am lacking somewhere, please help.

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Hi Shubham,

I have covered as much as I can in all the posts and videos here — https://thecatwriter.com/category/di-lr-strat/

So unless you figure out the precise problem — selection, representation of data, cycling through of conditions — by reading what is written in these posts and comparing it with what you do, you will not be able to verbalise your discomfort, and till you do that you cannot solve it.

Hope this helps,

All the best!

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Hello Sir,

My precise problem is that of a selection of sets.

And I am also feeling discomfort with the time that I am using in solving those selected sets.

But, whenever I have gone through solutions my approach for solving sets is the same as the solutions but still, the time constraint makes me nervous.

I want you to help me to get my things done in a good manner.

Like from where to start practicing things and I downloaded that ETS GRE book yesterday and, I’ll follow it if it’s necessary for strengthening my core in the DILR section.

I am already doing things from various materials but still not gaining confidence.

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Hi Shubham,

If selection is a problem then you have to try to follow the methods outlined in the posts as well develop your judgment.

Start solving the questions form the ETS guide. Often it is the efficiency and clean rough sheets that we can maintain when solving easy sets that determine whether you have the capability to lift the tougher sets.

To cite an example, you have no technique whatsoever and you are lifting a light to moderate weight, but that does not mean you can lift a heavier weight, nope. The simple reason being that you are not used to lifting perfectly with the least effort so when the heavier weights come in you buckle under the weight.

After a point, it is not about solving sets from various sources but about the technique with which you solve the sets.

Hope this helps,

All the best!

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Hello T,

I have been facing lot of problems on dilr section through every exam. I liked this blog and your concept of eliminating use of pen. I also downloaded the ebook you recommended to get start with, but one thing is constant, PEN!!

How do I eliminate pen?( I have eliminated from quant)

how much study per day for that section is enough?

where to target questions from?

Thank You

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Hi Nikhil,

I do not think one can eliminate the use of pen entirely on DI-LR but one can use it with more precision.

For the sets in the e-book, for example, focus on visualising what you would otherwise write. All the sets are of moderate difficulty that means they are all usually linear arrangement and not matrix arrangement. So, imagine the twelve blanks with numbers 1 to 12 written above them. See in your inner eye what you will see on paper. This will really help sharpen your core skills.

Practice from the Application Module of IMS and of course, all SimCATs, including take home.

All the best!

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