How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CAT? | Explore DI Syllabus, Basics, and Examples

Data Interpretation is one of the most important sections of the CAT exam. As the name suggests, Data Analysis or Data Interpretation is all about analysing and interpreting data. The Data Interpretation Section of CAT checks the aspirant’s ability to understand and analyse data and make critical decisions.

In this article,

To score good marks in this section, candidates must carefully read through all the given data.

What is Data Interpretation for CAT?

The CAT 2022 Exam includes questions covering data interpretation and Logical Reasoning. An integral part of the CAT Exam preparation is getting yourself acquainted with the Data Interpretation section. 20 Questions are included from this section, and 6 questions are from Data Interpretation.

Data Interpretation for CAT

In the CAT Exam Pattern, Data Interpretation Questions have become a separate part of the DILR Section, following the changes in the CAT Exam pattern of 2015. Until 2015, Data Interpretation was a part of Quantitative Aptitude. Read through the entire article to know more about the comprehensive details of Data Interpretation for CAT 2022, the exam pattern and Data Interpretation syllabus.

Data Interpretation Exam Pattern

Features of Data Interpretation


Total Questions in CAT Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning Section


Difficulty Level of Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning


Type of Questions

MCQs and Non-MCQs

Marks Awarded for every correct answer

+3 for every correct answer

Negative Marks for incorrect answers

-1 for every incorrect answer

*Non-MCQs & Unanswered ones do not have negative marking

Number of MCQs in DILR


Number of Non-MCQs in DILR


Time Alloted for DILR Section

40 minutes

The following table is a slot-wise summarisation of the composition of DI sets asked in CAT 2021:


Number of Questions

Slot 1: Cost price of various fruits


Slot 1: Bar Graph on sales comparison of different items


Slot 2: Bar Chart


Slot 2: Games & Tournament


Slot 3: Bar Chart


Slot 3: Pure and Impure solutions


CAT DILR Related Videos

Discover expert insights into the DILR section of the CAT by watching these videos.

CAT Data Interpretation Syllabus

Data Interpretation is the section that consists of charts and tables and a myriad of graphs, from which candidates will have to analyse and glean data. The key to crack data interpretation is to carefully identify the key pieces of the data given in the question.

The CAT Data Interpretation questions may seem lengthy. However, the key to solving these questions is identifying the important pieces of data and approaching the question in a step-by-step process. Charts, Venn diagrams, Myriad Graphs, Tables, etc., usually dominate the data interpretation section. The basic concept behind data interpretation questions is to test candidates on their ability to make decisions, and establish what would be the best for different situations.

Each set of DI questions in the CAT exam generally consists of multiple conditions, and candidates are supposed to use the clues to solve the questions. Listed below are the most common topics for Data Interpretation.

Syllabus for CAT Data Interpretation


Pie Chart

Line Chart

Bar Graphs


Missing Data Interpretation

Aspirants can use the following strategy to solve data interpretation questions.

  • Familiarity
  • Conditions
  • Reasoning
  • Sequence of Solutions

As the CAT does not have a predefined exam syllabus, a huge number of aspirants face difficulty while preparing for the exam. But candidates should note that questions are normally asked from very few repeating topics every year. So, aspirants are suggested to go through the CAT syllabus, get familiar with the related details, and prepare accordingly.

Important links for Data Interpretation:

How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CAT?

If you are planning to appear for CAT 2022, start your preparation as early as possible. With approximately 10 months until the exam, now is the ideal time to begin your CAT preparation. You may be unsure of when and where to begin. Look into the following expert suggestions to gain insights on How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CAT?

Tips to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CAT:

  • To score well on the DILR portion of the CAT, comprehensive knowledge of the CAT syllabus is crucial. Analyse the past year question papers and understand the type of questions that were asked from the topics in the DILR Syllabus
  • With each passing year, the DILR section is becoming increasingly difficult. Consistent practice and hard work will help you ace the exam seamlessly. While practising, spot on to improve your speed, as data interpretation questions revolve around arithmetic and calculation speed.
  • To have conceptual clarity, it is essential that you refer to the best DILR books for CAT preparation. The following are two highly recommended books for DI preparation:
    • How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CAT by Arun Sharma
    • Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation for CAT by Nishit K. Sinha
  • Attempt CAT previous year question papers and attempt mock tests frequently. This will help you analyse the mistakes and improve on the weaker areas.
  • Examine each question, begin with the easier ones first. Do not immediately start with the difficult questions, which will consume a lot of time.
  • A high level of precision and accuracy is required to answer CAT Data Interpretation questions. Emphasise answering the questions carefully and avoid over-approximating or assuming.
  • Adapt a unique strategy to solve caselets. Analyse each CAT Data Interpretation question. Apply the shortcut techniques wherever necessary to solve the problem within the given time.

The competition has been increasing over the years, with numerous CAT aspirants applying for the exam every year. So, aspirants are required to be dedicated and well-focused for the exam. With proper preparation, the data interpretation questions can be solved easily, and admission into the IIMs or any other prestigious B-School can be easily acquired. Stay tuned with BYJU’S. to get the latest notification on the CAT Exam. Get the detailed CAT exam pattern, CAT cut-off score, CAT eligibility criteria and other CAT exam related details exclusively at BYJU’S.