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Data Interpretation – Made Easy

Ask an MBA aspirant about the types of questions the Data Interpretation (DI) section of CAT contains and most will answer correctly that it contains raphs and tables! Ask them a follow"up to this question# $i%! &'hat kinds of skills are tested by this section() Most students will now flounder! *ome will say that it tests your ability to read raphs# while others will opine that it e$aluates your capability to make quick calculations! Their answers often lack an incisi$e understandin of the real purpose of this section! +ikewise# ask students how ood they are in the DI section! Most will reply that it is an easy section (compared to the dreaded ,roblem *ol$in section or the -erbal Ability and .eadin Comprehension for some) but it takes time to do calculations! This kind of answer indicates the faulty approach most students often take while dealin with this section! +istenin to feedback from students about their performance in this section soon after CAT# pro/ects a new dimension! Most students will claim that they ha$e done fairly well while the reality may be otherwise! They et a shock when they come to know about the actual answers and blame their bad luck for their appallin performance! *uch questions and answers i$e a clear indication that most students ha$e not# unfortunately# understood the purpose of this section and the approaches to de$elop proficiency in this section! 'ithout such an understandin # attemptin DI problems is like embarkin on a /ourney without knowin your destination and the means of transport! This 0"series article aims to e1plain the purpose of DI questions and pro$ide a structured approach to speed"buildin !

Unraveling the Purpose of Data Interpretation
Data Interpretation section $irtually puts a student in the shoes of a Business Mana er# who is inundated with useful (and not so infrequently with useless) data and has to make some quick interpretation of the data to reach important decisions! 2nce presented with raphs or tables# the mental processor of a mana er starts whirrin at the top ear and selects# prunes# manipulates# and compares the data and reaches certain conclusions! *uccessful operations of these processes require that a mana er possesses qualities like3 o An eye for detail# o An ability to focus on key issues quickly# o An ability to work on numbers in different ways# o An ability to see a trend# o An ability to identify e1ceptional situations# o An ability to work with lo ical relationships and o An ability to reach a conclusion usin deducti$e lo ic!

13. 17.6 4 5 6 85! *uppose effort allocation is interchan ed between operations B and C# then C and D# and then D and 9 and if companies are then ranked in ascendin order of effort in 9# what will be the rank of company :( 5! 0 0! : :! .9 D.7 F. 18.! < 80! A new technolo y is introduced in company . 15. 22.3 C.3 A.8 B. 15.6 A.2 F.2 B. 16.8 D. 21.7 F. 17.5 D. 11. 23.2 C.! Increase of <!6 8:! *uppose the companies find that they can remo$e operations B# C and D and re" distribute the effort released equally amon the remainin operations! Then# which operation will show the ma1imum effort across all companies and all operations( 5! 2peration 9 in company 5 :! 2peration 7 in company < 0! 2peration 9 in company . 10.eduction of 50!: :! .6 E.eduction of <!6 0! Increase of 50!: . 28.2 F.! 2peration 9 in company < . .9 B. .5 E. 18. 7. 11. 7. 18.4 C. 28. 15. 9.7 B.5 E. 8. 13 B. 19. 17.6 E.7 A. 25.1 A. 17. 23.6 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 1 2 3 Company A. 9.4 A. 15.7 C. 23.6 D. 10.+et us see how some of these qualities are tested usin a set of questions picked up from CAT 0445! Question 1 to 3 There are si1 companies# 5 throu h 6! All of these companies use si1 operations# A throu h 7! The followin raph shows the distribution of efforts put in by each company in these operations! 100% 90% % Distribution of Effort F.4 F.3 D. such that the total effort for operations B throu h 7 ets e$enly distributed amon these! 'hat is the chan e in the percenta e of effort in operation 9( 5! .8 B.7 C.1 C.6 E.4 D. 16. 16. 16. 16.8 E.

! In both cases# operation 9 requires 0B!6A effort! By $isual inspection# we can see that the combined efforts of operations B# C and D in company < are hi her than that of in company . and thus choice 0 is also eliminated! Between operation 9 of company 5 and operation 9 of company <# the latter has about <A more allocation before redistribution! If the choice 5 is to be the correct answer# the cumulati$e allocation of B# C and D for company 5 should e1ceed that of company < by 5<A! *ince that is not so (once a ain by $isual comparison of allocations)# the correct answer is operation 9 in company <! Dear CAT aspirant# which of the qualities listed abo$e are thus tested here( It must be e$ident to you now how certain qualities are tested in DI! The ood news is that these are innate qualities in most people but the bad news is that they do not know how to use them! 8uite unfortunately# the plethora of trainin and coachin institutes also ha$e not understood the real reason for the DI section and inundate students with non" essential short"cuts and techniques! .! It implies that allocation will be more in company < than in the company .Answer to Question 1 After the first interchan e# efforts of operation C become equal to that of the operation B and $ice $ersa! In the subsequent interchan e between C and D# the efforts of C# which in the question were of B# were allocated to D! In the last inter"chan e# efforts of 9 became equal to that of the D! Thus in effect# the efforts of operation 9 after : inter"chan es are equal to that of the operation B before the start of inter"chan es! In effect# the question requires rankin of Company : if efforts in operation B are arran ed in an ascendin order! The answer to the question is :! The question is thus testin lo ical reasonin ! The fact that a raphical representation has been used to test this skill is almost like a cle$er decoy placed by the e1aminer! *uccessful CAT takers learn the knack of quickly identifyin the root of the problem# rather than ettin cau ht up in unnecessary details! Answer to Question 2 *ince operation 9 has the hi hest allocation# redistribution of efforts equally amon operations B to 7 will reduce the allocation of operation 9! =ence# answer choices 0 and . are eliminated! >ow# suppose the correct answer is ?reduction of <!6@# then allocation to 9 as well as to operations B# C# D and 7 would be 0:A each! This is not feasible! =ence the correct answer is ?reduction of 50!:@! An alternati$e approach could ha$e been that allocation to operation A is 5B!<! Therefore# allocation to all other efforts is B5!< (544C 5B!<)! Di$idin this equally amon < operations allocates 56!: to each acti$ity! =ence the reduction is 50!: (0B!6"56!:)! The question therefore requires not /ust lo ical reasonin but also the ability to work on numbers in different ways! Answer to Question 3 This question can also be handled with equal ease! Compare operation 9 with operation 7 in company <! The effort allocation is hi her for operation 9 than for 7# and will remain so after redistribution of efforts of operation B# C and D equally amon the remainin operations! Choice : is therefore eliminated! +et@s now compare the answer choices 0 and .

ound off numerator to nearest 5# 54 or 544 dependin upon the ma nitude of its $alue# find quotient and compare! 91ample3 'hich ratio is reater :5E D or 500 ( : :5E :04 ≈ and its quotient F .+et@s now work step by step for unleashin these qualities and honin them to de$elop mastery on data interpretation! peed !uilder"1# Master $atios Most questions on DI require computation of ratios# percenta es# rate of chan e# a$era e# ma1imum# minimum# count or data sortin # of which# ratio is the most common and challen in operation! *ome techniques for their quick estimation are presented below! It@s important to note that most questions do not require precise calculations! 'hat is really required is an ability to estimate appro1imate $alues quickly! %e&hni'ue"1 – Effe&tive if nu(erator ) ) deno(inator .4 : : =ence# the first ratio is bi er! %e&hni'ue"2 – Effe&tive if nu(erator * * deno(inator In$erse all fractions and use Technique"5! The fraction with lowest quotient is bi est and the one with hi hest quotient smallest! %e&hni'ue"3 – Effe&tive if nu(erator * deno(inator 7ind the differences between the numerators of two fractions and similarly between the denominators! If the difference between numerators is reater than or equal to the difference between denominators# then the fraction with hi her $alue of numerator is bi er! 91ample3 Compare 50 5E with 0: ! 0E =ere the difference between the numerators of both fractions is 55 and between the denominators is 54! =ence 0: is the hi her of the two numbers! 0E *imilarly# between 0E .D and # the latter is bi .etween the nu(erator and deno(inator values of two fra&tions Multiply numerator and denominator of fraction with small $alues with an appropriate number and then compare .D 6< er because differences between numerators and denominators are 5B each! %e&hni'ue"+ – ignifi&ant differen&e .6 D D 500 504 ≈ and its quotient F .

!B4 Answer to Question + Con$entional approach to sol$in the problem is to compute the a$era e prices of all .(art *ome smart thinkin can make sol$in DI problems $ery simple for the students takin the CAT! In my teachin at Career . 15% (n'ia.! India 8<! The a$era e price in 9uroI k for Turkey is rou hly 5! 6!04 0! <!64 :! . 17% #$it% r&an'.lan# this is what I stress upon the most! I feel it is important to eliminate some myths about how to prepare oneself for this section! The best way to illustrate this approach is throu h an e1ample taken from CAT 0440! Question + and . 15% (n'ia. 26% #$it% r&an'. 17% Turk !. countries and compare the $alues! .91ample3 Compare 55D 50 with ! 5B5 5E Multiply numerator and denominator of the second fraction by 54! After multiplication# Difference G between G numerators F : # which is less than the first fraction# hence the second Difference G between G deno min ators E fraction is smaller! The abo$e"mentioned techniques can also be applied to percenta es because a percent is a fraction multiplied with 544! peed !uilder "2# %hin.!04 . 20% "#A.! The country# which has the hi hest a$era e price# is 5! H*A0! *wit%erland :! Turkey .! . 15% Chart"5 shows the distribution by $alue of top 6 suppliers of M7A Te1tiles in 5EE<! Chart"0 shows the distribution by quantity of top 6 suppliers of M7A te1tiles in 5EE<! The total $alue is <D64 million 9uros (the 9uropean currency)! The total quantity is 5!4<< million tonnes! 8. 20% Pakistan. 11% "#A. 16% Turk !. 12% China. Answer the questions based on the pie charts i$en below3 Pakistan.16% China.

4!5D x<D64 4!5< x54<< 4!04 x<D64 *wit%erland F 4!55x54<< H*A F Turkey F 4!56 x<D64 4!5< x54<< India F 4!04 x<D64 4!06 x54<< <D64 ! This factor can be i nored 54<< 5D 04 56 04 # # and ! 5< 55 5< 06 Jou would note that all $alues contain a factor of because you are required to identify the country ha$in the hi hest a$era e $alue# not the a$era e $alue itself! =ence# you ha$e to /ust compare 2b$iously# *wit%erland ets the hi hest a$era e price! *mart thinkers can easily sol$e this problem by obser$ation without writin e$en a sin le number on paper! Answer to Question . This question can also be answered by some quick mental calculations! The o$erall a$era e price for all countries is about <!< ( share of quantity is <D64 <D4 ≅ )! 7or Turkey# share of $alue to 54<< 54< 56 # which is sli htly more than 5! A$era e price for Turkey should 5< be a multiplication of these two ratios! =ence# the answer will be rou hly <!64! Clearly# the e1aminer is not testin how quick you are with a series of calculations# but wants to find out those who use a combination of common sense and smart thinkin to quickly and efficiently arri$e at the final answer! This is their way of findin future mana ers and leaders# who will always need to take the ri ht decisions under se$ere time and resource constraints! Question / to 0 1 our&e# 2A% 233+4 The profitability of a company is defined as the ratio of its operatin profit to its operatin income# typically e1pressed in percenta e! The followin two charts show the operatin income as well as the profitability of si1 companies in the financial years (7!J!s) 0445"40 and 0440"4:! .

! 7 8D! The a$era e operatin profit in 7!J! 0440"4:# of companies with profitability e1ceedin 54A in 7!J! 0440"4:# is appro1imately3 5! 5D!< crore 0! 0< crore :! 0D!< crore .rofit is operatin income 1 profitability! Comparin company A with company 7# both income and profitability of 7 are hi her# hence Choice (5) is eliminated! Compare company 7 with company 9# income of 9 is sli htly lower but its profitability is almost twice! Choice (.Profitability 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% *5% A B C D E F Company Operating Income 350 300 Operating Income (Crores) 250 200 150 100 50 0 A B C Company D E F F) 01*02 F) 02*03 F) 01*02 F) 02*03 86! 'hich company recorded the hi hest operatin profit in 7!J! 0440"4:( 5! A 0! C :! 9 .! :0!< crore Answer to Question / .) is therefore eliminated! Comparison between C and 9 requires a closer call! Income of 9 is only mar inally lower than C# but its profitability is distincti$ely .

years old# while the oldest is . 40.hi her (.rofitability of C ≅ 5<A and of 9 ≅ 5DA# hence A difference F 5D − 5< K 544 L 5< 54A)! =ence# company 9 has the hi hest income! Answer to Question 0 Companies with profitability hi her than 54A are C and 9! C@s profits are 044 M 5<A ≅ . 38. 18 !otal 6 9 11 4 30 . 63. 8 +21.s! :4 cr! The profit of 9 is hi her than that of C! =ence a$era e should be more than . 12 emale 5 +34. 65. 49.E! No of Children 0 1 2 3 T-ta& Male 1 +38.lan call &Think 'ithout Ink) or T'I! The tools and principles of T'I are also a$ailable in the form of a book authored by Mr! N! -enkataraman# 7ounder of the T'I 7oundation and a Director at Career . 8 +35. 2 +32. 32. 33. 3 +37. 57.lan! I would stron ly recommend this book to those students who ha$e a mortal fear of numbers and a still want to do well in e1ams like the CATO peed !uilder – 3# 5ogi&al $easoning CAT questions increasin ly require lo ical reasonin rather than the ability to perform some quick calculations and intense number crunchin ! -ery often# the questions require students to understand the implications of the conditions imposed# obser$e the relationships between data# and use deducti$e lo ic! Two e1amples taken from recent CATs are presented here for illustration! Question 6 to 13 1 our&e# 2A% 23334 The table below pro$ides certain demo raphic details of :4 respondents who were part of a sur$ey! The demo raphy characteristics are3 ender# number of children# and a e of respondents! The first number is each cell is the number of respondents in that roup! The minimum and ma1imum a e of respondents in each roup is i$en in brackets! 7or e1ample# there are < female respondents with no children and amon these fi$e# the youn est is :. 1 +32.)! 'hat are some of the key lessons from these e1amples( =ow can this learnin be used to build up your speed( 8uite ob$iously# what is required is an ability to look at problems from different an les and an ability to simplify a seemin ly difficult question! If you can de$elop these abilities# you performance will impro$e dramatically in DI! This ability is what we at Career . 2 +27.s! :4cr! Therefore the correct answer is (.

4# then no respondent meets the condition Therefore# number of respondents meetin the abo$e criteria is E as shown in the Table below! =ence :4A is the correct answer! >o! of children 4 5 0 : Male 5 5 5 0 7emale 5 5 5 5 Total F E Answer to Question 7 The condition &ma1imum number of respondents older than :<) can be interpreted as3 • If minimum and ma1imum a e QF :<# then no respondent meets the condition • If minimum QF :< and ma1imum L :<# then one less than the number of respondents in the roup meet the condition • If minimum and ma1imum L :< then# all respondents meet the condition .8B! The percenta e of respondents a ed less than .! :4A 8E! Pi$en the information abo$e# the percenta e of respondents older than :< can be at most! 5! :4A 0! D:!::A :! D6!6DA .4 years a e roup (both inclusi$e) is at least 5! 6!6DA 0! 54A :! 5:!::A .! 06!6DA Answer to Question 6 The condition &number of respondents a ed less than .4# then at least 5 respondent meets the condition • If both minimum and ma1imum a es L.4 and ma1imum L.4 years is at least) can be interpreted as3 • If minimum and ma1imum a e in a roup Q.! E4A 854! The percenta e of respondents that fall into the :< to .4 years is at least! 5! 54A 0! 56!6DA :! 04!4A .4# then all respondents in the roup meet the condition • If minimum a e Q.

! Question 11 to 12 1 our&e# 2A% 233+4 . D : 5 Total F 0: Therefore# correct answer is D6!6DA! Answer to Question 13 The condition &minimum number of respondents that fall into the :< to . +ets look at one more set of questions# this time from CAT 044.4 then at least 5 respondent meets the condition • If minimum is between :< to .4 then at least 5 respondent meets the condition >o! of children 4 5 0 : Male 5 4 4 4 7emale 4 5 5 5 Total F .4 years a e roup (both inclusi$e)) can be interpreted as3 • If both minimum and ma1imum a es are Q :< or L .>o! of children 4 5 0 : Male 5 4 D 4 7emale .4 then no respondent meets the condition • If both minimum and ma1imum a es are :< to .4 then all respondents meet the condition • If minimum Q :< and ma1imum between :< to .4 and ma1imum L .

05 2.6 4.! <0D4 850! At least how many competitors (e1cludin Daley Thompson) must Michael *mith ha$e out"/umped in the lon /ump e$ent( 5! 5 0! 0 :! : .0 5.06 2.7 4.a/a&ain n 1i2ha & #/ith T-/as D4-rak "$ Fr i/uth T-rst n 7-ss Erki 3--& Christian P&a%iat 8ur9 n .8 855! 'hat is the least that Daley Thompson must et in *core"0 that ensures him bron%e medal( 5! <:4E 0! <0E6 :! <0D5 .03 2.ri ' < nt% :ui'.8 4.95 10.72 10.9 5.08 2.94 10.97 1.23 10.74 11.11 2.58 10.=rats2h/ r Da& ! Th-/>s-n Frank Bus /ann A& ?an'r A>ai2h 4 :ri9-r! D 9t!ar-4 6-A rt 5/ &ik Da4 8-hns-n #t 4 Frit% Bru2 8 nn r Dan @BBri n Country B0# CA3 C5E DD6 DD6 E#T F6A F6: F6: F6: :B6 :E6 #@7 #@7 TC.8 4.8 5.44m# 544m hurdles# 5<44m# =i h /ump# .ole -ault compared to other athletes# we can not say whether he out"/umped in the +on /ump or not! =owe$er# if his score is lower than or equal to =i h /ump and .8 4.10 2.10 2.97 2.ole -ault scores of some other athletes and yet he scored hi her *coreC0# we are sure that .99 2.4 5.9 4.! .92 11.00 2.08 1.ole" $ault# +on /ump# Discus# *hot put and Ra$elin! The performance in the first four of these e$ents is consolidated into *core"5# the ne1t three into *core"0# and the last three into *core":! 9ach such consolidation is obtained by i$in appropriate positi$e wei hts to indi$idual e$ents! The final score is simply the total of these three scores! The athletes with the hi hest# second hi hest and the third hi hest final scores recei$e the old# sil$er and bron%e medals# respecti$ely! The table below i$es the scores and performances of nineteen top athletes in this e$ent! Name E'uar' .8 4.In a Decathlon# the e$ents are 544m# . "#A "#A "#A "#A inal "core 8802 8855 8796 8799 8880 8768 8775 8792 8856 8861 8905 8803 8823 8832 8811 8827 8846 8897 "core#$ 491 174 499 441 521 408 563 451 470 575 582 568 492 339 494 366 427 483 408 "core#% 5322 5274 5169 5491 5234 5553 5430 5223 5250 5308 5392 5370 5196 5455 5370 5163 5280 5331 "core#& 2989 3407 3128 3124 2868 2808 2781 3033 3137 3064 3003 2945 3115 3114 2883 3114 3119 3200 3120 $''m 10.0 4.in9s n #i 9.36 (igh )ump 2.91 1.05 10.63 11.8 4.95 2.ole $ault and +on /ump e$ents to compute *coreC0 are not known! Therefore# if Michael *mith ot hi her score either in =i h /ump or .6 4.04 1.9 4.1 5.78 10.1 5.00 2.04 2.75 10.85 10.71 10.60 10.78 10.69 10. Answer to Question 11 =i hest# second hi hest and third hi hest scores are BE4<# BBED and BBB4 respecti$ely! Therefore Daley Thompson score should be /ust hi her than BBB4 to qualify him for the Bron%e medal! The least he should et in *coreC0 is <0E6 (BBB5 C <B0 C :44:)! Answer to Question 12 The wei hta e assi ned to =i h /ump# .55 10.09 Pole#*ault 4.0 4.10 1.06 10.

ole $ault! These athletes are Torsten -oss# Rur en =in sen# Pri ory De tyaro$ and *te$e 7rit%! The correct answer therefore is .! It should be clear to you with these e1amples that the e1aminer is usin a lot of data to dis uise the true intent of the question# $i%! to determine your critical thinkin ability under the pressure of time! Jou must spend more time de$elopin this thinkin rather than sol$in a thousand questions in the con$entional mode of thinkin ! peed !uilder"+# Understanding the stru&ture of a 'uestion8 =a$in learnt techniques of quick computation of ratios# approaches to smart thinkin and importance of lo ical reasonin # the sta e in now set for de$elopin a deeper understandin of the structure of problems! This understandin enables the student to et to the root of the problem# assess its difficulty le$el and select the most effecti$e way of reachin the ri ht answer! A question may typically require the followin or permutations of similar tasks3 *election of data meetin specified criteria ↓ *ome mathematical operation on selected data ↓ *econd sta e selection or operation! The criteria may be specified usin mathematical operators like F# Q# ≤ # L# ≥ # ≠ # not less than# not more than# etc! Hse of lo ical operators like A>D# 2.must ha$e out /umped in +on /ump! Therefore# this question can be inferred as3 compared to how many athletes# Michael *mith has a hi her *core"0 despite lower than or equal to score in both =i h /ump and . S >2T is also $ery common! +et me illustrate the structure of a question usin a set of problems! Question 13 to 1+ 1 our&e# 2A% 23324 The followin table pro$ides data on different countries and location of their capitals# (the data may not match the actual +atitudes# +on itudes)! Answer the followin questions on the basis of this table! .

16 E 85:! 'hat percenta e of cities located within 54T 9 and .0 E 174.17 # 24.20 E 47.ongitude 58.47 E 46.08 E 16.27 3 11.18 E 13.45 < 79.15 # 5.55 E 75.35 3 35.05 # 52.55 E 78.4 de ree 9ast) lie in the southern hemisphere( 5! 5<A 0! 04 A :! 0<A .! :4A 85.42 E 104.35 E 0.07 E 101.33 3 0.13 3 41.20 3 32.45 3 15.25 3 6.44 3 53.30 # 35.0 E 21.49 3 3."+No 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Country Ar9 ntina Austra&ia Austria Bu&9aria Bra%i& Cana'a Ca/A-'ia E2ua'-r :hana (ran (r &an' 0iA!a 1a&a!sia P ru P-&an' 3 $ 5 a&an' #au'i AraAia #>ain #ri 0anka 5a/Aia Capital Bu n-s Air s CanA rra 7i nna #-.58 E 28.6 E 51.atitude 34.20 E 149.30 E 6.56 3 15.22 E 23.47 # 45.42 E 3.28 # .4T 9 (54 C de ree 9ast and .9 3 12.ia Brasi&ia @tta$a Phn-/ P nh CuitA22ra T h ran DuA&in Tri>-&i =ua&a 0u/>ur 0i/a <arsa$ < &&in9t-n 6i!a'h 1a'ri' C-&-/A0usaka .41 E 77.! The ratio of number of countries whose name starts with $owels and located in the *outhern hemisphere# to the number of countries# the name of whose capital cities starts with a $owel in the table abo$e is3 .12 3 48.15 # 48.41 3 40.

4T9) ↓ Task"03 Count (>o! of selected countries) ↓ Task":3 *elect a subset of the abo$e set usin criteria (suffi1 in latitude F *) ↓ Task".! .5! :30 0! :3: :! :35 .atio of count"5 to count"0 2nce the question structure is understood# answerin a question becomes much easier! Isn@t it( Nnowin the question structure also helps in understandin the difficulty le$el of a question! An e1aminer can make questions difficult by usin one or more of the followin approaches3 o Hsin many conditions in definin the selection criteria! o Hsin ne ati$e operators like ≠ # not less than# not more than# etc! o Hsin operators like ?Closest@# which require /ud ment! o Hsin one or more lo ical operator like A>D# 2. S >2T! o Increasin the number of mathematical operations! o Hsin many sets of selection criteria! *tudents must de$elop capabilities to understand the structure of questions and obser$e how questions are made difficult! In eneral# questions requirin selection of true or false statements are difficult because each answer choice may use a different selection criterion! *uch questions may be skipped! .3: Answer to Question 13 Task"53 *elect countries usin the criteria3 (City with lon itude L 54T9) A>D (city with lon itude Q .3 Count"0 (>o! of selected cities) ↓ Task"<3 .3 Count (>o! of elements in the subset) ↓ Task"<3 Compute percenta e of second count with respect to first count! Answer to Question 1+ Task"53 *elect set"5 usin criteria (7irst letter of country name F$owel) A>D (*uffi1 in +atitude F *) ↓ Task"03 Count"5 (>o! of selected countries) ↓ Task":3 *elect set"0 usin criteria (first letter of capital F$owel) ↓ Task".

operator# use that sub"criteria first which is met by more elements of the data set! Most operations# particularly Ma1# Min# Count# etc! can be conducted simultaneously while criteria are bein applied to select data elements! This acti$ity# of course# requires some de ree of parallel processin in students@ minds# which most students unfortunately lack due to absence of any practice! 7ortunately# this skill can be de$eloped with some practice under the uidance of a ood tutor! Many readers who ha$e read this article this far may ask# ?Is it really necessary to o to this e1tent of insi ht to sol$e such questions quickly@! My answer is an unqualified &9E :.2nce the structure is understood# students must first e$aluate whether the criteria can be simplified without chan in its meanin ! 8uestion 50 described earlier is a ood e1ample of this approach! In the ne1t sta e# student should apply the simplified criteria to the data set to make a selection! If the criteria are made of two sub"criteria connected to each other by A>D operator# apply that sub"criteria first# which is met by fewer elements of the data set! 2n the other hand if the sub"criteria are connected by an 2.! This is a $ery effecti$e approach# particularly for questions based on the tabular data! In the recent years# ma/ority of the questions are based on tabulated data rather than on raphs! If you can de$elop the mindset that allows you to sol$e these problems in less than :4 seconds each# you can be assured of a hi h percentile score in the CAT! I will co$er some other techniques for problem sol$in in the ne1t few issues! .