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CAT 2018: Will you score 100 percentile?

November 26, 2018 11:20 IST

It was a moderately difficult paper, says Gautam Bawa, group product head, Career Launcher.

Common Admission Test 2018

Photograph*: Punit Paranjpe/Reuters

The Common Admission Test, performance in which decides your admission into top management schools in India, was held Sunday, November 26, 2018.

Over two lakh aspirants from across India appeared for the examination this year.

Career portal Career Launcher got two experts who took the examination in two slots to analyse the examination for you:


CAT 2018 Slot 1
Analysis by Gautam Bawa, group product head, Career Launcher

Paper Pattern

CAT came out of the bag with two thuds and one loud bang.

The paper started with an 'even easier than 2017' VA-RC (Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension) section.

The level of difficulty of the DI-LR (Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning) section provided a major reprieve to the nervous janta as it broke with the trend of the last three years.

It was a moderately difficult section, as compared to an out and out difficult section that has been observed over the last 2-3 years.

However, this relief was short-lived as QA (Quantitative Analysis) came out all guns blazing.

The Indian Institute of Management-Calcutta kept its reputation intact, with its emphasis on the QA section. So, the break-up of the paper was as follows:

Section

No. of Questions

No. of non-MCQ questions

Difficulty level

Good attempts

Verbal Ability and Reading comprehension

34

7

Easy

28+

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

32

8

Moderate

16+

Quantitative Ability

34

12

Difficult

15+

Total

100

 27

 

60+

Let's take a look at the three sections individually.

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VA-RC)

VA and RC greeted students with an easier than expected paper.

However, the pattern of the paper didn't strictly match that of the sample paper provided by the CAT team.

There were 34 questions with 7 Non-MCQ questions.

There were no instructions provided for the number of questions in each passage. However there remained 5 passages.

One passage had 4 questions (the passage on Genetics) while the rest had 5 questions each.

The topics of the remaining RC passages were also from familiar areas. They were easy to read.

There were quite a few inference-based questions, but these were easy to attempt.

The options were not really very close. Only 4-5 questions from RC were tricky.

A student should have followed the POE (process of elimination) to be able to achieve a decent accuracy rate as the options were not straight forward.

The VA section had one major change. There were 4 Subjective Para Jumble questions, and all of these had 4 sentences each.

There were 3 Odd sentence para-jumble questions.

These questions were easier than expected.

A student could have easily managed to get 4 questions correct out of the 7 PJs. These were TITA questions.

The three summary questions were difficult. The paragraphs focused entirely on research methodology and academic concepts. So, they were difficult to read and comprehend.

However, the options were not really difficult. So, any voracious reader would have been able to attempt these easily.  

For many CAT aspirants this year (especially those who relied heavily on QA), VA may just turn out to be the saviour.

Major surprise: The para jumble questions were easy, and the sentences were really short.

Area

Topic

No. of Questions

Description

Reading Comprehension
(24 Questions)

Reading Comprehension

24

 

There were 5 passages – All of them had similar word limit (around 500-550 words each).

The passage on Genetics had four questions and it was slightly tedious to read.

The other four passages came from familiar areas like India's view on its legacy of Second World War, Plastic Pollution, Elephant society, and Consumer behaviour studies. Each of these had five questions.

On an average, every passage had 1-2 inference based questions.

The passage on Second World War would have been the easiest to attempt closely followed by the passage on plastic pollution.

Options were not very tricky.

A student could have attempted 20-21 questions easily with more than 85 per cent accuracy.

 

Verbal Ability
(10 Questions)

Para-jumble

4

 

All had four sentences each and the sentences were pretty easy and concise.

As these had no negative marking, one should have attempted all without wasting a lot of time.

However, two of these would be tricky to answer without options.

The trick was to identify the opening sentence and go ahead with the mandatory pair.

There were quite a few clue words. Prior practice and awareness of deductive paragraphs were the key.

 

Summary

3

 

The paragraphs were short (within 80 words each).

These were really difficult to read, and the options became confusing because of the genres of the paragraphs.

So, only one of these should have been attempted. These questions carried negative marks.  

 

Para-jumble (Odd sentence out)

3

 

The question (the one on bumblebee) had an incomplete sentence.

This coupled with the PJ on erosion would have been difficult.

The other question was a sitter.

 

 

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DI-LR)

The next section was DI-LR. After three consecutive tragedies, DI-LR-2018 must have been a pleasant surprise.

There were 32 questions in total with 8 Non-MCQ questions. Unlike last year's paper, the theme of the sets was more conventional.

With smart selection, around 4 sets in the section could have been attempted very easily with good accuracy.

A couple of sets had 1 'difficult to crack' question each. And a student should have been wise enough to leave these aside.

Calculation wasn't required at all in the DI sets. On the other hand, the LR sets were easy-moderate in terms of level of difficulty.

Section

Topic

No. of Questions

Doable

Data Interpretation

Pie Chart-Annual/half yearly/Quarter Sales-Moderate

4

4

ATM -Denominations of 100,200 and 500-Moderate

4

1-2

Set Theory-1600 rockets were launched-Moderate

4

1-2

Logical Reasoning

Matrix-Adjacent cells-Easy

4

2-3

10 friends -- scores in DI/WE/GK- Difficult

4

1-2

4 Females , 4 Males-Minor and major-Easy

4

4

3 Committees-research/teaching/economist – moderate

4

2-3

 

1-20 petrol pumps-Moderate

4

2-3

Overall, 15 to 17 attempts, with accuracy of 90 per cent would be considered good.

Quantitative Aptitude (QA)

At the end, came the real star of the show, the 'infamous IIM-C QA'.

For students who were already scared of this section, it could have felt like a nuclear disaster.

For the 'engineering-dominated' group, this was not impossible to attempt.

The questions were calculation and logic intensive, not theory intensive.

There were 34 questions of QA with 12 Non-MCQ questions.

It was arguably the toughest QA section in the last four years.

The questions were designed to test the grasp of basic fundamentals of the concepts.

Arithmetic and Geometry questions dominated the section.

In some of MCQs, options were very confusing to get the answer. Number System and Logarithm each had at least 2 questions.

Section

Topic

No. of Questions

Doable

Quantitative Ability

Number System

2

2

Algebra

8

4-5

Arithmetic

14

6-7

Modern Math

3

2

Geometry and Mensuration

7

3-4

 

An overall attempt of 18 to 20 with 85 per cent accuracy would be very good.

Overall, a 99 percentile score could reduce by about 15-18 marks as compared to last year.

A score of 150 to 155 should fetch a 99 percentile.

The author Gautam Bawa holds a master's degree from the Indian Institute of Management- Calcutta with a CAT percentile of 99.97 in year 2011.


CAT 2018 Slot 2
Analysis by ARKS Srinivas, national head, MBA Prep (India and abroad)

Paper Pattern

'Forewarned is forearmed' is a piece of timeless wisdom.

So, students who went into the second slot expecting a similar paper as that of the first slot (or for that matter the CAT 2017 paper) were on the right track.

Like slot 1, this one too started with an 'easy' VA-RC section.

The passages were on similar lines as those of the first slot. The DI-LR section continued to give a sigh of relief to the students.

However, some are of the opinion that it was slightly tougher than the first slot's DI-LR section.

Overall, it was of a moderate level of difficulty. And the reign of QA continued. It remained the toughest section in the second slot too.

The break-up of the paper was as follows:

 

Section

No. of Questions

No. of non-MCQ questions

Difficulty Level

Good Attempts

Verbal Ability and Reading comprehension

34

7

Easy

28+

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

32

8

Moderate

16+

Quantitative Ability

34

12

Difficult

15+

Total

100

 27

 

60+

Let's take a look at the three sections individually.

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VA-RC)

VARC continued to be 'the feel good' section. The pattern remained the same as that of the first slot. There were 34 questions with 7 Non-MCQ questions.

There were no instructions provided for the number of questions in each passage.

However there remained 5 passages.

One passage had 4 questions (the passage on 'Grover snails') while the rest had 5 questions each.

The topics of the remaining RC passages were also from familiar areas. They were easy to read.

There were quite a few inference-based questions, but these were easy to attempt, thanks to the option choices. The options were not really very close.

Only 4-5 questions from RC were tricky. However, a student should have followed the POE (process of elimination) to be able to achieve a decent accuracy rate as the options were not straight forward. The VA section had one major change.

There were 4 Subjective Para Jumble questions, and all of these had 4 sentences each. There were 3 Odd sentence para-jumble questions.

These questions were easier than expected. A student could have easily managed to get 4 questions correct out of the 7 PJs (PJ and OSPJ).

These were TITA questions.

The three para-summary questions were of moderate level of difficulty.

The paragraphs continued to be short in the range pf 450 to 500 words each. However, as compared to the first slot, the summary questions were slightly easier.

Only one summary question appeared to be tough. So, VARC continued to be the 'easiest' of the lot.

 

Area

Topic

No. of Questions

Description

Reading Comprehension
(24 Questions)

Reading Comprehension

24

 

There were 5 passages – All of them had similar word limit (around 450-500 words each).

The passage on Grover Snails had four questions.

The other four passages came from familiar areas like Meritocracy and diversified teams, use of technology in essential services, rings of Saturn and their age, and a passage on human resource and learning.

Each of these had five questions.

On an average, every passage had 1-2 inference-based questions.

The passage on white-lipped shelled snails would have been the easiest to attempt closely followed by the passage on essential services and technology. From the remaining passages, one was slightly tough to read.

Options were not very tricky. A student could have attempted 20-21 questions easily with more than 85 per cent accuracy.

 

Verbal Ability
(10 Questions)

Para-jumble

4

 

All had four sentences each and the sentences were pretty easy and concise.

As these had no negative marking, one should have attempted all without wasting a lot of time.

However, two of these would be tricky to answer without options.

The trick was to identify the opening sentence and go ahead with the mandatory pair.

There were quite a few clue words. Prior practice and awareness of deductive paragraphs were the key.

 

Summary

3

 

The summary paragraphs were easier as compared to those of the first slot.

The paragraphs were short and slightly difficult to read.

Only one summary question can be called difficult.   

 

Para-jumble (Odd sentence out)

3

 

The questions were tricky, especially the one with the bird songs.

This coupled with the PJ on business elites would have been difficult.

The other question was a sitter.

 

 

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DA-LR)

The second section of the paper DILR continued to be a pleasant surprise.

There were 32 questions in total with 8 Non-MCQ questions.

Unlike last year's paper, the theme of the sets was more conventional.

There was one very direct DI set with basic calculations. The focus and strategy should have been the quality of the selected sets rather the quantity of the numbers of questions attempted.

A couple of sets did have a question each which should have been 'left alone'.

Two sets included calculation but none was on the tougher side. On the other hand, the LR sets were easy-moderate in terms of level of difficulty.

Section

Topic

No. of Questions

Doable

Data Interpretation

Currency Exchange and rate changes

4

2-3

Smartphones and market share

4

4

Box Diagram of 3 companies/products

4

1-2

Logical Reasoning

Interview Arrivals (Arrangement)

4

3-4

Coding (Alphabet/digits)

4

2-3

Set theory (3 games, Ludo, Kho-kho, Gilli Danda)

4

2

Institute Accreditation

4

2-3

 

Tickets to a show, old, young and middle aged people

4

2-3

Overall,15-17 attempts, with accuracy of 90 per cent would be considered good.

Quantitative Aptitude (QA)

Once the QA section is over, students would have come out with much less satisfaction as they would have had they come out at the end of DILR!

If you expected a happy ending in QA, you were definitely not paying attention to all the discussions following the first slot.

The IIM-C and its love for a tough QA section continued in the second slot too.

The questions were calculation and logic intensive, not theory intensive.

There were 34 questions of QA with 12 Non-MCQ questions. It was arguably the toughest QA section in the last four years.

The focus of the aptitude questions continued to be on testing the fundamental knowledge of the students and their clarity of concepts. Arithmetic and Geometry questions dominated the section.

In some of MCQs, options were very confusing to get the answer. Number System and Logarithm each had at least two questions.

 

Section

Topic

No. of Questions

Doable

Quantitative Ability

Number System

2

1

Algebra

8-9

4-5

Arithmetic

13-14

8-9

Modern Math

3

1-2

Geometry and Mensuration

7

3-4

An overall attempt of 18 to 20 questions with 85 per cent accuracy would be very good.

Overall, a 99 percentile score could reduce by about 15-18 marks as compared to last year.

Thus, a score of 150 to 155 should fetch a 99 percentile.

The author ARKS Srinivas holds a master's degree from the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta.


Please Note: All information on analysis and scores are based on the accuracy of attempts provided by you as well as independent analysis and evaluation made by Career Launcher Academic Team.We do not take responsibility for any decision that might be taken, based on this information.

Lead image published only for representational purposes.