CAT 2016 – Detailed Analysis : Afternoon Session (Slot 2)

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“DI & LR tough and So was QA.”

This was the first reaction from students coming out of the Afternoon Session (Slot 2) of the CAT 2016  exam.

When we spoke to a wide cross section of students,  we found that the number of questions attempted by the students, in the afternoon, slot were uniformly low. In fact, hardly anyone seems to have attempted more than 80 questions in the afternoon slot.

While there was no change in the pattern, given that some of the students already knew that the Quant paper was tougher than the last year’s paper, most students in the Afternoon Slot attempted more in QA than in DILR.

ERROR in Marking Scheme

The Marking scheme given in the instructions and inside the paper differed. The Instructions talked about +3/-1 marking scheme, whereas the individual questions in the paper were given for +1/-0.33. Though it won’t make any difference, it appears that it is a technical error overlooked by the IIM Bangalore team


CAT 2016 Paper Analysis : SLOT 2 Paper Analysis

CAT 2016 Pattern

No. of Sections 3
Total Number of Questions 100
No. of choices per questions (MCQs) 4
Marks per Question +3
Negative Marking (for MCQs) -1


The CAT paper in the second slot was very similar to the one in the first Slot!

Section No. of MCQs No. of non-MCQs Total no of Qns Total Marks
Section I – Verbal & Reading Comprehension (VARC) 24 10 34 102
Section II – Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR) 24 8 32 96
Section III – Quantitative Aptitude (QA) 27 7 34 102
Total 75 25 100 300

*MCQ – Multiple Choice Questions

From the feedback received, it appears that the CAT 2016 paper in the Second Slot (Afternoon session) was marginally more difficult than the one given in the first slot.

Given that all three sections appear to be more difficult, there would be a significant difference in the cutoffs for the overall marks.

The normalization between the two slots would make a lot of difference for the students of the second slot and hence they should not unduly worry about low attempts.

Brief Summary of the Difficulty Level of the Paper & Ideal Attempts

Section Level of Difficulty Ideal no. of Attempts
Verbal & RC Easy to Moderate 27+
DI & LR Moderate to Difficult 13+
QA Moderate to Difficult 15+
Overall Moderate to Difficult 60+


Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)

The VARC section was on predicted lines and the 3 question sets of ‘Maintaining Culture’ and ‘Positive Attitude in Work’ were straight forward and easy. Even the 6 question sets of RC were not difficult and except for the one on ‘Durand Line’ the length of the passages were not long and easily answerable.

As usual, it is difficult to predict if the Para Jumble questions were easy or NOT. However, the ones on Para Summary were pretty easy as per the students.

The breakup of the VARC section is as under

Area No of MCQs No of Non-MCQs Total
RC – Maintaining Culture through encyclopedic museums 3 3
RC – Positive Attitude in work environment 3 3
RC – Business & Companies 6 6
RC – Britain and Corruption 6 6
RC – Durand Line 6 6
Odd Para Jumbles 3 3
Para Jumbles 4 4
Para Summary/Essence of Passage 3 3
  24 10 34

A good attempt in this section would be around 25+ questions with around 75% accuracy.


Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)

The DILR in the second slot was far tougher than the one in the first slot OR So it appears when one analyses the responses from the students.

Except for the Venn Diagram set and a set on 5 hotels and the rating criteria, others were either lengthy or difficult.


Area No of MCQs No of Non-MCQs Total
LR – Coding Decoding Set 4 1 4
LR – Venn Diagrams and Average Sal 2 2 4
LR – Conference Room Scheduling 4 4
LR – Comprehension: Banks and Loans 3 1 4
DI – 5 Hotels and 6 Criteria Rating 3 1 4
DI – Frequency of Water to 5 Cities 3 1 4
DI – Tech and Non-Tech Managers 3 1 4
DI – Inspectors/Products/Ratings 4 1 4
  24 8 32


Attempting about 5 to 6 sets while leaving a few questions in each of the sets would be the right way to do this kind of a section.

Quantitative Ability

The Quant Section was almost a replica of the first slot paper except for the P&C questions. While in the first slot there was ONLY a single question in P&C, there were close to 3 questions of P&C and more Pure Math questions in the bargain.

The paper was full of Arithmetic and Geometry Again.

The break-up of the questions in Quantitative Ability

Area No of MCQs No of Non-MCQs Total
Arithmetic 9 3 12
Numbers 4 1 5
Algebra 4 2 6
Geometry/Mensuration 6 1 7
Pure Math/CG 4 2
Venn Diagram 1 1
27 7 34





Overall Analysis

Slot 2 (Afternoon Slot) paper was definitely more tougher than the first slot paper. Hence, it is expected that the cutoffs would be lesser than the first slot marks.

However, there would be normalization between slots and the same will be taken care of.

VistaMind Team has put together this preliminary analysis with a prediction for the cutoffs at various percentile points.

For a student to get to know where he stands and what possible percentile he can get, he may CLICK HERE FOR THE PERCENTILE PREDICTOR


Expected Cutoff Predictions – MARKS & PERCENTILE ANALYSIS


Percentile VARC DILR QA Overall
99% 68 54 57 160
95% 55 41 44 129
90% 48 34 35 109
85% 43 29 29 99
80% 38 25 24 85
70% 31 20 19 67


We will also be assisting students and guiding them in applying to the various B Schools depending on the marks/percentiles expected.


About the Author:

ARKS Srinivas is an alumnus of IIM Calcutta and has been the All India CAT Director at TIME. He is currently the CEO of VistaMind Education. VistaMind is the only National Level Training institute, which prepares students for CAT through LIVE ONLINE CLASSES. For more information, write to OR Visit

ARKS Srinivas

ARKS Srinivas is an alumnus of IIM Calcutta and has been the All India CAT Director at TIME. He is currently the National Head for MBA Prep at Career Launcher.