CAT 2016 – Detailed Analysis : Morning Session (Slot 1)

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(This article was updated at 5.30 pm, 4th December 2016)

ERROR in Instructions

The Instructions at the beginning of the exam said that the marking pattern would be +3/-1, whereas when one looked at each question and the marking pattern, within the paper the same was given as +1/-0.33 for each question. We believe that it is an error from the CAT Test setters.

ERORRs in QUANT Section

There were at least two errors in the Quant section of the paper. One question on Time & Distance and One question on Progressions were clearly wrong and a student who is good in this area may have spent a couple of minutes more than necessary and would have lost out on the same. In such cases, if the IIMs recognise their error, they may ignore such question(s) while marking!

The square root symbol they used was ‘σ’. This confused quite a lot of students as they interpreted it as a variable hence were not able to attempt few questions. However, the same symbol was used in the calculator also.

Phew!

The wait has been the longest for this year’s CAT. Only in the 1990s did the CAT exam happen in December.

Students always believe that the more the time available for preparation, the better for them. The reality, of course, is otherwise. It just doesn’t matter!

The CAT 2016 paper had almost no surprises. In fact, there were enough rumours that there would be 44 questions in the VARC section and almost every Verbal Strong guy prayed fervently for such a section whereas every student who was weak in Verbal hoped that the rumour was just a rumour.

As it turned out it would have been very difficult for the IIMs to explain as to why there was a change of pattern from the one given on the CAT website. It would have been an undue advantage to the second slot students had the pattern changed!

The post facto analysis of the paper points out to the expectation that VistaMind always had and had given in all of its 20 SmartCATs.

A student who has gone through the training at VistaMind has proclaimed that they were more than prepared for this kind of a paper thanks to the rigorous ONLINE Training and SmartCATs!

Overall, the CAT 2016 slot 1 paper had few surprises and any student who was prepared well and didn’t lose his/her cool would have cracked it!

 

CAT 2016 Paper Analysis : SLOT 1 (Forenoon) Paper Analysis

The CAT 2016 was on the expected lines. The pattern of the paper is given under

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
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

If one were to compare the difficulty level of CAT2016 over the last year’s paper, then CAT 2016 would be a shade more difficult (especially the VARC and the Quant section) than the difficulty level of the CAT 2015 paper!

The number of attempts would go down for almost all the students. Unlike last year where students have attempted upwards of 80 questions in the exam put together, this year, anyone attempting more than 70 genuine attempts would score pretty well.

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

Section Level of Difficulty Ideal no. of Attempts
Verbal & RC Easy to Moderate 28+
DI & LR Moderate to Difficult 16+
QA Moderate to Difficult 18+
Overall Moderate 65+

The CAT 2016 paper can be termed as a paper of Moderate Difficulty. There were easily two errors in the Quant Section of the paper and students may have lost time trying to figure the same out.

Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)

The first section in the CAT2016 paper was VARC.

There were 5 passages of RC for 24 Questions overall. None of the five passages were lengthy and it was easy to attempt the questions in the given time. Some of the passages given in the exam such as the one on ‘Household work and the way it is treated in the economy’ OR ‘the status/fate of languages expected in 2115’ also made for good reading. In every set, there were easy questions for sure, but at the same time, there were some tricky questions too which had close answers (as happens in CAT!).

Within the Verbal Area, the para summary ones were the only ones which appeared easy. Both, the para jumbles (because of the requirement to get the entire sequence right and the Odd Para jumbles were on the difficult side.

The breakup of the VARC section is as under

Area No of MCQs No of Non-MCQs Total
RC – Govt. Definition of Poverty and treatment of Household work 3 3
RC – Education System 3 3
RC – Sustainable Economic Development 6 6
RC – Anthropology /Excruciating Rituals & Reasons 6 6
RC – Status of Languages in 2115 6 6
Odd Para Jumbles 3 3
Para Jumbles 4 4
Para Summary/Essence of Passage 3 3
24 10 34

Among all the sections, the VARC section can be termed the easiest of the lot. Also, many students would have attempted close to 28+ and quite a few would have attempted all the 34 questions in the section.

The cutoff (85%ile) would be around 42-44 marks for this section.

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)

The DILR section was only a shade easier than what it was last year (in terms of the amount of calculation or logic), but certainly lengthy. The number of attempts in this section would more likely be in the 14 to 18 range.

Students who came out of the exam hall were almost unanimous in their verdict that though the section appeared a bit easy, attempting more questions was not possible.

There were at least four sets out of the eight wherein one could solve only  a couple of questions in the given time. At least one question in each set was either long or difficult.

The break-up of the areas and the question-types is given below

Area No of MCQs No of Non-MCQs Total
LR – Distribution/Arrangement (TShirts) 4 4
LR – Venn Diagrams 2 2 4
LR – Arrangement of files in folders 3 1 4
LR – Students using various Trains and the fares for the same 3 1 4
DI – Table (Student Pass percentages over 5 years) 3 1 4
DI – Comprehension – Marks in Two sections of papers 3 1 4
DI – Films, Launch, Completion, Release and Profits 3 1 4
DI – Table on Consumption of Veg and Non-Veg Protein 4 1 4
24 8 32

A good student could have attempted around 16-18 questions in this set. Very few students would have touched the attempt of 25 in this section. Students who are careful in the set selection and willing to cut their losses in case of tough sets would be able to get a decent score and good percentile.

The cutoff in this section would be low and can be between 30-31 marks for a 85%ile.

Quantitative Ability

After the not so easy DILR, the quant section also was deceptively difficult. While there were enough easy questions in the section, there were also TWO errors (at least) which would have made the student waste a lot of time. Another area of concern was the symbol used for the square root in some of the algebra problems. The symbol used was not clear and appeared ‘σ’ which made students interpret few questions wrongly and they ended up wasting time on such questions.

The endeavor to get more non-engineers to join the IIMs, seem to have made the IIMs give more and more of Arithmetic and Geometry. Any student who had prepared for these two areas alone could have cracked the paper.

There was a total of 11 Arithmetic questions and almost all of them were easily solvable save one from Time & Distance (which was a mistake). Some of these questions were very elementary in nature and should have been easily identified and cracked by a good student.

There were very straight forward and simple questions in Numbers and the standard of these questions were definitely below the ideal CAT exam.

There were a number of questions in Algebra and Geometry too. Some of the Algebra questions were straight forward ones and so were some of the Geometry questions.

There was only one question in Permutation and Combination, One in Coordinate Geometry and one of Venn Diagrams to complete the Pure Math part.  

The break-up of the questions in Quantitative Ability

Area No of MCQs No of Non-MCQs Total
Arithmetic 8 3 11
Numbers 4 1 5
Algebra 5 2 7
Geometry/Mensuration 8 8
Pure Math/CG 1 1 2
Venn Diagram 1 1
19 7 34

Overall Analysis

This paper, on the whole, was a relatively difficult paper as compared to the CAT 2015 paper. Though the VARC section was relatively easy, the Odd Para Jumbles and Para Jumbles questions weren’t easy by any stretch. The QA and DILR sections were of moderate to difficult and hence the cutoffs for these will NOT go high.

The IIMs are desperately seeking to get diversity in the batch at the IIMs. That explains the emphasis on Arithmetic in the QA section and giving everyone a seemingly level-playing field.

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% 70 57 60 168
95% 57 44 47 136
90% 50 37 38 116
85% 45 32 32 106
80% 40 29 28 95
70% 33 23 21 74

We will update this once more information comes through and once the SLOT 2 information comes from the students, we will give the normalized percentiles for the marks in each section!

Watch this space!

(Update ends here)

(This article was updated at 4 pm, 4th December 2016)

Finally, the much-awaited exam for MBA aspirants is over! (At least for the forenoon batch students!)

(CAT 2016 LIVE Updates can be found here)

The exam had no surprises and in fact, people who dreaded the LR and DI section were pleasantly surprised to see an easier section as compared to the previous year. However, there were at least two sets which were lengthy and hence anyone stuck in them would find the paper tough too. In the same breadth, there were at least two sets which were sitters in the paper.

(This analysis brought to you by Vistamind)

On the contrary, the Verbal Section was not such a cake-walk as it was in CAT 2015. Though the passages were easy, the questions had not so easy choices. There is a very good chance of people making mistakes in some of these questions.

The Quant section, as usual, is a bête noire for many a student. Students who prepare well and stick to the time limits and who had NOT wasted time on some lengthy questions would have cracked this section.

CAT 2016 Paper Analysis : SLOT 1 (Forenoon) Paper Analysis

The CAT 2016 was on the expected lines. The pattern of the paper is given under

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
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

If one were to compare the difficulty level of CAT2016 over the last year’s paper, then CAT 2016 would be a shade more difficult (especially the VARC and the Quant section) than the difficulty level of the CAT 2015 paper!

The number of attempts would go down for almost all the students. Unlike last year where students have attempted upwards of 80 questions in the exam put together, this year, anyone attempting more than 70 genuine attempts would score pretty well.

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

Section Level of Difficulty Ideal no. of Attempts
Verbal & RC Easy to Moderate 28+
DI & LR Moderate to Difficult 16+
QA Moderate to Difficult 18+
Overall Moderate 65+

The CAT 2016 paper can be termed as a paper of Moderate Difficulty. There were easily two errors in the Quant Section of the paper and students may have lost time trying to figure the same out.

A detailed analysis of each of the sections will be put up in a short while…

Summary of Expected Cut offs

Section Total no of Qns Total Marks Cutoff (80%ile) Cutoff (85%ile)
VARC 34 102 40 45
DILR 32 96 28 31
QA 34 102 28 33

Overall Cutoffs (First Cut)

Percentile Marks
90 115
95 132
99 165

CAT 2016 LIVE Updates – Watch this space for a detailed analysis!

Enter your first slot marks here :

 

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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 info@vistamind.com OR Visit cat.vistamind.com

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.

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