CAT 2019 was a paper with moderate difficulty. CAT takers found the questions in the quant and -DI-LR sections to be lengthy and time consuming, while VA-RC to be tougher than last year’s paper. But what do the experts have to say? In this article, experts assess the difficulty level of the test and estimate cut-offs.
|Section||Good Attempts For 95%ile||Good Attempts For 99%ile|
As per the expert, Mr. Gautam Bawa – Vice President, Career Launcher, the overall difficulty level of CAT 2019 was similar to that of 2018. However, Verbal was trickier than last year whereas Quant and DILR were slightly easier than last year. The tentative cut-offs for 99 percentile are VARC will be between 60 to 63 marks, DILR will be between 48 to 50 marks, QA will be 57 to 60 marks and the overall cut off is expected to be 156-160 marks.
Although the VA-RC structure was similar to last year, Career Launcher tags this year’s VA-RC as a tricky section because of open-ended questions requiring more thought and the MCQ options being very close to one another. According to Career Launcher, expect the cutoff of VARC to drop by about 6-8 marks, which is about 2-3 questions lesser than last year.
According to Career Launcher, the DI-LR section was easier compared to CAT 2018 this year. Also a new type of graph - the radar graph was introduced in the DI-LR section in slot 1. The Career Launcher analysis states that quite a few DI-LR questions would not have taken more than 5 minutes to solve. The cutoff for DILR is expected to increase by about 7-9 marks from last year, which is about 2-3 questions extra from CAT 2018.
The Quant section is also tagged as easier than CAT 2018 according to Career Launcher’s analysis. The paper had questions on Arithmetic from topics like Percentages, TSD, Time and Work, etc. Among Algebra, Geometry, and Numbers. Also according to Career Launcher’s analysis, the paper had more questions on Algebra and Geometry than on Numbers. The cutoff for QA is expected to increase by about 5-7 marks from last year, which is about 1-2 questions extra from CAT 2018.
|Overall Attempt||VA & RC
|DI & LR Attempt||QA
|Probable Score (without scaling)||Expected Percentile|
|Overall Attempt||VA & RC
|DI & LR Attempt||QA
|Probable Score||Expected Percentile|
According to HitBullseye analysis, as with the exam last year, the exam did not feature any question from Grammar and vocabulary. This effectively meant that the aspirants who were proficient in the topics that are reading-based would have been more comfortable in this section. Both Slot 1 and Slot 2 papers were of moderate difficulty with questions around parajumbles, sentence rearrangement and summary. Overall verbal ability in both slots will see a drop in cut-off of 6-8 marks.
According to HitBullseye analysis, this section was the most difficult, but easier than last year’s paper. In general, students reported an attempt of 2-3 more questions compared to last year. The slot 2 paper too, was moderately difficult with a new type of graph. Overall the DILR in both slots will likely see similar cut-off or marginal increase of 1-2 marks. The slot II may not see any gains.
According to HitBullseye analysis, The Quant section was quite similar compared to last year or may be moderately easier. The number of attempts was higher on average but accuracy will hold the key. The quant section in slot 2 seemed to be more calculation intensive. Overall, the quant section will likely register similar cut-off or maybe 1-2 marks higher.
According to experts at 2iim, this section was challenging. According to their analysis, the error rate in VARC will be much higher compared to previous years. Attempting a lot of questions might not be the prudent strategy in this section. A score of 70 might fetch a 99.5th percentile or so.
According to 2iim experts, DI-LR has been following a trend over the last few years. They claim that 4 sets with almost everything correct should fetch one somewhere in the 99th percentile range.
According to 2iim, quant was easier than the 2018 paper. Time pressure was ever-present but was not debilitating. One needs to get 70+ for 99.5th percentile, and 37–38 to get 90th percentile. Quite a few questions from functions, sequences, exponents etc, usual number from Geometry and very few from Number Systems, Permutation and Probability.
|Percentile||Score VA-RC||Score DI-LR||Score QA||Overall Score|
According to IMS, the overall difficulty level of this section was medium, but more difficult compared to CAT 2018. Overall, an attempt of 24 to 26 questions in this section with 85% accuracy should be a good bet.
According to IMS, the DI-LR section was of moderate difficulty. Some of the sets that could have been definitely solved were the ones based on the spider chart, coding and dancers & composers. Overall the section was marginally easier as compared to last year CAT. An attempt of around 5 sets (18-20 questions) in this section with 85%-90% accuracy should see percentile in the vicinity of 99 in this section.
According to IMS, this section was of medium difficulty level. In fact, as per student feedback, it was slightly easier than QA section of last year CAT but tougher than QA section of CAT 2017 slots. Surprisingly there were no diagrams in any Geometry questions but the questions were of different difficulty levels, from easy to medium to difficult. All the Arithmetic questions were doable. Overall an attempt of 20 to 22 questions in this section with 85% accuracy should be a good bet.
Based on responses by test takers we interviewed, one major trend emerged. Those who had practised mocks diligently, at least 3 months prior to CAT 2019, were successful in cracking the various sections with ease. Meanwhile, students who had not prepared with the same amount of focus lost out on accuracy and therefore points too.
The VA-RC section, especially the RC section this time around seems to have been the most unexpected, yet tough part of the paper. CAT takers struggled with understanding various questions asked in this section.
The DI-LR section meanwhile was not as tough as the one in CAT 2018. A couple of sets were relatively straightforward but some sets required a good deal of application. Those who could identify the straightforward sets, they would score well in this section.
Finally, the quant section presented a tough challenge this year, but compared to 2018, this section was tagged to be easier. The key to cracking this section lay in identifying the easy questions and solving those first.
You should go through these articles to get an idea of the B-Schools where you may apply -
If you’re planning to write CAT 2020, the pattern is not likely to change drastically. It is the level of difficulty that may alter next year. The best prep strategy for you at this time is to start giving mocks and analysing our performance to understand your strengths and weaknesses. And if you're planning to re-appear for CAT next year, then you should go through this comprehensive guide.
All the best!