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CAT 2018 Exam- Slot 1 Test analysis

The first slot of CAT 2018 took place today between 9 am and 12 noon.
(Around 2.41 lakh candidates have registered for CAT 2018 and will be appearing for it across both the slots in 370 exam centers in 147 cities across India.)
So, what was the prestigious CAT like in the first slot?
IMS students who took the first slot of the CAT reported that VA RC section was Easy. Those who had taken the CAT in 2017 reported that VARC was slightly easier than VARC of 2017. DI LR section too was generally reported to be easy. This was in stark contrast to the rather difficult DILR of last year. The QA Section was reported by many students as difficult.  Last year students had found QA rather easy.


  • The administrative process of the test in the first slot was mostly smooth with a few centers experiencing glitches.
  • As in the past the policy of no-shoes no metallic objects including metal jewelry prevailed. Only the admit card and the ID proof were allowed. Nothing else!
  • As in the previous year, the authorities took possession of the admit cards. The candidates were given a small pad with IIM CAT Logo on the cover (32 pages) for rough work and a pen – which were also taken away at the end of the exam.
  • So, one came out of the CAT with no proof of having appeared for the CAT except for good memories this time. We will go into the memories part a little later..    


The test interface was exactly what IMS students are used to in the SimCATs and specifically in the PreCAT. In fact, the screen had the watermark of the text “CAT 2018 S1” followed by a unique code including the candidate’s registration number, very similar to what the students experienced in the IMS Pre-CAT 2018.

It was a very user friendly interface and exactly the one provided in the official CAT Mock Test.

There were no sub-divisions within each section. The VA-RC questions were NOT interspersed within the section. Questions 1 to 24 were RC. However, the different VA question types were shuffled.

Similarly the DI and LR sets were also NOT interspersed.

A simple calculator was provided, and not a scientific one. There was an arrow provided near the question palette which when clicked expanded the question window to full screen view by hiding the question palette & vice versa.

At the end of the test, a summary of number of questions attempted, visited and not visited was displayed for each section.

There was a button marked ‘Question Paper’ which opened up a screen containing all the questions of the section. This was used by students for planning their approach for the section.


CAT 2018 in the first slot was an extremely student friendly test!
The overall structure of CAT 2018 was exactly similar to that of CAT 2017. The test started with the Verbal Section, which had 34 questions - 24 RC and 10 VA – 27 MCQs and 07 TITA.
The second section was the DI-LR with 32 questions. There were 8 TITA questions across 4 sets, while the rest of the 4 sets had only MCQs.
The third section was the Quantitative Ability section which also had 34 questions with 22 MCQs and 12 TITA questions.
Each section was timed for 60 minutes.
One could not go back and forth between sections.
The marking scheme was also similar to last year with +3 for every correct & -1 for incorrect answers for MCQs.
There was no negative marking for TITA questions. However since the ratio remains the same we do not see this as a major cause of concern.

Here is the break–up of questions section-wise:

Section No. Section Name Total Number of Questions Number of Multiple Choice Questions Number of TITA Questions
I Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension 34 27 07
II Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning 32 24 08
III Quantitative Ability 34 22 12
TOTAL 100 73 27

  • The overall difficulty level of VA RC Section of CAT 2017 was Easy – easier than CAT 2017.
  • IMS students must have recalled SimCATs, 11, 15 and 16, when they saw the actual CAT. Not only in segmentation, CAT 2018 VARC matched the difficulty level of SimCATs 11, 15 and 16.
  • The VA-RC section was a replica of the CAT 2017 section in terms of question types. Grammar and Vocabulary questions were conspicuously absent.
  • RC had 4 passages with 5 questions each & 1 passage with 4 questions, making up the 24 questions.  
  • A few questions were direct and very easy - about 6 questions. Inferential questions were first step inferences and were easy to medium.
  • There were about 5 questions in RC, which looked like Critical Reasoning (or Application) questions.  
  • The passages were also longer. The length of the passages varied from 450 words to 800 words.
  • Another major deviation was in the Paragraph Jumbles Questions. 4 sentences to rearrange instead of 5 made the 4 Paragraph Jumbles questions refreshingly easy.

Of the 10 VA questions (Shuffled) - 7 were TITA and 3 were MCQs.

  • 3 Out-of-context sentence – TITA
  • 4 Paragraph Jumbles – TITA
  • 3 Paragraph summary/Author’s opinion questions – MCQs. (With negative Marks)*


Area / Questions No of Qs. Type LOD
Reading Comprehension 24 MCQ  (Overall: Easy to Medium)
RC-1:  Happiness and Economics.  Approx. 500 words 5 MCQ Easy – Medium  
RC- 2: Human elephant relationship  Approx. 500 words 5 MCQ Easy
RC-3: Absence of WWII memorials in India
Approx. 500 words
5 MCQ Easy
RC-4: Problem of single use plastic. Approx. 800 words 5 MCQ Easy
RC-5: Influence of parental gene in mice. – Approx. 600 words 4 MCQ Medium
Verbal Ability 10 MCQ & TITA  Overall: Easy to Medium
Parajumbles ( 4 sentences)   4 TITA 2 Medium 2 Easy
Out of Context sentence 3 TITA 1 Easy 2 Medium
Summary 3 MCQ 1 Easy 1 Medium 1 Difficult

  It was possible to attempt 28 to 30 questions with high accuracy in the test. An accuracy of 80 percent and above to these attempts must give you a score in the 95 - 99 percentile bracket.

  • The DI-LR section had a total of 8 sets with 4 questions in each set.There were 3 sets of Data Interpretation and 4 sets of Logical Reasoning while 1 set was a combination of DI and LR.There were 4 easy sets, 2 easy to moderate and 2 difficult sets.
  • Some of the sets were time consuming as they had questions which had additional information to be taken into account while solving. So Selection of the right sets to solve was key to a good performance in this section.
  • Just like last year, no Set was completely TITA - the TITA questions were dispersed across 4 individual sets with 2 TITA each. 4 sets were completely MCQ. There were a total of 8 TITA questions

A detailed description of the sets in this section is given below for your reference:

Set No. Area Set Description Number of Questions Level of Difficulty Question Type
1 Data Interpretation - Calculation Based Multi-layered  pie chart based on  LED sales of Electronics outlet for 2 years. 4 Easy MCQ
2 Data Interpretation - Reasoning Based Satellite - Venn Diagram 4  Difficult MCQ
3 Logical Reasoning - Arrangement Based Contamination Details of 20 pipelines 4 Easy-Moderate MCQ
4 Logical Reasoning - ArrangementBased 8 Students (4 Males+4 Females) to be arranged across 4 parameters 4 Easy    MCQ
5 Logical Reasoning - Grouping & Conditionalities Committee Selection(Research,Administration, Teaching) 4 Easy MCQ+TITA
6 Data Interpretation -Reasoning Based ATM Money disbursal 4  Difficult MCQ+TITA
7 Data Interpretation -Reasoning Based Written Test Marks in 3 subjects 4 Easy-Moderate MCQ + TITA
8 Logical Reasoning - Puzzle Based Magic Square (n*n matrix) 4 Easy MCQ+TITA

Some of the sets that could have been definitely solved were the ones based on the multi layered  pie chart ,committee selection, magic square and  arrangement of 8 students (4 males and 4 females).

Overall the section was marginally easier as compared to last year slot 1. If you would have solved around 5 sets (18-20 questions) in this section with 85% accuracy, then you would be in the safe zone.

This section was moderate to difficult. In fact as per student feedback it seems to be amongst the toughest QA section in recent years.

  • This section was dominated by Arithmetic with 14 questions  followed by Modern Math with 10 questions, Geometry with 6, with a couple of questions from Algebra and Numbers each.
  • There were 12 TITA questions this year
  • If one went through the entire section, there were only 8 to 10 sitters for the taking while 6-8 questions that made students sweat.
Area Topic No. of Questions Total No. of Questions Level of Difficulty
Numbers Indices 1 2 Moderate
Reverse number 1 Moderate
Algebra Quadratic Equations 1 2 Easy-Moderate
High Degree Equations 1 Moderate
Arithmetic Ratios & Percentage 2 14 Easy
Averages 2 Moderate
Time-Speed-Distance 3 Easy-Moderate
Profit & Loss 1 Moderate-Difficult
Mixture & Alligation 2 Easy-Moderate
Work & Time 2                   Easy-Moderate
Compound interest (Annual installment) 1 Moderate
Pipes & Cisterns 1 Easy-Moderate
Geometry Circles 2 6 Easy-Moderate
Parallelogram 1 Moderate
Rectangle 1 Easy
Mensuration - Cone & Frustum 1 Easy
Square 1 Moderate-Difficult
Modern Math Logarithm 3 10 Moderate
Sequence & Series (AP & GP) 2 Easy-Moderate
Functions 2 Easy-Moderate
Set theory 2 Easy
P & C 1 Moderate
  TOTAL 34 34  


Overall,an attempt of 19 to 21 questions in this section with 85% accuracy should be a good bet.  


  • The first slot of CAT 2018 has been reported to be more or less similar to last year with no surprises.
  •  No new question types were seen in any of the sections.
  • An overall attempt of 68-70 questions with an accuracy of 85 percent should be classified as a good performance in this test.
  • IMS students have found a great deal of similarity between the SimCATs and the CAT. Several students gave the feedback that the CAT appeared an extension of the SimCATs and the e-Maxmiser Workshops.

CAT 2018 - Slot 2

CAT Mentor Mr. Bimal Master was Live on Youtube.

CAT Mentor Mr. Hemang Panchmatia was Live on Facebook.
CAT 2018 - Slot 1
CAT 100 percentiler Mr. Ojas Doshi was Live on Facebook.

CAT Mentor Mr. Amit Panchmatia was Live on Youtube.

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