CAT 2020 Exam- Slot 1 Test analysis

The first slot of CAT 2020 took place today between 8.30 am and 10:30 am.

After announcing a significant reduction in the duration of the test from 3 hours to 2 hours, the CAT gave no further indications before the test about the changes in the paper structure.

Finally, the suspense came to an end this morning!

So, what was the prestigious CAT 2020 like?

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

Section No. Section Name Duration MCQs TITA Total
I VARC 40 min 21 5 26
II DI and LR 40 min 18 6 24
III QA 40 min 18 8 26
Total 120 min 57 19 76

Based on the feedback received from several candidates who appeared in the first slot, we estimate the scores and percentiles*** to be as follows:

Percentile Score VA-RC Score DI-LR Score QA Overall Score
99.5 %ile 44 39 49 120
99 %ile 40 34 44 110
97 %ile 37 31 40 100
95%ile 35 29 38 94
90%ile 30 26 34 81
85%ile 27 23 31 72

The test started with the Verbal Section (26 Qs - 18 RC and 8 VA.) The second section was the DI-LR with 24 Qs ( DI 18 + LR 6 questions). The third section was the Quantitative Ability (26 Qs.) Each section was timed for 40 minutes. One could not go back and forth between sections. The marking scheme was +3 for every correct and -1 for incorrect. There was no negative marking for TITA Qs

Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension

The VA-RC section was similar to CAT 2019, with no Grammar and Vocabulary Qs. Comprehension had 4 passages in all—2 passages with 4 Qs each and 2 passages with 5 Qs each. Most of the questions were Medium to Difficult. IMS students reported that very few questions were easy! VA did not offer any surprise. Despite the change in the total number of questions, VA repeated the usual question types – Summary, Odd sentence, and the all-time favorite – paragraph jumbles.

Area / Questions No of Qs. Type LOD
Reading Comprehension 18 MCQ Overall: Medium to Difficult
RC-1: Currency in Tang Empire 4 MCQ Easy to Medium
RC- 2: Elephant Seal Migration 5 MCQ Medium to Difficult
RC-3: importance of Grammar 5 MCQ Easy to Medium
RC-4: Subsets of Anarchist philosophy 4 MCQ Medium to Difficult
Verbal Ability 08 MCQ & TITA Overall: Medium
Parajumbles ( 4 sentences) 3 TITA Medium to Difficult
Out of Context sentence 2 TITA Easy to Medium
Summary 3 MCQ Easy to Medium

Overall, an attempt of 15 to 17 to questions with high accuracy (85-90%) should be a good in this section

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

The DI-LR section underwent a change in CAT-2020 with a total 5 sets, out of which two sets had 6 questions while the remaining three had 4 questions each. Out of the three sets with 4 questions, one set had all the 4 TITA questions while the remaining two had all 4 MCQ questions. Out of the two sets with 6 questions, one set had all 6 MCQ questions while the other set had 4 MCQ and 2 TITA questions.

There were three DI sets and two LR sets. Overall, this section was medium to difficult.

Set No. Area Set Description Number of Questions Level of DifficultyQuestion Type
1 Data Interpretation 6 students appearing for exam in 5 subjects 6 Medium 4 MCQ + 2 TITA
2 Logical Reasoning 4 companies competing for Contracts 6 Difficult 6 MCQ
3 Data Interpretation 1000 patients getting treated with 4 different drugs 4 Easy to medium 4 TITA
4 Data Interpretation 10 musicians 4 Medium to difficult 4 MCQ
5 Logical Reasoning Payment to taxi drivers 4 Medium to difficult 4 MCQ

Quantitative Ability

This section was medium in terms of Level of difficulty and was dominated by Arithmetic (10 questions), followed by Algebra (8 questions). There were 3 questions on Modern Maths, 3 questions on Geometry and 2 questions on Numbers. In Arithmetic, the questions were dominated by Time- Speed-Distance and Mixtures and Alligations. One surprise this year was relatively lower emphasis on Geometry and higher emphasis on Algebra.

There were 8 TITA Qs this year. Overall this section was at Medium level of difficulty. Selecting the right questions to attempt was the key. Good students should have been able to attempt about 16 to 18 questions in the given time.

Area/Q Type No of Questions LOD
Numbers 2 Medium
Arithmetic 10 Easy to medium
Algebra 8 Medium
Geometry 3 Easy to medium
Modern Maths 3 Medium


IMS students 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.


  • The test’s administrative process was smooth despite the pandemic induced need for masks, gloves, social distance etc.
  • 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.


The test interface was very user friendly and exactly the one provided in the official CAT Mock Test. There were no sub-divisions within each section. The Comprehension and VA questions were NOT interspersed within the section. 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 the number of questions attempted, visited, and not visited was displayed for each section.

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

Click here to view detailed 2020 Slot 2 analysis

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CAT Overall Analysis & Percentile Predictor

Coming Soon

What after CAT Exams?

First Take

CAT 2020 - Slot 1 Video Analysis

CAT 2020 Slot 1 - First Take on 29th November at 11:00 am


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