CAT 2020 Exam- Slot 3 Test analysis

The third slot of CAT 2020 took place today between 4:30 pm and 6:30 pm.

With the third slot of CAT 2020 being over, it is now clear that CAT 2020 was more difficult than CAT 2019 and more like CAT 2018. Pandemic and the related SOPs notwithstanding the conduct of the test in three slots was smooth and without glitches.

Though the CAT had announced a significant reduction in the test duration from 3 hours to 2 hours earlier, candidates were kept guessing about the other changes with the IIMs making no further announcements. The suspense came to an end only with the first slot.

The third slot had the same structure as the first two slots and was similar in the overall difficulty level.

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

The overall difficulty level of Slot 3 was tougher than the earlier 2 slots , with the LOD of the DILR Section being more difficult than both the earlier slots, and VARC and QA sections being on par with Slot 1.

Based on the feedback received from IMS students, we estimate the scores and percentiles for Slot 3 as follows:

Percentile Score VA-RC Score DI-LR Score QA Overall Score
99.5 %ile 45 35 48 114
99 %ile 41 30 43 104
97 %ile 37 27 39 94
95%ile 35 24 37 88
90%ile 30 21 33 75
85%ile 27 18 30 66

Like in the earlier slots, the test started with the VARC Section followed by DILR and QA sections. 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 answers. There was no negative marking for TITA Qs.

Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension

The VA-RC section in all the three slots was similar in difficulty level and had the same segmentation. The majority of the questions were of medium difficulty and quite a few questions even difficult. Very few questions were easy. Comprehension had 4 passages —2 passages with 4 Qs each and 2 passages with 5 Qs each. The majority of the questions were reasoning and application-based. VA questions too did not give much respite. They also needed careful deliberation to arrive at the answer. The only comfort was that one was dealing with familiar questions types of Summary, Odd Sentence, and Paragraph Jumble questions.

Area / Questions No of Qs. Type LOD
Reading Comprehension 18 MCQ Overall: Medium to Difficult
RC-1: On Travel Writing 5 MCQ Medium to Difficult
RC-2: Economic crises 4 MCQ Easy to Medium
RC-3: Views on Human Nature 5 MCQ Medium to Difficult
RC-4: Screen Time and class 4 MCQ Easy to Medium
Verbal Ability 08 MCQ & TITA Overall: Medium
Para jumbles ( 4 sentences) 3 TITA Medium to Difficult
Out of Context sentence 2 TITA Medium to Difficult
Summary 3 MCQ Easy to Medium

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

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

Like in slot 1 and 2, the third slot of CAT-2020 had a total 5 sets, out of which two sets had 6 questions while the remaining three had 4 questions each. However, the number of TITA questions in different sets in slot 3 showed slight variation as compared to the first two slots. Out of the three sets with 4 questions, one set had 2 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 2 MCQ and 4 TITA questions.

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

Set No. Area Set Description Number of Questions Level of Difficulty Question Type
1 Data InterpretationFour facilities in a school Elections 4 Easy to Medium 2 TITA + 2 MCQ
2 Data Interpretation Organization delivering groceries 4 Medium to Difficult 4 MCQ
3 Logical Reasoning Game of six rounds 6 Medium to Difficult 4 TITA + 2 MCQ
4 Logical Reasoning Farmer and four daughters 6 Medium to Difficult 6 MCQ
5 Logical Reasoning Patients undergoing blood test 4 Easy to Medium 4 MCQ

Identification of right sets to attempt was the key. Sets 1 and 5 must not have been missed. A good student should have been able to solve 11 to 13 questions in the given time limit.

Quantitative Ability

Like Slots 1 and 2, the QA section of Slot-3 of CAT-2020 was also dominated by Arithmetic (10 questions). However, the emphasis on Algebra was slightly lower than in the first two slots. There were 4 questions on Algebra. Similarly, there were 5 questions on Modern Maths, 4 questions on Geometry and 3 questions on Numbers. Like the first two slots, the Slot-3 also had a number of questions on Time-Speed-Distance.

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.

Overall, this section was medium in terms of Level of difficulty.

Area/Q Type No of Questions LOD
Numbers 3 Medium
Arithmetic 10 Easy to medium
Algebra 4 Medium to difficult
Geometry 4 Medium
Modern Maths 5 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 (20 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 subdivisions 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 1 analysis

Click here to view detailed 2020 Slot 2 analysis

CAT Overall Analysis & Percentile Predictor

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