CAT 2021 – Slot 1 Analysis

28 November, 2021
PG Team


The first slot of CAT 2021 took place today between 8.30 am and 10:30 am.

There was a bit of suspense about the structure of the test since the IIMs had earlier announced the possibility of a reduction in the number of questions.

CAT 2021, finally, came out with the following student-friendly pattern:

Section No.Section NameDurationMCQsTITATotal
IVARC40 min19524
IIDI and LR40 min14620
IIIQA40 min14822
Total120 min471966

The marking scheme was +3 for every correct and -1 for incorrect. There was no negative marking for TITA Qs

Based on the feedback received from several candidates who have appeared in the first slot, our initial estimate of the scores and percentiles*** is as follows: We shall release the revised estimates once the response sheet is released.

PercentileScore VA-RC Score DI-LR Score QA Overall Score
99.5 %ile453348104
99 %ile41294297
98 %ile37263786

*** The students are advised not to take any B-School application decision based on these initial estimates. They serve only as the first indicator of likely performance.

Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension

The VA-RC section consisted of 16 Reading Comprehension questions and 8 Verbal Ability questions. As in the past several years, there were no direct Grammar or Vocabulary questions. The passages were difficult except for the one on The Thirst Empire – Chinese tea. The passage on Utopia and Dystopia was difficult. The other two passages on Marshmallow Theory – self-control and on the idea of personhood according to Classic Mayan civilization was at best medium. Overall Comprehension was more difficult than the VA questions. However, 10 to 12 questions could be attempted with high accuracy. VA questions were as expected – 3 paragraph jumbles, 2 Odd sentence questions in TITA format, and 3 summary questions as MCQs. Summary questions were of medium difficulty level. In VA, 5 attempts with high accuracy was possible. Overall the difficulty level was largely comparable to the first slot of CAT 2020.

Area / QuestionsNo of Qs.TypeLOD
Reading Comprehension16MCQOverall: Difficult
RC-1: On Utopia and Dystopia4MCQDifficult
RC-2: On Mayan Civilization – personhood4MCQMedium
RC-3: Marshmallow Theory4MCQMedium
RC-4: The Thirst Empire – Chinese Tea4MCQEasy
Verbal Ability08MCQ & TITAOverall: Medium
Parajumbles (4 sentences)3TITAMedium
Out of Context sentence2TITAEasy

Overall, an attempt of 15 to 17 questions with high accuracy (85-90%) will be a good performance in VARC.

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

The DI-LR section underwent a slight change in CAT-2021 with a total of 4 sets, out of which two sets had 6 questions while the remaining two had 4 questions each. Out of the two sets with 4 questions, both had 3 MCQ and 1 TITA. Out of the two sets with 6 questions, both had 4 MCQ questions and 2 TITA questions. Unlike the last few years, there were no Venn-diagram based sets.

There were two DI sets and two LR sets. Overall, this section was easier compared to last year’s DILR section of Slot1 and slightly tougher compared to Slot 2 and Slot 3.

Set No.AreaSet DescriptionNo. of QuestionsQuestion TypeLOD
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning20MCQ and TITAMedium
1Data InterpretationBar graph with numbers for 2019 and 2020 for different items grouped in furniture, tech and office stationery.43 MCQ, 1 TITAEasy
2Logical ReasoningFriends, Acquaintances, Stranger among 7 friends64 MCQ, 2 TITAMedium-Difficult
3Data InterpretationCost price of various fruits getting mixed in various smoothies.43 MCQ, 1 TITAMedium
4Logical Reasoning8 people, 3 countries, 4 issues and 18 papers64 MCQ, 2 TITAEasy-Medium

Overall, an attempt of 10 to 12 questions with high accuracy (85-90%) will be a good performance.

Quantitative Ability

This section was medium in terms of Level of difficulty and was dominated by Arithmetic (10 questions), followed by Algebra (5 questions). There were 4 questions on Modern Maths and 3 questions on Geometry. In Arithmetic, the questions were dominated by Time-Speed-Distance, Time and Work, Averages and Mixtures & Alligations.

There were 6 TITA Qs this year. Selecting the right questions to attempt was the key. Students should have been able to attempt about 14 questions in the given time with 85-90% accuracy.

Area/Q Type No of Questions
Quantitative Ability 14 MCQs, 8 TITA, Overall LOD: MEDIUM
Modern Maths4


IMS students found a great deal of similarity between the SimCATs and the CAT. Several students gave feedback that the CAT appeared an extension of the SimCATs and the e-Maxmiser Workshops. In fact, one of the passages was verbatim from one of the IMS full-length tests.




*** The scores and percentiles mentioned in this analysis are indicators based on the feedback from students and IMS experts. They are in no way related to the results which IIMs are expected to declare in January 2022. You are advised to wait for the results.


Click here to view CAT 2021 Test Analysis

Click here to view CAT 2021 – Slot 2 Analysis

Click here to view CAT 2021 – Slot 3 Analysis