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CAT 2021 – Slot 1 Analysis

28 November, 2021


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 Name Duration MCQs TITA Total
I VARC 40 min 19 5 24
II DI and LR 40 min 14 6 20
III QA 40 min 14 8 22
Total 120 min 47 19 66

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.

Percentile Score VA-RC Score DI-LR Score QA Overall Score
99.5 %ile 45 33 48 104
99 %ile 41 29 42 97
98 %ile 37 26 37 86
95%ile 32 21 28 72
90%ile 27 17 23 59
85%ile 23 15 19 52
80%ile 21 13 16 44

*** 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 / Questions No of Qs. Type LOD
Reading Comprehension 16 MCQ Overall: Difficult
RC-1: On Utopia and Dystopia 4 MCQ Difficult
RC-2: On Mayan Civilization – personhood 4 MCQ Medium
RC-3: Marshmallow Theory 4 MCQ Medium
RC-4: The Thirst Empire – Chinese Tea 4 MCQ Easy
Verbal Ability 08 MCQ & TITA Overall: Medium
Parajumbles (4 sentences) 3 TITA Medium
Out of Context sentence 2 TITA Easy
Summary 3 MCQ Medium

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. Area Set Description No. of Questions Question Type LOD
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning 20 MCQ and TITA Medium
1 Data Interpretation Bar graph with numbers for 2019 and 2020 for different items grouped in furniture, tech and office stationery. 4 3 MCQ, 1 TITA Easy
2 Logical Reasoning Friends, Acquaintances, Stranger among 7 friends 6 4 MCQ, 2 TITA Medium-Difficult
3 Data Interpretation Cost price of various fruits getting mixed in various smoothies. 4 3 MCQ, 1 TITA Medium
4 Logical Reasoning 8 people, 3 countries, 4 issues and 18 papers 6 4 MCQ, 2 TITA Easy-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
Arithmetic 10
Algebra 5
Geometry 3
Modern Maths 4


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