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|
|II||DI and LR||40 min||14||6||20|
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|
*** 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|
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.
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|
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 pandemic-related SOPs were implemented. No shoes and no metallic objects including metal jewelry were allowed. Only the admit card and the ID proof were allowed. As in the previous years, 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 quite user-friendly and exactly the one provided in the official CAT Mock Test. There were no subdivisions within each section. 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.
After the IIMs announced that CAT 2021 may see a further reduction of questions from the 100-question test in 2020, the students expected a shorter test in the range of 65 to 70 questions. The 2021 test with 66 questions was thus more student-friendly. No new question types were introduced in any of the sections.
*** 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.