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CAT 2023 Slot 1 Analysis – Review, Difficulty Level Questions Asked, Expected Cut Off

21 November, 2023

The first slot of CAT 2023 took place today between 8.30 am and 10:30 am.

The structure of CAT 2023 remained largely the same as in 2022, with 66 questions in all. However, the DILR and Verbal sections saw some changes in segmentation and the number of MCQs and TITA. Verbal Section saw a minor change in segmentation with the Odd Sentence Questions coming back after 2021. The VA Section had 2 questions each of Summary, Paragraph Jumbles, Paragraph Completion, and Odd Sentence questions.

Section No. Section Name Duration MCQs TITA Total
I VARC 40 min 20 4 24
II DI and LR 40 min 12 8 20
III QA 40 min 15 7 22
Total 120 min 49 17 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 percentiles and scores*** is as follows. These estimates will be suitably revised soon after the CAT releases the response sheets.

Percentile Score VA-RC Score DI-LR Score QA Overall Score
99.9 %ile 48 36 40 102
99.5 %ile 44 32 30 89
99 %ile 40 28 27 80
98 %ile 36 25 23 71
95%ile 30 19 18 57
90%ile 25 16 15 49
85%ile 21 13 12 40
80%ile 19 11 10 36
75%ile 17 10 9 31
70%ile 15 9 8 29

*** 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 mainly Easy except for the one on Modern Materialism. About 12 RC questions could be attempted with high accuracy. The out-of-context-sentence (Odd Sentence) questions made a comeback this year, replacing one each of Summary and Paragraph Jumbles. So, the section had 2 questions each of Summary (MCQ), Paragraph Jumbles (TITA), Paragraph Completion(MCQ), and Odd Sentence questions (TITA). In VA, 6 or 7 attempts with high accuracy were possible. Overall, the section was Easy.

Area / Questions No of Qs. Type LOD
Reading Comprehension 16 MCQ Overall: Easy to Medium
RC-1: Return of wolves’ predation in a French region 4 MCQ Easy
RC-2: Current economies of North and South Korea. 4 MCQ Easy
RC-3: “Indian Ocean Literature” 4 MCQ Medium
RC-4: Modern materialism versus ancient societies 4 MCQ Difficult
Verbal Ability 08 MCQ & TITA Overall: Easy
Para jumbles (4 sentences) 2 TITA 1 Easy, 1 Medium
Para-completion 2 MCQ 2 Easy
Summary 2 MCQ 1 Easy, 1 Medium
Odd Sentence Questions 2 TITA 1 Easy, 1 Medium

An attempt of 16 to 18 questions with accuracy of approximately 70% will be a good performance in VARC.

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

Last year, there were a total of four sets, each comprising five questions. This pattern has been maintained in CAT 2023.

Overall, the Level of difficulty of the section was Medium to Difficult.

Overall the level of difficulty of this section was on par with the DILR Section of Slot 1 of CAT 2022.

Set No. Area Set Description No. of Questions Question Type LOD
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning 20 MCQ and TITA Medium to Difficult
1 Logical Reasoning (Arrangements)
Professors in departments
5 5 MCQ Easy to Medium
2 Data Interpretation (Reasoning based DI)
Gig workers and Restaurants, Mathematical Reasoning
Involved Measures of central tendency
5 1 MCQ, 4 TITA Medium to Difficult
3 Logical Reasoning Houses on sale 5 3 MCQ, 2 TITA Medium to Difficult
4 Data Interpretation Visa Office
Special Equation handling
5 3 MCQ, 2 TITA Medium to Difficult

Overall, an attempt of 9 to 11 questions with accuracy of approximately 75-80% will be a good performance.

Quantitative Ability

This section was tougher in terms of level of difficulty compared to last year’s slots and was dominated by Algebra (8 questions), followed by Arithmetic (7 questions). There were 4 questions on Geometry, 2 questions on Modern Math and one on Numbers. In Algebra, the questions were dominated by Quadratic equations, Linear Equations, Modulus Functions & Polynomials etc. In Arithmetic, the questions were on SICI, Time and Work, Time-Speed-Distance, Clocks, Averages, Mixtures & Alligations and Profit & Loss,. In Modern Math, the questions were on Logarithms, Sequences etc. In Geometry, the questions were on Triangle, Coordinate Geometry, Cyclic Quadrilateral etc. There was a question on Indices.

Number of TITA (7 questions) and MCQ (15 questions) in this section.

Area/Q Type No of Questions
Quantitative Ability 15 MCQs, 7 TITA
Arithmetic 7
Algebra 8
Geometry 4
Modern Math 2
Numbers 1

Selecting the right questions to attempt was the key.

Overall, an attempt of 9 to 11 questions with accuracy of approximately 75-80% will be a good performance.


At many centers, shoes and metallic objects (including metal) jewelry were not 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 for rough work, and a pen – which were also taken away at the end of the exam.


The test interface was 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.

*** 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 2024. You are advised to wait for the results.