MAT September 2016 Analysis


The overall structure of the MAT exam remained the same as that of the previous years’, with 5 sections of 40 questions each, 4 options and a negative marking of 1/4th of the marks allotted for wrong answers. The overall difficulty level of the exam was similar to that of the previous MAT exams. While most of the questions were easy to moderate in terms of level of difficulty, a few were difficult as well. Also, a few questions had incorrect options as well. The best way to maximizing one’s score would have been to select questions judiciously.

Section Subject Area Number of Questions
Section I Language Comprehension 40
Section II Intelligence and Critical Reasoning 40
Section III Mathematical Skills 40
Section IV Data Analysis and Sufficiency 40
Section V Indian and Global Environment 40

The analysis of each of the sections is as given below.

1. Language Comprehension:

This section comprised of 20 Verbal Ability/Verbal Reasoning questions and 20 Reading Comprehension questions. In case of the latter, there were 4 passages, all with 5 questions each. Two passages were about 600 words long and two were about 500 words long. This was a departure from previous year’s trend where 5 passages, all with 4 questions each, including a couple of shorter passages of up to 400 words were present.
The topics covered the following:

  • Geospatial Regulation Bill and Indian Lawmakers’ and Bureaucracy’s Approach towards Legislation
  • Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code
  • 7th Pay Commission and its Fallout on Expenditure
  • NSG Membership: Role of China in Thwarting India’s Entry

Around three questions in each passage were direct and easy while one each would be of a moderate and difficult type respectively. The difficult question was of the type “Which of the following is not True based on the passage” and it included a test of one’s reasoning abilities as well.

The VA/VR questions included:

  • 5 double fill in the blanks
  • 5 para-jumbles with 5 statements each
  • 5 questions on identifying which part of the sentence had an error
  • 5 questions on finding essence of text

Some of the questions were on the easier side while few were of moderate difficulty level. Solving the ‘essence of text’ questions added a layer of difficulty to an otherwise average section.

Topics No. of Questions Level of Difficulty
Reading Comprehension 4 passages with 5 questions each – 20 12 Easy, 4 Moderate, 4 Difficult
Para-jumbled 5 3 Easy, 2 Moderate
Fill in the blanks – word pair 5 3 Easy, 2 Moderate
Part of the sentence has an error 5 3 Easy, 2 Moderate
Essence of text 5 2 Easy, 1 Moderate, 2 Difficult
Total 40  

A good strategy would have been to allot 40 minutes to this section, and solve as many VA/VR questions as possible, and then use the remaining time to attempt the RC questions. A good attempt would be around 25-26 questions, with 85% accuracy.

2. Intelligence and Critical Reasoning:

As usual, this section included a mixture of Verbal Reasoning and Logical Reasoning questions.  This year, the Verbal Reasoning questions stood at 13 in place of 8 last year. They included 5 questions on Statement-Course of Action, 5 on Statement and Cause/Effect types and 3 on Assertion and Reason. There was a common error in the 5 questions of the Statement-Course of Action category. All of the options following the statements did not have any course of action. On the contrary, all the options were suggestive of inference/conclusion that could be arrived at from the question statements. It appears that the instruction text wrongly marked the questions as Statement-Course of Action type in place of Statement-Conclusion type. Therefore, students had no option but to mark option 4 (neither of the two statements).

The LR section included 12 standalone questions and 15 set-based questions. All the 27 questions were very simple and could have been attempted in 30-35 minutes. There were a couple of questions that were ambiguous and are most likely to be discredited during evaluation of final score.

The following table shows the break-up of different question types in the exam.

Topics No. of Questions Level of Difficulty
Logical Reasoning (Total 27 questions)
Family tree (standalone questions) 2 Easy
Venn diagrams 2 Easy
Complete the series 1 Easy
Cubes (Visual Reasoning) 1 Easy
Linear equations 3 Easy
Remainder 1 Easy
Directions (standalone questions) 2 Easy
Matrix arrangement (2 sets of 5 questions each) 10 Easy
Circular arrangement (1 set of 5 questions) 5 Easy
Verbal Reasoning (Total 13 questions)
Statement/Course of Action 5 5 Moderate
Statement and Cause/Effect 5 1 Easy, 2 Moderate, 1 Difficult
Assertion/Reason 3 3 Moderate
Total 40  

A good time allocation for this section would be 35 minutes in which 30 questions were solvable.

3. Mathematical Skills:

As in the past, this section was dominated by Arithmetic questions (26 out of 40 questions). There were no questions on Numbers this time. There were only two questions that could be classified as difficult, one of which was a probability question involving the concept of odds in favour. A number of questions (especially on arithmetic) involved lengthy calculations. As a whole, this section can be considered between Easy and Moderate level difficulty. The following table shows the break-up of different types of questions in this section.

Topics No. of questions Level of difficulty
Time-Speed-Distance 5 (4 Easy + 1 Moderate)
Time and work 5 (2 Easy + 1 Moderate + 2 Difficult)
Simple and Compound Interest 3 (1 Easy + 2 Moderate)
Mixtures 2 (2 Easy)
Pipes and Cisterns 3 (1 Easy + 2 Moderate)
Percentages 4 (1 Easy + 3 Moderate)
Profit and Loss 4 (2 Easy + 2 Moderate)
Total 26 (13 Easy + 11 Moderate + 2 Difficult)
Modern Mathematics
Permutation & Combination 1 (1 Difficult)
Probability 4 (2 Easy + 2 Moderate)
Total 5 (2 Easy + 2 Moderate + 1 Difficult)
Trigonometry 4 (4 Easy)
Mensuration 3 (3 Easy)
Total 7 (7 Easy)
Equations 2 (2 Easy)
Total 2 (2 Easy)

A good strategy would be to attempt about 20-22 questions in 35-40 minutes with 85% accuracy.

4. Data Analysis and Sufficiency:

The Data Interpretation section this time included 6 sets of 5 questions each. All of them were calculation-based. The selection of questions was critical because all questions appeared easy but some required a lot of calculations. The last set was a  caselet and should ideally have been left. Some questions tested the concepts of harmonic mean and average annual growth rate. There were 5 questions on Quantitative Comparison (all easy) and 5 questions on Data Sufficiency (all quantitative-based and all easy). The following table shows the break-up of the questions in this section.

Topics No. of questions Level of difficulty
1 Line Graph + 1 Bar Graph on exports in various months 5 Easy
1 Bar Graph on Revenue, Expenditure and Profit 5 Easy-Moderate
1 Line Graph on FDI inflows 5 Easy-Moderate
1 Pie Chart + 1 Bar Graph on turnover in India and Asia 5 Difficult
2 Pie Charts on employee strength 5 Easy-Moderate
Caselet on supermarket sales and revenues and introduction of competitor 5 Difficult
Quantitative Comparison (1 on Algebra + 2 on Geometry + 1 on Numbers + 1 on Probability) 5 Easy
Data Sufficiency (1 on Algebra + 3 on Geometry + 1 on Arithmetic) 5 Easy
Total 40  

Around 22-24 attempts with 85% accuracy, in about 35 minutes, would have been good for this section.

5. Indian and Global Environment:

Almost all the questions in this section were based on current events of the past few months, so anyone who keeps abreast of current economic and political scenarios in India and abroad and regularly reads newspapers would not have found this section too tough. About 30 questions were based on national events and 10 on international events. For a person who had prepared GK well, about 25 questions could be called easy, 10 moderately difficult and 5 difficult. 

This section could easily be attempted in about 12-15 minutes. A good attempt would be about 25 questions, with 75% accuracy.

The following questions appeared in the Indian and Global Environment section:

Skydiver creating record by jumping from 50,000 feet BRICS EWG Meeting Poseidon 8 I purchase Foreign shareholding hike by GoI Magsaysay winners for 2016
Wimbledon 2016 Runners up Location of Mahasthangarh, the SAARC Capital for 2016 The first paperless e-court in India The first women fighter pilot in India Masala Bonds on LSE by an Indian company
Writer and social activist  Mahasweta Devi’s demise Operation Sankat Mochan Location of Khangchendzonga National Park - UNESCO World Heritage Centre Location of 27th Summit of NATO Position of India in terms of having active nuclear reactors
First Indian  woman at the IOC Location of Petrapole border post Women Chief Justice of Nepal Country in news for coup in 2016 ISRO Chairman awarded with ‘Hall of Fame’ award
Percentage of skilled Indians in the UK as per the latest survey Expenditure of the India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) for this year Winner of Senior Squash Championship 2016 Author of recently released book ‘'The Unseen Indira Gandhi’ Cricket team not reaching the Playoff stage of 2016 IPL
India’s rank in Ease of Doing Business survey 2016 India company in talks with Iran over a smelter and a gas-based power plant Leader of 11 member Committee on Combat Capabilities MTCR and 35th member India Motto of the 2016 Rio Olympics
Apple Maps development office location in India Number of LCA inducted in 2016 World’s largest wooden Charkha at IGI airport Rodrigo Duterte – President of Philippines ITF-Maria Sharapova case and the duration of the ban
LVAD - Indian tie-up with Russian scientists Operation Malabar City not on SmartCities list for 2016. Location of Duraiappah stadium in Sri Lanka Rank of India in terms of FDI inflows

Those who have attempted IMS test pack on MAT (a series of 5 tests) would have found that the level of difficulty and the nature of the questions in these tests, as well as the structure of the paper similar to those asked in the actual MAT.


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