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CAT 2002 : Paper pattern , an analysis

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CAT 2002 : Paper pattern , an analysis
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Kartik Raichura
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CAT 2002 : Paper pattern , an analysis - January 6th, 2005

The paper had three sections with 50 questions in each section - and a total of 150 questions in the entire paper.

There was no time limit given for each section and the student could decide how he would spend the total time of two hours.

There were negative marks for wrong answers but, the level of negative marking was not specified in the paper.

The structure of the three sections is given below.

Section I

This question had 50 questions covering Data Interpretation (32 questions), Data Sufficiency (8 questions) and Reasoning (10 questions).

The break-up of the questions in this section is as follows:

Area No. of questions Description
Data Interpretation 3 Table (Countries, Latitudes, Longitudes)
Data Interpretation 6 Table (on Refineries)
Data Interpretation 4 Table (Financial Data of a company)
Data Interpretation 8 Table (Earnings for Complex, Medium and Simple)
Data Interpretation 3 Table (Crops - Quality - Regions)
Data Interpretation 2 Pie Charts (Textiles)
Data Interpretation 6 Stacked Bars (Sales Tax collections)
Data Sufficiency 8
Reasoning 6 Individual Questions
Reasoning 4 Traffic Signals(involving Direction Sense)


Section II

This question had 50 questions covering Quantitative Ability. This question also included three questions on Reasoning. Out of these 50 questions, six questions appeared in the form of groups of two questions each and the remaining 44 questions appeared as individual questions.

Section III

This question had 50 questions covering Verbal Ability (25 questions) and Reading Comprehension (25 questions).

Area No. of questions Description
Verbal Ability 5 Synonyms (of identified words in sentences)
Verbal Ability 6 Cloze Passages(Fill the blanks in paragraphs)
Verbal Ability 4 Best way of wording given sentences
Verbal Ability 5 Paragraph Forming
Verbal Ability 5 Match dictionary meaning with usages
Reading Comprehension 5 Passage on Cell Biology(Approx. 990 words)
Reading Comprehension 4 Passage on Theology, Philosophy and Science (Approx. 720 words)
Reading Comprehension 5 Passage on Devices of Language(Approx. 720 words)
Reading Comprehension 6 Passage on Abortion(Approx. 1170 words)
Reading Comprehension 5 Passage on Rewriting of Indian History(Approx. 860 words)

CAT 2002 - Paper Analysis

As usual, the paper appeared simple. As usual, it was not so.

The best thing about this year's CAT is that it is now over. It was a paper true to tradition - lengthy and tricky. In fact, this CAT paper probably had the toughest Verbal & RC section in the last ten years - certainly, it was one of the most deceptive.

A student who has attempted 80-90 questions in this paper has done an excellent job if he has a good strike rate of say, 75%.

The cut-offs in the different sections for getting calls from one or two IIMs should be as under:

Sections Cutoffs
DI/DS/Reasoning 12-14
Quantitative Ability 10-12
Verbal Ability & RC 15-17


In order to get one or two calls, a net score of 50-52 would be sufficient. A score of 60+ would fetch 4+ calls.

Other top institutes under CAT will need scores of 45-50 in this paper. But, note that a number of these institutes may not have sectional cut-offs, and they may look at only the total score in the paper.

It is necessary to understand that these net scores are what can be obtained under the severe pressure that the exam puts on the candidate. Fancy analysis done in the cool confines of an air-conditioned room will invariably talk of higher scores. Such analysis, for some strange reason, seems to forget that students are operating under pressure. While each individual question is not very difficult, collectively these are pretty time-consuming and hence, the number of total attempts is always a constraining factor.

Time Planning: There was very little to choose between the three sections, and students would have been best off by dividing their time equally over the three sections - 40 min. for each section.

Section I - DI/DS/Reasoning

This section was deceptive at first sight. All the sets appeared to be relatively simple. But, once you got down to answering the questions, you would realise that it was the same old story - either the data was not very easy to interpret or the calculations were fairly tough.

There were seven sets of DI totalling 32 questions. A good performer would have been able to attempt about four sets totalling about 20 or 22 questions. However, there were a number of slippery questions and mistakes were inevitable.

The DS part of the section had eight questions of which two were really difficult. Good students would have attempted most of the remaining six questions. As usual there were a few tricks and it was very easy to make a mistake. All in all, DS was not a sitter and did not give students too many easy marks.

There were ten questions on Reasoning - four in one set on Direction Sense and six individual questions. The individual questions were far too lengthy and just not worth considering seriously. If the student was able to crack the logic the Direction Sense questions, there were 4 marks to be had. If not, one could get all 4 wrong.

To sum up, in this section, the whole was definitely more difficult than the sum of the parts.

Section II - Quantitative Ability

Out of the 50 questions in this section, 47 were on Mathematics and 3 questions on Reasoning. Of the 47 questions on Mathematics, 22 were typical Numbers and Equations based questions. There were four questions from Permutations & Combinations, seven questions from Plane Geometry, two questions from Mensuration, two questions from Co-ordinate Geometry, three questions from Time & Distance and two questions from Time & Work.

On a detailed analysis of the section, one can find 14 easy questions, 6 moderately difficult questions and 29 difficult questions in this section.

It is very difficult to spot these easy questions and hence a good student would attempt 22-25 questions with a strike rate of 75%. The average student would end up with with a maximum of 20 attempts in the 40 minutes.

Section III - Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension

There were 25 questions each in Verbal and RC. The total length of the five RC passages put together was about 4500 words. The difference this year was that there were very few "easy" questions in the VA part of the section. Also, a number of questions had very close answer choices. In fact, some of the answers are clearly debatable. Consequently, even the very best of students, who attempted all the 25 questions, would have ended up making at least 5 to 6 mistakes.

The other problem with the Verbal part this year was that it was more time-consuming than usual. Hence, students would have ended up spending 20-22 minutes in attempting the Verbal part of this section.

In the remaining 18-20 minutes, students would have been able to attempt only 2 or 3 of the five passages. This meant that the number of attempts for RC would be between 8 and 12. Since the RC questions were also fairly lengthy, it meant that the time pressure was very severe and consequently, the strike rate, lower.
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Re: CAT 2002 : Paper pattern , an analysis
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Re: CAT 2002 : Paper pattern , an analysis - May 31st, 2006

In the remaining 18-20 minutes, students would have been able to attempt only 2 or 3 of the five passages. This meant that the number of attempts for RC would be between 8 and 12. Since the RC questions were also fairly lengthy, it meant that the time pressure was very severe and consequently, the strike rate, lower.
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