CAT Paper Analysis 2020: Check CAT Slot 1 & 2 Analysis

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    CAT 2019 was successfully conducted by IIM Kozhikode on November 24. Out of 2.44 lakh registered candidates, 209,926 took the exam. The exam was conducted in 376 test centers in two sessions morning and afternoon. The 2019 session was regarded as moderately balanced by the majority of the applicants. According to exam experts, the English comprehensions were way past the normal league to comprehend, as the language was very troublesome. Aside from English, the Data Interpretation segment was moderate and Quantitative Ability was the simplest. Read DILR Paper Analysis

    The level in English was very high than expected. The passage was recorded hard to be comprehended by many, with questions being very tricky and troublesome. The Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation segments were moderately easy. In the Quant segments, questions were for the most part Arithmetic based. Read QA Paper Analysis

    According to previous year’s CAT Paper Analysis, for the last couple of years the DILR and QA have been a tricky section for candidates to grasp.

    CAT 2019 Sectional Analysis

    CAT 2019 Sectional Analysis

    Slot 2 difficulty level was almost similar to Slot 1, with minor additional tricky questions in the DILR section of the CAT 2019. The Reading and Verbal Ability was once again the surprising element of the paper with the difficulty level of the language raising quite a few eyebrows. The Verbal Ability as a section has been considered to be the toughest in a time-frame of 2 years. The other 2 sections were relatively manageable with time with the key focus ideally being laid on accuracy.

    Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning

    • The section for VARC was much harder than the other two sections of the paper as informed by the test-takers.
    • There were five passages for Reading in Slot-2 as well.
    • Four passages out of the five had five individual problems in each and one of them had four questions.
    • One of the RC sections was pretty complex and verbose; which made it really difficult for some of the applicants to even attempt.

    Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning

    • The Slot-2 reactions of students were a bit different for the DILR Section as compared to Slot-1.
    • The section was reported to throw a few more tricky questions but was still manageable within the 60-minute mark.
    • The brevity of this section was comprising of 24 MCQs and eight non-MCQs. There were eight sets each of four questions among which three were DI sets.

    Quantitative Analysis

    As per the students' reactions, Quantitative Ability section was the easiest of the three and even easier as compared to the 2018 CAT. 

    • A few students reported it to be lengthier and that is aspirants with good time management would have managed more attempts.
    • 15+ Questions were quite straightforward based on Arithmetic and were relatively easier as compared to the section that came up in previous year's papers.

    The paper, as per the test-takers who showed up in CAT 2019 slot-1, was according to their desires and investigation is the equivalent by training focuses also. A general score of 155-162 could get 99 percentile in this opening. CAT 2019 Result will be pronounced in the second seven day stretch of January 2020. Around 12,000 seats in IIMs will be filled based on CAT 2019 Results. A year ago 11 applicants got 100 percentile, 21 understudies got 99.99 percentile.

    CAT Paper Analysis Over the Years

    CAT 2019 was conducted in online mode. 

    • Total number of questions was 100 in MCQ and Non-MCQ format. Read CAT MCQ Questions: Section-wise Analysis
    • Paper comprised of 3 sections: Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning, Quantitative Aptitude.
    • Time limit of 1 hour was allotted for each section
    • In the Paper Analysis of CAT 2018, it showed that a lot of the questions in the DILR section were mixed, with some being conventional and one or two ‘difficult to answer’ questions
    • Last year’s QA Paper Analysis revealed that the questions in that section included more logic and calculation and not a lot of theory  

    Read on to know about the CAT paper analysis of 2018 & 2017 and check the exam analysis of CAT from last 4 years (2018 – 2015). 

    CAT Year20192018201720162015
    Exam DateNovember 24November 25November 26December 4November 29
    CAT Conducting IIMIIM KozhikodeIIM CalcuttaIIM LucknowIIM BangaloreIIM Ahmedabad
    Total Questions | Sections | Duration100| 3 | 3hrs.100| 3 | 3hrs.100 | 3 | 3hrs.100 | 3 | 3hrs.100 | 3 | 3hrs.
    Marking SchemeCorrect Answer: +3
    Wrong Answer: - 1

    Correct Answer: +3
    Wrong Answer: - 1

    Correct Answer: +3
    Wrong Answer: - 1
    Correct Answer: +1
    Wrong Answer: - 0.33
    Correct Answer: +3
    Wrong Answer: - 1
    Number of MCQs7575747572
    Number of Non-MCQs2525262528
    Name of Sections with Number of QuestionsVARC-34
    QA- 34
    QA- 34
    QA- 34
    QA- 34
    QA- 34

    I appeared for CAT 2019- afternoon session. The VARC section was moderate with few questions being  tricky. The DILR Section felt a bit difficult as some of the DI sets were quite challenging. The QA Section was immensely calculative. In the CAT 2019, certain questions were not easy to comprehend even after allocation of 2-3 minutes. Overall, as per my analysis, the difficulty level of paper was high.

    - Deepesh Johri, Graduate

    I appeared for CAT 2019 in the morning slot of 9:00-12:00.The overall paper was good and included some really challenging questions. In the V&RC section, there were around 8 Non-MCQs. The comprehension passages focused on both management aspects and also on basic science and humanities aspects.The DI&LR included different questions including radar charts. I found the QA section a bit tough.

    - Pranjal Singhal, Graduate

    Also Read CAT 2019 Preparation Tips

    CAT 2018 Paper Analysis

    CAT 2018 Paper Analysis

    CAT 2018 was conducted by IIM Calcutta on November 25. More than two lakhs candidates appeared to take the test. 

    • The overall difficulty level of the exam was high. 
    • DILR was difficult and the quant section was intensively calculative. 
    • RC passages were very lengthy. 
    • IIM Calcutta maintained its reputation in keeping the difficulty level of Quants section high.
    • A score of 154 was enough to get 99 percentile in CAT 2018. While in 2017, a score of 174 was required for the same. 

    CAT 2018 Section-wise Analysis

    The section-wise analysis for CAT 2018 is as follows:

    Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VILR)

    • The section had 34 questions.
    • There were 27 MCQs and 7 Non-MCQs.
    • RC based questions were 24 in number.
    • The passages were around 400-600 words, which is shorter in length in comparison to the previous year.
    • Slot 2 RC questions were a bit tricky in nature.
    • Passages were based on topics like Plastic pollution, World War II, Consumer behavior, etc.
    Segment  Topic No. of Total Questions
    RC (Reading Comprehension)  Reading Comprehension  24
    VA (Verbal Ability)  Para Jumble  4 
     Summary  3 
     Para Jumble (Odd Sentence Out) 3

    Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR)

    • The difficulty level of DILR section was moderate to high. 
    • DI sets were a combination of easy, moderate and slightly difficult. Check Detailed Paper Analysis for DILR Section
    • One of the DI sets was direct and involved basic calculations. Two were moderate in terms of difficulty and rest two were slightly tougher. 
    • LR section was observed to be of a moderate difficulty level.
    • Questions were from Coding, Set Theory, etc.
    Segment  Topic  No. of Total Questions 
    Data Interpretation  Pie Chart:  Annual/ Half yearly / Quarter   Sales  4
     ATM: Denominations of 100, 200, and 500  4
     Set Theory: 1600 Rockets were   launched  4
    Logical Reasoning  Matrix: Adjacent Cells  4
     10 Friends: Scores in DI / WE / GK  4 
     4 Females, 4 Males: Minor and Major  4 
     3 Committees: Research / Teaching /   Economist 4 
    1-20 Petrol Pumps  4

    Quantitative Ability (QA)

    • The section consisted of 34 questions.
    • There were 12 Non-MCQs in the QA section.
    • A considerable number of questions came from Arithmetic and Algebra. 
    • The calculations in the section were intensive.
    • QA was seen as a difficult section by the candidates
     Segment  Topic  No. of Total Questions 
     Quantitative Ability  Number System  2 
     Algebra  8 
     Arithmetic  14 
     Modern Math  3
     Geometry and Mensuration7

    Check  Detailed Paper Analysis for QA Section

    Check the table given below to get an idea about the section-wise analysis of CAT 2018 exam.

    Section Total Number of QuestionNon-MCQsMCQsDifficulty LevelGood Attempts 
    Slot 1Slot 2Slot 1Slot 2Slot 1Slot 2Slot 1Slot 2


    Quant343412122222Moderate-Difficult Moderate-Difficult 15+ 
    Total 60+

    CAT 2017 Paper Analysis

    CAT 2017 Paper Analysis

    CAT 2017 was conducted on November 26. Approximately 2 lakhs candidates took the test. In CAT 2017,

    • Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning was the toughest section.
    • Quantitative Ability was the easiest of three with Arithmetic dominating the section.
    • Overall the question papers of both the slots were of the moderate-difficult level
    • For the first time, CAT 2017 Answer Key was released by the conducting body for the candidates to refer to.

    CAT 2017 Section-wise Analysis

    • CAT 2017 was conducted in 2 sessions on the same day.
    • Questions from Verbal and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DI & LR) and Quantitative Ability (QA) were asked.
    • As per the reactions of the test-takers, the difficulty level of the exam was moderate.

    CAT 2017 Analysis (Slot 1)

    Read below CAT 2017 Analysis for Slot 1:

    SectionTotal No. of QuestionsNo. of MCQsNo. of Non-MCQsDifficulty LevelGood Attempts 







    DI & LR
















    3 Hours

    • In VA, there were 7 Non-MCQ & 3 MCQ questions. RC in CAT 2017 had 24 questions. The overall difficulty level of the section was moderate.
    • DILR continued to be tough since the questions were reasoning based. There were 8 sets of 4 questions each which were quite indirect and tricky. Four sets were completely MCQ, whereas the remaining four were a combination of TITA and MCQs. 
    • QA was the easiest section to attempt, giving students a sigh of relief. Questions were direct, giving room to a higher CAT Cutoff this year. Questions were easily manageable and were not time-consuming.

    CAT 2017 Analysis (Slot 2)

    • Slot 2 was conducted from 2.30- 5.30 pm.
    • The difficulty level of the paper was similar to the first slot, i.e., moderate. 

    Read below CAT 2017 Analysis for Slot 2:

    SectionNo. of Ques.No. of non-MCQ questionsDifficulty LevelGood Attempts

    Verbal Ability and Reading comprehension





    Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning





    Quantitative Ability










    • DILR was the toughest to attempt, although it was easier than the first slot.
    • VARC was of moderate difficulty level. Questions were either direct or inference based. TITA or non-MCQs were from the Verbal Ability or English Usage area. 
    • QA was the easiest to attempt in both the slots.
    Note: As CAT 2017 was conducted in 2 sessions on the same day, to maintain the equality in scores, authorities follow a formula for calculating the scores. Know about CAT Normalisation Procedure

    CAT 2016 Paper Analysis

    • CAT 2016 did not undergo any changes in its exam pattern. However, the difficulty level went up, which was a little expected.
    • While VARC was easy to attempt, DILR was troublesome for the examinees. The Quants section gave night-mare to all, in terms of the difficulty level and topic distribution.
    • The overall CAT 2016 was of the moderate-difficult level.

    Given below is the section-wise CAT 2016 Analysis:

    SectionNo. of Ques.Difficulty LevelGood AttemptsTotal Marks
    Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension34Easy27-28102
    Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning32Moderate-Difficult14-1696
    Quantitative Ability34Moderate-Difficult22-25102
     -100 - -300

    CAT 2016 Cutoff

    Due to this, the overall percentile went down, and only a scaled score of 153+ was required for a 99+ percentile. CAT Cutoff was, which was much lower as compared to the previous years’ data. Given below is the cutoff for CAT 2016:

    Name of the InstituteCAT 2016 Percentile
    Faculty of Management Studies, University of Delhi (FMS, Delhi University)98.20
    DMS, IIT Delhi98+
    SJMSOM, IIT Bombay99+ 
    Department of Management Studies, IIT Madras95+
    Management Development Institute (MDI) Gurgaon95+
    SP Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR) Mumbai85+
    Xavier Institute of Management Bhubaneswar (XIMB)90+
    Institute of Management Technology (IMT) Ghaziabad90+
    National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE) Mumbai95+

    Check CAT 2016 Paper Analysis

    CAT 2015 Paper Analysis

    IIM Ahmedabad conducted CAT 2015. Minor additions were made, such as the introduction of the on-screen calculator and subjective questions. The weightage of each section remained the same, as observed in CAT 2014.

    • QA & DI was 34+ 16 and VA+ LR was 34 + 16.
    • In CAT 2015, the sections got shuffled as QA-34, LR+DI-16+16, and VARC-34.

     Section-wise CAT 2015 Analysis:

    SectionNo. of Ques.Difficulty LevelGood AttemptsTotal Marks
    Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension34Easy27-28102
    Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning32Moderate-Difficult1696
    Quantitative Ability34Moderate25-27102
     -100 -70+300

    Read CAT 2015 Analysis

    CAT 2015 Cutoff

    The raw score in the result required for a 99-percentile dropped marginally to 177+, which was lower as compared to the previous year (2014) scaled down the score. Given below is CAT 2016 Cutoff:

    The b-schools accepting CAT scoreCAT 2015 Percentile
    MDI Gurgaon92
    Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management (SJMSOM), Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB)95
    Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies (JBIMS), Mumbai95
    S. P. Jain Institute of Management & Research (SPJIMR), Mumbai85
    T A Pai Management Institute (TAPMI), Manipal86
    Department of Management Studies (DMS), Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IITD)98
    Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), University of Delhi, Delhi98
    Department of Management Studies (DoMS), Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM)90
    National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE), Mumbai95
    LIBA Chennai90

    Check CAT 2015 Cutoff

    CAT 2014 Paper Analysis

    CAT 2014 Exam was slightly different as compared to CAT 2013 since it underwent a few changes. The time duration went up to 170 minutes, without any sectional limit. Changes in the pattern brought about a drop in its level of difficulty and as a consequence, the scaled down score for a 99 percentile went up to 190+. Check CAT 2014 Cutoff

    Given below is the section-wise analysis of CAT 2014:

    SectionNo. of Ques.Difficulty LevelGood AttemptsTotal Marks
    Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation50 (34+16)Easy35+150
    Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning50 (34+16)Easy- Moderate35+150

    Frequently Asked Questions

    CAT Paper Analysis FAQs

    Ques: How many questions should I attempt to get 99+ percentile?

    Ans: The total number of questions in CAT are 100 in which for each correct answers you will earn +3 and for every wrong answer -1 will be deducted (In case of MCQs not TITAs). Depending upon the difficulty level of CAT question paper over the past few years, we have formulated a table of number of questions that candidates may attempt to get an overall percentile score of 99 and above.

    SectionsTotal AttemptsNet Score
    Quantitative Analysis23 - 25 out of 3470 - 75
    Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning20 - 24 out of 3265 - 70
    Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension20 - 22 out of 3455 - 60
    Total Score175

    Ques: What is considered to be a good attempt in CAT?

    Ans: CAT score of 85+ is considered good as it may make you land in top private B-schools of the country other than IIMs. So, if you fail to get above 90 percentile, you can also get top colleges if you score 85+. 

    Ques: Which section amongst the all is considered the toughest in CAT? 

    Ans: There is no definite section which is considered tough each year. It completely depends on candidate’s preparation. But depending upon the question papers of last few years, CAT QA and CAT DILR have had moderate-difficult level intensity 

    Ques: Is CAT conducted in offline mode also?

    Ans: No, CAT was previously conducted in offline mode. From 2009 onwards, CAT is being conducted in online mode only. 

    Ques: Will there be any repetitions of questions in CAT 2020? 

    Ans: Usually no exact questions are asked in CAT, but candidates need to understand the pattern/types of questions asked in the exam. Questions with exact data are never asked in the exam but same type of question with different data and different difficulty may be asked. 

    Ques: Is there any option to switch between the sections while taking CAT 2020?

    Ans: Candidates taking the exam can not switch to attempt another section as the sequence and time slot to attempt the test is fixed. Students have to complete one section in 60 minutes to move forward to another section. 

    Ques: How many questions should I attempt in CAT 2020 to become eligible for admission in IIMs?

    Ans: IIMs have their own selection process, individual IIMs releases their cutoff. Candidates who are taking CAT have to reach that cutoff in order to get a call from one of the IIMs. As per the previous year analysis, candidates have to score more than 97 percentile (minimum) to get admission in IIM. 

    Ques: Which section of CAT contains toughest questions that need more practice?

    Ans: Quantitative Aptitude section is the toughest among all other sections. Students need to be focussed on the same and practice a lot in order to ace the section. 

    Ques: Over the past five years, is there any format set over the difficulty level of the section?

    Ans: There is no set format of the difficulty level of the question in the exam. The difficulty level of the exam may vary as per the section. Rest each and every thing depends upon the candidate’s preparation. CAT is a difficult exam, candidates must prepare for the exam really well to ace each section with flying colours.

    *The article might have information for the previous academic years, which will be updated soon subject to the notification issued by the University/College


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