CAT 2020 Paper Analysis for VARC: Section-wise Analysis

    Urvashi Singhal Urvashi Singhal
    Exams Prep Master

    VARC (Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension) is probably one of the most surprising sections in CAT paper. For some CAT aspirants, VARC is a cake walk and for others, clearing VARC cut-off is a nightmare. The section can be tackled only if one has a dedicated and measured approach. Let us take a look at the CAT pattern over the past few years.

    Read CAT 2019 Paper Analysis

    Out of the total of 34 questions in VARC, 24 questions are dedicated to RCs and 10 questions belong to Verbal Ability. For the last few years, CAT has been dedicatedly asking 5 RCs. So, the first step is to maximize your efficiency in RCs. Verbal Ability part consists of mostly para summaries/ para completion (3-4), para jumbles (3-4) and odd sentences (3-4), at times including questions related to grammar or sentence corrections. Out of these 10 questions, around 6-7 would be TITA (Text Input Type Answer) type questions. Read the article to know more about the VARC trend in CAT in previous years.

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    CAT 2019 VARC Slot 1 Analysis

    CAT 2019 VARC Slot 1 Analysis

    The VARC section in Slot 1 of CAT 2019 had 34 questions. Non-MCQ questions were 10 without any provision of negative marking. VARC section began with Reading Comprehension Passages and ended with Verbal Ability. The 5 RC passages were followed by 24 multiple choice questions. The Verbal Ability questions were 10 and were of descriptive nature. Students found the RC passage on ‘Idea on Folk’ difficult as it involved difficult vocabulary. The passage carried 5 MCQs along with it out of which students could answer 2-3 questions only.

    Check Syllabus for CAT 2020

    Considering the overall performance and difficulty of the section, an ideal attempt could have been 24-26 questions with 90% accuracy. A rough score of 55-60 marks could fetch a percentile between 97-99.

    Below given is the sectional composition of CAT VARC Slot 1. Candidates can refer to the table to get better analysis of the section.

    Composition of sectionNumber of questionsDifficulty Level
    RC passage-1: Story of Aladdin-as shared by Antonio Galland in 1712, learnt from Syrian story teller Diyab5 MCQsReasonably Difficult
    RC Passage-2: Idea of Folk5 MCQsTricky sentence formation and difficult vocabulary
    RC Passage-3: Emperor Penguins in Antarctica- Covering heating, radiation, convection4 MCQsReasonably Difficult
    RC passage-4: Topophilia, the affective bond between people and place by Yi-Fu Tuan 5 MCQsModerate to Difficult
    RC Passage-5: Contemporary Internet Shopping - Few choices are better than many options5 MCQsReasonably Difficult
    Parajumbles4 Questions (Non-MCQs)Reasonably Difficult
    Para Summary3 Questions (Non-MCQs)Reasonably Difficult
    Odd sentence Out3 Questions (Non-MCQs)Reasonably Difficult

    CAT 2019 VARC Slot 2 Analysis

    CAT 2019 VARC Slot 2 Analysis

    In Slot 2 of CAT 2019, VARC had 34 questions, with 10 non-MCQ questions without any negative marking. The section began with RC Passages and concluded with questions on Verbal Ability. The ten questions on Verbal Ability were of Non-MCQ nature.

    Read in detail CAT Previous Year Paper Analysis for QA

    There were 5 RC passages which were succeeded by 24 MCQ type questions. Candidates found 2 RC passages difficult to answer.

    Ideal attempt in CAT 2019 VARC Slot 2 could be 23-25 questions with 90% accuracy. Scoring a mark range of 55-60 could grant a percentile between 97-99. Below given are the topics on which questions were based in CAT 2019 VARC.

    Composition of sectionNumber of questionsDifficulty Level
    RC passage-1: British Colonialism5 MCQsReasonably Difficult
    RC Passage-2: Museums, Arts5 MCQsDifficult with tricky sentence formation and vocabulary
    RC Passage-3: Central Governments & Decentralization5 MCQsReasonably Difficult
    RC passage-4: Ecology5 MCQsModerate to Difficult
    RC Passage-5: Cultural Identity & Language – Egyptian4 MCQsReasonably Difficult
    Parajumbles4 Questions (Non-MCQs)Reasonably Difficult
    Para Summary3 Questions (Non-MCQs)Reasonably Difficult
    Odd sentence Out3 Questions (Non-MCQs)Reasonably Difficult

    CAT 2018 VARC Slot 1 Analysis

    CAT 2018 VARC Slot 1 Analysis

    Students who sat for CAT 2018 Slot 1 found the VARC section to be a replica of CAT 2017 in terms of the question types. Questions on Grammar and Vocabulary were clearly not visible.

    RC had 4 passages, each with 5 questions; and 1 passage with 4 questions, making it a total of 24 questions. There were around 5 questions in RC that looked more like Critical Reasoning/Application. The passages were long, ranging around 450-800 words.

    About 6 questions were direct and easy. Questions based on inferences were easy to medium on the difficulty level scale. A major deviation was noticed in Paragraph Jumbles wherein 4 sentences were asked to rearrange instead of 5, making the paragraph jumbles section relatively easy.

    Of the 10 VA questions (Shuffled), 7 were descriptive questions and 3 were MCQs. The 3 Out-of-context sentence questions were descriptive, 4 paragraph jumbles were descriptive, whereas 3 questions from paragraph summary/author’s opinion were MCQ based with negative marking. 

    Area / QuestionsNo of Qs.TypeLevel of Difficulty
    Reading Comprehension24MCQOverall: Easy to Medium
    RC-1: Happiness and Economics. Approx. 500 words5MCQEasy – Medium
    RC- 2: Human elephant relationship Approx. 500 words5MCQEasy
    RC-3: Absence of WWII memorials in India Approx. 500 words5MCQEasy
    RC-4: Problem of single use plastic. Approx. 800 words5MCQEasy
    RC-5: Influence of parental gene in mice. – Approx. 600 words4MCQMedium
    Verbal Ability10MCQ & TITAOverall: Easy to Medium
    Parajumbles ( 4 sentences)4TITA2 Medium; 2 Easy
    Out of Context sentence3TITA1 Easy; 2 Medium
    Summary3MCQ1 Easy; 1 Medium; 1 Difficult

    CAT 2018 VARC Slot 2 Analysis

    CAT 2018 VARC Slot 2 Analysis

    The difficulty level of VARC section Slot 2 was similar to that of Slot 1. RC had 4 passages, each carrying 5 questions; and 1 passage with 4 questions - majority of the questions were based on critical reasoning type and inference questions.

    Check CAT Previous Year Paper Analysis for DI/LR

    The paragraph jumbles had 4 questions instead of 5 which made them easy to solve. Out of the 10 Verbal Ability questions, 3 questions were based on Out-of-context sentences which were to be answered in non-descriptive manner; 4 paragraph jumbles were also non-MCQs and were easy to attempt; and 3 paragraph summaries were based on MCQs with negative marking.

    Area / QuestionsNo of Qs.TypeLevel of Difficulty
    Reading Comprehension24MCQOverall Easy to Medium
    RC-1: Evolution of white lipped snails Approx.- 550 words4MCQEasy
    RC- 2: Saturn’s rings and several of its moons –Approx. 600 words5MCQEasy to Medium
    RC-3: Evaluation based on metric fixation- Approx. 500 words5MCQEasy
    RC-4: Access of the poor to government Services – Approx. 700 words5MCQEasy to Medium
    RC-5: – Fallacy of Meritocracy- Approx. 650 words. (The same passage was a part of SimCAT6)5MCQEasy to Medium
    Verbal Ability10MCQ & TITAOverall Easy to Medium
    Parajumbles4TITA4 Easy
    Out of Context sentence3TITA2 Easy; 1 Medium
    Summary3MCQ1 Easy; 2 Medium

    VARC Questions Analysis of Previous Years

    VARC Questions Analysis of Previous Years

    If one analyses the trend of VARC section of the past 3 years after CAT 2018, one can understand that the difficulty level of the section throughout the three years has remained more or less the same. The major change was seen in the question pattern as there were no MCQ questions until 2016.

    Below mentioned are the differences observed in the VARC section between 3 Years.

    OverallEasier than 2016 with common topics ranging from Economy, Culture, Technology, Business, FinanceEasy vocabulary but lengthy passages with few tricky questions. Topics were mostly from Economics, Environment and Linguistic StudiesSimple Content with Tough and Tricky Questions and Options. It was a surprise since it did not have Grammar and Vocabulary questions
    Word Limit300 - 650300 - 650600 - 800
    Question Break upModerate : 8 Easy :16Tough: 2-3 Moderate: 8-9 Easy: 14-15Moderate: 8-10 Easy: 14-15
    Overall DifficultyReasonably DifficultReasonably DifficultReasonably Difficult

    Verbal Ability Question Analysis

    Of all the questions that had appeared in CAT Verbal Ability in 2015, 2016, 2017, given below is the question distribution and their level of difficulty.

    Para-JumblesTricky and Time Consuming1 - Easy ; 3 ToughTough
    SummaryTough2 - Easy; 1 - ToughReasonably Difficult
    Out of ContextEasyEasyReasonably Difficult
    OverallToughEasy - ModerateTough- Moderate

    If we see the breakup of type of questions, 2017 was different since it had a mix of MCQs and Non-MCQs, unlike 2015 and 2016.

    Overall Percentile in VARC

    Overall Percentile in VARC

    In order to get a good 97-98 percentile a candidate must make sure he/she has a minimum number of attempts such as:

    Good Number of Attempts201720162015

    *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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