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The Common Admission Test (CAT), since 2015, has a percentage of questions spread across all the sections, that are non-MCQ types. These questions require you to type in your answer in the text box provided, hence, they are also referred to as Type in the Answer (TITA) questions.
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The highlights of TITA questions are:
In the absence of negative marking in case of TITA questions, top-scorers, as well as experts, suggest attempting as many such questions as possible, though while keeping an eye on the watch is also suggested at the same breath. The catch of the TITA question is that due to low accuracy and lack of options to help guesswork, it could just cost the candidates very valuable time. You must ensure not to get carried away by the lure of scoring neat 75-90 mark without the fear of negative marking and spend more time on TITA questions that leave you very less time to answer the rest of the paper.
To give you a fair idea as to how many TITA questions to expect in the upcoming CAT on November 25, 2019, in the table below, we tabulate the section-wise number of TITA questions that have appeared in CAT 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively. It is worthwhile to mention here that as per trend, out of 100 questions in a CAT question paper, there are 34 questions each in the VARC and QA sections and 32 in DI&LR. Each question carries 3 marks while each wrong answer to multiple choice questions attracts a penalty of -1/4 mark.
|Year||VARC||DI&LR||QA||% of TITA Questions|
The difficulty level of the TITA questions in CAT varies from section to section. Also, there is no uniform strategy to tackle such questions. You would do well to select questions based on your expertise as well as those that are less time-consuming. In the table that follows, we present an analysis if TITA questions based on experts’ views and previous years’ paper analysis:
|VARC||Lengthy & tough||Para jumbles, Summary, Odd Sentence Out||Attempt RC first, and leave VA for the last to attempt|
|DI & LR||Moderately difficult||Tables, Arrangements, and Venn Diagrams||Attempt only if you identify the correct approach to answer|
|QA||Easier than MCQs||Arithmetic, Algebra, Numbers||Attempt only if the concept is clear. Follow instructions like answers up to decimal places.|
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Now, let us look into the expert opinion as to the how to tackle to challenges of TITA questions.
TITA questions are the trap that can induce you to spend more time on them than you can afford thus leading to low accuracy rate and lower overall percentile. Also, TITA questions are not a single category, rather they should be treated flexibly, as per the question type. Moreover, despite the lure of no negative marking, answer only the questions, that you are sure of and have rock-solid expertise in. remember that there might not be penalties for incorrect answers, but at the end of the day, you will be penalized all the same due to lack of time and low rate of
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