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Tips to Solve TITA questions in CAT

Last Updated - August 23, 2018

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:

  • About 25-30% of overall question paper is the non-MCQ type or TITA questions in CAT.
  • There are no options provided.
  • Answers to be typed in through the virtual keyboard with the help of mouse and submitted by clicking on the 'Save & Next' tab.
  • Candidates are tested on the clarity of concepts and descriptive writing skills.
  • No negative marking for TITA questions. Correct answers carry +3 marks.
  • With no options to choose from, TITA questions tend to be slightly more time-consuming than the MCQ-type questions.

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.

YearVARCDI&LRQA% of TITA Questions
CAT 201510241432
CAT 2016108725
CAT 201776720

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:

SectionDifficulty LevelTopicsStrategy
VARCLengthy & toughPara jumbles, Summary, Odd Sentence OutAttempt RC first, and leave VA for the last to attempt
DI & LRModerately difficultTables, Arrangements, and Venn DiagramsAttempt only if you identify the correct approach to answer
QAEasier than MCQsArithmetic, Algebra, NumbersAttempt only if the concept is clear. Follow instructions like answers up to decimal places.

Read More About CAT Paper Analysis

Now, let us look into the expert opinion as to the how to tackle to challenges of TITA questions.

  • TITA questions in Quant and DI sections are difficult to solve owing to lengthy, time-consuming calculations. Though TITA questions do not penalize you directly for wrong answers, the prospect of your answer turns out to be wrong costs you crucial time which is not affordable in an exam like CAT. So the strategy should be, set yourself a time-limit to attempt TITA questions and most importantly, stick to the limit.
  • Most CAT veterans vouch for the elimination method to answer multiple choice questions. However, in the case of TITA, there is no scope for deploying this method. Only if your concept is clear will you be able to deduce the answer. So if you are unsure about the question, don’t bother to waste your time on it.
  • Experts suggest that TITA questions be attempted the last after you are done with answering all other questions in the particular section since they can be time-consuming and difficult to solve.
  • Please ensure that you read carefully the instructions to answer TITA questions as not answering the questions in the prescribed format could render it wrong.
  • While preparing for CAT, if you practice solving regular questions, say from QA or VARC, without checking the options, then you would be simultaneously practicing for the TITA questions as well. Let say, if you solve a para jumble without looking at the options, then you will be prepared to tackle a probable TITA para jumble question in CAT.

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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