CAT Previous Year Question Paper Analysis

CAT 2017 Examination was conducted on 26th November and it has been divided into 2 slots.

CAT 2017 Exam SLOT 1 analysis

Slot 1 began at 9 A.M and got over by 12 noon. This year the difficulty level is classified as moderate. CAT consists of three sections, Verbal and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DI & LR) and Quantitative Ability (QA).As expected, the total number of questions was 100. VARC section had  34 questions, DI LR had 32 questions and Quantitative section had 34 questions.

DILR was the toughest section, while Quantitative was easy with more arithmetic question. Verbal and RC were of moderate difficulty. Overall, since the paper was slightly easier the Cut-offs were higher.

CAT 2017 Exam Slot 1: Paper pattern overview

Total number of questions 100
Marks per question 3
Negative marking for MCQs -1
Negative marking for Non-MCQs 0

CAT 2017 Exam Slot 1: Paper pattern sectional overview

Section No. of MCQs No. of Non MCQs Total no. of questions Total marks
Section 1- VARC 27 7 34 102
Section 2- DILR 24 8 32 96
Section 3- QA 23 11 34 102
Total 74 26 100 300

Verbal and reading comprehension

There were 34 questions in total. In Reading comprehension, there were 5 passages ( 2 short, 3 long) with a total of 24 MCQ’s questions. The short RC passages had 3 questions each while the long RC passages had 6 questions each.  The remaining 10 questions were in Verbal, out of which 7 the were Non-MCQ type. There were 4 questions on jumbled paragraphs comprising of 5 Jumbled Sentences. This was time consuming. There were 3 questions with jumbled sentences out of which one sentence in each question has to be picked as ‘Odd sentence out’. 3 questions were on choosing the correct sentence summarizing the short paragraph. Each question was on different topic. The difficulty level of this section was moderate.

Topics for RC passages.

  • Loss of Jobs due to closing of small shops (stores) but compensated by Malls
  • North India getting preferred to East India in past few hundred years
  • How Gutenberg Press brought revolution and changed the world with the printing of books, pamphlets, literature and helped the people become free from traditions imposed by clerics.
  • Other topics were also based on modernization, Geographical Diversification of Maps

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning:

There were 32 questions in total. All the questions were in sets of 4 questions each.There were 16 Questions in both DI and LR with 12 MCQs and 4 Non-MCQ for each.  This section had Lengthy and calculation intensive questions.

The difficulty level was high, hence this will be make or break section for top B-schools.. 

Topics of DI problems:

  • Happiness Index: 4 questions based on Table
  • Kids Learning in Rural Areas: Data table based 4 questions.
  • Flight operation
  • 1 question set had inherent data on which 4 questions each was based

Topics of LR problems:

  • Seating Arrangement
  • Direction sense for Cars
  • Ordering items
  • Burgers/Fries/ Ice Cream

Quantitative ability

There were 34 questions in total. There were more questions based on arithmetic, hence easier for non- engineering students to solve. There were 23 MCQs and 11 Non- MCQs.

The QA was the easiest section as the questions were direct in nature hence The cut off for this section will go up. As per the students, the Quant section difficulty level was that of a 10th standard.  

Topics of Quant

  • Arithmetic (10 questions) on Percentage, Profit & loss, Speed-distance, Time & Work (increase in manpower reduction in days of work to complete the project); Ratio
  • Geometry (3 problems based on Concepts)
  • Probability (Bayes Theorem)
  • Number System, Permutation and Combination
  • Integers
  • Algebra

CAT 2017 Exam SLOT 2  analysis

Slot 2 commenced at 12:30 and ended at 5:30. Cat experts commented that Slot-2 was even easier than slot 1.Being more market-oriented instead of relying on Grammar, vocabulary or tricky mathematics, CAT 2017 Slot-2 has remained focused more on candidates’ understanding of English Comprehension, summarizing the paragraphs, and making the exam more friendly to academically diverse candidates especially non-engineers.

With total questions remaining 100 as were in Slot-1, CAT 2017 Slot-2 had the same number of MCQ and Non-MCQ type of questions in the exam. The difficulty level in Reading Comprehension passages and Quant questions was also on the easier side while DILR despite dropping its difficulty level as compared to morning session was lengthy and time-consuming. Students, despite knowing how to arrive at the answer could not attempt more question sets in DILR section only because of time constraint. However, candidates could not solve more than 4 sets in the morning slot but in the slot-2 many candidates could solve up to 5 sets of questions in DILR section. The cut-offs in DILR section in slot-2 will be higher than in slot-1.

CAT 2017 Slot 2: Paper pattern overview

Total number of questions 100
Marks per question 3
Negative marking for MCQs -1
Negative marking for Non-MCQs 0

CAT 2017 Exam Slot 2: Paper pattern sectional overview:

Section No. of MCQs No. of Non-MCQs Total no. of questions Total marks
Section 1- VARC 27 7 34 102
Section 2- DILR 24 8 32 96
Section 3- QA 23 11 34 102
Total 74 26 100 300

Verbal and reading comprehension

There were 34 questions in total. In Reading comprehension, there were 5 passages (2 short, 3 long) with a total of 24 MCQ  questions. The short RC passages had 3 questions each while the long RC passages had 6 questions each.  The remaining 10 questions were in Verbal, out of which 7 were the Non-MCQ type. There were 4 questions on jumbled paragraphs comprising of 5 Jumbled Sentences. This was time-consuming. There were 3 questions with jumbled sentences out of which one sentence in each question has to be picked as ‘Odd sentence out’. 3 questions were on choosing the correct sentence summarizing the short paragraph. Each question was on different topic. The difficulty level of this section was moderate.

Topics for RC

  • Snow and Climate
  • Deteriorating creativity among students
  • Use of Electric cars
  • Other topics were also based on modernization, different aspects of life

 Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning:

There were 32 questions in total. All the questions were in sets of 4 questions each.There were 16 Questions in both DI and LR with 12 MCQs and 4 Non-MCQ for each.  This section had Lengthy and calculation intensive questions.

The difficulty level was high, hence this will make or break section for top B-schools.

Topics of DI problems:

  • Table based set of questions on 300 students among 7 courses and one course was removed
  • Pizza company distributing 800 pizzas

Topics of LR problems:
Question sets were based on:

  • Set of 4 questions based on columns and rows of Chess Board- Queen’s attacking problem
  • Bar graph based question with 3 categories

Quantitative ability

There were 34 questions in total. There were more questions based on arithmetic, hence easier for non- engineering students to solve. There were 23 MCQs and 11 Non- MCQs.

The QA was the easiest section as the questions were direct in nature hence The cut off for this section will go up. As per the students, the Quant section difficulty level was that of a 10th standard.

Topics for quant

  • Arithmetic (9 questions) on Speed-distance, Time & Work; Ratio; Percentage, Profit & loss, Interest, time and distance
  • Geometry (4 problems)
  • Series and sequence- 3 questions
  • Mensuration-2 questions
  • Log & Inequality-1 question
  • Modulas-2 questions
  • Number system & PnC-3 questions
  • Algebra-4 questions

To summarize, a well-prepared student attempting CAT 2017 could have easily scored the quant section with 90 percent accuracy. The CAT 2017 paper was similar to CAT 2016, the only exception being the quant section, which was much easier. The cut-offs for this year will be much higher than the previous year on account of the difficulty level.

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