One lakh done. One lakh to go. Online CAT of this scale is unprecedented. I should say – Good job TCS – for having finished this humongous task of 2 lakh takers in a day!
The day started with regular anxious faces outside the center with stray incidents of aspirants not carrying the right ID cards, but all in all, a well managed setup – be it people, infrastructure or time management.
The cosmetic build-up observations:
- There was no demo or practice screen given before the test (First time since CAT moved online). There was a “demo test” uploaded on their official website and the same screen was there on the test day. So, we can safely say, 15 mins of aspirants’ anxiety neutralized by doing this. Good job!
- As far as instructions for Reading Comprehension is concerned, it was an Abbas Mustan movie as the data on “Instructions on CAT website Vs. CAT demo Vs. Instructions on actual CAT day Vs. Actual CAT” was inconsistent.
- Instructions on CAT website – said RC will have 3 / 6 questions
- CAT demo – said RC will have 3 / 6 questions
- Instructions on actual CAT day – said RC will have 4 questions
- Actual CAT – had 3 / 6 questions
- There was a slight variation in the way the CAT test screen looked – The demo had 3 sections in it with no subsequent subsections.
- The actual CAT had 5 subsections:
- Verbal Ability had 2 subsections – Verbal Ability (10 questions) & Reading Comprehension (24 questions)
- Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning had 2 subsections – Data Interpretation (16 questions) & Logical Reasoning (16 questions)
- Quantitative Ability had just one section with 34 questions
- This was however easier to navigate and hence I am sure the aspirants won’t complain.
Now the sectional analysis:
The paper was in the prescribed order – Verbal Ability first, DI & AR second, QA third.
1. Verbal Ability & RC Section:
- Easy but path-breaking. Vocabulary missing. Grammar missing. Logical Continuation missing. Critical Reasoning missing.
- RCs had an unprecedented weightage in this year’s CAT with RCs spanning 24 out of 34 questions. RCs were 5 in number – 3 RCs with 6 questions each & 2 RCs with 3 questions each. However, this subsection can’t be called difficult. 3 out of the 4 RCs (6 + 6 + 6) were dominated by direct questions whereas the 2 RCs with 3 questions each had some indirect, implied idea questions. The number of words in these RCs spanned from 300 words to 600 words. The RCs in terms of intensity of language / density or depth of the topic were light and hence not as time consuming as were the previous versions.
- Verbal Ability had just 3 types of questions: Logical Discontinuity / Out of Context question (3 in number), Summary of the passage (3 in number) & Parajumbles (4 in number). All the questions in this subsection were of the “key-in” or “non-MCQ” variety. The problem with this being non-MCQ is that the parajumbles became difficult because each of the parajumbles had 5 sentences to be rearranged. Links were available, but two broken links and hence it make this part a little tricky. However, a cheeky CAT taker will take the shots because these fall under the “non-negative marking” category. Summary and Out of Context were non-MCQ variety but this can be called “pseudo non-MCQ” because it was more like keying-in a number instead of marking an option.
- The shockers were that there was not a single question on Grammar (neither Sentence Correction nor Error Detection) and there wasn’t a single question based on Vocabulary (neither Fill in the blanks nor analogies / word usages / phrasal verbs etc.)
- All in all, the section was Easy to Moderate to navigate.
- 27-28 attempts with 90% accuracy can be classified as a good score in this section.
2. Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation Section:
- Challenging section – Could be the final Decider.
- The paper had 8 sets of 4 questions each. Total of 32 questions.
- The easy, moderate and difficult sets were well distributed and well placed.
- The sets based on – Tourist travel data (quarter wise), Time and Work based (Job A, Job B, Job C), Installed Capacity of 10 projects can be classified as easy and those sets which a well prepared CAT test taker will harp on.
- The sets on cube arrangement, newspaper distribution & laptop distribution were tricky and needed a little more patience than the sets mentioned above.
- The other 2 sets were time consuming and surely were time bombs. Not worth investing time and energy and that too on the day of CAT.
- All in all, for the fact that verbal as well as quant was on the easy to moderate side, LRDI section can be safely called the decider.
- 20 attempts with 85% accuracy can be classified as a good score in this section.
3. Quantitative Aptitude Section :
- Standard & clinical! Period.
- Nearly every chapter had a representative there. Percentages, Profit & Loss, Linear Equations, Quadratic Equations, Functions, Inequalities, Surds & Indices, Averages & Partnership, Numbers… huh.. The list doesn’t end there.. Time & Word, Time & Distance, Alligations & Mixtures, Permutation & Combination… the list still doesn’t end.. Functions, Inequalities, Triangles, Polygons, Circles, Area & Volume, Heights & Distances, Coordinate Geometry and the list goes on. This seemed like a fresh MBA’s assignment – “He googled the preparation curriculum for CAT, followed the index and put in a representative from each chapter that came his way”. So, it was a good job done!
- Such a paper has advantages as well as disadvantages – you should have been prepared with everything and just in case you have left just a chapter or two, the damage isn’t astounding. Hence, a cheer-worthy paper for a prepared test taker.
- All in all out of the 34 questions,16-18 questions were easy(for a well prepared test taker each such question will get solved in less than 1.5 minutes),8-10 questions were reasonably time consuming and would have demanded 3-4 minutes for solving the same and 5-6 questions(1 question on Set Theory,1 question on Mensuration,1 question on Number system,1 question on Functions,1 question on Inequalities and 1 question on Quadratic Equations were time consuming and it would have been wise to let these questions go).
- 27 attempts with 90% accuracy can be classified as a good score in this section.
The softer aspect is that, in case the LRDI section broke the back of a well prepared student, his performance in the 3rd section would get affected.
All in all, 60 genuine attempts (genuine word has been used because nothing can discount the presence of those cheeky calculative aspirants who will take a shot at all key-in variety questions just because it doesn’t have a negative marking in it) with 85% accuracy can be classified as a good score. Good score for us would mean crossing 98 percentile.
Best wishes for the results.