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CAT 2018 Analysis – Slot 1
With the expectations of CAT 2018 built largely over the format and difficulty level of the last three years, the exam evoked mixed responses ranging from “it was as expected” to “it’s shock value makes it difficult”.
Experience maketh man better! The conduction of the exam was fairly glitch-free with no technical issues and seamless processes. A far better experience for the test-taker.
So, what evoked the mixed responses? The difficulty-level of DI/LR was a notch lower than expected while that of QA was about one notch higher. Going by the speculations of QA based on the last three years’ difficulty level, this took test-takers by surprise. VA evoked a slightly more confused response, thanks to the lengthier RCs and the slight difference in number of questions per RC.
The sectional, in depth analysis is as follows:
With 24 RC questions and 10 non-RC questions, the overall format was as expected. The surprise was in the 5 questions per RC in 4 RCs and 4 questions in 1 RC. This also meant that the length of each RC was 550 to 650 words. No single paragraph, 200-word RC like last year was observed. This would have taken test-takers aback slightly. But the RCs topics were contemporary with easy language making comprehension easy. The topics were evolutionary biology, history- the relevance of recognizing India’s role in and contribution to the Second World War, environment -plastic recycling evading the real problem, economics- quantifying and assessment of happiness for economic growth, and animal and human behavior. The questions were the usual main idea, except, inferences, direct and logical purpose questions with an odd contextual-vocabulary question and weaken the argument question thrown in.
The non-RC questions were indeed smooth sailing! The Para-jumbles were surprisingly easy involving only 4 sentences (last year all of them had 5 sentences), 2 of the 4 questions being really easy. The 3 Summary questions had topics of philosophy and art, but had really easy options. The 3 Out of Context questions made one think a little more, but not a tough ask for a student who has prepared well. The 7 key-in questions were Para-jumbles and Out of Context.
The section was moderate. For a 98 percentile, 29 attempts here with an 80% accuracy should be considered good.
With the difficulty levels of DI/LR increasing year on year in the last three years, test-takers went inured to the challenges of this section. Interestingly, the section was easier than the previous years. The eight sets with four questions each had 1 traditional and 1 new-age DI, 3 traditional LR sets and 3 new-age LR sets. Two sets -the 4-category set theory DI question and the pipeline new-age LR question were difficult. All the others were moderate except the pie charts DI set and the arrangement LR set were the easiest. The 8 key-in questions were well distributed.
Overall, a student who has prepared well should be able to attempt 5 to 6 sets properly in the allocated 60 minutes. This section could be termed moderate. For a 98 percentile, 22 – 23 attempts with an 80% accuracy should be considered good.
This was indeed the surprise of the paper and unnerved test-takers. With a heavy dose of Geometry and Logarithm questions – 7 and 3, this altered the balance of this section though Geometry was easier than previous year. If the test taker had learnt not to judge the book by the cover, he would be fine in this section. Each question had to be read and understood before taking the call to skip the same. A lot of students ended up skipping questions which were below average in difficulty-level because of the look of the question! There was also a heavy dose of Arithmetic: 3 Time, Speed, Distance questions, 3 Time &Work questions. There were also 3-4 Numbers questions, 2 each of Set Theory, Functions, Average and Partnerships, and 1 each of SICI, Profit and Loss, Percentage, P&C, Alligations and Mixtures, Progressions.
Overall, it was a far more balanced section compared to previous years’ formats and students had to spend some time on questions rather than look for sitters as sitters were fewer in number. Another feature was that the 12 key-in questions were time consuming and required students to be clear about concepts and careful in calculations.
The section was moderate to difficult. For a 98 percentile, 25 attempts with 80% accuracy should be considered good.
Find below the percentile projections on the basis of raw scores:
|Expected Percentile on basis of Raw Scores|
Overall, unlike Bollywood in 2018, where big stars have disappointed on the first day- first show, CAT 2018 is clearly a blockbuster, on the lines of what was expected and students have nothing to cry foul about. This paper was balanced across all sections and one needs to appreciate CAT authorities for creating a blockbuster of a paper which will only increase students’ faith in the system.
Wishing all the best to all the test takers for the results!