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CAT 2021 Analysis TIME Slot 1, 2 and 3 (OUT) - Check Overall & Sectional Review, Expected Cutoff

Sherin Tressa Tomy

IIM Ahmedabad Conducted the CAT 2021 Examinations in three slots on November 28, 2021. Students who have appeared for the exams in the various slots can check the complete analysis f the examinations, the expected percentile, review of experts on the types of questions asked in the various sections, the sectional review, level of difficulty and other details related to the exams here.

Given below is the complete analysis of the CAT 2021 Slot 3 examinations by Experts from TIME.

CAT 2021 Slot 3 Analysis - TIME

CAT 2021, Slot 3 was similar to what was seen in the morning and afternoon slots with 66 questions across the three sections. The number of questions was reduced across all the sections, as announced by the CAT authorities,

The following was the pattern of examination in the evening slot.

Section

Number of Questions

Non MCQs

Sectional time limit

Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension

24

5

40 Minutes

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning

20

5

40 Minutes

Quantitative Ability

22

8

40 Minutes

Total

66

18

120 Minutes

The tougher Quant section compensated for the relatively easier section in this slot, keeping the overall difficulty of the section at the same general level of the other two slots, while the sectional difficulty levels have fluctuated a fair bit in this slot.

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CAT 2021 Slot 3 - Section-wise analysis

Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension

The VARC section had 24 questions in the evening slot, a reduction of two questions from last year.

The RC passages were four in number, similar to last year's papers. The number of RC questions, however, dropped to 16 from 18 last year. The number of VA questions remained at 8.

The RC passages this year were not lengthy and one of them did not make for an easy read. One could attempt passages in a straightforward manner except for the passage on psychoanalysis. While the testing points were a mixed bag of specific detail, organization of the passage and thought flow and inference, the presentation of the questions may have tricked some students. With a careful understanding of the question stem and the answer choices, one should have answered with good accuracy, because in several questions, it was easy to eliminate two of the choices. The remaining two were close and difficult to select from.

The distribution of the passages is as below

Passage

Number of Questions

Readability

Overall Difficulty Level

Nanotechnology

4

Moderate

Moderate

Language Instinct

4

Moderate

Moderate

Time Accuracy Entropy

4

Moderate

Difficult

Unconscious and Psychoanalysis

4

Difficult

Very Difficult

The verbal ability questions were a shade easier than the RC passages/questions, but the sentences were lengthy. The para summary/essence questions and the para forming questions were moderate to difficult. Linking these sentences was a bit time-consuming. Students with a good amount of practice would have been able to crack these. The OMO questions were slightly on the tougher side, but as they are non-MCQs, they should have been attempted.

The distribution of the questions in the Verbal Ability area is as below

Question Type

Number of Questions

Difficulty Level

Para Formation Questions (PFQs)

3

Easy to Moderate

Odd Man Out

3

Moderate

Para Summary

3

Moderate

A net score of 23-25 would be a decent score for a test-taker to be able to get 85 percentile (sectional cut-off).

Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation

The LRDI section of the evening slot seemed to be the relatively easier one across the LRDI sections in the three slots of this CAT. Since the number of sets dropped to four compared to earlier, with two sets in the easy-moderate levels, students who identified these and persisted with them would reap better dividends over those who did not attempt these sets.

The two 6-question sets were tougher to crack, as one would have naturally expected from a paper like the CAT.

The set on bar graphs, a constant fixture across the three slots this year, continued to be the easier set to solve in this slot too.

The 2nd 4-question set was the next set to be chosen, given its relatively lesser difficulty. While the questions needed some involved logic, the set was far from uncrackable for those who persisted with it. One question, however, in this set was on the tougher side. It pushed the difficulty level of this setup, and also prevented this section from being the easier LRDI section across the slots, and pegged it at the same general level of the afternoon slot.

The interesting set on Javelin Throw was a tough nut to crack given the huge amount of info that one had to process. Given that one had to crack the set to be able to attempt any question in the set, one was risking a win all-lose scenario. This added to the difficulty of the set.

The other six-question set on Question evaluation too had a lot of information to be processed, and many would have, wisely, stayed away from this set. Some of the questions clearly indicated multiple possibilities, with the word "Definitely" in a few of them. Those who have spotted this and stayed away from this set would have saved their valuable time. The fact that this is a 6-question set would have tempted many to attempt it and it is doable if one could spend time on it.

The set-wise details are as below

LRDI

Set Type

No. of Questions

Difficulty level

Bar graph on Employee Schedules

DI

4

Easy-Moderate

Purity of Solutions

LR

4

Moderate

Javelin Throw

LR

6

Very Difficult

Question Evaluation

DI

6

Moderate-Difficult

A net score of 17-19 would be a decent score for a test-taker to be able to get 85 percentile (sectional cut-off).

Quantitative Ability Section

The Quant section had a lesser number of questions compared to the VARC section, as was the case in the morning and afternoon slots. 22 questions were asked in this section, two lower than that of the VARC section.

Unlike the case of the first two slots, this section did not have many easy questions to pick from. Some questions were also lengthier, as compared to those from the other two slots, pushing the difficulty of this section slightly over that of the other two slots.

The topics of Geometry & Mensuration along with ERPV had the highest representation in this slot with four questions each. Numbers were conspicuously absent in this slot too.

The distribution of questions in this section across topics is as below

Topic

No. of Questions

Difficulty Level

AMA

1

Moderate

Averages

1

Moderate

ERPV

4

Moderate - Difficult

Function

1

Moderate

Geometry & Mensuration

4

Moderate-Difficult

Indices & Logs

2

Difficult

Inequalities

1

Difficult

Special Equations

1

Difficult

Percentages

2

Moderate

sequence

1

Difficult

SI CI

1

Difficult

Time & Work

2

Moderate

Time & Distance

1

Moderate

A net score of 19-21 would be a decent score for a test-taker to be able to get 85 percentile (sectional cut-off).

CAT 2021 Slot 2 Analysis - TIME

CAT 2021, in the afternoon slot, was similar to that seen in the morning slot and was on expected lines with no surprises as far as the pattern goes. As announced by the CAT authorities, the number of questions was reduced across all the sections.

The following was the pattern of examination

Section

Number of Questions

Non MCQs

Sectional time limit

Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension

24

5

40 Minutes

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning

20

5

40 Minutes

Quantitative Ability

22

8

40 Minutes

Total

66

10

120 Minutes

The evaluation scheme remained the same as that of the earlier years. Three marks for a correct answer and a negative mark for a wrongly marked MCQ. There were no negative marks for non-MCQs.

The difficulty, overall, for CAT 2021 in the afternoon slot was slightly on the higher side compared to that of CAT 2020 overall, which also was a two-hour paper.

Section-wise analysis

Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension

The VARC section had 24 questions in the afternoon slot, a reduction of two questions from last year.

The RC passages were four in number, similar to last year's papers. The number of RC questions, however, dropped to 16 from 18 of last year. The number of VA questions remained at 8.

The RC passages this year were lengthy and did not make for an easy read. Selecting a passage to answer was tricky as all the passages were equally complex. The questions were very intricate, with many of them asking the students to choose the options "except" and few 'weaken' the argument. Further, the options were lengthy. However, for several questions, it was easy to eliminate two of the choices. The remaining two were close and difficult to select from.

The distribution of the passages is as below

Passage

Number of Questions

Readability

Overall Difficulty Level

Language/ Indigenous people

4

Difficult

Difficult

Why Fiction Trumps Truth

4

Moderate

Moderate

Colonialism/Nationalism

4

Difficult

Difficult

Knowledge and Problems of knowledge is a scandal to philosophy.

4

Very Difficult

Very Difficult

The verbal ability questions were a shade easier than the RC passages/questions, but the sentences were lengthy. The para summary/essence questions and the para forming questions were moderate to difficult. Linking these sentences was a bit time-consuming. Students with a good amount of practice would have been able to crack these. The OMO questions were slightly on the tougher side, but as they are non-MCQs, they should have been attempted.

The distribution of the questions in the Verbal Ability area is as below

Question Type

Number of Questions

Difficulty Level

Para Formation Questions (PFQs)

3

Moderate to Difficult

Odd Man Out

2

Difficult

Para Summary

3

Moderate to Difficult

A net score of 20-22 would be a decent score for a test-taker to be able to get 85 percentile (sectional cut-off).

Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation

The LRDI section of the morning slot was at least as difficult as that of the papers last year. Some may have found it more challenging due to the number of sets now being only four instead of the five last year. The 20 questions in the section came from just two four-question sets and two six-question sets. The reduction of one set caused a drop in the choice of sets available to the students. Combined with this, that there was only one easy set out of the four, made matters tough for the students in terms of which other sets to select – this is of course after one has identified the easy set (the set on the bar graph) to do upfront.

The set-wise details are as below

LRDI

Set Type

No. of Questions

Difficulty level

Bar graph on Delivery times

DI

4

Easy-Moderate

Games & Tournaments/Distribution

LR

4

Moderate-Difficult

Pizza delivery ratings

LR

6

Difficult

Objects, Bundles & Values

DI

6

Very Difficult

The set on bar-graphs was among the easiest sets not only in the section but also across the CAT LRDI papers over the past few years. This is similar to what has been seen in the morning slot with regards to the bar graph question in that slot. There were no challenges in reading the graph and the questions were direct, dealing only with the averages of the values depicted in the graph. Given that there are only four sets in the paper, missing out on this set would have been a significant disadvantage for the students.

The set of Games and Tournaments required students to work out the match-ups between groups of players. The reasoning in the set was involved and translating the clues to concrete information would have posed a challenge to the students. Once the given situation and its implications were understood, the set could have been cracked.

The set on Pizza delivery had four customers giving ratings across parameters and the delivery boy earning tips and delivery commissions. Sifting through the given conditions carefully would have made solving the set relatively easy. But given the number of dimensions/parameters in the set, this is a challenging set.

The set on Objects, Bundles, and Values is the toughest set in the paper. The data is intensive, with a 5 x 10 table and the set also needed the students to reason out the distribution of objects. This was, on the whole, a difficult set and should have been left for last.

A net score of 17-19 would be a decent score for a test-taker to be able to get 85 percentile (sectional cut-off).

Quantitative Ability Section

The Quant section had a lesser number of questions compared to the VARC section, as was the case in the morning slot. 22 questions were present in this section, two lower than that of the VARC section.

There was a good mix of easy, moderate, and difficult questions making the selection of questions important in this section. Some questions could have proven to be more time-consuming than expected initially.

The topics of Geometry and AMA had the highest representation in this slot with three questions each. Numbers, a popular topic, was underrepresented in contrast to the usual expectations, more so in comparison with the first slot, with no questions appearing from this topic in the section.

A student who follows specific approaches for questions as the questions demand (like substitution, narrowing down using the options) instead of following the standard way of solving, would have reaped dividends in this section.

The distribution of questions in this section across topics is as below

Topic

No. of Questions

Difficulty Level

Time & Work

2

Easy-Moderate

Time & Distance

1

Moderate

Logarithms

1

Easy

Progressions

2

Moderate-Difficult

Mensuration

3

Moderate

Quadratic Equations

1

Moderate

Functions & Graphs

1

Moderate

Inequalities & Modulus

1

Moderate

Percentages, Profit & Loss

3

Moderate

Indices

1

Difficult

Miscellaneous

1

Difficult

AMA

3

Easy-Moderate

P&C

1

Difficult

Special Equations

1

Difficult

A net score of 22-24 would be a decent score for a test-taker to be able to get 85 percentile (sectional cut-off).

CAT 2021 Slot 1 Analysis - TIME

The CAT 2021 evaluation scheme remained the same as that of the earlier years. Three marks for a correct answer and a negative mark for a wrongly marked MCQ. There were no negative marks for non-MCQs.

Difficulty Level

Students who took the CAT 2021 exams in the morning slot have mentioned that the CAT 2021 exams were slightly on the higher side compared to that of CAT 2020 overall, which also was a two-hour paper.

According to the analysis of the CAT 2021, Slot 1 Examination below given is the Exam pattern and sectional time limit. 

Section

Number of Questions

MCQs

Non MCQs

Sectional time limit

Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension

24

19

5

40 Minutes

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning

20

15

5

40 Minutes

Quantitative Ability

22

14

8

40 Minutes

Total

66

48

18

120 Minutes

 

CAT 2021 Slot 1 Section-wise analysis

VARC

The VARC section of CAT 2021 had 24 questions in the morning slot, a reduction of two questions from last year. The RC passages were four in number, similar to last year's papers. The number of RC questions, however, dropped to 16 from 18 last year. The number of VA questions remained at 8.

The RC passages this year were not easy to crack. Selecting a passage to answer was not easy either, as almost none of the passages made for easy reading. One only had to implement a method of eliminating the tougher passages and attempting the passages that are leftover.

The questions were also very involved, with many of them asking the students to choose the options "except". The options were close and many of them were not easy to relate directly to the passage/question. The distribution of the passages is as below

Passage

Number of Questions

Readability

Overall Difficulty Level

Mayan Civilisation

4

Difficult

Difficult

Utopia and Dystopia

4

Difficult

Very Difficult

Marshmallow experiment

4

Moderate

Difficult

Evolution of Tea as a drink

4

Moderate

Moderate

On the other hand, the verbal ability questions provided some relief to the students who were stumped by the RC passages/questions. There were a couple of easy ones in the PFQs that the students should have attempted, due to their short length and simple comprehension that was needed. Links connecting the sentences were clear and apparent.

The OMO questions, however, were tough, but students could afford to take a guess with these as they are non-MCQs.

The distribution of the questions in the Verbal Ability area is as below

Question Type

Number of Questions

Difficulty Level

Para Formation Questions (PFQs)

3

Moderate

Odd One Out

2

Difficult

Para Summary

3

Moderate

As per experts, a net score of 21-23 would be a decent score for a test-taker to be able to get 85 percentile (sectional cut-off).

Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation

The LRDI section of the morning slot according to experts at TIME was at least as difficult as that of the papers last year. Some may have found it more challenging due to the number of sets now being only four instead of the five last year. The 20 questions in the section came from just two four-question sets and two six-question sets. The reduction of one set caused a drop in the choice available to the students. Combined with this, there was only one easy set out of the four, which made matters tough for the students in terms of which other sets to select from – this is of course after one has identified the easy set (the set on the bar graph) to do upfront.

The set-wise details are as below

LRDI

Set Type

No. of Questions

Difficulty Level

Bar graph on sales

DI

4

Moderate

Friends & Acquaintances

LR

6

Difficult

Smoothies

DI

4

Difficult

Journals

LR

6

Very Difficult

According to students, the set on bar graphs could be considered the easiest across the CAT LRDI papers over the past few years. The data was straightforward and easy to understand with no logical complications. Reading the graph was slightly tough. But this difficulty was easily offset by the direct and simple questions in the set. This is the set in this section that one should not have missed, even though it had only four questions.

The set on Friends & Acquaintances needed the students to work with an 8x8 grid and check for additional variations/cases. However, once the given information is input into the grid after understanding it thoroughly, applying some amount of reasoning makes the set crackable.

The set of smoothies, though having numbers that are not so complex to handle, can be classified as difficult. While a couple of the questions in the set could be solved with some moderate effort, the remaining two demanded exertion, pushing the difficulty level of this set higher.

The two sets above could be the sets that the students should pick up to solve after having solved the set on bar graphs.

The set on Journals had multiple data points and many may have dropped this set due to the sheer complexity of the information available. However, those who persisted with it would have found out that the information falls into place after having put in some effort. This, though would have been very time-consuming and hence, makes this set a prime candidate to be dropped or left to be dealt with towards the end of the section.

Experts suggest a net score of 16-18 would be a decent score for a test-taker to be able to get 85 percentile (sectional cut-off).

Quantitative Ability Section

The Quant section surprised students with a lesser number of questions compared to the VARC section. 22 questions were present in this section, two lower than that of the VARC section.

Many questions in the section appeared very doable at the outset but demanded increased effort and conceptual clarity from the students for them to be able to eventually solve them successfully. Several questions could have proven to be more time-consuming than expected initially.

The topics of Geometry and ERPV had the highest representation in this slot with three questions each. Numbers, a popular topic, was conspicuously underrepresented in contrast to the usual expectations.

Questions were cleverly framed to test conceptual clarity and smartness in approach. A few questions also allowed substitution from the options to help students save time.

The distribution of questions in this section across topics is as below

Topic

No. of Questions

Difficulty Level

ERPV

3

Moderate

Percentages, Profit & Loss

2

Moderate

SI-CI

1

Easy

Time & Distance

1

Easy

Time & Work

2

Moderate

Numbers

1

Moderate

Geometry

3

Easy - Moderate

Progressions

2

Difficult

Logarithms and Indices

1

Moderate

Functions & Graphs

1

Moderate

Quadratic Equations

2

Moderate - Difficult

Inequalities & Modulus

1

Moderate

AMA

2

Moderate

According to experts, a net score of 21-23 would be a decent score for a test-taker to be able to get 85 percentile (sectional cut-off).



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