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CAT Exam Slot 1 Analysis 2021 (OUT) - Moderate to Difficult; Check Section wise Review, Cut off

Gaurav Macwan

CAT 2021 Slot 1 Exam Analysis: Finally, the Slot 1 of the much awaited CAT 2021 Exam has concluded with nearly 70 thousand students attempting the test during the morning session. The CAT 2021 1st Slot was held from 8:30 to 10:30 AM and was held at nearly 400+ test centres across the country. With the slot 1 exam over now, it is time for the candidates to look at the initial reactions or the first take on the CAT 2021 Exam Analysis from experts at Jagranjosh. The experts will look at the different aspects of CAT Slot 1 Exam 2021 including the overall difficulty level, sectional difficulty level, expected cutoff and overall review of the examination in this story.

Watch this space for CAT 2021 detailed slot 1 Analysis, First Take & much more!

CAT 2021 Slot 1 Analysis - Section-wise Drill-down

With initial reactions done now, it’s time to get to actual analysis of CAT 2021 Slot 1 Exam. Based on student reactions and expert insights, the Slot 1 Exam was deemed to be of moderate to tough difficulty level. In terms of section-wise analysis, VARC was relatively easy while Quantitative Aptitude and DILR were Moderate to difficult. As compared to last year, the Slot 1 exam was of relatively moderate difficulty and students who were well prepared didn’t find any major upsets in the question paper.

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CAT 2021 Exam – Slot 1: No of Good Attempts

Experts take on the Slot 1 of CAT 2021 Exam puts the overall number of good attempts for a decent score and 95+ percentile mark at 47 to 57 attempts of the total 66 questions. In terms of section-wise Good Attempts; for Verbal, which was relatively easy section, an attempt of 15 to 20 questions should make one feel comfortable. In DILR, which was quite tricky, the number of good attemps would have shift to 8 to 12 out of total 20. While in Quant, which was dominated by basic Mathematics, a good attempt would be of around 15 to 19 questions.


No of Good Attempt Questions


15 to 20 Questions


8 to 12 Questions


15 to 18 Questions


47 to 53

CAT 2021 Expected Cut-offs: Slot 1 Analysis

With the Slot 1 Analysis out now, it’s time to look at the expected cut-off that might be estimated for the IIM Admissions based on Common Admission Test 2021. After the Slot 1 Exam Paper Analysis, experts have hinted that the sectional-cut-off for DILR and Quant would hover round 41 to 45 marks while VARC may see higher expected cut-off at 50 to 53. In terms of overall score, candidates targeting 124 to 130 marks should feel confident of securing a decent percentile score.

Section Name

Expected Cut off





Quantitative Aptitude




Exam Pattern and Marking Scheme

Before proceeding with the detailed analysis of CAT 2021 Slot 1 Exam, it is also important for the candidates to understand the overall exam pattern and marking scheme for the MBA entrance exam. As per the official notification, the CAT 2021 exam paper will be divided into three sections i.e Quant, DILR and VARC consisting of total 76 questions (both MCQs and non-MCQs) with 228 marks. These questions are to be answered in the duration of 120 minutes (2 hours).

In terms of marking scheme, the CAT 2021 follows +3 / -1 marking scheme. This means that for every correct answer, candidates will be rewarded with 3 marks while for every incorrect answer 1 mark would be deducted from the overall tally. For unattempted questions, no marks would be deducted from the overall tally.

Initial Reactions and First Take

The initial reactions and first take of test takers and experts who are looking at the CAT 2021 Slot 1 Exam is that it was at par with the overall expectations of the candidates. Going by the first take analysis, CAT aspirants had to face a total of 66 questions in 120 minutes i.e. 2 hours. The section-wise break-up of the question was 24 – 20 – 24. In terms of overall difficultly level, Quant and DILR were of medium difficulty level while VARC was relatively tough.


No of Questions


24 Questions


20 Questions


22 Questions

For VARC, there were 4 Reading Comprehension passages consisting of 4 questions each while DILR had 4 sets consisting of 20 questions. Quant was relatively easy with 22 questions covering variety of topics including Moderate Function, Arithmetic Dominating, Integral Solution Arithmetic, Easy mesuration mixed, Proportionality, Geometry,  incircle in right angle triangle, TSD easiest again, train length, PnC Probability etc.

MCQs vs non-MCQs

Another important way of analysing the CAT 2021 Slot 1 Exam is by looking at the number of MCQs and non-MCQ questions that were asked in the examination. As per the test-takers, the Slot 1 of CAT 2021 Exam consisted of 66 questions of which 48 were Multiple Choice Questions while rest 18 were non-MCQ or descriptive in nature. Section-wise break-up of MCQs and non-MCQ questions is provided in the table below:





















Use CAT Percentile Predictor 2021 to know your estimated CAT cut-offs and predict calls from IIMs and Non-IIMs accepting CAT scores for admission.

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