CAT 2017 Paper Analysis

The pattern of the forenoon slot of CAT 2017 was very much on the lines of CAT 2016 — the number of questions across sections remained the same as that of last year. This would have come as a huge sigh of relief for all aspirants as the conducting-IIM (in this case IIM Lucknow) had not disclosed the number of questions per section.

However, the resemblance to CAT2016 ended here. The overall refrain was that the exam was ‘challenging’ and would have required the best efforts from every aspirant.

CAT 2017 paper pattern

  • The exam started with Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension section which had 34 questions
  • This was followed by the Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation section which had 32 questions
  • The last section was Quantitative Ability which had 34 questions

Students who were regular with their AIMCATs and did a thorough analysis of the AIMCATs gave feedback that the tough LRDI sections that they were exposed to in multiple AIMCATs along with the challenging VA questions they faced helped them tackle this exam with a lot more poise and confidence.

Tough security check

As reported by students across the country, the security check at entry was very rigorous at most centers. Belts, clips, jewellery including rings, ear rings, chains etc. were not allowed. Many were forced to rush back to deposit such items outside, and get admitted into the test area.

Smooth test experience

The test experience, however, was very smooth. No issues were reported by the students at the time of filing this analysis, except at one center in Delhi where there were server issues, because of which students at that centre could not take the CAT. We are sure that the IIMs will address this on priority.

Section-wise paper analysis of CAT 2017 (forenoon slot)

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension

  • This section had 24 Qs in RCs and 10 Qs in Verbal
  •  Aspirants would have been delighted by the RCs as they were easy to read both in terms of language and the ‘subject’ area
  • There were three passages with 6 Qs each and two, with 3 Qs each
  • The relative ease of reading the passages was compensated by the increased level of difficulty in the ‘choices’
  • A relatively high proportion of questions from this area were inference-based, requiring good critical reasoning skills
  •  The options in most questions were similar and would have required involved reading and sometimes, multiple reading of the relevant portions of the passage. This would have taken up time and would have left test-takers with niggling doubts in their minds as to whether they had marked the ‘right’ option
  • The ten questions on verbal ability were of moderate level of difficulty, overall. However, with seven of these ten being non-MCQ type questions, the effective level of difficulty would appear to be higher by a notch or two

Expected section cut-off: The cut-off in this section is expected to be slightly lower than that in CAT2016.

Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation

“What more can I do?””I had burned more midnight oil on this section than any other!!”  “The difficulty level was beyond what I had anticipated.”

  • Most conversations outside the exam venues were on the above lines. The LRDI section once again proved to be the nemesis of all aspirants
  • While the LRDI section of CAT2016 was considered by many to be the most difficult ever, CAT2017 exceeded even that high mark. The entire section comprised ‘difficult’ and ‘very difficult’ level questions
  • Several familiar models of questions in LR and DI were conspicuous by their absence and every set had ‘unfamiliar’ written all over it! Infact, the entire section can be termed to have DI based reasoning sets and Quant based reasoning sets, making it almost impossible to identify and classify the sets in DI and LR separately
  • While the data in some of the sets looked innocuous to begin with, enticing many an aspirant to attempt them, they would have soon realised that there was much more to the sets than what initially appeared, leading to a feeling that one was trapped in quicksand. Other sets were outright intimidating even at the first glance, given the volume of data and text given in them

Expected section cut-off: The cut-off in this section is expected to be slightly lower than that in CAT2016.

Quantitative Ability

  • Most aspirants would have perceived the quantitative ability section of this slot to be the easiest of the three sections, and rightly so
  • The relative absence of ‘Difficult’ and ‘Very Difficult’ questions and the corresponding increase in the number of questions on basic arithmetic concepts would have enabled a higher level of attempts in this section
  • Those students who had attended classes regularly and had worked extensively on the study material books would have found that their attempts are on the higher side compared to the other aspirants
  • Leaving out any time-consuming questions and maximizing the number of attempts would be the key to scoring high in this section