CAT 2016 Comprehensive Analysis

MBA Masterclass
So, finally CAT-2016 is done and here you are, reading the analysis for the exam.
Even though this is a rare exception, the CAT examiners did not spring any major surprise in the exam. In terms of pattern, structure and difficulty level, the exam was very similar to the exam last year.
Exam Structure and Pattern:
CAT-2016 First Slot Analysis
The paper consisted of three sections: namely, 'Quantitative Aptitude (QA)', 'Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)' and 'Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)', with 34, 32 and 34 questions, respectively. The order of the sections was fixed, with a sectional time limit of 60 minutes.
The sections contained the following segmentation:
Section No. Section Name Total Number of Questions Number of Multiple Choice Questions Number of Non-MCQs (TITA Questions)
I Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension 34 24 10
II Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning 32 24 8
III Quantitative Ability 34 27 7
  TOTAL 100 75 25
Attempts & Expected Percentile Table along with B-Schools Cut-offs
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The following table gives overall & section wise attempt vis-a-vis probable score & percentile for different slots.
Table - Morning Slot
Overall Attempt VA & RC Attempt DI & LR Attempt QA Attempt Probable Score Expected Percentile
72+ 26-28 16-22 24-28 170+ 99.5+
67-72 22-26 14-18 22-26 155+ 99+
60-67 18-24 12-16 18-22 140+ 97+
52-60 16-20 10-14 16-20 130+ 95+
44-52 14-18 9-12 13-16 122+ 90+
38-44 12-16 6-10 12-15 110+ 80+
Table - Evening Slot
Overall Attempt VA & RC Attempt DI & LR Attempt QA Attempt Probable Score Expected Percentile
72+ 26-28 15-20 23-27 165+ 99.5+
64-72 22-26 14-18 22-25 155+ 99+
57-64 18-24 12-16 16-20 140+ 97+
46-57 16-20 10-14 15-18 130+ 95+
40-46 14-18 9-12 13-16 120+ 90+
35-40 12-16 6-10 12-15 110+ 80+
The tables have been updated after getting latest responses from students.
Kindly Note:
There was a discrepancy in the marking scheme mentioned for the for the exam. In the directions for the exam, the marks mentioned for questions were +3 for a correct answer and -1 for an incorrect answer choice. On the other hand, in the consolidated questions window, the marks mentioned for questions were +1 for a correct answer and -0.33 marks for an incorrect question. Either way, this does not impact the total scores as the proportion of negative marking is the same.
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B-School Cut-offs
CAT scores are used as a primary screening tool by B-Schools for shortlisting candidates for the GD/ PI round. Apart from CAT percentile other factors which are taken into account for generating calls include academic performance in 10th, +2, Graduation, duration of work experience. Normally, the cut-offs for old IIMs are higher than those for new IIMs.
Level(Approx cut-off percentiles Gen.) Institutes
99.5+ 3-8 Call from IIM A,B,C,L,K,I,S, FMS
99+ 1-2 Call from IIM A,B,C,L,K,I,S And All other IIM calls, IIT B
98+ IIT-D, MDI-PGP, All IIMs except old 7
96.5+ SPJIMR,NITIE, MDI- HR/IM, few new IIMs ( Latest 6)
94.5+ IIT-KH, IIT-KN, IIT-C, IIT-R, IISc-B, XLRI-Global BM, MDI-M, IIMA (Abm), IIML (Abm)
85+ MISB, ISBM-P, WIMDR-B, BIMTECH-Retail/Insurance, IIFM, MBE-DU,

Section-wise Review
Verbal Ability Review: In terms of level of difficulty, the section can be labelled as easy to moderate. In terms of level of difficulty, the exam was very similar to the exam last year. In fact, most students have reported that they found RCs to be easier than last year. But then, in Verbal Ability, generally the accuracy of students is lower than the other sections and any such review needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. The 4 subjective para-jumble questions were once again tricky in nature and it is hard for a student to be sure of any particular order for these questions.
As with the exam last year, the exam did not feature any question from vocabulary, FIJs, Phrasal verbs and so on. This effectively meant that the aspirants who were proficient in the topics that are reading-based would have been more comfortable in this section. The RC passages were of moderate length, which varied between 400-600 words.
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning: As with this section last year, this section was again lengthy and time-consuming in nature. Overall, this was the toughest section in the exam.
Both the slots have reported that LR-DI was the toughest section in the exam. Students found it extremely time-consuming and you can expect the lowest cut-off for this section.
Quantitative Aptitude Review: In terms of the level of difficulty, the section was of moderate nature but the section was trickier in comparison to the last year. Therefore, you can expect the cut-offs to be slightly lower than the last year.
Overall, in the Quant Section there was a representation of almost all the areas. Commercial Math (Percentage, Profit & Loss & Ratio) had a good number of questions. Surprisingly, there was not a single question on probability. However, there was one question on Permutation and Combination. Time and Distance also had very few questions but otherwise traditional areas like Number System, Algebra & Geometry were present in a good number.
With respect to the first slot, there were a couple of issues reported in the exam. In the first slot, there were two ambiguous questions. Also, the square root symbol was displayed as a pie symbol in the exam. This caused confusion for some students. Clarification from the IIMs is certainly awaited on this issue. This would have an overall impact on the cut-offs. Also, students have reported.
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The Verdict
Overall, this was slightly difficult paper as compared to exam previous year. The Quant section was Moderate to difficult, Verbal was moderate & LR was difficult. Those who attempted 72+ questions with decent accuracy can expect multiple IIM calls with 99.5+ percentile. For a lot of students, the LR-DI section will make or break section. The cut-off for this section is expected to be low.
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