CAT 2021 Analysis: CAT Slot 1, 2 & 3 Analysis

CAT 2021: Overall Analysis
The CAT 2021 began with suspense on number of questions in slot 1. Students were hoping to do without big surprise but the questions were reduced to 66 in 2021 from 76 in 2020. The difficulty level of the exam followed similar pattern as in last few years wherein verbal was moderate, DILR was most difficult and quant was moderate to difficult.
Slot 3 seemed relatively high scoring with more attempts in both DILR and Quant. Overall, the CAT exam went smoothly as per last available report.
Major Highlights:
  1. Total number of questions- 66 (down from 76 in 2020)
  2. Duration: 2 Hours (same as last year)
  3. Difficulty Level: VARC –moderate, DILR difficult, Quant moderate to difficult
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CAT 2021 Exam- Slot 1 Analysis
Check out our in-depth analysis of slot 1 to get insights for Slot 2 & 3 and performance differentiators for slot 1
The students walked into the CAT exam this year assuming that the conducting body would continue the pattern of last year and avoid any unnecessary surprises but their prayers were not answered. CAT 2021 Slot 1 had total 66 questions, 10 less than last year, spread across 3 usual sections. In terms of pattern, structure and difficulty level, the exam may have been similar to previous CAT exams with slight variation in difficulty levels across sections.
Major Changes:
  • Total number of questions has been reduced to 66 in 2021 from 76 in 2020
  • Difficulty Level: VARC –moderate to difficult, DILR difficult, Quant moderate
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Exam Structure and Pattern:
The paper consisted of three sections: namely, ‘Quantitative Aptitude (QA)’, ‘Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)’ and ‘Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)’, with 24, 20 and 22 questions, respectively. The order of the sections was fixed, with a sectional time limit of 40 minutes.
The sections contained the following segmentation for Slot 1:
Sec. No.
Section Name
Total No. of Ques.
No. of Multiple Choice Ques.
Number of Non-MCQs (TITA Ques.)
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning
Quantitative Ability
Section-wise Review
Verbal Ability Review: In terms of level of difficulty, the verbal section can be labelled as moderate to difficult. The accuracy will be the key to good score.
There were Four RC passages of medium length of 4 questions each. The break-up of other questions was Parajumbles - 3, Para Summary – 3 and odd one out 2.There were total 5 TITA questions from odd one and parajumbles.There were no TITA questions in RC.
The topics of passages were –
  1. Cuttlefish show impressive personality
  2. Book review moral marketing-Utopian and Dystopian
  3. The classic period of Maya
  4. Competing virtue with consumption
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Overall an attempt of 15-20 with high accuracy will fetch 99%ile
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning: As with this section last year, the section was most difficult. There were total 4 sets – 2 of 6 questions each and 2 of 4 questions each.One was Bar Graph set of 4 questions which was calculation intensive but attempted mostly by all students. Another one was missing values from the table i.e. AR set of 6 questions. 2 sets were data reasoning – one of 4 and another of 6 questions. There were a total of 5 TITA questions.
A typical AR set was related to persons and journals of different categories with good number of variables and their logical connections. Very few students could attempt more than 2 sets.
An attempt of 8-12 questions with good accuracy will fetch 99%ile

Quantitative Aptitude Review: The Quant section was moderately easier. Majority of the typical topics like Profit & Loss, TSD, Time & Work, Alligation were fairly represented. Geometry questions were 3 in number with moderate level of difficulty. Algebra had 5 questions (2 Linear, 2 APGP and 1 on inequalities. Overall the quant section was doable. However like last year the questions were time consuming even though the level of difficulty was not high. Ideal strategy was to skip the questions which seemed difficult at the first go.
An attempt of 15-19 questions with good accuracy level, will fetch 99%ile
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