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
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.
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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.)
I
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension
24
19
5
II
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning
20
15
5
III
Quantitative Ability
22
15
7
 
TOTAL
66
49
17

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
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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Attempts & Expected Percentile Table along with B-Schools Cut-offs
Table – Morning Slot
Overall Attempt
VA & RC
Attempt
DI & LR Attempt
QA
Attempt
Probable Score
Expected Percentile
52+
17-20
10-12
17-20
110+
99.5
46-52
15-19
9-11
16-19
100
99
38-46
13-17
8-10
15-18
85
97
31-38
12-15
7-9
13-16
73
95
22-31
9-13
5-8
7-11
55
90
15-22
6-10
4-7
5-8
46
80
It looks like a normalisation of around 5% may take place to make both the slots at the same level.

CAT 2021 Exam- Slot 2 Analysis
Check out our in-depth analysis of slot 2 to get insights for Slot 3
The Slot 2 of CAT 2021 was on similar lines with slight deviation in terms of difficulty level of Quant section which was suggested to be moderately difficult and a bit lengthy. The slot 2 had total 66 questions spread across 3 usual sections.
Major Changes:
  1. Total number of questions has been reduced to 66 in 2021 from 76 in 2020
  2. Difficulty Level (compared to Slot 1): VARC –moderate to easy, DILR difficult, Quant slightly difficult
Exam Structure and Pattern:
The paper consisted of three sections: namely, ‘Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)’, ‘Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)’ and‘Quantitative Aptitude (QA)’ 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 2:
Sec. No.
Section Name
Total No. of Ques.
No. of Multiple Choice Ques.
Number of Non-MCQs (TITA Ques.)
I
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension
24
19
5
II
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning
20
15
5
III
Quantitative Ability
22
15
7
 
TOTAL
66
49
17
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Section-wise Review
Verbal Ability Review: In terms of level of difficulty, the verbal section can be labelled as moderate to easy. The attempt and accuracy will make the difference in a good score vs an average 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. Para summary questions were slightly difficult.
The topics of passages were –
  1. Philosophy wherein author reflects on dilemmas
  2. How languages are losing their importance
  3. Power and Truth in general with slight tilt towards politics
  4. Historian’s perspective on India’s colonial history
Overall an attempt of 15-19 with high accuracy will fetch 99%ile
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning: As with this section in general in last few years, the section was most difficult but may be slightly easier than Slot 1. There were total 4 sets – 2 of 6 questions each and 2 of 4 questions each. Sets were on 1) Bar Graph – Product packaging & dispatched (easiest set), 2) Distribution & operations, 3) Games & tournaments Table and 4) Date Interpretation. There were a total of 5 TITA questions.
An attempt of 12-15 questions with good accuracy will fetch 99%ile
Quantitative Aptitude Review: The Quant section was slightly difficult compared to Slot 1 and many students found the section a bit lengthy. Majority of the typical topics like Profit & Loss, Time & Work, Alligationetcwere fairly represented. Geometry questions were 3 in number and comparatively easier. Algebra questions were on similar lines as in Slot 1. Overall the quant section was slightly difficult and would have reduced attempts by 3-4. Ideal strategy was to skip the questions which seemed difficult at the first go. There were 6-8 TITA questions.
An attempt of 12-17 questions with good accuracy level, will fetch 99%ile
Attempts & Expected Percentile Table along with B-Schools Cut-offs
Table – Slot 2
Overall Attempt
VA & RC
Attempt
DI & LR Attempt
QA
Attempt
Probable Score
Expected Percentile
51+
17-20
13-16
13-18
108
99.5
45-51
15-19
12-15
12-17
97
99
37-45
13-17
10-12
10-14
82
97
30-37
12-15
8-11
8-12
70
95
21-30
9-13
6-9
7-10
52
90
14-21
6-10
5-8
4-7
43
80
It looks like a normalisation of around 5% may take place to make all the slots at the same level.

CAT 2021 Exam- Slot 3 Analysis
Check out our in-depth analysis of slot 3
The Slot 3 of CAT 2021 was on similar lines with slight deviation in terms of difficulty level of Quant section which was suggested to be moderately difficult and a bit lengthy. The slot 2 had total 66 questions spread across 3 usual sections.
Major Changes:
  1. Total number of questions has been reduced to 66 in 2021 from 76 in 2020, on same lines as in Slot 1 & 2
  2. Difficulty Level (compared to Slot 1& 2): VARC –moderate to easy, DILR difficult, Quant moderate to difficult
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Exam Structure and Pattern:
The paper consisted of three sections: namely, ‘Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)’, ‘Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)’ and‘Quantitative Aptitude (QA)’ 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 3:
Sec. No.
Section Name
Total No. of Ques.
No. of Multiple Choice Ques.
Number of Non-MCQs (TITA Ques.)
I
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension
24
19
5
II
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning
20
15
5
III
Quantitative Ability
22
14
8
 
TOTAL
66
48
18

Section-wise Review
Verbal Ability Review: In terms of level of difficulty, the verbal section can be labelled as moderate to difficult. The attempt and accuracy along with passage selection will make the difference in a good score vs an average 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. Para summary questions were slightly difficult.
The topics of passages were –
  1. Keeping the time accurately requires price (scientific in nature with moderate difficulty level)
  2. Transition from mechanical robots to nano-robots since early 2000 (scientific in nature, vocab heavy and therefore tricky passage)
  3. New Doctrine as to how language is hardwired in human brains (moderate difficulty)
  4. Psychology based passage on hallucination, dreams etc (difficult)
Overall an attempt of 15-19 with high accuracy will fetch 99%ile
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning: As with this section in general in last few years, the section was most difficult and on similar lines as Slot 1 and 2. There were total 4 sets – 2 of 6 questions each and 2 of 4 questions each. Sets were on 1) AR set of 6 questions – 3 people taking interviews and selecting questions, (doable), 2) Mixture & Alligations wherein mixin of pure and impure liquid was to be done (difficult), 3) Games & tournaments - Javelin throw (lengthy and difficult) and 4) Bar Graph – 4 people project team (easy). There were a total of 5 TITA questions.
An attempt of 12-15 questions with good accuracy will fetch 99%ile
Quantitative Aptitude Review:The Quant section was moderately difficult, easier than Slot 2 although students did find the section time consuming. Majority of the typical topics like Profit & Loss, Time & Work, Ratio, Alligation etc were fairly represented. Geometry questions were 4 in number and comparatively easier. Algebra questions were on similar lines as in Slot 1. Overall the quant section was slightly difficult and would have reduced attempts by 3-4. There were 8 TITA questions.Since the section wasn’t difficult but time consuming, question selection was the key to a higher score.
An attempt of 16-19 questions with good accuracy level, will fetch 99%ile
Attempts & Expected Percentile Table along with B-Schools Cut-offs
CAT Slot 3 Analysis
Overall Attempt
VA & RC
Attempt
DI & LR Attempt
QA
Attempt
Probable Score
Expected Percentile
53+
17-20
13-16
17-20
112
99.5
47-53
15-19
12-15
16-19
102
99
39-47
13-17
10-12
15-18
87
97
32-39
12-15
8-11
13-16
75
95
23-32
9-13
6-9
7-11
55
90
16-23
6-10
5-8
5-8
47
80
It looks like a normalisation of around 5% may take place to make all the slots at the same level.
B-School Cut-offs
CAT scores are used as a primary screening tool by B-Schools for short listing candidates for the GD/ PI round. Apart from CAT percentile other factors which are taken in to account for generating calls include academic performance in 10th/12th, 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)
90+
MICA, IMT-G/N, XIMB, IMI-D, FSM, IRMA, GIM, TAPMI, KJSIMSR, SIMSREE, , UBS-CHD, SPJAIN-D/S, BIM, NIRMA,
87+
WIMDR-M, LBSIM, LIBA, IMI-K/B, GLIM, BIMTECH-PGDM/IB, IBS-ICFAI, MFC-DU, IFMR, MIB-DU, MHROD-DU, IMT-H
85+
MISB, ISBM-P, WIMDR-B, BIMTECH-Retail/Insurance, IIFM, MBE-DU,
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