Analysis of CAT 2014

Computer based CAT 2014 was held on two days, 16th and 22nd November, 2014. The total number of questions were 100, with a time limit of 170 minutes. There was no time restriction for any section. Hence, one could switch over to any section during the exam. The overall impression of the paper was moderate, except for the AR and DI sections. In fact,Analytical Reasoning and Data Interpretation questions were relatively easy to moderate in the paper conducted on the second day i.e. 22nd Nov, as reported by the students.
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Overview of the CAT 2014 Paper:
Time allotted 170 Minutes
Total no. of questions 100
Marking Scheme Correct Answer: +3 Marks
Sections 2
Number of choices 4
Negative Marking Wrong Answer: -1 Mark
CAT 2014 Sections:
Sr. No. Sections No. of Questions Time Allotted Difficulty Level
1 Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning 50 170 Minutes (For both sections) Easy to Moderate
2 Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation 50 170 Minutes (For both sections) Easy to Moderate
Expected cut off:
On the whole, it can be presumed that with an attempt of 75 - 85 questions with 70%+ accuracy you can expect calls from a few IIMs. Furthermore, with higher accuracy and perhaps slightly lesser attempts you can anticipate scoring a good percentile and expect calls from a few of the top CAT affiliated colleges.
Sectional Analysis of CAT 2014:
SECTION I: Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning
Sr. No. Area Tested Description No. of Questions Difficulty Level / remarks
1 Reading Comprehension 4 passages 16 (4+4+4+4) Moderate
2 Verbal Ability Grammar part error, Para Jumble, Critical reasoning, Misfit 18 Easy to Moderate
3 Logical Reasoning Circular Arrangement, Venn Diagram, Simple Linear Arrangement, Distribution of Objects 16 Easy to Moderate
Overall     50 Moderate
Evaluation: The overall level of the questions was moderate. Reading comprehension passages were manageable. Only 1 out of the 4 passages was tough. Questions on verbal ability covered only a few areas like critical reasoning, sentence rearrangement, and misfit among sentences given. Logical reasoning section had 4 sets with 4 questions each. The LR section was also moderate except one set on Venn diagrams which was comparatively difficult.
SECTION II: Quantitative Ability & DI
Sr. No. Area Tested Description No. of Questions Difficulty Level / remarks
1 DI: Data Interpretation Bar Graph, Table based questions 16 (4 sets*4 questions each) Moderate
2 Quantitative Ability Number System, Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, and P & C 34 Easy to Moderate
Overall     50 Easy to Moderate
Evaluation: The Quantitative Aptitude portion of the exam was significantly easier than the previous year's CAT papers. In terms of degree of difficulty, the section featured only a few probing questions and majority of the questions could be handled easily.
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Overall Review:
Surprisingly on 22nd of November, the level of questions in Data Interpretation was easy as compared to day 1, as reported by the students. Traditionally, CAT is an aptitude exam that focuses on skill levels of students, and not necessarily the speed with which they solve questions. CAT-2014 sent this approach for a toss and the paper kept the student on their toes. The additional 30 minutes given in this year ensured that students had sufficient time to attempt a fairly high number of questions.
Other than the change in difficulty level of the exam, CAT 2014 did not have major surprises and did not introduce any new topics. Another key aspect of the exam was the fact that the slot did not see a variation in questions and the all the students got the same set of questions in the exam.
In the following sections, we provide an assessment of the individual sections of the exam:

The Quantitative Aptitude section of the exam was significantly easier than the papers in the previous years. In terms of degree of difficulty, the section featured only a few probing questions and majority of the questions could be handled easily. In this year's paper, a few unique questions made an appearance but these were rare. Wise selection of questions was critical to avoid getting stuck on problems. It is important to note that the exam has enough easy questions for you to crack, hence, focus on identifying these rather than wasting time on problems you think you may be able to solve.
In general, the exam featured a uniform mix of questions from Number System, Algebra, Geometry, Arithmetic, P&C and Probability. In comparison to the previous years, CAT 2014 featured an increased number of questions from Arithmetic. Most of these questions were based on basic concepts and one could solve them if these were revised before the exam. Overall, the exam featured 34 Quantitative Aptitude problems.
This section of the exam also featured four Data Interpretation sets, each with 4 questions. The style of data interpretation sets was slightly different this year, and the questions were not purely calculative in nature. The questions had an element of reasoning involved in them, and in order to better gauge this style of paper, it is advisable to solve DI sets from the years 2003 to 2008.
The four DI sets featured in the exam were based on the following areas: Bar graphs, tables and reasoning-based. Also, this year Data Sufficiency was absent from the paper.
The 'Verbal Ability' section of CAT underwent a transformation this year, and generally speaking, the level was easier than in the previous year. The section contained 34 questions from the following areas: 4 passages with 4 questions each, 4 critical reasoning questions (inference based), 3 summary writing questions, 4 para jumble questions, 4 odd sentence out questions and 3 grammar based questions.
This section did not contain questions from any of the following areas: vocabulary, FIJs, Phrasal verbs and so on. This effectively means that you did not need to worry about these areas and could simply focus on the reading-based sections of the exam.
The section featured reading comprehensions of moderate length, which varied between 400 to 550 words. An obvious break from the style of previous years was the fact that the RCs did not contain passages from areas such as philosophy, sociology etc. The passages were based on topics such as obesity, politics and so on. One thing that needs to be mentioned is that some of the questions were direct in nature and you should be fairly confident to attempt this section.
The logical reasoning section of the exam had 4 sets of four questions each. The questions in this section were slightly difficult and generally speaking, the reasoning portion of this exam has been reported as time consuming. Keep this in mind when you attempt this section, and do not place your complete focus on logical reasoning alone.
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Summing up, as is evident from the analysis above, CAT-2014 was a relatively easy paper when compared to the previous year and by focusing on basic skills, you could easily perform well in the exam. You could solve a vast majority of the questions in the exam, and in general, maintain a fairly decent tempo throughout the examination.
The paper does not pose major difficulties but a few points should be kept in mind while solving the papers:
  • There was an increased focus on Arithmetic in the exam. Revise basic formulas and concepts for this area.
  • Vocabulary does not feature a threat in the exam and do not worry much but keep a hold on this area. FIJs and Phrasal Verbs do not feature in the exam.
  • CAT 2014 essentially tested your problem solving speed along with your ability to pick the right problems to solve. Majority of the problems faced in the exam could be solved without any time pressure but that does not mean that you spend time on questions that require lengthy analysis or calculations. You can always get back to such questions once you have solved the easy ones in the exam. Keep in mind that there are a fairly good number of easy problems in the exam.
The above are some tips that you should keep in mind for CAT and careful consideration of these will help to boost your score.
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