CAT Exam throwing surprises and the CAT 2016 Exam came as a big surprise. From the feedback received from Aspirants, there were quite a few doable questions across sections this year, as there were last year.
But the number of tough questions seems to have gone up significantly. Presence of Easy and moderate type of questions would make the students feel that the section is not very tough.
However, many Aspirants would have took it as a Herculean task to push their overall attempts beyond a certain level. With many tricky questions and the added possibility of silly mistakes, the cut-offs this year could move south, compared to CAT 2015.
One significant observation that could be gathered from our expert analysis this year is that the level of difficulty of each of the three sections was very close across the two slots.
CAT 2016 was unlike CAT 2015, but there was difference in difficulty level in two of the sections (LRDI & VARC). The order of questions and options for the questions was different for different students.
VARC (Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension)
The Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension section is one section that most aspirants dread on account of its fickle ways.
First Slot: The passage section was of moderate length and were from topics which are considered to be interesting reads - Economics, Environment, Linguistic Studies etc. However, the joy was SHORT lived as the answer options were extremely close and aspirants had to read the relevant paragraphs multiple times to get to the correct option. Aspirants ran out of time thus reducing the overall attempts in this section.
The para-formation questions turned out to be some of the toughest ones seen in recent years due to the absence of answer choices. For most aspirants, it would have been a difficult to identify the starter and find relevant connections. Aspirants who tried to these questions can expect to see low accuracy and low scores from these questions. The Para summary questions can be classified as moderate and should have been attempted to boost the score. Good Attempts: 22-24.
Second Slot - With many readable and not-so-tough RC passages, the VARC section may have appeared very crackable, despite the tough VA questions. However, the close choices in the RC questions and the completely new question types - like "Main purpose of the passage" - made this section tougher than what it seemed to be. The VA questions, on Para Formation/Para Odd-man-out and Para summary were quite tough to crack especially given that there were no options to guide the students. Lack of negative marking for these questions was definitely a plus for the students. Good Attempts: 23-26
LRDI (Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation)
CAT 2015 had set a new benchmark in terms of difficulty level for the LRDI SECTION. Aspirants who had worked furiously post this would have benefitted the most as CAT 2016 set a new benchmark of difficulty. The difficulty level of the Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning section certainly went up one notch in CAT 2016. The DI sets were not difficult in terms of interpretation but the Qs more than made up for this -- the Qs were tricky and it wasn't easy to solve more than 2-3 Qs in each set. Students who had persisted throughout the AIMCATs would have kept their balance and found this section less intimidating. Good Attempts: 14-16
The comeback of tough DILR sections seen in CAT 2015 continued in CAT 2016 and the rampage caused by it would have left many IIM aspirants licking their wounds, unless they have prepared well expecting a tough DILR on the back of CAT 2015. This was even more IMPORTANT as the toughness of this section seems to have only increased further.
One factor that the students could have taken solace from is that the difficult sets were clearly unsolvable right from the outset, helping them drop out of those fairly soon. Good Attempts: 14-16
QA (Quantitative Ability)
The Quant section had 34 Qs with around 8 Qs of non-MCQ type. The number of questions on Geometry was on the higher side and some of them can be considered to be moderate-difficult.
This was offset by the large number of Arithmetic questions which would have helped aspirants increase their attempts. The low weightage trend for numbers continued this year in the morning slot. All in all, this section can be classified as being slightly higher than moderate level (maybe a moderate plus).Good Attempts: 19-21.
The Quant section had 34 Qs with around 6 Qs of non-MCQ type. As it was seen in the morning slot, the number of questions on Geometry was on the higher side and some of them can be considered to be moderate-difficult. P&C took a very strong come back this year along with Numbers, which was unlike what was seen in the first slot.
There was a very good number of questions from Arithmetic, most of which could have been quickly solved by a student with moderate - good level of preparation. There were a few cases where the mathematical symbols could be interpreted incorrectly.