The news aka CAT 2015 analysis that came out after slot 1 was that the paper was easy and the level of difficulty was almost on par with that of CAT 2014. While listening to these news was not really recommended and it was important to go with a clear mind, many would have fallen into the trap of translating subjective advice into an infallible truth. Hindsight is deceptive and if we would have been able to predict our future on the basis of our past, how awesome would it be!
The paper ‘in hindsight’ was not as easy as it was made out to be. Yes, for someone who knew his/her areas of strength and weakness well, it would have been a good paper as there was a clear demarcation between the easy and the difficult questions. For someone who was more used to rushing through the paper, the slot was excruciatingly asphyxiating. For someone who was used to going slowly through the paper, this was a nightmare. It was tempting, at some places very easy and at others difficult. Probably the trickiest of CAT papers solely on the basis of question mix.
Let’s see the CAT 2015 analysis section wise
Reading comprehension (CAT 2015 Analysis – Slot 2)
It was a mix of 3-mark and 6-mark sets. The sets were easy to read and factual in nature. The one on Congo, the Inca civilization, UP water shortage and the ICT one were easy and should have been attempted. The questions were straightforward. The one on women professionals’ attire was the most difficult of the lot not because it was difficult to read but as the options were pretty close. At least 3-4 RCs could have been attempted by a prepared candidate with 80% accuracy at the very least.
Verbal Ability (CAT 2015 Analysis – Slot 2)
With no option based questions, this would have been a nightmare for the aspirants. Add to that the fact that the questions were tricky would make this a ‘lucky draw’ section. All the parajumbles were difficult barring one and so were the 4 sentence parajumbles with one incorrect sentence. The only relief was in the form of paragraph summary questions. The instructions were quite tricky and one had to be careful while solving each question. The absence of grammar based questions and vocabulary based questions was surprising and the performance in this part of the VARC section would be a make or break one when it comes to boosting one’s overall score. Overall, a candidate should have attempted all the questions as there were no negatives but the accuracy would be pretty low in these questions.
Overall, a good candidate would have attempted 24+ questions in this section with a split of 16-18 in RC and 7-8 in VA. An accuracy of 70% in RCs should translate to 30 marks and that of 40% in VA should translate to 12 marks. A score of 45+ should be a fair performance in the test, that of 50+ should be a good one and anything upside of 55 should ensure a 99%ile in this section.
Data Interpretation (CAT 2015 Analysis – Slot 2)
The exit poll of the morning slot said that DI LR would be the decider as it was a bit more difficult and only the prepared aspirant would have the vision to crack a set. The trend continued in the afternoon slot with the sets being a bit more tedious than what was ’expected’. Another pitfall of going with a rigid frame of mind!
The set on R&D allotment was doable and should have been attempted. The questions were doable and straightforward. The set on placebo and drugs was doable and was a good investment considering the limited options that were available on offer. The set on name trends was again on the easier side and a trained eye would have been able to spot the trends quickly thereby gaining valuable marks. The set on printers was better left alone and it would have been very difficult if one didn’t know how to proceed. It would probably be the differentiator between the 99.9 percentiler and the 100th percentiler in this section and so, should have been left alone unless there was ample time left. Around 7-8 attempts could be considered good in this part of the section, especially with the scorchers that were thrown at the candidates.
Logical Reasoning (CAT 2015 Analysis – Slot 2)
This provided the much needed relief in the section. Candidates good at arrangements and general LR puzzles would have been happy seeing this part of the section. There were 4 sets of 4 questions each and at least 2 were doable. The set on 4 out of 5 specializations was a must attempt and a good candidate could have easily scored 12/12. In this type of a paper, it was pure gold dust. The set on marks scored in the objective test was easy-moderate and again a booster when it comes to differentiating the serious from the non-serious candidates. The set on article bidding was tricky and the accuracy could be hit in this one. The good thing was it was a non-MCQ set and so, one could take a few risks. The set on subjects, professors and lecture halls was again a scorcher and better left alone. Overall, one could have solve around 10 questions in this part including a couple of non-MCQs.
Anything north of 15 attempts and hence around 40 marks should be a strong performance in this section. Anything upward of 50 should be worthy of a 99%ile.
Quantitative Aptitude (CAT 2015 Analysis – Slot 2)
This was probably the most controversial section when it came to ‘equality’ between the two slots. The arguments on ‘my slot toughest’ have been going on since time immemorial and they will continue till the time CAT becomes a single day paper or switches completely to an adaptive year-round test.
The questions were not that difficult and for someone who knew exactly what one was good at, it would have been a good section. There were quite a few questions from arithmetic, a couple on alligations, more than a couple on incomes and expenditures, three questions on time, speed and distance and 4-5 questions on geometry. There were no extremely complex questions focusing on obscure concepts but almost all the questions were a bit lengthy. Selection was the key here and someone on his/her toes throughout the section would have done well here. Selecting the easiest questions and doing them with conviction was the key here. A good candidate could have attempted 18+ questions with ease with around 85% accuracy. A score of 45+ should be fair in this section, 50+ should be good and anything upward of 57-58 marks should merit a 99%ile.
Final words (CAT 2015 Analysis – Slot 2)
The paper was slightly easier than yesteryear CATs although it did manage to stump the candidates on many levels. Anything above 150 should be a strong performance in the test with at least a 98+ percentile. 160+ should be a 99+ score and it could go even further up if the normalization takes effect in compliance with the subjectivity.
Overall, the slot was of moderate level and slightly more difficult compared to CAT 2014. The scores would be pretty tightly stacked up and so, accuracy will be all the more important. Add to that a seasoning of text based questions, and this is as unpredictable as a test could be. The experiment of CAT 2015 can be said to be a successful one with there being minimal ambiguity in the questions, a strong interface with almost no glitches and a balanced paper overall. The difference between the difficulty levels of slots will spark a few discussions but that would have happened anyway. All answers will be revealed come the New Year.
Meanwhile, you can share your experiences with us by dropping in a comment. You can also read the CAT 2015 analysis – Slot 1 here.
Confused with all the hoopla after CAT 2015? Stay away from rumour mongering and weigh your options here.
All the best!