The overall structure of CAT (Common Admission Test) 2016 was exactly similar to that of CAT 2015. The test started with the Verbal Section, which had 34 questions – 24 RC (Reading Comprehension) and 10 VA (Verbal Ability). The second section was the DI-LR (Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning) with 32 questions distributed equally between the two areas. The third section was the QA (Quantitative Ability) section which also had 34 questions. Each section was timed for 60 minutes. One could not go back and forth between sections. The marking scheme was also similar to last year with +3 for every correct and -1 for incorrect answers. There was no negative marking for TITA questions. As far as the marking scheme is concerned while the instructions page indicated 3 marks for every correct, the corresponding values displayed alongside individual questions was 1 and (-0.33) respectively. However since the ratio remains the same we do not see this as a major cause of concern. There was no negative marking for TITA questions.
Here is the break-up of questions section-wise:
VA-RC Section: The VA-RC section was a replica of the CAT 2015 section in terms of question types. Grammar was again conspicuous by its absence. And there were no vocabulary-based questions as well. RC had 3 passages with 6 questions and 2 passages with 3 questions – most of these questions were direct and could have been solved within the given time-limits. The VA questions, like last year, were all TITA Questions and comprised Jumbled paragraphs, Out of Context and Para Summary questions. If you had taken SimCAT 15 and 16, the VA-RC section would have been a home run.
DI-LR Section: The DI-LR section had 4 sets each of Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning. Selection of the right sets to solve was key to a good performance in this section. Unlike last year, no Set was completely TITA – TITA questions were dispersed across individual sets. Overall the section was only slightly easy when compared to last year – if you have solved around 4 sets in this section, then you should be in the safe zone.
QA Section: This section was of moderate difficulty level and dominated by questions on Geometry and Arithmetic. There were only 7 TITA questions this year – compared to last year when there were 14. If one went through the entire section, there were at least 8 to 10 sitters for the taking. The image of the Square Root sign in some of the questions resembled more like a PI – thereby creating some confusion. There was at least 1 question which had a typographical error and should be excluded from the final evaluation. An attempt of 22 to 25 questions in this section should be a good bet.
The first slot of CAT 2016 has been reported to be more or less similar to last year with no surprises. No new question types were seen in any of the sections. An overall attempt of 65+ questions with an accuracy of 80 to 85 percent should be classified as a good performance in this test.