CAT 2018 Preparation – Tips to pick up from CAT 2017

CAT 2018 is around the corner and IIM and other B-School candidates are preparing in full-swing. A very useful preparation strategy for any entrance examination is picking up the previous years paper and making comparisons to analyse the trend of questions. You might also understand where your preparation is falling short by this method.

So, here we are taking a look at CAT 2017 Question Paper to understand what to expect in CAT 2018 and how to best prepare for CAT 2018.

I] CAT 2017 Pattern – Format to be continued for CAT 2018

No. of sections  3
Total Marks 300
Marks per section Varies depending on number of questions in that section (Elaborated below**)
Time per section

1 hour per section (At the end of the hour the section in question will close and you will not be able to revisit it.)

Marking Scheme

  • +3 marks for every correct answer
  • -1 for every wrong answer
  • The Non-MCQs do not have negative marking so definitely attempt these!

 

**Section-wise Split-up of Questions in CAT 2017

Key takeaways for CAT 2018:

  • 26 questions in the CAT 2017 were Non-MCQ, which means all these are marks exempt from negative marking. This is a big plus point and candidates must cash in on it. You can expect between 24–26 Non-MCQs this year.
  • Practicing timed mocks is a must as each section has a time limit of one hour. You cannot shuffle between sections either. That is, the sections have to be attempted in the given order in the given time limit. Randomly solving questions from here and there will definitely not simulate the kind of time management you will need to have in the exam so take mocks in a formal setting with sectional timing.

II] Questions asked in all Sections in CAT 2017 (Brief Overview)

Section 1: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension.

Reading Comprehension (27 questions):

  • In Reading Comprehension part, there were 5 texts.
  • 2 Short Texts with 3 questions each
  • 3 Long Texts with 6 questions each

Verbal Ability (7 Non-MCQ and 3 MCQ):

  • 4 Parajumbles
  • 3 Odd Sentence Out Questions
  • 3 Paragraph Summary

Section 2: Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

In DI Section:
(16 questions)

  • Happiness-Index based information with 4 sub-questions
  • Data Table with 4 sub-questions
  • Text with data within the writing followed by 4 subsections

In Logical Reasoning Section
(4 question types with 4 subquestions each, so total 16 questions):

  • Seating arrangement
  • Direction sense based
  • Ranking/Ordering
  • Distribution of limited time in preparation of multiple items (Restaurant staff preparing burgers/fries/ice cream optimisation)
  • Chess-Board questions

Section 3: Quantitative Aptitude

  • Arithmetic (9–10 questions) on Speed-distance, Time & Work; Ratio; Percentage, Profit & loss, Interest, Time and Distance
  • Geometry (3-4 problems)
  • Series and sequence- 3 questions
  • Mensuration -2 questions
  • Log & Inequality -1 question
  • Modulas – 2 questions
  • Number system & Permutation Combination -3 questions
  • Algebra-4 questions
  • Probability (Bayes Theorem)/ Integers/ Algebra – (1 question if at all)

Key takeaways for CAT 2018

  • In CAT 2017, the 99 percentilers overall score was 174/300, in CAT 2016 it was 156 and in CAT 2015 it was 178. So fixing a score as your end-goal is not that accurate a method as ultimately it depends on difficulty level of the paper. Instead just focus on giving your personal best performance.
  • Arithmetic is being given good weightage and can be solved easily with clarity of formula and practice.
  • It will be useful to learn up certain fraction to percentage conversions and your square and cube roots at least till 30. This will help with speed.
  • There are certain tricks such as with successive discounts/work-time sums. You will find plenty of shortcuts and tricks on the internet but decide on a particular approach to solving a particular type of question rather than trying out every method you can find.
  • Options are your best friend when it comes to elimination technique. Use approximations to come close to the exact answer.
  • Don’t be bogged down by lengthy questions in DI/LR, many times these questions are easy on solving. Use diagrams and flowcharts if visualising helps you in solving but without wasting time on it.
  • DO NOT OBSESS OVER ANY QUESTION. This is a habit you must develop during your mocks itself, do not get stuck onto one question as time is limited and you rather solve other questions you know well.
  • Practice comprehensions to help with your reading speed. Last year RC came on a variety of topics like Printing press & iPhone, Loss of jobs due to malls and phasing out of malls in today’s age, Economic analysis of Mega-sporting events etc.
  • IIM will release a mock CAT exam for 2018 soon, so definitely take that as well.

Note: Accuracy vs Maximum Questions Approach

This is a highly subjective debate as for some people attempting limited number of questions accurately yields higher scores than attempting as many questions as possible. For others, it works the other way round. You will only be able to know which strategy works for you after taking enough mocks to compare the two approaches, so decide on one approach before the actual CAT 2018 attempt.

For detailed information about CAT 2018, you can take a look at our detailed guide using this link CAT 2018 Detailed Guide
To apply for CAT 2018 and access instructions related to applications, you can use this link CAT 2018 Registrations Open