The season simply refuses to spring any surprises. Again, a paper on the lines of last year’s – no significant changes in the difficulty level. A well-prepared aspirant probably relished the prospect of attempting such a paper and earning a big score in the process.
At first glance, there werent any visible changes in the paper compared to last year. The familiar 150-question, 180 marks paper made a re-appearance this year. There were questions on visual reasoning, simple LR caselets and a rather funny VA section with a few of the idioms questions having absurd options.
Again, as it was last year, there was a solitary RC passage. The passage was not difficult to read but at least two of the four questions seemed tricky with close and misleading options. This was the toughest part in the section and probably the entire paper.
Verbal Ability was eerily similar to that of last year with simple fill-in-the-blanks questions, idiomatic usage questions and basic grammar questions. There were a couple of questions on kangaroo words the definition of which was not provided and so, many candidates would have found it difficult to understand what exactly was required. But if someone could intelligently guess, both these questions were sitters.
A set of four questions were present which required basic knowledge about punctuations (like hyphen, semi colon, colon, comma, period and dash).
The Reading Comprehension though a bit on the difficult side could have been attempted as the rest of the section was pretty much on the easier side. One had to be confident enough to mark the none-of-these option as there were quite a few questions which had half-correct/incorrect options.
The idioms and fill-in-the-blanks questions were easy and a person with decent reading speed and having a habit of reading could have sailed through the entire section in a matter of 20-25 minutes. A score of 25+ was easily achievable in this section.
Quantitative and Data Interpretation and Sufficiency:
This section was a bit different from that of last year. Data sufficiency questions made an appearance and how. The number of questions were increased from a mere 2 in yesteryears SNAP tests to an incredible 11 this time. However, most of these were straightforward and someone who knew how to get past the basic traps could easily score a few marks here.
There was one Data Interpretation set which was easy to do. A few calculations were needed but the options allowed a reasonable degree of approximation which made the questions less daunting.
A couple of questions required a candidate to be vigilant while converting units. But again, if one werent careful, one wouldnt have got any option similar to his answer. Still it would take out extra time which was crucial in a speed test like this.
The rest of the section was the usual stuff with the bulk coming from time and work, ratios, basic arithmetic, equations, a question on Venn diagrams, a visual reasoning question and a geometry question (which was wrong as it had a misprint).
Overall, easier than last year with no focus on higher statistics or theoretical questions. One could have allotted around 30 minutes to this section and scored above 25 marks in this section.
Again, similar to last year. There was focus on static general knowledge and the questions were from a wide variety of areas. Now, with there being no sectional cut-offs, one could have used this section to get a few bonus marks. If one had left this section altogether, one would require to score out of 140 which is difficult for the best of the aspirants. A score of 8-10 was easily possible in this section in a short span of 10 minutes, with quite a few easy chestnuts on offer.
Compared to last year, it was more or less similar. A few questions could have been solved by intelligent guesswork and by just keeping one’s eyes open. A couple of match-the-following questions made their presence felt. Overall there were questions from all the areas-sport, economics, business, GK, current affairs, biology, science, history and advertising.
The scores in this section might prove to be the difference between someone who barely gets the call to someone who just misses it. Although perceived as the most insignificant section in the paper, this can make or break a few hearts this time.
Analytical & Logical Reasoning:
The section started just like it did last year with a question about 3-4 involving distribution of articles. Four Logical Reasoning caselets which were easy to moderate in nature were present. Only one set had the substance to scare away a few of the aspirants. There was also a Data Interpretation set which was easy to solve. A question on syllogisms (rocks, tables, balloons) was present which was again easy. There were three questions on missing numbers which were easy. A short question on binary logic (Ricky, Sachin, Brian) was present which could be easily tackled. A set on Venn diagrams and a couple of questions on arrangements were present. There were a couple of questions on critical reasoning one of which seemed to be a bit ambiguous (Marx, German philosophers one).
Some of the questions could have been solved by using the options wisely and one could have easily saved sometime if one knew how and when to use this technique.
Overall, the section was a bit easier than that of last year and one could have scored around 45 marks in this section by allotting around 35-40 minutes to this section.
The Overall Picture:
Definitely easier than last year. Last year saw a rise in cut-offs of almost all the major entrance tests to unthinkable levels. So, considering the scores on the discussions thread and a better conducted CAT 2010 could see the cut-offs coming back to normal levels. But a virtually section-less paper could have made a candidate at least a bit braver which can lead to high cut-offs. A score of 105-110 should be a strong score in the paper worthy enough of clearing the overall cut-off and should fetch calls from SIBM and SCMHRD.