CAT 2018: Detailed analysis of the examination
Did CAT spring a major surprise this year? Well, no! Was CAT 2018 more difficult than CAT 2017? Well, maybe not!Updated: Nov 26, 2018 14:10 IST
Abraham Lincoln famously said, ‘Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.’ If there is something that has vindicated the sense of importance good preparation deserves, it is CAT 2018.
The big day arrived with plenty of anticipation about pattern changes and difficulty levels. Long into the night, discussions will be raging for sure, across student communities. Did CAT spring a major surprise this year? Well, no! Was CAT 2018 more difficult than CAT 2017? Well, maybe not!
TheVARCsection gave a mild surprise to students across both slots. Out went the taken-for-granted 6-Q and 3-Q passages. Making a surprise entry were five-question and four-question passages. That would have straightaway increased the overall length of the content that needed to be read by test-takers to attempt the 24 RC questions. Decision-making for those who weren’t looking to solve all the RCs would have been trickier, what with all the RCs seemingly of similar difficulty level. The subjects covered were also more exotic than usual – environment, biology, sociology, and history were the flavours of the day.
The slight upsurge in difficulty in RC was largely compensated for by easier VA sections in both slots, the big relief for students being four-sentence Para Formation Questions. Odd-Man-Out questions were also low-hanging fruits, with Summary questions proving to be slightly trickier. All in all, the VARC section hovered around the same difficulty level as last year; those who haven’t practised a lot might have found it a little tougher, given the nature of options in some questions and the intensity of the subjects.
TheDILRSection was relatively easier compared to CAT 2017, but make no mistake, it was still challenging in both slots. However, unlike last year, there was at least one doable set in both the slots along with some manageable/fight-worthy sets.
Both the slots saw some straightforward set-types – Distributions/Venn-Diagrams/Calculation based sets. Nevertheless, the time that these sets demanded was a dampener which would contribute to lowering the cut-offs.
Our institute students reported that the LRDI in AIMCATs and the inputs they received from faculty in classes along with the study material helped them navigate this section with a lot of confidence.
TheQuantSection proved to be the high tide in both slots. It was easily a few notches higher in difficulty level compared to CAT 2017. This difficulty was induced largely by the need to work around fixed methods. There were no low-hanging fruits and very few questions could be solved without breaking a sweat. Questions were lengthy, and some also had additional conditions (read twists) that the students needed to watch out for. The number of Easy questions saw a conspicuously drastic fall compared to last year which will contribute to a steep fall in the cut-offs this year.
The other apparent feature of the QA section this year is the continued focus on Arithmetic. Pure-maths questions (on Functions, P&C, CG, etc.) were present, albeit lower in number. Within Arithmetic, the focus on usual suspects like Numbers was very low in both the slots, while Geometry, TW and TD had very good representation.
While a very well-prepared student would not have broken much sweat, those who were tentative on their preparation would have found out that the going was not as smooth as they would have liked it to be.
CAT 2018was a smooth experience for students across the country (as per the reports received till now). We congratulate the IIMs for yet another seamless CAT.
From the students’ perspective, it turned out to be more or less on the expected lines with a bit of fluctuation in the difficulty of sections here and there. The cut-offs are expected to be a tad lower than those of last year, overall, QA being the spoilsport this time around.
(Author Prashanth Nair is Centre Director at Triumphant Institute of Management Education (TIME), Mumbai. Views expressed here are personal.)
First Published: Nov 26, 2018 14:06 IST