CAT Strat
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CAT 2015 Analysis: Same wine in three bottles

It’s finally done and I am sure many of you would agree that it was pretty much smooth sailing for the better part of the test. In fact compared to the workout you would have had in the SimCATs, CAT 2015 like CAT 2014 would have been a jog in the park. I know, I know, DI-LR was tough but if even that was easy then we should not call it CAT![space size=”” line=”yes” style=”solid”]

[title text=”Verbal Ability: The most engineer-friendly ever!”]

Most of you would know that this CAT was my 12th one and all of these years I have not encountered such an easy Verbal Ability section as the one today on CAT 2015

  • All passages were very readable, newspaper articles rather than magazine or journal pieces. Even the topics were accessible — no art and philosophy at all!
  • Every passage had around most 1 tricky question, the issue of getting caught between two close answer options never arose on the others.
  • VA had a couple of Parajumbles that were tough but most of the other questions did not really pose a formidable challenge

More importantly in a big surprise they followed the same format as in the CAT 2015 Mock Test software that they released.

So those of you who went through the two posts on that should’ve done well.

On average test-takers have attempted 18/24 in RC and 8/10 in the VA.

So the Verbal section 25+ attempts are par for the course.

It was so easy I had 15 minutes to spare after strolling through 🙂

The only close things in this section were the directions and look of Jumbled Paragraphs and Odd Sentence Out — they both looked exactly the same except for one sentence!

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[title text=”Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning: The CAT is finally for the IIMs after all!”]

The DI-LR after the VA section would have seemed liked coming back to a fire-fighting situation in office after a great vacation.

The change in mood was drastic. For some strange reason I started with LR instead of DI, which in hindsight was a mistake.

Both in the morning and in the evening there were about 2 sets each in LR and DI that were do-able, whether or not everyone picked out the right sets is the question. Those who chose the right 4 sets and did not get stuck at all in any set could have solved 5 sets.

On average test-takers seem to have attempted 12-14 questions in this section.

And yes except on 2 questions (in the morning slot) the scientific calculator was literally of no use, if anything it would have slowed you down!

A lot of test-takers were saying DI-LR killed it for them, they did not want it to be the way it was. But guys seriously?

This is the CAT! They took the claws out the VA and the fangs out of the QA and you expect the DI-LR section to lie like an obedient kitten next to you for you to stroke.

Verbal was for engineers, Quant for Arts grads and DI-LR to sort out potential MBAs who can be paid those really high salaries!

[space size=”” line=”yes” style=”solid”]

[title text=”Quantitative Ability: Gift-wrapped for non-engineers!”]

This is as easy as it can ever get. Those who knew basics across all areas (including logs, venn diagrams, inequalities, trigonometry and plotting graphs) would have nailed this section.

There were a few banana skins here and there but overall it was a test of speed and accuracy rather than quantitative reasoning abilities.

On average, test-takers seem to have happily attempted about 21-23 questions in this section.

How far the CAT quant has moved away from what it was is reflected in the fact that there wasn’t a single question on remainder theorem; so much for Fermat’s Theorem and Chinese reminder theorem!

Scores and Percentiles vis-a-vis CAT 2014

CAT 2015 was almost a replica of CAT 2014, the only differences were

  • Verbal Ability was easier interns of especially level of passages and complexity of questions
  • TITA slowed things up a bit but not too much
  • DI-LR moving into separate section will bring scores down a bit

So scores and cut-offs will be slightly lower than last time round.


  • 99 percentile and above – 160+
  • 98 percentile and above – 150+
  • 95 percentile and above – 130+
  • 90 percentile and above – 118+
  • 85 percentile and above – 108+
  • 80 percentile and above – 100+


  • 99 percentile and above – 60, 35, 58
  • 95 percentile and above – 50, 27, 48
  • Cut-offs – 45,25, 45

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[title text=”The IIMs have achieved what they set out to do”]

The IIMs have been very vocal about increasing the gender-diversity and educational-diversity on campus. They started small initiatives in this direction a few years ago by making it easier for female-applicants and applicants from different backgrounds to get a call by giving more weightage to their profiles.

In the last two years they have actually made changes to the nature of the test itself in order to increase the batch-diversity.

So there will be a change in the kind of MBAs they will be churning out.

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[title text=”An easy test is nobody’s friend”]

As per the tenets of test design, an easy question that everyone can solve and a tough question that no one can solve are useless as test questions — they do not differentiate test-takers.

So a lot will hinge on the accuracy-levels that test-takers are able to achieve.

Time to reboot and take on XAT and other tests

You can spend time on forums getting answers to questions and then getting happy or sad. A great score alone does not mean that you can convert and IIM-call, the probability is just 25%

A poor performance does not mean the end of the road as far as an MBA is concerned.

Take a few days off at max and get back to giving your best shot for the rest of the tests.

Do not forget the goal — getting into a good b-school in June 2016! There is till plenty to play for.


1 Comment

  1. Pingback: A brief history of CAT 2015 | CAT-holics

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