CAT 2017: Follow the turns and twists in revised CAT syllabus and CAT exam pattern to score 95+

CAT 2017
Thursday, November 09 2017, 12:38 PM
CAT is an exam that does not repeat itself and at one or other point every year there are some changes in the exam pattern and CAT syllabus. This fact is not revealed by IIMs in their notification, registration, exam format or any other release but the official CAT Mock test reflects the changes.
The right approach to know what has changed in CAT 2017 exam pattern and what could get you higher score is to analyse each of the 3 sections in the official CAT mock

How keen you are to crack CAT 2017 with 95+ score would be evident, if you answered one simple question – what changes in CAT 2017 exam pattern and syllabus are introduced by IIM Lucknow. As you are aware CAT is such an exam that does not repeat itself and at one or other point every year there are some changes brought in the exam. This fact is not revealed by IIMs in their notification, registration, exam format or any other release but if you could go deep into the CAT Mock test released by IIMs a month before the actual CAT exam, everything would be clear before you. 

Important links:

CAT 2017: Changes in syllabus & Exam pattern from IIMs
The CAT 2017 Mock Test released by IIM Lucknow on October 30 can be taken as the official document that determines the exact nature of exam pattern. More you attempt and advance in each of the 3 sections of CAT 2017 Mock test, more will be understood what is lying in stock for you on CAT 2017 exam day which is hardly 15 days away and falls on November 26, 2017.

None other than the official CAT 2017 Mock test which is released in full length by IIM Lucknow can offer you the right approach to analyse your areas of errors as per the correct CAT exam pattern. The right approach to know what has changed in CAT 2017 exam pattern and what could get you higher score is to analyse each of the 3 sections in the official CAT mock test.

Attempt CAT Mock as per revised exam pattern

VARC in CAT 2017: Less changes
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) is the 1st section in CAT 2017 exam. The section contains 34 questions as last year CAT in MCQ and Non-MCQ format. There are 24 MCQs and 10 Non-MCQs in this section of CAT 2017 Mock test and the time limit to attempt this section is 1 hour.

One of the key points before beginning to attempt the 1st section of CAT 2017 Mock test and later on while analyzing your performance in it, is that all the questions carry 3 marks for each correct answer. The 24 MCQs also carry the penalty of 1/3 negative marks for each wrong answer. It means 1 mark will be deducted out of your score.

The 10 Non-MCQs are not fraught with the risk of negative marking. If your answer goes wrong no marks will be deducted.

Your preparation on the lines of CAT 2017 syllabus as per revised CAT exam pattern should focus on following topics in VARC. The structure and content of VARC in CAT 2017 Test paper as revealed in IIMs’ CAT 2017 Mock Test is expected on following pattern:

Attempt CAT Mock as per revised exam pattern

Topic Number of Questions Type of questions
2 Short RC passages - 3 MCQs following each RC Passage   6 MCQ (Multiple choice)
3Long RC passages - 6 MCQs following each RC Passage 18 MCQ (Multiple choice)
Para Summary   3 Non-MCQ
Jumbled paragraph   4 Non-MCQ
Odd sentence out   3 Non MCQ

VARC Mock: 4 point Analysis

  • How many out of 34 VARC questions were attempted? How many went wrong & why?
  • Go to solutions, know your mistakes, note them down to rectify in next attempt.
  • Take the Mock again, check if the mistake is repeated and assess your score after allowing for negative marking.
  • It is suggested that you should re-attempt the VARC section in official CAT Mock till you have removed all your mistakes.

95 percentile in VARC not very difficult: Offers high Scoring chances
There are more Non-MCQs in VARC section than in other 2 sections of CAT 2017 revised exam pattern. It means that there are 10 No penalty questions. If you mark all the 10 correct you will score 30 marks more and will substantially contribute to your VARC percentile score. Now, if your few answers go wrong for Non-MCQs, you will not suffer any loss of marks since there is no-negative marking for Non-MCQs.

Attempt Non-MCQs first to score high
Prof S K Agarwal, expert on Verbal Ability in CAT preparation advises the CAT 2017 aspirants to focus more on Non-MCQs in VARC and attempt them first and then proceed to MCQs.

Out of 34 questions in VARC, even if you attempt 24 (10 Non-MCQs and 14 MCQs) you have no risk of getting your marks deducted for Non-MCQs.

Now, out of these 24 attempted questions, if you get even 10 correct in MCQs and 7 correct in Non-MCQs the total deduction due to negative marking will be 4 marks out of 51 marks. Your net score of 47 marks out of maximum allotted marks of 102 marks can fetch you a percentile of 95 in VARC section, thanks to the presence of Non-MCQs.

On the other hand if you focus more on MCQs and skip Non-MCQs you are running the risk of losing more marks due to negative marking. The net result could be the greater loss of marks. Accordingly, first go for 10 Non-MCQs in VARC section and then solve the MCQs. No other section offers you such high scoring chances.

DILR: Move cautiously in changed pattern
The 2nd section of Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR) in CAT 2017 will consist of 32 questions and as the CAT 2017 official Mock test document reveals, this year candidates may find fewer questions on Logical Reasoning as compared to last 2 years.

The number of DI questions has increased to 22 in CAT 2017 as against 16 last year and LR questions stand reduced to only 8 questions as shared in the official CAT 2017 Mock test released by IIMs.

Non-MCQs in DILR section are to remain 8 as per the last year pattern. There are 4 Non-MCQs in DI and 4 on Logical Reasoning (LR) topics. The reduction of 50% questions from LR section is a significant twist in CAT 2017 exam pattern and CAT syllabus as revealed in CAT Mock. It may impact your strategy to score high in DILR section.

DI Number of questions Type of question
Table Analysis-data comparison 4 MCQ
Bar graphs analysis, ratio, percentage 8 MCQ
Pie chart 4 Non-MCQ
Line graph 4 MCQ
Table Data Analysis 4 MCQ
LR
Team formation 4 Non-MCQ
Family pair 4 MCQ

Now if you attempt more MCQs you run the risk of losing more marks in negative marking which is 33% of total marks for the correct answer. At the maximum, you can earn 32 marks by solving 8 non-MCQs without any risk of losing the marks in each part of DILR.

You have to be cautious while attempting this section. The biggest problem is that you need to score a minimum prescribed percentile in DILR section to get shortlisted by IIMs, FMS or other B-schools. A minimum percentile in the range of 70 to 85 is required by IIMs to shortlist you else even after scoring 99 percentile but not scoring qualifying percentile in DILR may not get you anywhere.

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Choose your strong domain first
If you are strong in DI, attempt its question sets first; but if it is your weak area, it will be better to go for LR part first.   All the attempts are to be completed within the assigned time limit of 1 hour to DILR section. Maximum score you can get in this section is 96 marks. The raw score will then be converted to percentile score as per the CAT 2017 scoring formulae.

How to analyse

  • Check how many questions have your attempted in DI and LR parts separately and how many are correct with the help of answers and detailed solutions
  • Analyse the mistakes, assess your score after allowing for 1/3 negative marking, note the mistakes down and rectify in next attempt
  • Take the DILR Mock again, make sure that you do not repeat the same mistake and check your performance again.
  • Continue the process till zero error is arrived

Quantitative Ability (QA): 5 Non-MCQs
Quantitative Ability (QA) is the last section in CAT 2017 exam. It consists of 34 questions with a mix of MCQs and non-MCQs. Quant in CAT 2017 has only 5 Non-MCQs as against 7 in 2016 and 10 in 2015. It has again increased the risk of negative marking by 50% if we compare the Non-MCQs in this section. You have to be cautious so that the probability of negative marking is minimized. The loss of 5 marks due to absence of Non-MCQs and imposition of negative marking in 5 more MCQs can impact your percentile in CAT 2017 by 30 to 35 points in QA section.

The time limit to solve Quant section is also 1 hour. The best strategy to attempt this section is to begin with Non-MCQs and then move to MCQs. Total maximum score that you can get in QA section of CAT 2017 is 102. Share of score for Non-MCQs is 15 marks and that of MCQs is 87 marks. You need to get at least net 20 questions correct to score 95 percentile in this section.

Please remember by the time you reach Quant section you must be a little tired. So keep your energy level high while attempting QA section.

Key points to analyse QA

  • QA is mix of many topics in Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Mensuration, Trigonometry, number system among others. Check your strong and weak areas. If you have made mistakes in your strong areas, analyse them and make sure they are not repeated. If you have made mistakes on such questions which are from your weak areas, only option is – either to improve on it, or don’t attempt the questions based on it.  So check with the answers and detailed solutions, where you stand.
  • Once you understand the mistakes, practice a few questions on relevant topics before going to attempt the mock again.
  • When satisfied that you have understood which type of questions you should attempt and which you should skip, attempt the QA Mock again.

Prepare with accuracy 
It is not important how many questions you attempt in CAT 2017. What is more important is the fact that you know the art of skipping the questions which you are doubtful about. A wrong answer pulls down your percentile score substantially and makes your chances to IIMs dismal in comparison to your peers, if you are tempted to attempt more questions with end result in very low scores due to more wrong answers.

Accordingly in your preparation strategy for next 15 days, make sure that you do not get allured by the quantity of questions but focus on qualitative aspect. Also do not forget to analyse the CAT Mock that you take during your preparation.

CAT Syllabus & Next 15 days Preparation strategy
It is fine with other sections of QA and DILR, the way you are preparing for CAT 2017. But for VARC you will have to modify your preparation strategy quickly for next 15 days to ensure high score in this section as per the changed exam pattern. Prof S K Agarwal, expert on Verbal Ability for CAT 2017 preparation, suggests the following do’s and don’ts to follow in next 15 days to crack the VARC section in CAT 2017 exam with 95+ percentile:

Do’s

  • Lot of practice needed on variety of RC passages followed by varying type of questions
  • Practice previous year CAT test questions
  • Jumbled paragraphs can be practiced better, if you can get their missing links, so practice them more
  • Read small paragraphs from news papers, editorial parts, books, practice material and form their one line summary
  • Take as many mocks as possible exactly on the CAT 2017 exam pattern, instead of getting indulged in other type of questions.
  • Improve your reading speed, it will help you to crack RC passage based questions faster.

Don’ts

  • You need not to concentrate too much on Grammar based questions
  • As vocabulary based questions may not be present in CAT 2017, no need to spend lot of time on mugging the vocabulary and its usage
  • Since no questions are expected on fill in the blanks, completion of para, picking the last sentence of paragraph, you should not spend much of your time on the practice of such questions.

Please remember that CAT 2017 is the mandatory exam to get admission in 20 IIMs, FMS Delhi, MDI Gurgaon, SPJIMR Mumbai, IMI New Delhi, IMT Ghaziabad, JBIMS Mumbai, TAPMI Manipal, MBA in IITs, NITIE, XIMB among other top B-schools for the 2018-20 batch. Apart from scoring high in CAT 2017 exam, if you have excellent academic profile, academic diverse back ground and some work experience, it will be an added advantage to get bonus marks in selection process of IIMs and other top B-schools 

Stay tuned to MBAUniverse.com for more updates on CAT 2017

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MBA/PGDM Admissions 2018 Open - Important Dates
For your benefit, MBAUniverse.com has listed important MBA/PGDM Admission Application Deadlines. Check now

XLRI – XAT 2018
Application to XAT is open till November 30 without late fee and till December 15 with late fee
MDI Gurgaon
Application for PGPM 2018-20 at MDI Gurgaon is open till November 24, 2017
SPJIMR Mumbai
Application for PGDM 2018-20 at SPJIMR is open till November 24, 2017.
IMI New Delhi
Application for PGDM 2018-20 at IMI New Delhi is open till December 4, 2017
IMT Ghaziabad
Application for PGDM 2018-20 at IMT Ghaziabad is open till November 24, 2017
TAPMI Manipal
Application for PGDM 2018-20 at TAPMI is open till January 31, 2018
XIM Bhubaneshwar
Application for MBA 2018-20 at XIM Bhubaneswar is open till December 8, 2017
SCMHRD, Pune – SNAP 2017
SNAP 2017 registration is open till November 24, 2017
Great Lakes Chennai and Gurgaon
The application for 2 years PGDM 2018-20 is open till Feb 25, 2018
Application for 1 year PGPM 2018-19 is open till Nov 30, 2017
KJ SIMSR Mumbai
Application for PGDM 2018-20 at K J Somaiya is open till January 31, 2018
GIM Goa
Application for PGDM 2018-20 at GIM Goa is open till January 3, 2018
LIBA Chennai
Online Application for PGDM 2018-20 at LIBA is open till January 31, 2018 at a cost of Rs.1500/-
IBSAT 2017
Application to IBSAT 2017 is open till December 12, 2017
CIMP Patna
Application for PGDM 2018-20 at CIMP is open till March 2nd week, 2018
SIBM Hyderabad – SNAP 2017
To apply to SIBM Hyderabad, apply to SNAP 2017 on Dec 17 and also apply to SIBM-H in the SNAP Form
SIBM Bengaluru
To apply to SIBM Bengaluru, apply to SNAP 2017 on Dec 17 and also apply to SIBM-B in the SNAP Form

 

Take CAT 2017 Mock Full LengthTo assess your preparation in revised CAT 2017 exam pattern with 100 questions.
CAT Previous Year Question Papers, Answer With Solution:
CAT 2008    |    CAT 2007    |    CAT 2006    |    CAT 2005   |    CAT 2004
Section 1: Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension CAT 2017: Quiz 1 CAT 2017: Quiz 2
Section 2: Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning CAT 2017: Quiz 1 CAT 2017: Quiz 2
Section 3: Quantitative Ability CAT 2017: Quiz 1 CAT 2017: Quiz 2