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Home CAT (Common Admission Test) CAT Exam Pattern 2024(OUT) - How to Score 99 Percentile?

CAT Exam Pattern 2024(OUT) - How to Score 99 Percentile?

Dec 11, 2023 1.2K Reads

Currently, more than aiming to clear the CAT, you have to focus on scoring high to enroll in top management institutions in India, i.e., IIMs. To do so, you need to be very clear about the examination pattern, marking scheme, & the minimum number of questions to attempt. Beyond all this, time management plays a vital role in making you achieve your goal of the 99 percentile.

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As a CAT aspirant, you need to score such high percentile as the top IIMs like  IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Kozhikode, IIM Bangalore, IIM Lucknow, IIM Calcutta, and others often release a cut-off list of more than or equal to 99 percentile. Thus, you must start preparing for your professional journey now by getting into these top-management institutions.

In this blog, we will be discussing the CAT exam pattern in detail with the marking scheme & the CAT normalization process. We will also impart light on the idea of minimum questions to attempt to score 99 percentile in this CAT attempt & the time that need to invest in each section for that. So, let's prepare your CAT 2023 strategy together!

CAT Exam Pattern 2023

A brief of all the details of the CAT 2023 exam is highlighted in the table below.

Mode of Exam

Computer-based

Duration

120 minutes (40 minutes per section)

Exam Slots

  • Morning: 8:30 AM to 10:30 AM
  • Afternoon: 12:30 PM to 2:30 PM
  • Evening: 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM

Total Number of Questions

66

Total Marks

198

Language Used in Exam

English

Type of Questions

MCQ and non-MCQ

Number of choices in MCQs

4

To understand the number of questions you must attempt for the 99 percentile, the first & foremost thing is to understand the pattern of the CAT exam. Let's start by discussing the different sections of this exam.

  • Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)
  • Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)
  • Quantitative Ability (QA)

 

The total number of questions that the above-mentioned sections have & their specified time limit is provided in the table below.

CAT Exam Sections

No. of Questions

Time Limit

Time Limit for PwD Students

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)

24

40 min

53 min and 20 sec

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)

20

40 min

53 min and 20 sec

Quantitative Aptitude (QA)

22

40 min

53 min and 20 sec

Total

66

120 min

160 min

Note: After the specified time limit, the screen will automatically move on to the next section. So, time management is quite important for a good CAT Score.

What is the CAT Marking Scheme?

In competitive exams, getting good scores is not based on attempting all the questions but actually, it is based on focusing your time on the correct volume of questions. Moreover, if you are thinking of playing a hit-and-trial trick in the exam, let me remind you of negative markings that can change your result entirely.

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If you need to understand the marking scheme thoroughly, you must check out the previous year's papers for your practice. However, here we have listed some key points to give you an idea of the CAT marking scheme.

  • For each correctly answered MCQ, you will get 3 marks & for an incorrect answer, you will lose 1 mark.
  • There is no negative marking for not attempting the questions.
  • The subjective questions are quite lengthy, so, manage your time accordingly. 
  • No negative marks are there for the subjective questions.
  • To score 99% in the exam, you must attempt 75% questions accurately. So, make sure to attempt only those questions with which you are 100% confident.
  • Go through last year’s papers to get an idea of the changes in the sectional weightage of the CAT exam in the last few years. 

A summary of the marking scheme is listed here.

Section

Number of Questions

Marks Per Question

Negative Marks Per Question (Only MCQ)

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)

24

3

-1

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)

20

3

-1

Quantitative Aptitude (QA)

22

3

-1

Total

66

198

-

Minimum Questions You Should Attempt to Score 99% in CAT

CAT 2023 is your way to enter the top management institutions in India, IIMs. Although a low score can take away this opportunity from you, so, to make everything fall into place, you need to work both, smarter & harder! With a simple & sorted strategy of time management & minimum questions to attempt, you can score 99% in CAT 2023.

Here is the number of minimum questions that you must attempt if you aim to enroll in IIMs.

CAT Exam Sections

Total No. of Questions

Minimum No. of Questions to Attempt for 99%

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)

24

18

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)

20

13

Quantitative Aptitude (QA)

22

16

 

The minimum number of questions mentioned above can vary as per one’s opinion. The ultimate goal of this bifurcation is to achieve a high score which can be done in many ways. The only key for doing that is time management. In this last phase of preparation, manage your time & aim for a score of around 104 marks to get 99% in the CAT 2023 exam.

CAT 2022 Question Paper Analysis 

In terms of difficulty, CAT is thought to be one of the toughest competitive exams in India. However, in reality, it just demands more focus & sincerity. To make you understand the sectionwise difficulty level of this paper, an analysis of CAT 2022 is provided here.

CAT Exam Sections

Total No. of Questions

Topics Asked

Type of Questions

Level of Difficulty

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)

24

Para Jumbles, Reading Comprehension, Sentence-Completion, Inferences Para-Summary 

  • Verbal Ability (VA): 8
  • Reading Comprehension (RC): 16

In-between easy to moderate

Quantitative Aptitude (QA)

22

Percentages, Simple Interest-Compound Interest, Profit & Loss, Time & Distance, Numbers, Mensuration, Logarithms, Averages-Mixtures-Alligations,  Functions & Graphs, Quadratic Equations, 

Indices & Surds, Special Equations, Statistics

Arithmetic Questions: 8-9

Algebra Questions: 7-8

Moderate

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)

20

Tables, Data Caselets, Graphs, Blood Relation, Seating Arrangement and Syllogism, Venn Diagram

4 sets of 5 questions

In-between easy to moderate

Overall Difficulty Level

Moderate

 

Changes in CAT Question Paper Pattern Over The Years

The pattern of the CAT exam keeps on changing with time. This change is done both in the structure & in the duration. Earlier the Data Interpretation (DI) section of the paper was clubbed with Quantitative Aptitude (QA) and in later years it got clubbed with Logical Reasoning (LR) which sets QA as an independent section.

A changing pattern of the CAT exam in the past 10 years can be seen in the table below.

CAT Exam Year

Total No. of Questions

Duration

Sections

2022

66

120 minutes

QA, DILR, VARC

2021

66

120 minutes

QA, DILR, VARC

2020

76

120 minutes

QA, DILR, VARC

2019

100

180 minutes

QA, DILR, VARC

2018

100

180 minutes

QA, DILR, VARC

2017

100

180 minutes

QA, DILR, VARC

2016

100

180 minutes

QA, DILR, VARC

2015

100

180 minutes

QA, DILR, VARC

2014

100

170 minutes

QA & DI, LR & VARC

2013

60

140 minutes

QA & DI, LR & VARC

 

CAT Scaled Score and Normalization Process

Till 2019 CAT exam was conducted in 2 shifts with a total duration of 180 minutes but post-pandemic (COVID-19) the number of shifts increased to 3 with a duration of 120 minutes. This was done to follow the social distancing guidelines and is still there in 2023. 

Since the exam is conducted in 3 different shifts, the difficulty level for all of them may vary at a certain level. Thus, to maintain a fair evaluation practice, the scores of all the candidates are scaled to a common plane using the CAT normalization formula. This normalization process is even followed in the GATE exam & is based on the assumption of similar abilities of candidates in all sessions.

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The normalization formula takes into account all the possible variations in the difficulty level of the CAT exam. Moreover, it imparts an impression that if a candidate has scored 95 percentile in the CAT, it means that he/she has performed better than 95% of the total candidates who appeared in the CAT exam that particular year.

How to Mark Answers in CAT Question Paper 2023?

The CAT exam is conducted in online mode, i.e., candidates need to answer all the questions on the computer. For each MCQ, you will have 4 options. After selecting the response for any question, candidates will get the following options:

  • Save & Next (to submit your answer)
  • Clear Response (in case you have marked a wrong option)
  • Mark for Review & Next (in case you need to spend more time on this question)

After clicking on any of the above options, your attempted questions will be saved in different color formats.

How to Increase Speed and Accuracy in the CAT Exam? Key Tips

After reading the above sections of this article, you must have developed an idea that cracking CAT not just requires your dedication & focus but a sorted time management strategy. Some of the points are discussed here that can help you improve your speed & accuracy in the CAT 2023 exam.

  • Practice Previous Papers: One of the important & easiest ways to improve your speed is to practice more & more papers for it. You can take up mock tests & previous year’s papers to fulfill this purpose.
  • Manage your Time: The CAT exam has 3 sections & all of them have their defined time limits. You need to manage your time in such a way that you can attempt at least a minimum set of questions in each section. If you fail to manage it, the section will automatically be changed after its set time limit.
  • Judge the Difficulty Level of Questions: After starting with a particular section, categorize the questions as easy, medium, & difficult. Always start with the easy ones. With moderate & difficult questions, if you feel that you are spending too much time, leave them & move on to the next one.
  • Don’t Follow Hit-and-Trial Strategy: In case you are not able to solve a few questions, don't mark their answers by guessing. The guesswork can make you lose all the marks that you would have gained by accurately answering some of them.  
  • Don’t Skip the RC Reading: The reading comprehension of the CAT exam is quite crucial & has some hidden meanings. If you skip reading them or read them at a fast speed to save time, you might miss the minute details on which the question would have been asked.

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

To acquire the 99 percentile in the CAT exam, you must score above 100 marks. For this, you need to attempt a minimum set of questions from each section.

If you have a focused mind & excellent aptitude, you can obtain 99 percentile in the CAT exam in just one month of preparation.

CAT is among the top MBA exams & the questions from the previous years do not get exactly repeated in it.

To score 99 percentile, you must attempt 18 questions from VARC, 13 from DILR, & 16 from QA sections each.

In the CAT exam, VARC has the maximum weightage. Within this section, reading comprehension holds the highest scoring possibility. Thus, you must emphasize this particular section to score high.

In CAT 2023, around 3.3 Lakh candidates have registered. Out of this, 1.17 are female candidates.

IIM Nagpur & IIM Indore release the lowest cut-off of CAT scores for MBA admission.

The CAT exam has a total score of 198 marks which are divided among 66 questions.

To score 99 percentile in the CAT exam, you need to be highly focused on your studies & have to manage your time to match the section limits. To do so, you can practice from previous year’s papers or mock tests.

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