I had not planned for this post but apparently many of you are interested in knowing how I performed in CAT 2014. I have received mails & messages asking for my attempt and for a write up on the process that I adopted. A few students have told me that there is some speculation about my attempts on social media platforms and hence to clear the air I am putting down this brief note.

To put the record straight, I solved a total of 77 questions, 38 in QADI and 39 in VALR, but did not mark any answer on the computer. Hence officially my CAT 2014 attempt is Zero. Let us see what percentile score do my zero attempt convert to this time; in CAT 2013 it led to an overall score of 55.46 percentile with 53.61 in QADI and 57.23 in VALR.

My Plan

After taking CAT in the first slot for five years CAT Center, by design or otherwise, decided to schedule my CAT in the last slot (22nd November afternoon) and hence I had the advantage of knowing the structure. The student feedback on the first three slots was; very easy Quant and RC, do-able DI and difficult LR. Hence while I continued with my standard plan of 80 minutes to VALR and 90 minutes to QADI, I changed the sequenced of attempting the paper as given below:

  • Verbal Logic and English Usage
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Quantitative Aptitude
  • Data Interpretation
  • Logical Reasoning

Over to How I attempted CAT 2014.

Scanning the paper: 3 minutes

 As usual my first action was to click the Questions Paper tab, and went through the entire paper. Found that the paper structure was similar to that of the earlier three slots and comprised:

Section 1 QADI:

  • Q1 – 34 QA: 34 questions – none of them looks lengthy
  • Q35- 50 DI: 4 sets with 4 questions each

Section 2 VALR:

  • Q1 – 18: Verbal Logic and English Usage
  • Q23 – 38 RC: 4 RC with 4 questions each
  • Q19 – 22 and Q39 – 50 LR: 4 sets with 4 questions each

With the pattern along the expected lines I decided to attempt the paper in the sequence that I had planned.

I did not want to mark any answer in the test, hence on the two different sheets given for rough work I wrote down the numbers from 1 to 50 on two different sheets for recording my answers in both the sections.

Verbal logic & English usage: 29 minutes

  • Critical Reasoning: attempted all 4 questions. Did not have any problems in getting the answer, it was reasonably easy to eliminate the choices.
  • Summary/Essence: attempted all 3 questions, again the choices were not tricky and could be eliminated easily.
  • Para Jumbles: attempted all 4 questions, except for 1 question identifying the mandatory pair was not difficult.
  • Para Jumbled (Odd Man Out): attempted all 4 questions, got confused in one question but took a chance and chose an option.
  • Sentence Correction: left all 3 questions since I was not able to eliminate choices. This is my weakest area and hence did not want to take any chances.

Out of the 18 questions of Verbal Logic and English Usage I attempted 15.

Reading comprehension: 24 minutes

 I realized that reading the passage will be difficult as it will need vertical as well as horizontal scrolling. Hence clicked on the “Question Paper” tab and read the passages from this window. The first passage was easy to read and understand and the questions also were direct. However the fourth question after the passage was not connected to it, since all the earlier slots had reported this kind of situation I did not worry about this and went on to the next passage. The second one too was easy and here too the fourth question was from another passage.

Moved to the third passage but found it difficult to read. Struggled through the first paragraph but could not understand anything and hence left the passage. Went through the questions, identified the questions pertaining to the first two passages and moved to the last passage. The fourth passage again was not a problem and was able to attempt all four questions of this passage.

Out of 16 questions in this area I attempted all 12 questions of three passages. 

Quantitative Ability: 55 minutes

This section felt like CAT 2006 all over again. Except for a few questions the level of difficulty of questions was similar to that of MAT. In Round 1 of this section I attempted 27 questions leaving some of the Geometry and the couple of P&C questions. Since the first 34 questions were from QA and DI questions were from 35 to 50, I did not have to spend time evaluating the DI sets.

Out of 34 QA questions I attempted 27 questions.

Data interpretation: 8 attempts in 20 minutes

Continued with the “Questions Paper” and went through the four DI sets, they were:

  • Set 1: Calculation based set. 10,000 students are divided broken in two groups of 5,000 each and tested for knowledge in a certain area. Each of the two groups is divided as per the gender and further sub divided in three sub-groups based on the level of performance. Group 1 is given inputs for a year after which both the groups are re-tested for knowledge in the same area and the change in performance is noted for each sub group. The questions were calculation based and the number of students in each sub group had two zeros in the end. Hence to reduce the calculation effort I ignored the last two zeros, so 10,000 became 100 and 5000 became 50. Attempted all four questions.
  • Set 2: This was similar to the set on Universities (from CAT 2005) in the Mock CAT put up on the CAT 2014 website. This talked about Operating Systems and Editing software. Can be solved but since I take time in solving such sets I decided to leave it now and come back to it later.
  • Set 3: This was a case of campus recruitment, by two companies X and Y. of students of three different streams in an Engineering college. The students are further divided by their gender. This had a large amount of data and hence was not keen on attempting it. A few students have reported that this set had an error but since I did not attempt the set I cannot comment on it.
  • Set 4: A table of students taking a test in 5 different cities, the data had Cities in the columns but I am unable to recollect what the Rows stood for. The table 6 columns – one for each City and the Total, the number of rows were also 5. In each row of the table numbers were missing in 2 cells and were denoted by alphabets “a to j”. Each question gave some information and asked us to determine if it is possible to find the values of the alphabets. Can be attempted.

After going through all four sets I decided to attempt Set 1 followed by Set 4 and attempted all 8 questions from these two sets.

Logical Reasoning: 20 minutes

In the “Questions Paper” went to the four LR sets, they were:

  • Set 1: A simple set of tournament with 8 teams (A to H) participating.  Points earned by 6 teams were given and sufficient data was provided to calculate the points of the remaining two teams. Easy set and I attempted all 4 questions..
  • Set 2: This set was similar to Set 3 of DI. A University has Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Science and both have two Departments each – D1, D2 for Arts and D3, D4 for Science. While D1 and D3 award a Diploma, D2 and D4 award a Degree. The questions pertained to 6 students A, B, C, D, and E & F who take admission in the University. Did not look difficult but felt that it would be time consuming and hence would attempt it later.
  • Set 3: This was a standard LR set. Two Professors have to visit 10 Campuses (5 each) in a week from Monday to Friday. Each will visit only one Campus in a day and conditions were given under which the Professors could visit the Campus. Can be attempted.
  • Set 4: A circular train line has eight equally spaced stations from A to H and four different trains run on this line at constant speed and trains stop at all stations. For each of the four trains we were given the direction in which they ran, the time they started and the time taken to complete the round. For example Train 1 starts from A at 5 am and at every hour after that, it runs in the clockwise direction and takes 40 minutes to reach H. Appeared to be time consuming but do-able.

After going through all four sets I decided to attempt Set 1 followed by Set 3 and attempted all 8 questions from these two sets.

Quantitative Ability: 7 minutes

With about 20 minutes to go I went through the 7 un-attempted QA questions and solved another 3 questions.

Attempted 3 questions

Logical Reasoning: 10 minutes

Went through the remaining LR and DI sets and decided to solve the LR set on trains. Solved the four questions of this set and then whiled away the remaining couple of minutes.

Attempted 4 questions

My overall attempts in CAT 2014 slot 4 are:

  • Section 1: 38 Attempts with 30 of QA and 8 of DI
  • Section 2: 39 Attempts with 15 of VA, 12 of RC and 12 of LR
  • Overall   : 77 Attempts

This is higher than my normal attempts and apart from the lower level of difficulty of the paper two things that worked for me in this paper are:

  • Changing the sequence of attempt the paper.
  • Opening the complete Questions Paper for attempting RC passages and DI & LR sets.

Paper over, since I had not marked any answer the screen showed “0” attempts in both sections, submitted the feedback and moved out.