CAT 2014 (new pattern)
~ Experience,
Precautions, Strategy ~

CAT 2014 (new pattern)
~ Experience, Precautions, Strategy ~

Hi and welcome to our detailed analysis on the new pattern CAT 2014!

The CAT 2014 exam has two sections, with the freedom to move between them. A change in structure from the previous year, as declared. The exam is scheduled for just 2 days - Sunday 16th Novermber, and Saturday 22nd November. Last year, it was spread almost over a month.

CAT 2014, the 2-testing-day long computer based test for admission to the IIMs and 100+ other B-schools, was successfully completed on the first day (16-November) across the country. A total of 1.89 lakh students will be taking it this year in the 2 day testing period. It is said that multiple sets of question papers have been prepared for CAT. However in the same slot also, questions generally are common across candidates. The results of CAT 2014 will be declared in the 3rd week of December, 2014.


Overall a moderate paper.

VERBAL - 4 RCs (moderate, good topics that make you think) 4 questions each, Lots of Parajumbles (easy), Summary and Inference questions (easy), Odd Sentence Out (will get wrong if para not formed) (moderate) and Grammar (moderate). Once again - they are checking your reading skills thoroughly. A good student can try to do more than 24.

LR - 4 sets moderate to tough. All based on data sets that had to be arranged except one which had 4 switches on/off etc. type. If you get two sets fully correct, that would be great! That's 8/16.

DI - Excellent (tough) bar graph set, 1 set on Venn Diagram, 1 set on students/subjects/boys-girls (simple calculations based), etc. Overall not too tough. Should do 2 sets easily. That's 8/16.

QUANTS - At least 10 questions were sitters - need to identify them first (that's the key). Lots of questions (surprisingly) from arithmetic, time speed distance. Also geometry and equations figured as much as the logical ones (operations). Many could be cracked using options fitting, and some could be done using basic formulae (surprising!). A good student can do more than 23 easily (out of 34).

USEFUL TIP - use the feature "View Entire Question Paper" right at the beginning to scroll down and see the easy ones. You can easily lose yourself in the test otherwise and actually miss out some simple ones (that would be bad!).

OVERALL - moderate, not easy.

As expected, the CAT papers on second day (22 Nov, 2014) were exactly similar in patter, toughness and question types, as those seen on Day 1 (16 Nov, 2014). This is as expected and predicted. So nothing new to report, in terms of strategy and attempts (and possible percentiles).

Given below is a detailed experience sharing from a test-taker’s point of view:

  • The CAT 2014 testing process has been simplified from the previous years.
  • Students across test centres in India reported a technically smooth and glitch-free testing experience
  • Please ensure that you check all the data submitted while filling the online CAT admission form (name, date of birth etc.)
  • As a precaution, ensure that you carry at least two photo IDs in original (for ex: Pan card and passport, or Pan card and Voter ID card)
  • For the first slot (morning), the process starts early. One has to be there early, as the rush was high (due to only 2 testing days) - for past 5 years, no single day witnessed a huge rush as did the 16th of November 2014!
  • You are ushered into the test centre – to your lab and the biometric confirmation console
  • Before this begins, a physical checking of your person will take place, and everything carried by you (including wrist-watches, chocolates, water-bottles, handkerchiefs and combs) may be taken away and put in a plastic pouch (with a token number – the token given to you). Of course, mobiles too are taken away!
  • The Biometric process was quick and easy, unlike earlier years
  • A camera mounted on the PC takes the picture, and a fingerprint reader takes multiple readings of your index finger of both hands
  • Once the Biometric supervisor is confident of the process completion, he will allot you your PC station number, and direct you to the computer lab, while giving you a rough sheet (one sheet and 1 pen). You can ask for more blank sheets later on. No pencils given
  • Other supervisors/invigilators will physically guide you to the computer allotted to you
  • The test starts at the exact time only. Till then, you have to read the detailed instructions that the software displays on the screen. They are quite precise
  • Then comes the legal warning (non-disclosure) which you have to ‘check’
  • It is a stern warning that you must not discuss any particular content and question of the test you are about to give, with anyone else anywhere ever! If you do so, stern action may be taken (Indian Contracts Act, 1872, Indian Copyright Act 1957, IT Act 2000)
  • At the right time, the test starts (your DOB is the password)
  • The test gets loaded now.
  • A wonderful feature is the “View Full Question Paper”. That is the first thing you must do to acquaint yourself with the full test. We recommend it as part of the standard S-S-S-S strategy
  • The 50 + 50 questions appear in front of you, ready to determine the quality of next 30 years of your life! You have 170 min, which will go by in a flash!
  • Different candidates get different orders of questions but almost the same questions in one slot
  • A timer is slowly ticking away on top right of the screen, reminding you of all the computerised tests you took at your training/coaching class!
  • Decide which test area you wish to crack first - VA+LR or QA+DI. Go to that test area (the button is at the top)
  • Keep solving the questions, as per your convenience. But be cautious of the time (the timer is ticking on top right of the screen)
  • Rough work (which you will need to do) has to be carefully managed in the sheets given, with the pen
  • Use the “Review” buttons intelligently to work faster – it allows you to directly reach the questions that you tried to solve but had to leave in between (otherwise you have to start from question 1 and click “next” again and again till you reach the unsolved question)
  • Since there are no separate compulsorily timed “sections”, it is easy to lose your way unless you are disciplined enough. Please be
  • Do not get frustrated with the data arrangement problems - persist, persist, persist. Ultimately the table will get formed!
  • Our standard STRATEGY recommendation is that you take your best section first, second best next, and so on, and do not get stuck on any one question or set. That can eat away your time
  • As the time ends, the test flashes the message and it’s over - so be cautious
  • After a few minutes, the invigilator(s) will take away your Admit Card from you, collect the rough sheets and pen from you, and then one by one, will ask you to leave
  • Don’t forget to collect your belongings by giving the token to the security guard
  • Overall, you took 5 hours to finish the whole process
  • Remember – you need to have stamina to give your best shot. Hence, take lots of rest in the 3-4 days prior to your testing slot

Analysis given ahead is a combination of the Forenoon and Afternoon session
CAT Xpectation
Exclusive Analysis - CAT 2014

Salient Features

1. Total CAT aspirants - 1.89 lakhs

2. Total no. of affiliated colleges - 100+

3. Total no. of Seats in 13 IIMs - 4000 approx.

4. New IIMs proposed - 6

5. Total no. of seats in top 40 institutes - 9000 approx.

Section I
Mathematical Aptitude and Data Interpretation
(Total Questions - 50)

Mathematical Aptitude - 34 questions

Data Interpretation - 16 questions

Quants questions were very manageable although DI was tough. In this section, there were at least 25 questions that could be cracked using options or common sense. The trick lies in identifying them properly. There were no questions on Data Sufficiency this time.

An excellent attempt would have been at least 32 to 35 questions done correctly.

Section II
Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning

(Total Questions - 50)

The Verbal / EU questions did not contain any fill-in-the-blanks, vocabulary based or analogy questions, this time. Para-jumbles (some quite easy, from options), Critical Reasoning caselets, Odd-Sentence-Out (required coherent para formation) and grammatical error identification were the major types.

Logical Reasoning

Four sets of Data Arrangment and Reasoning containing 4 questions each
Logical reasoning sets were moderate to tough. The strategy should be to identify at least two sets that you will go after and crack! That focusses your energy and actually helps score. So, at least two of the four LR sets should have been done correctly.

Overall, an excellent attempt would have been at least 35 to 38 questions done correctly.


1. Should I attempt DI first, or Quants first?
A. Your choice, entirely. What are you comfortable with? If it is Quants, do that first. If it is DI, do that first. But whatever you do, finish one topic in one shot. Do not flip between the two types. The DI are usually calculation intensive and hence take time. If you tend to lose confidence during that time, take Quants first and DI later.

2. Should I attempt Language first, or Reasoning first?
A. Your choice, entirely. What are you comfortable with? If it is Language, do that first. If it is Reasoning, do that first. But whatever you do, finish one topic in one shot. Do not flip between the two types.

3. What is the basic score I must target?
A. Depends on which B School you are targetting. When you are writing the IIM CAT, remember that time flies. Literally. Thus, your only focus DURING the test has to be “FAST FAST FAST DO IT DO IT DO IT” and nothing else. Do not at all think of post-test developments while writing the test. You give your best shot, and rest assured, the best will happen!

4. I get emotionally stuck with questions and waste time. What to do?
A. This is the best way to destroy your performance. If you spend more than 120 seconds on any one question (in Quants, say) and still cannot make head or tail out of it, DROP IT and MOVE ON. Otherwise be prepared for a sub-optimal performance.

5. What is the optimal way to begin any section?
A. We strongly recommend that S-S-S-S strategy. It means Scan - Search - Select - Solve. First of all, scan the whole section once (60 to 90 seconds). It means you have click the NEXT button again and again. Yes, do it. Scan through the whole section absorbing what is the test actually like. While you do this, Search for the easy ones that you can instantly relate to. Select them to solve first, and then go ahead and Solve those. Any other startegy is likely to be sub-optimal.

Wish you all the best!
Expected Cut-offs

Following are expected scores required to get calls from some CAT allied institutes.

Disclaimer: Please note that these are expected scores, based on our analysis and study of the online CAT. However due to lack of availability of the test paper, our analysis is based purely on feedbacks received from students. You are requested to take decisions as per your understanding, analysis and capability to fill forms of allied institutes.

1 IIMs* (atleast 3 calls) 170+ (57 net correct)
2 IIM* (atleast 1) 160+ (52 net correct)
3 MDI Gurgaon* 155+ (49 net correct)
4 NITIE*, IMT G*, IMI* 145+ (47 net correct)
5 SP Jain#, MDI HR*, Nirma*, FORE 140+ (45 net correct)
6 MICA 132+ (43 net correct)
7 IMT N, TAPMI*, KJS, UBS, IISWBM 122+ (41 net correct)
8 LBS, IMDR, NIBM, BIM-Trichy 115+ (40 net correct)
9 NIA, BIM-Tech, SDM-IMD, EDI 111+ (37 net correct)
10 IIFM, NIT-Trichy 100+ (35 net correct)
11 Welingkar, ITM, KIAMS, NL Dalmia, BIMM  95+ (30 net correct)
12 IILM, Alliance, EMPI, Amrita  80+ (25 net correct)

Above indicators are for General category.

(* represents Sectional cut-offs required, # represents strong profile)

CAT Analysis Video

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Disclaimer: All this information has been memorised by PT students. We are merely reproducing it here in fragments to ensure that the huge community of students eagerly waiting to see an objective comparison of their performance gets the right picture.
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