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SimCAT 14

Experts Take

SimCAT 14: The Experts Take





Overall Impression
Both sections of SimCAT14 were easier than SimCAT13s. Although the cutoffs for both the
sections and the overall cutoff seem close to the cutoffs for SimCAT13, considering that
SimCAT13 had 5 options and a +4/1 marking scheme, the cutoffs in SimCAT14 are
perceptibly higher. The percentage attempts and accuracy have both seen a substantial jump
from SimCAT13.
SimCAT14 also conformed to the trend of having a somewhat higher overall cutoff than the
sum of the cutoffs of the individual sections something that has been observed in the last
few SimCATs. In some SimCATs, the difference is large while in some others, the difference is
not so great. This trend has an important underlying message: You really need to score
significantly more than the required cutoff in at least one section and score enough marks to
clear the cutoff of the other section in order to clear the overall cutoff. Scoring just enough to
clear the cutoffs of both the sections may not help you clear the overall cutoff.
In the Mock CAT that was recently uploaded on the CAT website, it is heartening to see that the
number of questions on QA/DI or VA/LR are almost the same as you have been getting in the
IMS SimCATs. Another important development is that we now know that the question paper
link is going to be available. This makes it much easier for you to scan through a section and
select questions and you must utilize this facility to your advantage.
Quantitative Aptitude and Data Interpretation
In SectionI, Qs. 1, 3, 7, 8, 11, 14, 24, 27, 33, 36, 43 and 44 in QA and Qs. 4 to 6 and Qs. 37 to 40 in
DI (a total of 19) were really straightforward and should not have been left out. In addition to
these 19, 9 more questions (Qs. 9, 10, 13, 15, 17, 23, 28, 34 and 46) in QA were also on the easier
side. These 28 questions, in all, were suitable candidates for attempting in Round 1. A student
who attempted these 28 questions with 8085% accuracy would have been at a striking distance

SimCAT 14

Experts Take

of clearing the cutoff. Two DI sets (Qs. 19 to 22 and 47 to 50) and QA Qs. 12, 25, 30, 31 and 42 (a
total of 13) were suitable candidates for attempting in Round 2. A student who attempted these
questions with 8085% accuracy would have got the additional edge required to clear the overall
An analysis of the performance of students shows that fewer students attempted certain
questions (such as Qs. 18, 35 and 41) than we expected. Some of these questions (Qs. 18 and 41)
were somewhat lengthy. As we have stated earlier, such lengthy questions should not be
attempted in the first round. However, no question should be completely ignored just because it
is lengthy. It turned out that these questions were actually not so difficult. Q. 35 was time
consuming as it required counting the number of points satisfying the given conditions. This
question was rightly avoided by most of the students.
To our delight, Q. 32 was answered correctly by about 40% of the top10 percentilers. The key to
the question was that the ranks of the other three students were not relevant to the solution. All
the question asked was the probability of one student being ranked higher than the other three.
As it turns out, out of the four students under consideration, each has an equal probability of

being ranked higher than the other three. Therefore the required probability is . Such questions

typically tend to confuse a lot of students. It is good to note that in this case, the question did not
confuse many students.
The key to Q. 26 is that the point of intersection of the two lines given is the same as the point
(3,4) given in the question. All the points on a circle with that point as the centre and a radius
equal to 5 will lie at a distance of 5 units from that point. The two given lines intersect the circle at
4 different points and therefore the answer is [4].

Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning

The Mock CAT uploaded on the CAT site has given us some idea of what to expect in the actual
CAT. While there arent any major surprises as far as the Verbal Ability and Reading
Comprehension areas are concerned, it is a little unsettling to note that the Mock test features as
many as 7 grammar questions. Though there is no reason to believe that section actual CAT will
follow a similar question distribution, (the questions seem to have been randomly selected from
the previous years papers) you still need to be prepared for such an eventuality. As we have seen
over and over again, grammar is most students weak point, and even strong students stumble
when it comes to grammar questions. SimCAT14 was, unfortunately, no exception in this regard:
students found the 3 grammar questions to be some of the most difficult in this section, with an
effective accuracy of 1525% even among the top10 percentilers. On the bright side, this is not
quite as poor a showing as in the last couple of SimCATs. However, there is no doubt that
grammar should be your focus during your final preparation.

SimCAT 14

Experts Take

The Mock test featured no vocabulary or usagebased questions. If this is taken to indicate that
CAT 2014 will have few to no vocabulary or usagebased questions, it would be a mixed blessing.
On the one hand, we have seen that students are mostly quite comfortable with certain types of
questions in this category, such as Fill in the Blanks and Word Pairs for instance, in SimCAT14,
Qs. 61, 62 and 85 were among the easiest questions in the second section. So the lack of such
questions in the actual CAT could represent a loss of potentially scoring questions. On the other
hand, students tend to make silly mistakes in usagebased questions (especially ones which test
knowledge of English idioms and phrasal verbs) such as Qs. 58 to 60 in SimCAT14, which fewer
than 35% of the top10 percentilers got correct. So the possible lack of such questions in the
actual CAT could be a good thing.
There are 16 RC questions in the Mock test, spread across 4 passages the same as in SimCAT14.
Surprisingly, students found the first passage of SimCAT14 (the one on the creation hypothesis)
quite easy, though the topic of the passage was somewhat abstract. The last passage (the one on
overpopulation) was almost as easy. On the whole, we are satisfied with students performance
in the RC section in SimCAT14.
Remember the format of the Mock test cannot be considered certain indication of what will
appear in CAT 2014 (as the questions it features are a somewhat haphazard mixture from the
original CAT papers of 20032008, when the CAT was a paperbased test, and significantly
different from the format it has had since going online).
Out of the four Logical Reasoning sets, two (Qs. 51 to 54 and Qs. 75 to 78) were easy and were
suitable candidates for solving in the first round. These sets should not have been skipped. The
last Logical Reasoning set (Qs. 87 to 89) was difficult, while the remaining set was of a medium
level of difficulty.
In order to clear the cutoff for section 1 comfortably, about 32 questions could have been
solved with 80% accuracy. To do the same for section 2, about 28 questions could have been
solved with 80% accuracy. In order to clear the overall cutoff, you would have to solve about
14 more questions with 80% accuracy. Given below are the questions you should have solved.

MustSolve Questions*

Potential Score Improvers**

Total Qs








* Questions that have been attempted by a majority of the top 10 %ile students, with an accuracy of at least 80%.
**Questions that have been attempted by a majority of the top 10 %ile students, with an accuracy of 50-80%.

SimCAT 14

Experts Take

General Tips
Solving multiple backtoback fulllength tests during the last two weeks is not a good idea
as it is likely to be physically draining. We would suggest that you not solve more than 2
tests per week in the remaining time. Make sure that you take the tests in the same time
slot as your actual CAT, so that your mind and body get used to being alert during that time
of the day. We suggest that you not solve any fulllength test the day before your CAT.

From this point onwards, your focus should be more on solving different questions. Solve
about 3035 questions each at the CAT level of difficulty from Mathematics and English
every day, from different areas. Solve at least 12 DI, LR and Reading Comprehension
passages. You can pick up questions from section tests, area tests or take home SimCATs.
The majority of this question solving exercise should be done on the computer and not on
paper, as you will have to solve the actual CAT on the computer.

As we have pointed out earlier, the key to cracking the CAT is identifying the right questions
to attempt and getting them correct. If a particular question appears too difficult, do not
get stuck on it but move ahead. There might be easier questions lying ahead, which you
might miss if you get stuck on a particular question for too long. Make sure you apply this
technique effectively in the actual CAT.

If you havent appeared for the previous SimCATs, make sure you do and read their Experts Takes
for more useful tips and insights.
All the Best for SimCAT15!