CAT 2024 Exam Analysis: No Change in Exam Pattern; increased Difficulty level for Quant Section to Lower Cut Offs for IIMs

On November 26, 2024, the CAT 2024 exam was held in three sessions across 155 cities. Over 2.88 lakh candidates sat the CAT exam this year. This year, the IIM Lucknow received a record number of CAT applications (3.28 lakh). The CAT 2024 question papers were of moderate difficulty for slots 1, 2, and 3. Each of the three CAT positions received a different set of questions, making one slot more difficult or easier than the others.

Contents

CAT 2023 Exam Analysis: Overview

Let us begin with the broad strokes:

  • Same Exam Pattern: The CAT 2023 Exam Pattern remained unchanged. It was identical to CAT 2023. The total number of questions remains the same as previous year at 66. The sectional makeup of MCQs and non-MCQs has shifted.
  • More Difficult Exam Paper: Experts rate the CAT 2023 Exam as more tough than the previous year. Details are provided below.
  • Lower Cut Offs for IIMs: Cut Offs for IIMs are projected to fall due to the increasing difficulty level of the paper. Details are provided below.

Summarizing CAT 2023 exam, one of India’s top CAT experts, said: “While the general exam format was the same as last year, the questions in the Quantitative section of the CAT 2023 exam paper were the most difficult in the last 5 years!” On a scale of 1-10, he rates the difficulty level of each section of the CAT 2023 exam:

CAT 2024 Exam Difficulty Level Compared to CAT 2023 (Difficulty Score Out of 10)

SectionsCAT exam 2023 Difficulty LevelCAT exam 2024 Difficulty Level
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)76
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)78
Quantitative Ability (QA)68-9
Overall78-9

CAT 2023 Exam Score Vs. Percentile: Approx score Predication by Leading Experts

Students can double-check the expected Cut-off scores for the various CAT 2023 percentile ranges projected by CAT experts: 

CAT 2023 PercentileCompany 1Company 2CAT Expert 
99 %ile77-8178-8079-80
95%ile56-5957-5855-56 
90%ile48-5046-4847-48 
85%ile39-4140-4138-39 
80%ile35-3636-3734-35 

Now comes the comprehensive CAT 2023 Analysis for each position. This analysis is based on information provided by IMS Learning.  

CAT 2024 Slot 1 Exam Analysis

  • The first slot of the CAT 2023 exam was held from 8.30AM to 10.30AM. The following are the highlights of the CAT 2023 Slot-1 Exam.
  • Total number of questions: 66
  • 47 multiple-choice questions
  • 19 non-MCQ questions
  • +3 points for each correct answer
  • Wrong Answer (MCQs) Negative Marking: -1
  • TITA questions receive no negative marking.
  • VARC Moderate Difficulty, DILR & Quant Difficult
  • Overall, it is difficult.
  • 80-82 is the expected cut off for the 99%ile.

Section Wise CAT 2024 Slot-1 Analysis in Detail

The comprehensive section-by-section CAT 2023 Exam Slot-1 Analysis is provided below.

CAT 2024 Slot-1 Analysis – VARC

  • VARC featured four RC chapters ranging in length from 500 to 700 words, each with 16 questions.
  • The Verbal Ability questions were divided into four categories, with a total of eight questions.
  • The VARC segment was moderate to challenging, with VA questions slightly more difficult.
  • A decent performance in VARC is an attempt of 15 to 17 questions with an accuracy of around 80%.
Reading Comprehension TopicNumber of Questions
Return of wolves’ predation in a French region4
Current economies of North and South Korea.4
Indian Ocean Literature”4
Modern materialism versus ancient societies4
Verbal AbilityNumber of Questions
Para Summary2
Odd one out2
Para Jumble2
Sentence Completion2

CAT 2024 Slot-1 Analysis – Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)

  • DILR section in CAT 2024 slot-1 had 4 sets – 2 on DI and 2 on LR
  • The section was rated as difficult
Sets & TopicsNumber of Questions
LR: Arrangements – Professors in departments5
LR: Houses on Sale5
DI: Visa Office Equation Handling5
DI: Gig workers and Restaurants, Based on Statistics -Measures of central tendency5

CAT 2024 Slot-1 Analysis – Quantitative Ability (QA)

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  • Algebra dominated the QA, with 8 questions covering quadratic equations, linear equations, modulus functions, and polynomials.
  • SICI, Time and Work, Time-Speed-Distance, Clocks, Averages, Mixtures & Allegations, and Profit & Loss were all covered in Arithmetic, with 7 questions on each.
  • 4 Geometry problems on Triangles, Coordinate Geometry, and Cyclic Quadrilaterals
  • There are two questions on Modern Math and one on Numbers.
  • There was one question about Indices.
  • The portion was classified as somewhat more challenging.
TopicsNumber of Questions
Arithmetic7
Algebra8
Modern Math2
Geometry4
Number System2

CAT 2024 Slot 2 Exam Analysis

On November 26, 2024, Slot-2 of the CAT 2024 exam was held from 12.30 PM to 2.30 PM. The following are the highlights of the CAT 2024 Slot-2 Exam.

  • Total Questions: 66
  • Number of MCQs: 46
  • Number of Non-MCQs: 20
  • Marks for each correct answer: +3
  • Negative Marking for Wrong Answer (MCQs): -1
  • Negative Marking for TITA Questions: Nil
  • Difficulty Level: VARC Moderate, DILR & Quant Difficult
  • Overall: Moderate to Difficult
  • Expected cut off for 99%ile: 81-83

CAT 2023 Slot 2: Sectional Composition

SectionsTotal questionsTotal MCQsTotal Non-MCQs
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)24204
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)20128
Quantitative Ability (QA)22148
Total664620

Section Wise CAT 2024 Slot-2 Analysis in Detail

The comprehensive section-by-section CAT 2023 Exam Slot-2 Analysis is provided below.

CAT 2024 Slot-2: Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension

  • The RC passages ranged from easy to moderate, with one tough part.
  • One question in the Verbal Ability section had an alert icon next to it, indicating that it was a Mandatory Question.
  • A decent performance in VARC will be an attempt of 17 to 19 questions with an accuracy of roughly 70%.
Area / QuestionsNo of Qs.Type
Reading Comprehension16MCQ
RC-1: Second-hand Shopping and Fast Fashion4MCQ
RC-2: Translated Streaming on Netflix in Europe4MCQ
RC-3: Why Liberalism Failed (Book Review)4MCQ
RC-4: What is Historical Fact4MCQ
Verbal Ability8MCQ & TITA
Para jumbles (4 sentences)2TITA
Para-completion2MCQ
Summary2MCQ
Odd Sentence Questions2TITA

CAT 2024 Slot-2: Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

  • The RC passages ranged from easy to moderate, with one tough part.
  • One question in the Verbal Ability section had an alert icon next to it, indicating that it was a Mandatory Question.
  • A decent performance in VARC will be an attempt of 17 to 19 questions with an accuracy of roughly 70%.
Set No.AreaSet DescriptionNo. of QuestionsQuestion Type
 Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning20MCQ and TITA
1Data Interpretation5 firms – Funds raised in consecutive years54 MCQ, 1 TITA
2Data InterpretationDraw competition53 MCQ, 2 TITA
3Logical Reasoning3 friends visited a park. Many rides. Scheduling questions.53 MCQ, 2 TITA
4Data InterpretationNine Boxes – sudoku type puzzle52 MCQ, 3 TITA

CAT 2024 Slot-2: Quantitative Ability

In terms of difficulty, this portion was more difficult than last year when compared to CAT 2023. The following is the structure of the QA section: 

  • The problems in Arithmetic focused on SICI, Time and Work, Time-Speed-Distance, Averages, Mixtures & Allegations, and Profit & Loss.
  • Quadratic equations, Linear Equations, Modulus, Maxima-Minima, Inequality, and Polynomials dominated the questions in Algebra.
  • The questions in Modern Math were about logarithms and sequences.
  • The Geometry questions covered Triangles, Rectangles, Coordinate Geometry, and Parallelograms.
  • In the Number system, questions were asked about indices and the number of elements.
  • There were 14 MCQs and 8 TITA questions.
  • A performance of 9 to 11 questions with an accuracy of 75-80% is considered good.
Area/Q TypeNo of Questions
Quantitative Ability14 MCQs, 8 Non MCQs
Arithmetic7
Algebra8
Modern Math2
Geometry3
Numbers2

CAT 2023 Slot 3 Exam Analysis

On November 26, 2024, Slot-3 of the CAT 2024 exam was held from 4.30 PM to 6.30 PM. The following are the highlights of the CAT 2023 Exam Slot-3 Exam.

  • Total Questions: 66
  • Number of MCQs: 46
  • Number of Non-MCQs: 20
  • Marks for each correct answer: +3
  • Negative Marking for Wrong Answer (MCQs): -1
  • Negative Marking for TITA Questions: Nil
  • Difficulty Level: VARC Moderate, DILR & Quant Difficult
  • Overall: Difficult
  • Expected cut off for 99%ile: 80-81

CAT 2023 Slot 3: Sectional Composition

SectionsTotal questionsTotal MCQsTotal Non-MCQs
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)24204
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)20128
Quantitative Ability (QA)22148
Total664620

Section Wise CAT 2024 Slot-3 Analysis in Detail

The comprehensive section-by-section CAT 2024 Exam Slot-3 Analysis is provided below

CAT 2024 Slot-3: Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension

  • There will be no direct grammar or vocabulary questions.
  • The RC passages were not particularly reader-friendly.
  • The paragraph from Steven Pinker’s Rationality presented several difficulties.
  • Level of Difficulty: Moderate
  • An attempt of 16 to 18 questions with an accuracy of around 70% will suffice. 
Area / QuestionsNo of Qs.Type of questions
Reading Comprehension16MCQ
RC-1: Colonialism and Global Warming (The Nutmeg’s Curse)4MCQ
RC-2: Understanding Romantic Aesthetics4MCQ
RC-3: Cultural Patrimony Laws4MCQ
RC-4: Rationality by Steven Pinker4MCQ
Verbal Ability08MCQ & TITA
Para jumbles (4 sentences)2TITA
Para-completion2MCQ
Summary2MCQ
Odd Sentence Questions2TITA

CAT 2023 Exam Slot-3: Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

  • There were two DI and two LR problem sets, each with five questions.
  • Level of difficulty: Difficult
  • An attempt of 9 to 11 questions with an accuracy of 75-80% is acceptable.
AreaSet DescriptionNo. of QuestionsQuestion Type
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning20 
Data InterpretationNumber of enrollments in offline and online courses53 MCQ, 2 TITA
Logical ReasoningSix police stations with maps (route-based set)53 MCQ, 2 TITA
Data Interpretation3 friends visited a park. Many rides. Scheduling questions.53 MCQ, 2 TITA
Data InterpretationAC company – 4 dealers53 MCQ, 2 TITA

CAT 2023 Exam Slot-3: Quantitative Ability

  • This was the more tough section.
  • Arithmetic won with 8 questions, followed by Modern Math with 4 questions.
  • Time and Work, Time-Speed-Distance, Averages, Mixtures & Allegations, Averages, Percentages, and Profit & Loss were the arithmetic questions.
  • Quadratic equations, Linear Equations, Modulus, Maxima-Minima, Inequality, and Polynomials were among the algebra questions.
  • The modern math problems were about logarithms and sequences.
  • Triangle, Rectangle, and Polygon geometry questions were asked.
  • In Numbers, there were questions about indices and the number of components.
  • An attempt of 9 to 11 questions with an accuracy of 75-80% is acceptable.
Area/Q TypeNo of Questions
Quantitative Ability14 MCQs, 8 TITA
Arithmetic8
Algebra4
Modern Math4
Geometry3
Numbers3