How many questions to attempt in CAT 2018 to get 99 percentile
Vikas Gaur, 27 Aug 2018, #CAT

How many questions to attempt in CAT 2018 to get 99 percentile - Around two lakh candidates appear for CAT every year. Every management aspirant wishes to score as high as possible in CAT to study at top B-schools but aspirants usually don’t know how many questions they need to attempt in CAT to get 99 percentile. Although the simplest answer to the question can be as many as you can accurately, the trick to perform the same remains a question for the aspirants.

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Obviously it depends completely on how able you are to attempt the maximum number of questions correctly in the test but maintaining high accuracy in CAT is again a task. Since CAT has negative marking scheme of one mark for each wrong answer, an incorrect attempt may affect your overall percentile. So, what is the best way to secure 99 percentile in CAT? In this article, Careers360 will guide you on how a right combination of attempt and accuracy can fetch you 99 percentile in CAT 2018 exam.

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According to experts, the trick lies in maintaining your accuracy level while answering CAT questions. If you have an accuracy level of 100 percent for your answers in CAT 2018, then there are chances that you can attempt a select number of questions, yet secure more than 99 percentile.

 

Number of questions to attempt in each section

 

Gautam Puri, Vice Chairman, Career Launcher, suggests that if we assume the same level of difficulty in CAT 2018 as that of 2017, the estimated correct attempts and score required for a 99 percentile is as below:

  • QA - net score of 70-75 (23-25 attempts out of 34)

  • DI & LR - net score of 65-70 (22-24 attempts out of 32)

  • VARC - net score of 55-60 (20-22 attempts out of 34)

  • Overall - net score of around 175 

Let us now understand the factors that will support you in judging the number of questions to attempt in CAT 2018.

Accuracy

 

The first and foremost factor to crack a competitive entrance exam like CAT is accuracy. Unless you are giving correct answers, you cannot get a good score despite attempting a high number of questions. You have to attempt only those questions about which you are 100 percent sure. If you have an overall accuracy level of 90 percent, you would have good chances. According to experts, attempting 75 per cent questions in each section with a high accuracy level would be sufficient to get you around 99 percentile in CAT 2018.

 

Aseem Garg, one of CAT 2017 toppers who is currently studying at IIM Calcutta, says, "People often talk about a trade off between accuracy and number of attempts. After several mock tests, I realised that guess work and increasing number of attempts always back fire. So, focus on accuracy and try to increase the number of attempts with accuracy as you move from one mock test to other."

 

Vivek Subramanian,  IIT-B & IIM Ahmedabad Alumnus and CAT expert and Quora user explain, “For CAT if you get more than 45 percent marks (not percentile, this is actual marks or score) you are going to be in the rarefied strata of the 99+ percentiles.”

 

He further explains that in CAT, there are going to be 100 questions in total, with +3 -1 scoring. So the maximum score is 300. And you should be targeting score of around 135 to get into 99 percentilers’ club.

Now, let's say 'good' accuracy means 80 percent accuracy. So if you attempt 10 questions, you will get eight right and two wrong. That means, for a block of 10 questions you will get 3*8 - 2*1 marks = 22 marks. Or 2.2 marks per question, on average.

That means you need to attempt around 61 questions with 'good' accuracy (assumed to be 80 percent accuracy) to get 45 percent marks. To be safe, call it 65 questions. This assumes, of course, that you will not even touch the remaining 35 questions. If you do, and your accuracy is below 30 percent, you're putting yourself in trouble.

Difficulty level of CAT

 

The number of questions to be attempted in the test also depends on the difficulty level of the test. Agreeing with the statement, Anand Ganapathy 99.81 percentiler-CAT 2013, IIM-A alumnus and CAT Coach says, “The number of questions attempted also depends on the difficulty level of the paper. In case the difficulty level is on the higher side, do the following,

  1. Scan the paper. Invest two to three minutes for each section.

  2. Identify the Easy, Medium, and Difficult questions.

  3. Start with the easier ones. Do not go in the numerical order.

  4. If you are stuck with two options, go for it. But if you are clueless, do not mark anything.”

Also, the number of attempts is not what controls your percentile, it is the accuracy which does. The number of attempts itself is a function of the difficulty level of the paper.

 

Gautam Bawa, CAT 99.97 percentiler and IIM Calcutta alumnus says, “How many questions to attempt in CAT 2016 to get 99 percentile completely dependent on the difficulty level of the paper.

 

Last year, 64 net correct answers out of 100 questions would have fetched you a 99+. There have been years when a net correct of 28-30 out of 60 questions would have fetched you a 99+. Thus, your objective should be to identify the difficulty level of the paper and thereby judge what you need to do.”

 

Time and Speed

 

Anand Ganapathy further says whatever you can do within time at a good speed is fair enough to achieve the desired result. CAT has a sectional time limit of 60 minutes; it means that if you are unable to attempt the number of questions within time, you have lost your chance, and will now be automatically switched to another section.

 

An effective time management plays an important role in your performance. You have got 60 minutes to attempt a set of 34 or 32 questions. The first step is to glance through all the questions and select those which you are absolutely confident of solving correctly and then move towards those about which you are uncertain. The idea is to not stick with a question for long and waste time.

 

As Konreddy Varun Kumar Reddy, an MDI Gurgaon student and 99.84 percentiler shares, “For VA, I allotted the first 40 minutes for the RCs and the rest for Verbal Reasoning. In the case of DI & LR, I used to identify the easier LR sets first and solve them. After the easier LR sets were done, I looked for the easier DI sets and then went for the tougher ones. In the case of QA, I made sure that I do not lose marks on the easy questions and don't waste time on the difficult questions.”

 

Thus, besides having a defined number of questions for you to attempt, you must also be able to complete them within time. Practicing CAT Mock Tests will help you in achieving this target.

 

In a nutshell, the instructions on how many questions to attempt in CAT 2018 to get 99 percentile are:

  1. You must not attempt the questions which you are not 100% sure of

  2. You must attempt 100 percent of the questions you are sure of

  3. You must give enough CAT Mock Tests for practice, and must analyse each mock to avoid any mistakes.

Common Admission Test (CAT) 2018 is being conducted by IIM Calcutta for 2019-21 academic session. CAT 2018 will be conducted in a single-day window on Sunday, November 25, 2018, in two sessions (forenoon and afternoon slots), in around 142 cities for admissions to various management programmes across 20 IIMs and other top B-schools. Apart from the IIMs, over 100 B-schools in India conduct their admission through CAT scores. 

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