CAT Examination Analysis

The CAT 2020 examination was held on November 25, 2020 in two sessions – forenoon and afternoon. The exam held in the first slot got over at 12 pm and the general opinion about the paper was that it was easier than last year’s exam. While the VARC section was quite complex with two difficult RC passage, the QA and DILR sections were simpler in comparison. Based on the opinion of experts in this field, an overall raw score of 157-160 will fetch a 99 percentile. Go through the CAT 2020 analysis mentioned in detail below.  

CAT 2020 Analysis: Highlights

  • This year, the CAT question paper was easier in comparison to last year.
  • The first section, VARC, had the standard long and short RC passages, with questions typically in the form of para jumbles and odd sentences.
  • The RC passages were not straightforward and it had several critical reasoning questions
  • The DILR section was simple and it was mostly focussed on pie-charts, matrix, set-theories, denominations, etc.
  • The Quant section was definitely easier when compared to the other sections of CAT 2020 question paper 
  • QA section was mainly dominated by questions from number system, algebra, arithmetic, modern math, geometry and mensuration
  • Most students were of the general opinion that the VARC and QA sections were tough and lengthy
  • An overall raw score of 157-160 should fetch a 99 percentile

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Read the CAT 2020 analysis summary by various MBA experts below:


CAT 2020 analysis by Career LauncherCAT 2020 question paper was easier than last year; no surprise question. 
CAT 2020 analysis by TIMEQuants & DILR sections were easier than VARC in both slot 1 and slot 2.
CAT 2020  analysis by IMSNo change in the overall exam pattern or in the types of questions from the last three years’ CAT.
CAT 2020 analysis by TopMyTestVARC section was exceptionally tough. DILR was not as easy as it looked.
CAT 2020 analysis by CATKingOverall, CAT did not bring in any surprises for the students, the difficulty level of the exam overall was Moderate.


Also Check CAT Examination 2020 Syllabus

CAT Exam Pattern

CAT 2020 question paper comprised of both MCQs and non-MCQs. Given below is the breakdown of the question paper for reference. The difficulty level of the CAT 2020 question paper was moderate.


SectionMCQsNon-MCQsAllotted Time
Quantitative Aptitude (QA)231160 minutes
Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation (LRDI)24860 minutes
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)27760 minutes
Total7426180 minutes


Also Check CAT 2020 Examination Pattern

CAT Marking Scheme

  • The questions are scored against a total of 300 (100 questions for 3 marks each)
  • 3 marks for every correct answer
  • For each incorrect answer, -1 is deducted
  • No negative marking for unattempted questions 

CAT 2020: Expected Cut Offs

Given below are the tables indicating expected CAT cut-offs for admission to the 2020 MBA batch. The tables contain the expected CAT cut-offs of IIMs and non-IIM institutes:


IIM CampusExpected CAT Cut Off
IIM Ahmedabad | IIM Bangalore | IIM Calcutta99 percentile
IIM Lucknow | IIM Indore | IIM Kozhikode97-98 percentile
IIM Amritsar | IIM Nagpur | IIM Sambalpur95-96 percentile
IIM Trichi | IIM Raipur | IIM Ranchi | IIM Kashipur94-95 percentile
IIM Vizag | IIM Udaipur | IIM Bodhgaya92-94 percentile
IIM Shillong | IIM Sirmaur90 percentile


College NameExpected Cut Off
IIT Bombay (SJMSOM)99 percentile
JBIMS, Mumbai99 percentile
FMS, Delhi98.5 percentile
IIT Delhi (DoMS)98 percentile
SPJIMR, Mumbai97 percentile
NITIE, Mumbai95 percentile
MDI, Gurgaon95 percentile
IIT Madras95 percentile
IIT Kharagpur95 percentile
IIT Kanpur95 percentile
IIT Roorkee95 percentile
MICATop 10 percentile


Also Check CAT 2020 Cut Off

CAT 2018 Analysis

Slot-Wise Difficulty Level of CAT 2018 Question Papers

CAT 2018 exam had a moderately difficult question paper. The VARC section of the first slot of the exam was easier compared to last year’s. The DILR section was of moderate difficulty level, while the QA section was quite tough. Here’s a brief overview of the section-wise difficulty level of both the slots of CAT 2018:


CAT sectionsCAT 2018: Slot 1CAT 2018: Slot 2
DILRModerate to DifficultModerate to Very Difficult 


Also read:

CAT Exam Analysis FAQs 

Q: What is the difficulty level of CAT?

A: The difficulty level of the CAT exam ranges from moderate to difficult. However every year, one of the sections usually ends up being quite tough.

Q: Who sets the CAT question paper?

A: The question paper is set by a panel selected by IIMCAT.

Q: Are CAT question papers of slot 1 and slot 2 different from each other?

A: Yes, there is a slight variation in the questions of each slot to prevent questions from being leaked or copied. As the questions in each of the slots are different, the difficulty level is also different.

Q: Will there be a difference in the question papers of slot 1 and slot 2 in CAT 2020?

A: Yes, the difficulty level of slot 1 and slot 2 question papers will be different.

Q: Which CAT question paper is more difficult – slot 1 or slot 2?

A: Either of the question papers can be more difficult than the other. There is no certain pattern to this as each year a different IIM conducts the exam and a different team sets the question papers.

Q: How many questions should I attempt to get 99+ percentile?

A: There is no definite number of questions that has to be solved to get a 99 percentile. CAT percentile is controlled by several factors like number of candidates and their raw scores, difficulty level of the paper and CAT normalisation process.

Q: What is considered to be a good attempt in CAT?

A: Out of 100 questions, solving 70-75 questions correctly is considered as a good attempt in CAT.

Q: Which section is considered the toughest in CAT exam?

A: Among the three sections in CAT – VARC, DILR and QA, the last one is considered the toughest because the questions are based on mathematics and require an intense amount of calculations. However, several candidates also find VARC difficult due to the complex and confusing RC passages.

Q: Is there any set pattern of distribution of questions in CAT exam?

A: Yes, a set of 100 questions divided over three sections.

Q: Can I switch between the sections during CAT exam?

A: No, you cannot switch between sections. Sections are to be answered in the same sequence they appear.

Q: What has been the difficulty level of CAT exam over the last five years?

A: The difficulty level of CAT exam has ranged from moderate to difficult over the last five years.

Q: Will the difficulty level of CAT 2020 affect admission cut offs?

A: Yes, the admission cut offs are based on the difficulty levels. If the CAT 2020 exam turns out to be tough, the cut offs will be slightly lesser this year.

Q: Will the CAT 2020 answer key be released on the exam day?

A: No, the CAT answer key is released within 2-3 days of the exam.

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