CAT 2016 – Paper Analysis


  • The overall structure of CAT 2016 was exactly similar to that of CAT 2015.
  • Each section was timed for 60 minutes. One could not go back and forth between sections.
  • The test started with the Verbal Section, which had 34 questions – 24 RC and 10 VA. Unlike CAT 2015, this section was not divided into two sub-sections but had one single section and therefore some extra effort was required if one wanted to first solve VA questions or RC questions.
  • The second section was the DI-LR with 32 questions distributed equally between the two areas. Just like VA-RC, the DI and LR sets were mixed up and there was no way one could locate all the DI sets or all the LR sets in one go.
  • The third section was the Quantitative Ability section which also had 34 questions.
  • As expected, non-MCQ questions did not carry any negative marks while the MCQ questions carried -0.33 mark negative for a wrong answer and +1 for a correct answer as displayed in actual test and +3 and -1 as shared in the instructions sheet before the start of the exam.
CAT 2016 Paper Analysiscat 2016 paper

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension

  • There were total 5 passages – three passages (450-650 words in length) and two passages (300 words each). The three passages had 6 questions each and the other two had 3 questions each.
  • All the four parajumble questions were difficult. There were many ambiguous sentences too. The questions could have led to wastage of time.
  • RC’s were majorly factual, not being inordinately lengthy or abstract in nature. Only one passage was difficult to read. The others were easy and two passages were also very interesting.
  • There were no vocabulary-based questions as well.
  • The questions in Verbal ability were dominated by Verbal Logic and did not carry any negative marking, though they needed prior practice to aim for a high percentile.
cat 2016 varc tablecat 2016 varc

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

  • The DI-LR section had 4 sets each of Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning.
  • Selection of the right sets to solve was key to a good performance in this section.
  • Overall the section was only slightly easy when compared to last year.
cat 2016 DILR tablecat 2016 DILR

Quantitative Ability

  • This section was of moderate difficulty level and dominated by questions on Geometry and Arithmetic.
  • There were 34 questions of QA. There were 7-8 Questions of Non MCQ type and the rest were MCQs.
  • There were questions from regular topics like Algebra, Geometry, Modern Math, Arithmetic and Number Systems.
cat 2016 QA tablecat 2016 QA


CAT 2016 did not throw up any surprises w.r.t. the paper format. The level of difficulty of the paper changed this year as compared to last year. While VARC continued to be easy, DILR was deceptive with easy looking sets that had difficult questions. Quant threw the biggest curve ball in terms of Level of difficulty and topic distribution.