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Common Admission Test (CAT) 2021 is expected to be conducted in the last week of November 2021. Every year, more than 2 lakh students register for the exam. Last year, even though we saw the least number of CAT registrations in 5 years, you had to be one of the top 23,000 scorers in CAT 2021 to get a 99+ percentile. This may seem to be easy at the first glance, but you may want to think again. The number of registrations this year is expected to rise as the effect of COVID-19 on MBA admissions wears off.
Many top MBA aspirants compete in CAT 2021 for admission in the Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) and also many of the top MBA colleges in India and the fight to push your way up to the top bracket can get intense. Every management aspirant is aware of the importance of CAT in MBA admissions, and the immense popularity of the exam. Check our college predictor and percentile predictor tools for CAT 2021 to get an idea of your results based on your performance in the exam.
|CAT Percentile Predictor|
CAT 2021 Score vs 99 Percentile
If we take a look at the CAT 2021 Score vs Percentile Analysis, a score ranging from 115 - 120 is expected to land you at the 99th percentile rank in CAT 2021. Getting around 100 - 105 score for 95 percentile in CAT 2021 is comparatively very easy but increasing every mark after that gets increasingly difficult at a rapid pace.
What I mean to say here is that going from 100 to 101 marks is easier than going from 101 to 102. This is not that apparent in lower scores but when you are aiming for the top, even a single mistake can cost you dearly.
In this article, we attempt to answer one of the most commonly asked questions by CAT 2021 aspirants -- 'How many questions do I have to attempt to get a 99+ percentile score in CAT 2021?'
CAT 2021 Exam Pattern & Marking Scheme
The exam pattern of CAT last year changed significantly as the number of questions and the duration of the exam were reduced. This year, we will have to wait for the CAT 2021 notification to find out if IIMs will continue with the revised exam pattern or revert back to the original. A comparison of both can be found given below. The CAT question paper used to have a total of 100 questions divided into 3 sections. This was reduced to 76 and the exam duration was also decreased from 3 hours to 2 hours. All of the sections in CAT have different weightage. The exam pattern of CAT 2021 can be found below.
No. of Questions
|New Pattern||Old Pattern||New Pattern|
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning
Each section of CAT 2021 comprises MCQs and Non-MCQs or TITA-type questions. While TITA questions are a bit more difficult to attempt, they do not have any negative marking. The marking scheme of CAT 2021 is as follows.
For Correct Answer
For Incorrect Answer
|-1 mark for MCQs|
No Negative Marking for TITA
Now, as you can see here, the story of the number of questions to answer in CAT 2021 for a 99 percentile score starts to a little complicated as there are many factors to consider. Let's take a look at this in a bit more detail.
How Many Questions to Attempt in CAT 2021 for 99 Percentile
The CAT exam pattern was changed last year. The CAT exam duration has been reduced from 3 hours to 2 hours and the number of questions was also reduced to 76. This also had an impact on the average score of the candidates and, therefore, on the CAT score required to get 99 percentile. Here is a quick comparison of the score required to get 99 percentile in CAT as per the old vs new exam pattern.
CAT Time Duration
Old-time duration - 3 hours
New time duration - 2 hours
CAT Score Required for 99 percentile
|The old score required - 155 to 165||New Score Required - 115 to 120|
This is a very simple projection but it gives a more or less very clear picture as time would be limited for every aspirant. Adding a buffer to be safe, we can say that around 110-115 marks will be required in CAT 2021 with reduced time duration for 99 percentile. Now, coming to the question of the number of attempts, it will depend on your accuracy. Bear in mind that:
Maintaining high accuracy will slow your speed. A balance is required between accuracy is time.
If your accuracy is low, you must increase your speed to increase the number of questions you solve.
While your aim should be to be 100% accurate, don't waste time on it as it is not possible in most cases.
The following table shows an ideal depiction of the number of attempts for 99 percentile in CAT if we assume that 110-115 marks are required for 99 percentile.
How Many Questions to Attempt in CAT 2021 for 99 Percentile
(37x3) - 0 = 117
(40x3) - 5 = 115
(42x3) - 11 = 115
(45x3) - 20 = 115
Hence, it is apparent here that the difference between going from 100% accuracy to 90% is only of 6-7 attempts but to go from 80% to 70% accuracy, an increase of 13 attempts is required. Hence, maintaining 90% to 80% accuracy is best for a candidate to get 99 percentile in CAT 2021.
Candidates must keep in mind that CAT 2021 Normalization Process is not taken into account here as it is not in the control of a candidate. However, a margin of +5/-5 marks should be kept if you want to factor it in. Now, let's break this information down section-wise.
Section-Wise Attempts for 99 Percentile in CAT 2021
Each section of CAT 2021 contains a roughly equal number of questions and 40 minutes are allotted for each but the time taken per question varies. The average time taken to attempt a VARC is less as compared to the average time taken to attempt a Quant question because of the difference in the difficulty level of these sections. Hence, the number of attempts required is not equally divided between sections. Check the table below for details.
Total No. of Questions
No. of Attempts Required
16 - 18
45 - 47
12 - 14
34 - 37
14 - 16
35 - 38
|42 - 48||114 - 122|
How to Get 99 Percentile in CAT 2021
Getting a 99+ percentile score in CAT 2021 is not easy and requires a good preparation strategy, hard work and will power. However, what it basically boils down to is establishing a balance between speed and accuracy. Here are some of the best tips to increase your speed and accuracy in CAT 2021.
Find Out Your Strengths and Weaknesses
As can be seen above, you only need to attempt around 60% of the questions in CAT 2021 to get a 99 percentile score. Knowing your strong and weak areas will have to spend the least time on the remaining 40%. When aiming for the top, it is not only what you attempt that matters but also what you choose to leave.
Practice Solving Questions
Solving questions on a daily basis is a great way to increase speed and accuracy in CAT 2021. Solving questions every day will also help you find the best ways to reach the answer and which questions to leave.
Work on Time Management
Keep a clock running during and take note of the time you are taking to solve questions. Time management is very important as you only get 40 minutes to solve one section.
Check CAT Exam Analysis
Take a look at the exam analysis of CAT and note the paper pattern, difficulty level, topics covered in each section etc. to adjust your preparation accordingly.
Check CAT Toppers Tips
It is a good idea to take a look at the preparation strategy followed by CAT toppers or the best books for CAT 2021 they recommend. But you must always try to mould and adapt their advice to suit your style and needs.
Check Our CAT Preparation Tips
We have compiled some of the best preparation tips for CAT 2021 for you in the table below. Follow our tips to get a good score in CAT.
Scoring well in CAT requires smart preparation and not just hard work. Focus is essential and many successful aspirants draw inspiration from their goals or from other successful candidates. If you have any queries, you can ask them on the CollegeDekho QnA Zone.