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How Many Questions to Attempt in CAT 2021 for a 99 Percentile Score

Abhinav Chamoli
Abhinav ChamoliUpdated On: November 24, 2021 | CAT

Scoring over 99 percentile in CAT 2021 requires a smart, calculative approach and a good preparation plan. Take a look at the number of attempts required in CAT 2021 to get more than 99 percentile.

How Many Questions to Attempt in CAT for a 99 Percentile Score

Common Admission Test (CAT) 2021 is going to be conducted on the 28th 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 was expected to rise and this year, 2.31 lakh candidates have appeared for CAT, as the effect of COVID-19 on MBA admissions have started to wear 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 College Predictor

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 exponentially difficult.

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, the CAT convenor has hinted that there might be fewer number of questions. However, we will only know that when the exam is over. 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


Old Pattern

New PatternOld PatternNew Pattern

Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension



60 minutes

40 minutes

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning



60 minutes

40 minutes

Quantitative Ability



60 minutes

40 minutes




180 minutes

120 minutes

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

+3 marks

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 get a little complicated as there are many factors to consider. Let's take a look at this in a bit more detail.

Also Read:How Much Time is Required to Prepare for CAT?

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(last year). However, with fewer questions, as the convener has said, this can change as well!

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 165New 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


Attempts Required



Raw Score





(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.

CAT 2021 Cut Off

Now, let's break this information down section-wise.

Also Read: Top Ten Non-IIM Colleges that accept CAT Scores in India

Section-Wise Attempts for 99 Percentile in CAT 2021

Each section of CAT 2021 contains an 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

Estimated Score



16 - 18

45 - 47



12 - 14

34 - 37



14 - 16

35 - 38



42 - 48114 - 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.

CAT 2021 Previous Year Question Paper

CAT 2021 Sample Papers

CAT 2021 Mock Test

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: Toppers Tips for CAT 2021: Check How Toppers Prepare for CAT, Strategy & Study Tips to Score 99 Percentile

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.

CAT 2021 Preparation Strategy: Section-Wise Preparation Tips

How to Prepare for CAT VARC (Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension) - Expert Advice, Tips

How to Prepare for CAT Quantitative Ability (QA) - Check Expert Advice, Tips and Tricks

How to Prepare for CAT Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning - Expert Advice, Tips and Tricks

Types of Reading Comprehension Questions in CAT 2021: Sectional Analysis and Tips

How to Approach CAT Question Paper

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.


Does getting 99 percentile guarantee admission in top colleges?

No, admission is not guaranteed to any college after getting 99 percentile and it will depend on your GD/PI performance.

Which colleges can I get with a 99 percentile score in CAT?

With a 99 percentile score, you can aim for the top IIMs i.e. IIMA, IIMB and IIMC as well as the top private colleges include FMS Delhi, SPJIMR, MDI Gurgaon etc.

How many candidates get 99+ percentile in CAT?

Since around 2 lakh candidates appear for CAT every year, the top 1% i.e. around 20,000 candidates get 99+ percentile score.

How to score 99 percentile in CAT?

For scoring 99 percentile in CAT, an attempt of around 65 - 75 questions out of 100 is recommended with high accuracy. Read the article to know the expected new number of attempts required as per reivsed format.

Can an average student score 99 percentile in CAT?

Yes, it is definitely possible for an average student to get 99 percentile in CAT if the candidate follows a dedicated study plan and makes calculated efforts towards their goal.

CAT Previous Year Question Paper

CAT Question Paper 2018 Slot 1

CAT Question Paper 2018 Slot 2

CAT Question Paper 2019 Slot 1

CAT Question Paper 2019 Slot 2

CAT question Paper 2017 f1

CAT question Paper 2017 F2


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