Will Cut Offs for IIMs Drop Due to 'Difficult' Quant Section in CAT 2023?

Shivangi Ahirwar
Shivangi AhirwarUpdated On: January 04, 2024 11:51 am IST
The CAT 2023 Quant section was very difficult and lengthy across all slots, as claimed by many test-takers on Twitter and other platforms. Read the article below to know what impact Quant's higher difficulty in CAT 2023 will have on IIM cutoff.
Will IIM Cutoff Drop Due to Higher CAT 2023 Quant Difficulty

Will Cut Offs for IIMs Drop Due to 'Difficult' Quant Section in CAT 2023? has become one of the most trending questions after the conclusion of the CAT exam on November 26, 2023. Many CAT 2023 test-takers even took to Twitter to express their disappointment regarding the difficulty level of the Quant section. They claimed that the QA section was way tougher than other prestigious entrance exams like JEE. This discussion has also led many candidates to feel that CAT should not only have questions from Quant, DILR & VARC, but management and accountancy too.

This year's CAT exam featured the toughest Quant section seen in the last five years. The questions in the QA section were based on topics that are often overlooked by students. Even the DILR section was notably more challenging than in the previous year. Due to this, the score required to achieve a 99% percentile is likely to be affected. As a result, it is highly anticipated that there will be a drop in the CAT 2023 cutoff for IIMs and other prestigious B-schools across India. Let’s get into the details of this below.

Also Read:

CAT 2023 Toppers List

List of IIMs in India

CAT 2023 Quant Section Took Students by Surprise

The Quantitative Aptitude section of CAT 2023 was considered very difficult in all three slots as students were not anticipating a lot of questions from Algebra. Usually, the QA section is dominated by Arithmetic every year. However, this time, there were more questions from Algebra, and students were not adequately prepared for it.

In Slot 1, there were a total of 8 questions from Algebra on Quadratic Equations, Linear Equations, Modulus Functions, and Polynomials. Arithmetic, on the other hand, had 7 questions on SICI, Time and Work, Time-Speed-Distance, Clocks, Averages, Mixtures & Alligations, and Profit & Loss. 4 questions were asked from Geometry on Triangle, Coordinate Geometry, and Cyclic Quadrilateral. The rest 3 questions were on Modern Math, Numbers, and Indices.

Slot 2 had 8 questions from Algebra, 7 questions from Arithmetic, 2 questions on Modern Math, 3 questions from Geometry, and 2 questions on Numbers. However, Slot 3 was dominated by Arithmetic as 8 questions were asked from it, followed by Algebra and Modern Math with 4 questions each. Geometry had 3 questions on Triangle, Rectangle, and Polygon while in Numbers, 3 questions were on Indices and Number of Factors. As per the CAT 2023 test-takers and MBA experts, Slot 3 was the most difficult. Twitter has also seen a buzz related to the same, snaps of which have been added below.

CAT Quant Difficulty
CAT Quant Difficulty

CAT 2023 QA’s Higher Difficulty May Lead to a Drop in IIM Cut Offs

The CAT Quantitative Ability section presented a challenging set of questions that required a high level of problem-solving skills. To achieve a 99% percentile in CAT 2023, a student must have attempted 9-11 questions with a minimum accuracy rate of 75-80%. Meanwhile, the Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR) section was equally challenging, with most of the candidates only able to attempt 1-2 sets out of the total 4 sets. This difficulty level is expected to result in lower cutoffs for IIMs and other MBA colleges across the country.

Expected IIM Cutoffs Due to Higher Difficulty of CAT Quant 2023

Take a look at the table below for the expected IIM cutoff 2023 due to the higher difficulty of the CAT 2023 exam.

CAT 2023 Difficulty Level & Good Attempts: Slot-wise

Let’s take a look at the section-wise detailed CAT 2023 exam analysis for all three slots.

SlotParametersQuantitative AptitudeData Interpretation & Logical ReasoningVerbal Ability & Reading ComprehensionOverall
1Difficulty LevelDifficultModerate to DifficultEasy to ModerateModerate
Good Attempts10-1212-1410-1232-38
2Difficulty LevelEasy to ModerateModerate to DifficultDifficultModerate to Difficult
Good Attempts10-1210-1115-1735-40
3Difficulty LevelModerateDifficultEasy to ModerateModerate to Difficult
Good Attempts9-106-713-1423-31

Also ReadIIM Selection Criteria 2024-26

What Score Will be Enough for 99 Percentile in CAT 2023?

It is important to note that any increase in the difficulty level of the CAT 2023 Quant section will significantly influence the score required to achieve the 99% percentile. In such a scenario, the required score for CAT 99% percentile may slightly decrease to around 80-82 marks. Last year, obtaining a score of 85 marks was sufficient to secure a position in the 99% percentile range.

Should CAT QA Include Topics from Accountancy & Management?

After analyzing the distribution of questions in the QA section of CAT 2023, it has come to light that a significant emphasis is placed on Algebra and Arithmetic this year. This has raised concerns among several students with an Engineering background. A few have proposed that the CAT syllabus should also cover topics related to Accountancy and Management, making it a more level playing field for students with strong Mathematical skills.

What to Expect from CAT 2024?

Aspiring candidates who are gearing up for the CAT exam in the coming year should take note that the paper can cover any topic enlisted in the CAT syllabus. It is imperative for candidates not to limit their focus only to the frequently asked topics but to be prepared for every aspect of the syllabus. Mere anticipation or guesswork won't work in the exam, hence it is crucial for candidates to have thorough knowledge and understanding of every concept that might appear in the paper.

Related Articles:

What is a Good Percentile in CAT 2023?

Non-IIM MBA Colleges to Apply to Before & After CAT Exam

How to Shortlist a B-School Basis CAT Percentile?

Top B-schools Accepting CAT Percentile Below 90 other than IIMs


If you have any doubts, you can ask questions in our Q&A zone. You can even check our CAT College Predictor 2023 and CAT 2023 Percentile Predictor tools to get an idea of your results based on your performance in the CAT 2023 exam. For admission-related guidance, call our toll-free number 1800-572-9877 or fill out our Common Application Form.

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