CAT : Analysis of a decade’s VARC

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By relying on CAT 2017 pattern it is highly likely that VARC section of CAT 2018 will comprise of 34 questions within the stipulated time of one hour. Though precise subdivision of various topics and their weight age is beyond anyone’s reach, last couple of years hints reading comprehension has the lion’s share. Twenty four out of thirty four questions fall within this category only, three large passages of 500-600 words had 6 questions each, whereas two short passages of 250-300 words each contributed 3 questions each.

The verbal ability section used to be more versatile and unpredictable weight age in paper based test of CAT till 2008. Since 2009, when the Common Admission Test turned online, the two sections, i.e. Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation and Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning started getting equal weightage. The cutoff of the VA section is gaining momentum as this section has gone through various changes over the past few years. Just have a look at the given table to get the lucid picture of composition of questions in previous couple of years.

The number of Verbal Ability questions which were 25 out of 75 questions in 2007, increased to 40 out of 90 questions in 2008, thus increasing the percentage and making CAT a little moderate and inclined towards verbal ability but still tough enough to score easy points. However, since 2009 ,Verbal Ability questions have remained at 20 out of 60 and have become moderately tough to attempt.

Reading comprehension passages which used to be of 1200 or more words each, have been reduced to around 700-800 words, but the difficulty level has increased. While other than Comprehension passages, correction of errors, word usage , analogies, fill in the blanks, homonyms played very important role CAT verbal, its more inclined towards topics such as Para Jumbles, last sentence of the para, Verbal Reasoning, para summary and Facts Inference & Judgment etc. of late. Hence one is required to give priorities to these topics other than RC.

VARC in last few years

The table below will throw some light on the ongoing trend in CAT examination over a period of past 10-11 years.

Year No. of Questions No. of VA Questions Difficulty Level  Topics
2006 75 25 Difficult Reading Comprehension, Para jumbles, Grammar, Sentence Completion, Vocabulary etc.
2007 75 25 Difficult RC- 4 passages, each question with five close choices,
Grammar, Sentence Completion, Para jumbles, Phrases etc.
2008 90 40 Difficult RC-4 passages (20 questions), Fill in the blanks, Sentence Correction, Vocabulary, Grammar etc.
2009 60 20 Moderate Sentence Rearrangement, Grammar, Comprehension, Correction of Errors, Sentence Completion, English Usage, Vocabulary
2010 60 20 Moderate to Difficult RC, Grammar, Para jumbles, Sentence Correction & Completion, Vocabulary etc.
2011 60 20 Moderate to Difficult Jumbled Sentences, Error Correction, Vocabulary, RC, Grammar etc.
2012 50 22 Moderate to difficult Grammar, English Vocabulary, Jumbled Sentences, Error Correction etc
2013 50 23 Difficult Grammar, English Vocabulary, Jumbled Sentences, Error Correction etc
2014 50 25 Difficult Grammar, English Vocabulary, Jumbled Sentences, Error Correction etc
2015 100 34 Moderate to difficult Reading Comprehension, Para jumbles, Para summary, Sentence exclusion etc.
2016 100 34 Difficult Reading Comprehension, Para jumbles, Para summary, Sentence exclusion etc.
2016 100 34 Difficult Reading Comprehension, Para jumbles, Para summary, Sentence exclusion etc.

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