Document 365676

SimCAT 13
Experts’ Take
SimCAT 13: The Experts’ Take
Overall impression
Like SimCAT‐12, this SimCAT also threw in a surprise. However the surprise was not so much in
the form of the level of difficulty of the questions as in the structure of the exam. Unlike the
previous SimCATs, SimCAT‐13 had five options for each question. Although questions with four
options have been the norm for the last 4‐5 years in the actual CAT, and most likely they will
remain so in CAT‐2014 as well, we cannot entirely rule out the possibility of there being
questions with five options. Therefore we wanted to make you aware of this possibility, which
you might not have taken into account during your preparation so far.
The implications of a test with five options for each question are as follows:
1. The total amount of material you have to read and digest goes up by a significant fraction.
This difference can particularly be felt in questions like RC, where options tend to be long
and complex.
2. Option elimination becomes more complicated as you now have to eliminate four options,
as opposed to only three previously.
3. The marking scheme changes to +4 marks for each correct answer and ‐1 mark for each
incorrect answer from the +3/‐1 scheme for the four‐option tests. As a result, in general,
the scores of the students increase. Some students were reported to be elated at their ‘best
performance in a SimCAT so far’. If the best performance was the result of more correct and
fewer incorrect answers in the SimCAT, you should definitely feel good about it. However,
an increase in score due to a change in the marking scheme is not of much use since it is
uniformly applicable to all students, so the performance of a student relative to the others
(percentiles) does not change.
In general, both sections in SimCAT‐13 were easier than those in SimCAT‐12. This is evident
from the slightly higher cut‐offs (as a percent of the total score) in each section as well as
overall. Further, the number of questions that were correctly attempted by fewer than 30% top
SimCAT 13
Experts’ Take
10‐percentilers (which can be considered as difficult questions) in both sections has significantly
dropped compared to SimCAT‐12’s.
Another interesting feature of SimCAT‐13 is that the overall cut‐off was significantly higher than
the sum of the cut‐offs of the individual sections. In fact, the difference between the overall
cut‐off and the sum of the cut‐offs of the individual sections was higher in SimCAT‐13 than in
any other SimCAT on the new pattern. This meant that the students had to increase their scores
in the section of their strength in addition to clearing the cut‐off in the other section.
Quantitative Aptitude and Data Interpretation
As usual, the QA‐DI section of SimCAT‐13 contained a mix of questions of different levels of
difficulty, namely easy, medium and difficult.
In Section‐I, Qs. 2, 6, 7, 21, 22, 37, 38, 40, 41, 43, 45, 48, 49 in QA and Qs. 25 to 28 in DI (a total of
16) were on the easier side and were suitable candidates for attempting in Round 1. A student
who attempted these 16 questions with 80‐85% accuracy would have been well placed to clear
the cut‐off. Similarly, Qs. 1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 13, 29, 31, 32, 46 and 47 in QA and the other DI sets (a total
of 22) were suitable candidates for attempting in Round 2. A student who attempted at least 32
questions out of these 38 with 80‐85% accuracy would have not only cleared the cut‐off in the
section but would have also scored more marks to bridge the gap between the overall cut‐off and
the sum of the individual cut‐offs of the two sections.
An analysis of the data on the time spent on solving individual questions by students reveals that
students spent somewhat more time on certain questions. In our opinion, those questions could
have been solved faster by using shortcuts and other techniques. We would like to highlight the
same here.
Q.3: This question contained unnecessarily more data than was needed to solve the question.
The question effectively asked the ratio of the perimeter of the rectangle to its shortest side. If
we denote the longer side of the rectangle by ‘a’ and the shorter side by ‘b’, the perimeter of the
rectangle would be 2(a+b). Therefore the required ratio will be
. Now
since > , the ratio > 1, and therefore the ratio required will be greater than 4. Out of the
given options, only one option,
, was greater than 4 and thus that was the correct answer. This
question seems to have confused several students due to the sheer amount of data presented.
Q.13: If we inscribe a dodecagon and a hexagon in a circle, the area of the circle is greater than
area of the dodecagon, which in turn is greater than the area of the hexagon. Therefore the
required ratio will be greater than 1. Out of the given options, only two options, [1] and [5] were
greater than 1. If we consider that the radius of the circle in which the two polygons are inscribed
SimCAT 13
is 1, the area of the hexagon would be
Experts’ Take
and the area of circle would be . The first option is .
If this option is correct, the area of the dodecagon would be
which is greater than
. A polygon cannot have area greater than that of the circle in which it is inscribed. Therefore
option [1] cannot be correct. Hence the answer is [5].
Q.47: This question confused some students. Recognize that this problem is similar to the famous
‘frog in the well’ problem. By the time the three cycles of five hours end (15 hours), the tank
would be 75% full. Pipe A is opened after that. Pipe A fills 25% of the tank in one hour. Therefore
the tank will be completely filled in 16 hours!!
Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning
The format of the Verbal questions in this section was inspired by that of the Verbal section of
CAT 2006, which was made up of sets of 5 questions each. So instead of a wide variety of VA
question types, this SimCAT featured only 15 VA questions, with 5 questions on a type that tested
one of the three basic verbal skills: Verbal Reasoning, Grammar and Vocabulary/Usage. The RC
questions too were in sets of 5: 4 passages with 5 questions each.
Though SimCAT‐13 is, overall, easier than SimCAT‐12, the reverse is actually true of the Verbal
questions in both tests. The Verbal questions were significantly reading‐heavy: apart from the
additional amount of reading involved due to the extra option, there were 20 RC questions in this
test – both the highest number as well as the highest percentage so far in a SimCAT – and all the
RC passages were longer than average.
Perhaps one of these factors was responsible for the rather disappointing performance of
students in the RC area. After a number of tests in which we have been pleased to see students
slowly gaining confidence in RC, SimCAT‐13 marks an unfortunate backslide. Even the easiest
passage – the second passage (the one on birds) – saw poor levels of accuracy. For example, only
28.57% of top‐10 percentilers got Q. 65 correct, though it is a very straightforward title‐based
question, with options that are not particularly close. Even a cursory reading of the passage
would be enough to see that the passage is about birds’ wings (i.e. their limbs) and the limitations
of their brains, so an option that mentions both these points has to be the answer.
Only 26.19% of top‐10 percentilers got Q. 67 correct – a completely direct question! Perhaps
some students became overconfident or careless when reading such a simple passage. Or
perhaps some were unwilling to check the correct combinations of options by scanning for the
relevant data in the passage. Either way, these are tendencies to be avoided in the actual CAT.
Another case of unexpectedly low accuracy is Q. 97. While this is admittedly not an easy question,
the students’ accuracy – 1.59% among top‐10 percentilers and 0.47% overall – is completely out
SimCAT 13
Experts’ Take
of proportion to its apparent level of difficulty. The only possible reason for this we can think of is
that once again, the presence of a non‐specific option (‘all of the above’ in this case) confused
students. You must not let such a simple issue be your Achilles heel.
Also once again, students have found the grammar questions extremely tough. 3 out of the 5
grammar questions were correctly answered by less than 10% of the top‐10 percentilers –
appallingly low accuracy! At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we must, once again (and
again, and again…), emphasize that you need more practice in this area.
On a positive note: we are pleasantly surprised to note that students found the third passage (the
one on war) less difficult that we had anticipated. Many students also seem to have mastered
Jumbled Paragraphs. Over 60% of the top‐10 percentilers even got Q. 89 right – a Fill in the Blanks
question with very tough words such as ‘sanguineous’, ‘internecine’ and ‘interstitial’ among the
options. Keep up this good work!
All the Logical Reasoning sets were significantly simpler than the ones in SimCAT‐12. The second
LR set (Qs. 70‐73) was fairly simple and should have been attempted in the first round. The other
LR sets should have been attempted in the second round.
In order to clear the cut‐off for section 1 comfortably, about 25 questions could have been
solved with 80% accuracy. To do the same for section 2, about 22 questions could have been
solved with 80% accuracy. In order to clear the overall cut‐off, you would have to solve about
12 more questions with 80% accuracy. Given below are the questions you should have solved.
Must‐Solve Questions*
QA‐ 1,3,4,6,7,9,13,15,16,17,18,21,22,
DI 25,26,27, 29,31,32,38,40,42,45,48
VA‐ 51,54,56,61,62,63,68,70,71,72,83,
85, 87,89,90
Potential Score Improvers**
74, 79,80,81,82,84,86,88
* Questions that have been attempted by a majority of the top 10 %ile students, with an accuracy of at least 80%.
**Questions that have been attempted by a majority of the top 10 %ile students, with an accuracy of 50-80%.
If you haven’t appeared for the previous SimCATs, make sure you do and read their Experts’ Takes
for more useful tips and insights.
All the Best for SimCAT‐13!