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by Pratham Aggarwal 2021-07-16


CAT 2020 was one of the most unpredictable exams held in 2020 as in the midst of the covid-19 chaos, students had to go for an offline mode of examination. However, there was panic among the students as the IIM Indore, which conducted the CAT 2020 exam, changed the exam pattern.

The number of questions in the exam was reduced to 76 from 100 and the exam duration was also truncated to 2 hours making it 40 minutes for each section.

The exam was conducted in 3 slots instead of 2 to avoid overcrowding at the centers.


The CAT 2020 slot 1 exam had a total of 76 questions which were distributed among three sections: Verbal ability and reading comprehension, Data interpretation and logical reasoning, and quantitative aptitude.

Initially, the VARC section had 26 questions which included 4 passages of reading comprehension, 2 passages with 5 questions each, and the other 2 passages with 4 questions each. The other part of this section had 8 questions which had a higher difficulty. However, the passages were quite lengthy and were also time-consuming. Analysis and the choice of questions was the key to perform well in this section. According to those who attempted CAT for the second consecutive year, the level of difficulty was slightly higher than in 2019. 13 questions out of 26 were decent to be attempted.

In addition, Data interpretation and logical reasoning were one of the scoring sections, but again time-consuming and lengthy part of the exam. There were 24 questions in this section that had an easy to moderate difficulty level. It consisted of 2 sets of 6 questions and 3 sets of 4 questions. Attempting 3 sets out of 5 would have been a commendable effort. Being, a scoring section, the student needed to be more aware of the selection of the questions and should have considered the time management factor.

Then comes the quantitative aptitude section, which had 26 questions, out of which 10 questions were arithmetic based. However, there were very few questions from geometry, whereas there were about 8-10 questions from algebra. This section was not too difficult and was scoring for those who had done a good amount of practice for it. The question asked in this section were not direct, but, they were a little tricky. Getting 8 questions correct in this section was a decent score.

Overall, the exam had a slightly higher level of difficulty as compared to 2019 and also was quite lengthy due to the reduction of time. Scoring 90+ marks would have been tremendous to secure the 95+ percentile. 

The major key takeaways from the slot 1 examination were:

  1. The Selection of questions was important.
  2. Time management is necessary.
  3. Attempting those questions, of which, one is confident of would have been a smart choice.

CAT 2020 slot 1 exam had a moderate difficulty, The students who utilized their time during the lockdown in an efficient manner must be able to get through the exam quite easily.

One should always keep in mind that CAT is not just about how well versed a candidate is, with the topic, but also how well a candidate understands the pattern of the exam. Attempting a lesser number of questions with high accuracy has always been good to go strategy as compared to attempting much more questions with slightly less accuracy. This is because of the negative marking factor, even one wrong question can cost you a good MBA college.