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CAT 2016 Cutoff Analysis by TIME

Last Updated - December 17, 2016

CAT 2016 Exam was quite surprising for the candidates.  The CAT exam conducted on December 4th 2016 was relatively tougher and trickier this year as per candidate’s responses. As compared to last year, CAT aspirants found a few easily workable questions in the sections but the difficulty level of the questions has increased. Sections were provided with ample easy questions but the candidate’s limits were exhausted while attempting difficult questions. There was a good scope for making silly mistakes that adds on to the increased difficulty level.

CAT 2016 result will be announced in the second week of January, tentatively. The CAT 2016 Cutoffs are expected to go low according to the overall performance by the candidates. Around 2.3 lakhs candidates appeared for the exam and most of them rated the exam sections difficulty level from moderate to difficult. The Exam was conducted in two slots i.e. slot 1 and slot 2. Section wise analysis for both the slots is provided by Triumphant Institute of Management Education (T.I.M.E.).

According to TIME the CAT 2016 overall cut-off will be around 97-99 percentile. CAT Cutoff is the least percentile set by the management authorities that depends on various factors. It is used for shortlisting candidates for admission to various Management schools. For achieving the target of 99 percentile the candidate must have scored 150-165 marks in the CAT exam.

Section Wise Analysis

CAT Exam was conducted in online mode and a total of 100 questions were asked that were divided into three sections (Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation, Quantitative Ability). For admission to a good B-school the candidates need to attempt at least 70-75 correct responses. The statistics related to section wise total number of questions and possible good attempts is mentioned in the table here.

SectionTotal questionsGood Attempts
Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation3414-1614-16
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension3222-2423-26
Quantitative Ability3419-2118-20

VARC (Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension)

This section comprises questions based on Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension. The Passages were of moderate length based on interesting topics like Economics, Environment, Linguistic Studies etc. candidate were supposed to go through twice or thrice for attempting the answers since the options were closely related to each other. The overall attempts in this section were affected due to this.


Questions based on Para-formation lacked answer choices and are seen to be one of the toughest this year. For many candidates the task of finding connections and starting statements was laborious which lead to lack of accuracy and low scores. The Para summary questions were of moderate difficulty and should prove relief allowing for a boost in scores.


Verbal ability questions were quite tough but RC Passages were an easy read.   Introduction to new question types such as the, “Main purpose of the passage” and close choice in options made it difficult to crack this section. The Verbal Ability questions like Para Formation, Para Odd-man-out and Para summary were not provided with any options that made them a hard task to attempt. Lack of negative marking for these questions allowed some respite for the candidates.

LRDI (Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation)

This section set a new standard of difficulty level this year as compared to recent years. The candidates were struck by this year’s CAT 2016 LRDI section.


Questions in DI sets were less difficult to interpret but Qs were full of twists and tricks. Qs were not everyone’s cup of tea and average candidates could not solve more that 2-3 Qs in each set. The trick to score high in this section was only to identify and attempt the easier sets. Solving 10-12 questions would be sufficient to clear this section.


The candidates who learnt from CAT 2015 LRDI section’s trend of difficult questions and did good preparation with presence of mind would be able to perform better in this section. The difficult sets were easy to pick since they seemed unsolvable right from the beginning and thus their difficulty made the candidates to drop them. This would be a help to save candidate’s precious time.

QA (Quantitative Ability)

A total number of questions asked in QA section was 34 with 8 Qs of non-MCQ type. The questions based on Geometry were more and can be placed from moderate to difficult level of difficulty. Arithmetic questions provided and increase in the attempts.


The trend of low weightage for numbers in the morning slot was seen this year as well. Permutation and combination questions were missing in this session. The difficulty level of this section can be rated a bit higher than moderate level.


Similar pattern was followed as there were slightly higher questions on geometry and moderate-difficult level. Unlike Slot I, Permutation and combination questions reverted strongly this year in this session. Candidates with average level of preparation could solve the Arithmetic questions that were asked in a good number.

CAT 2016 Cutoff by TIME

A section wise detailed analysis of the CAT 2016 Exam allows us to predict the expected CAT 2016 Expected Cutoff. The expected cutoff provided by TIME is tabulated here:

Sectional CutoffOverall Cutoff
VARCDI & LRQATotal percentilePercentileTotal Marks
41 ± 124 ± 132 ± 185
53 ± 133 ± 144 ± 19597.5136 ± 2
65 ± 146 ± 157 ± 19999150 ± 2



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