CAT 2017 Paper Analysis

This blog article will give you an in depth idea of how CAT 2017 was! Chuck it! First things first!

Remember, Aspirants don’t crack CAT, Experts do! 

How do CAT experts work different from aspirants?
  1. Experts enjoy aptitude
  2. Experts view all three sections as reasoning
  3. Experts have multiple ways of approaching a problem
The major prep problem is that most aspirants get bogged down by the overwhelming competition and unstructured syllabus and fail to explore their aptitude skills to the best. Our experience of training thousands of CAT aspirants has taught us a major thing. CAT Learning needs to be fun.


Now, let me come to the CAT 2017 paper!

Hello aspirants!

When I was in class 12th, I went to the Computer science elective paper by only solving the guess paper provided by the board. I managed to score reasonably well in the exam 😉 Such is the importance of solving the previous year papers too! You need to know what exam are you entering into! Welcome to CAT 2017 paper analysis! 

The pattern of the of CAT 2017 was very much along the lines of CAT 2016 – the number of questions across sections remained the same as that of last year.

There were no surprises in CAT 2017 with respect to difficulty level. Kamlesh Sir(Bfactory cofounder, IIM A alumnus) had quoted after the exam, “The paper was in line with expectations. A little bit here and there. But overall, the surprise element was missing from CAT.”

Let me go into the details of each section now:


The relative ease of reading the passages was compensated by the increased level of difficulty in the ‘choices’. A relatively high proportion of questions from this area were inference-based, requiring good critical reasoning skills. The options in most questions were close and would have required involved reading and sometimes, multiple reading of the relevant portions of the passage. This would have taken up time and would have left test-takers with niggling doubts in their minds as to whether they had marked the ‘right’ option.

  • There were 24 questions in RC section and 10 in VA
  • There were 3 passages with  6 questions  and 2 passages with 3 questions
  • 3 para jumbles and 3 para summary  questions of moderate difficulty were also included.
  • The multiple choices were a bit tough.

The ten questions on verbal ability were of the moderate level of difficulty, overall. However, with seven of these ten being non-MCQ type questions, the effective level of difficulty would appear to be higher by a notch or two.

The section was slightly difficult compared to CAT 2016 Verbal section. Overall level was easy to moderate. I found approx 20 easy questions, 12 moderate and 2 difficult(1 from Para Jumble, 1 from RC).

Overall: Very doable section!

Cut off score for all IIM Calls was close to: 65 marks out of 100.

Cut off score for at least 1 IIM Call was approx: 53 marks out of 100.


This section was very difficult. While the LRDI section of CAT 2016 was considered to be the most difficult ever, CAT 2017 exceeded even that high mark!!

The difficult part was that almost every set had ‘unfamiliar’ written all over it! In fact, the entire section can be termed to have DI based reasoning sets and Quant based reasoning sets, making it almost impossible to identify and classify the sets in DI and LR separately.

  • Several time-taking logical DI and confusing caselets were present in the paper.
  • As the paper was reasonably difficult, 4 sets out of 8 sets implies 16 questions attempted out of 32 with 85% accuracy can be considered as a good attempt.

Sectional cut off would have been something like this:

Cut off score for all IIM Calls: 36 marks out of 96.

Cut off score for at least 1 IIM Call: 23 marks out of 96.

To quote Anurag, a student who appeared for CAT 2017, “DI LR section was meant only for those who were practicing DI LR daily. You cannot walk in and sail through such a paper.”


The section lacked obstacles. There were no very difficult questions here. The number of Arithmetic and Algebra questions had increased, making the paper easier than CAT 2016. This was an easy section and people did score a lot.

  • QA was the easiest section in CAT 2017 exam.
  • Maximum questions were from geometry, arithmetic and algebra.
  • Only 2 questions were included from the topic of Numbers
  • As the QA paper was easy, solving 26 questions with 85% accuracy can be considered as a good attempt.

Cut off score(approx) for all IIM Calls: 55

Cut off score(approx) for 1 IIM Call: 40

Overall paper cut off analysis: (Scorewise)

Overall: 115-125 score could fetch you an IIM call(sectionals clear). 190 should be good enough for most IIMs to call! (again sectionals clear).

Summing up all three sections, CAT 2017 was not much different than the predecessors. VA was reading based, DILR was reasoning/puzzle based and QA was arithmetic led. Keep this in mind and prepare champs!

Hope, this will help you in your CAT preparation!            

Plan accordingly, you can win!

Happy learning!

Rahul Sir

CAT Coach

Cofounder, Bfactory

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