Questions To Attempt In CAT To Get 99+ percentile

Are you also wondering How Many Questions To Attempt In CAT To Get 99+ percentile? The simplest answer to this question is as much as you can. However, accuracy is the key here, since negative marking plays a major role in this. The principle of attempting all the questions blindly does not imply on CAT exam. It can sometimes be better to skip questions rather than attempt to answer them. Furthermore, the timing of the sections can be tricky for the candidates as well. You have 180 minutes to answer 100 questions, this breaks down to less than two minutes per question if you attempt to answer every single one. There are various factors which can be taken into account on deciding the number of attempts in CAT 2018. Let us have a quick look at these factors and their role on the exam.

How Many Questions To Attempt to get 99+ Percentile in CAT 2018?

Particulars 99+%ile
Composite Score 160+
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension Questions Attempted 23-25
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning Questions Attempted 17-18
Quantitative Ability Questions Attempted 16-18

Expected Percentile According to Raw scores

The number of questions which would put you within the 85 to 99 percentile is as follows. Candidates can calculate their raw score according to the accuracy they are expecting in the exam.

Slot 1 Percentile according to score

Percentile Reading comprehension and Verbal Ability Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning Quantitative Aptitude
85 44-47 24-26 24-26
95 58-60 34-36 40-42
99 69-71 51-53 49-51
97.5 133-136 (overall)
99 147-149 (overall)

Slot 2 Percentile according to score

Percentile Reading comprehension and Verbal Ability Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning Quantitative Aptitude
85 44-46 22-24 21-23
95 57-59 32-34 37-39
99 68-70 47-49 48-50
97.5 125-127 (overall)
99 139-141 (overall)

CAT Marking Scheme

By this time you must be familiar with the marking scheme of CAT, but, let us have a quick look at the CAT exam marking scheme.

The Common Admission Test, i.e. CAT consists of two type of questions – Multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and Non-MCQ Type questions (TITAs).

For every correct answer, you will get +3 marks, whereas, for every incorrect response in MCQ type questions, -1 marks will be deducted. The questions which are left unanswered, no marks will be added or deducted. For the Non-MCQ type questions. there is no negative marking.

Type of questions Correct Answer Negative Marking Marks Deducted for an Incorrect answer
MCQ +3 marks -1 marks
Non-MCQ +3 marks x

How To Proceed Now That You Know The Scoring Pattern for CAT?

As a test what does this mean to you? Well, we know that in the Subjective Type questions (Non-MCQ) there is no negative marking. So even if you answer wrong you lose nothing. Hence you should answer all the Subjective Type questions even if you have no idea what the correct answer is.

Factors Which Determines Number of Attempts In CAT 2018?

The factors that will support you in judging the number of questions to attempt in CAT 2018 exam are as follows:

  1. Accuracy
  2. The difficulty level of the exam
  3. Time and Speed

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Now, let us discuss each of these factors in detail


The only trick by which you can crack a tough entrance exam like CAT is through accuracy. How to determine accuracy? Well, there is a very simple formula for it.

Accuracy = Number of answers you are confident in and you know that it is 100% correct

Now, suppose that you have an overall accuracy level of 90 percent, this is an amazing number and you would have good chances. As per the experts, attempting 75% in each section with a high accuracy level would be sufficient to get you around 99 percentile in CAT 2018.

A word from the CAT 2015 Topper, Himanshu Aggarwal

Just focus on accuracy. If you attempt 60 questions with 90+ accuracy, you will be able to get 91+ Percentile for sure. Just make sure to attempt in a balanced manner between all the 3 sections.

Furthermore, let us assume that *05 is a good accuracy. Suppose that you attempt 10 questions,  you out of which 8 are correct and 2 incorrect. This means, for a total of 10 questions you will get 3×8 – 2×1 marks = 22 marks, or precisely 2.2 marks per question, on average. This means that you need to attempt around 61 questions with ‘good’ accuracy (assumed to be 80 percent accuracy) to get 45 percent marks. To be safe, call it 65 questions.

Difficulty level of CAT exam

Another factor which helps you judge the number of attempts is the difficulty level of the exam. Assuming that CAT 2018 will be of higher difficulty level than last year, you should do the following:

  • Firstly, read the complete question paper. Invest at least 2-3 minutes for each section.
  • Now, the next step is to identify the Easy, Medium, and Difficult questions.
  • After you have identified the questions, start attempting the easier ones. Going by the numerical order is not necessary.
  • Now, if you are stuck with two options, go for it. But if you are clueless, do not mark anything and leave the question blank.

In the year 2016, 64 number of correct answers out of 100 questions would have fetched you a 99+.percentile. Also, there have been years when a net correct of 28-30 out of 60 questions would have fetched you a 99+.

Time and Speed

Now, whatever you can do within the specified time limit at a good speed is fair enough to achieve the desired result. The point to note is that in CAT there is a sectional limit of 60 minutes. In this time duration, if you are unable to solve a maximum number of questions with accuracy, you have lost your chance.

The key here is time management. The first step is to go through all the questions and select those which you are absolutely confident of solving correctly and then move towards those about which you are uncertain. The motive is to use the time properly and not stick with a question for long and waste time.

A word from CAT 2016 Topper, Konreddy Varun Kumar Reddy

For VA, I allotted the first 40 minutes for the RCs and the rest for Verbal Reasoning. In the case of DI & LR, I used to identify the easier LR sets first and solve them. After the easier LR sets were done, I looked for the easier DI sets and then went for the tougher ones. In the case of QA, I made sure that I do not lose marks on the easy questions and don’t waste time on the difficult questions.

If you have any questions, then let us know in the comment section below. 


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