Negative marking in cat is crucial and the fear of negative marks has always lingered in the minds of CAT-takers. But starting 2015, the CAT organisers gave the biggest shock and relief (to some extent) to its students. They introduced Non Multiple Choice Questions which had NO negative marking. These questions were in the TITA format known as the ‘Type in the Answer’.
Looking at the trend of the last 3 years, we see that around 25% questions are non MCQs which are spread across the 3 sections and we expect the same for CAT 2021. Once the mock test is released on the October, the estimates about the breakup will be clearer.
Balancing Time & Percentile
Non MCQs could very easily be your percentile boosters, since you do not have the fear of losing a mark even if you go wrong. However, you do have the scope of losing out time while solving such questions.
Thus it is very essential to balance between the idea of deciding to dedicate time towards solving it, or simply leaving it for the end. You could keep spending time and ultimately not even get close to getting the correct answer, since you do not have an option of elimination. But you do have the leverage of making an educated guess which might just work in your favour; hence, it is advised to spend time judiciously on Non-MCQs.
Speaking to Shirish Mehta, currently studying PGDM (Finance) at IMT Hyderabad and a CAT taker in 2016, “I would suggest that as far as TITA questions for English are concerned, one must have a good understanding of the content and then attempt so that the answer is as close as possible to the context. As far as Quant and DILR section are concerned, one should only attempt if he/she has time left in hand. Otherwise it is better to leave it because it leads to wastage of time. You can make an educated guess in the end.”
Things to Keep in Mind
The Non MCQs will mostly be ‘fill in the blank’ type in nature. A rough breakup of the questions section-wise is given below:
You can keep the following things in mind:
- In the VARC section, questions on Summary, Para-Jumbles and Out of Context are TITA type. The ‘Out of Context’ type questions are mostly easy ones and Para-jumbles are the trickiest.
- In the QA section, TITA type questions are scattered and there is no set pattern observed. Expect to get 1 non-MCQ from each.
In the DILR section, at least 2 sets can be TITA type. So far a set has never been a mix of MCQs and Non MCQs.
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