How Many Questions to Attempt in CAT 2020 to Score 99 Percentile?

Aspirants aim to score above 99 percentile in CAT and plan their exam strategy accordingly. But the question is – how to score 99 percentile? For that, you need to know how many questions to attempt in CAT exam to score 99 percentile? Know here.

Unlike other MBA entrance exams, the CAT exam is difficult, not only because of its exam pattern but also because of its scoring process. For most of the students, the CAT scoring and normalization process is incomprehensible. That what is the difference between CAT score and CAT percentile, is a question every CAT aspirant asks. We will explain that later, but first we would like to address another question asked more often – How many questions to attempt in CAT to score 99 percentile?

This is a tricky. There is no accurate number of questions that you can attempt and score 99+ percentile. To be able to score that much you need to do more than just attempt a certain number of questions. CAT percentile is influenced by three things.

  • CAT exam pattern and marking scheme
  • Speed and accuracy in solving the CAT exam paper
  • CAT normalization process

Let’s look at them one by one to answer the question – How many questions to attempt in CAT 2020 to score 99 percentile?

CAT Marking Scheme

CAT marking scheme includes negative marking. For each correct answer three marks are allotted and for each wrong answer one mark is deducted. However, there is no penalty on leaving questions unanswered.

So the key here is to attempt only those questions you are 100 per cent sure of as only 100 accuracy will give you full marks. A slight miss and you may lose the score. Experts suggest, that there is no need to try to attempt all 100 questions in the CAT question paper.

The CAT paper pattern is never the same. CAT witnesses change in the pattern every year, it may be distribution of questions among the sections/within them, or change in the number of MCQs and TITA type of question. Sometimes, there are trick questions too. So, there is no sure shot formula of scoring 100 or 99 percentile. It is all about how accurately you solve a question and in least time.

But the question, “How many questions to attempt in CAT to score 99 percentile?”, remains.

Experts suggest, to aim 99 percentile, one should attempt at least 75 per cent questions accurately. Since sectional percentile and overall percentile, hold individual significance in IIM admissions, it is important to maintain good accuracy in each section of the CAT exam too.

Take a look at the table below indicating number of good attempts against total number of questions in CAT exam paper.

SectionTotal questionsGood Attempts
VARC3420-25 for a score of 55-60
DI-LR3222-24 for a score of 65-70
QA3422-25 for a score of 70-75
Total100 –


If the CAT exam pattern this year remains the same as last year, 75 out of 100 questions will give a net score of around 175, if solved accurately.

Speed and accuracy in solving the CAT question paper

To aim higher percentile in CAT 2020, you will have to ensure zero-error performance. How can you achieve zero-error performance? The only way to achieve that is choose your questions wisely. You must target a score of 135 (CAT raw score) to be able to enter the 99 percentile bracket.

How to increase speed and accuracy in CAT exam: Tips

Practice sample questions: Solve a sample question and time your-self, check accuracy and time taken. Solve the question again. Check accuracy and time taken again. Time taken in the second attempt will be less than the first time. Try, try and try again, until you achieve 100 per cent accuracy in the given time.

Sectional time limit: CAT exam has sectional time-limit. Every section of CAT exam is allotted 60 minutes. The arrangement is such that once 60 minutes are over, the screen moves to the next section of the exam. Now this can prove to be a big hurdle if you don’t have enough speed in solving questions accurately. Do not spend too much time on a question. The moment you feel you are getting stuck, leave the question and move to next; because there is no option to go back to questions left incomplete.

Categorize questions: Identify questions as easy, medium and difficult. Start with easy. If at any point of time you feel stuck or unconfident of the question, leave it and move on. Don’t attempt a question even if you have even one per cent doubt.

No guess work: Some people may advise you to go by the instinct or guess the answer if you can’t solve it. Never do that. Remember there is negative marking for wrong answer; not for blank question.

CAT Scaled Score and Normalization Process

Since the CAT exam is conducted in two sessions, the difficulty level of CAT question paper of both sessions vary. To ensure there is no disparity in comparison of performances, a scaled score is calculated through CAT normalization process.

CAT follows GATE exam’s formula of normalization process, where the normalization is based on the assumption that distribution of abilities of candidates is the same across all the sessions. It takes into account all the variations in the difficulty levels of the question papers across different session.

The CAT percentile is referred to as the total percentage of candidates who scored less than or equal to a particular candidate. For example, if a candidate’s CAT percentile is 90, it means he/she performed better than 90% of the total CAT candidates that year.

Take a look at the table below to understand how much CAT score (scaled) can fetch you what percentile:

CAT scaled scoreCAT percentile
20099.95
190.0499.90
170.6599.61
16099.23
15198.75
14097.77

*The above figures are estimation, not actual representation

CAT Mock Tests

Take free CAT mock tests below, improve speed and accuracy. Also analyse your strength and weakness by comparing your answers with official key.

CAT Preparation Tips

CAT exam is one of the toughest MBA entrance exam and requires months of preparation. Shiksha has a series of CAT preparation articles candidates can refer to improve their performance in the exam. Check some CAT preparation articles below.

CAT Preparation

Best Books for CAT Recommended by ExpertsCAT Preparation 2020: Best Strategy to Crack CAT
CAT 2020: How to prepare without quitting your jobCAT 2020: Preparation Plan for Verbal Ability
Quantitative Aptitude preparation plan for CAT 2020CAT 2020: Preparation Plan for Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning
Solved QA questions for practiceSolved VA questions for practice
Solved LR questions for practiceSolved DI questions for practice
CAT 2020 preparation: Your love for reading can get you the desired resultCAT 2020: Simple tips to optimize exam preparation

CAT Topper Interviews:

Shiksha reached out to previous year’s toppers of CAT exam to know their preparation strategy. Check out the interviews of CAT 2019 toppers below.

CAT 2019 Topper Interview: Somansh Chordia, 100 percentileCAT 2019 Topper Interview: Rishi Mittal, 100 percentile
CAT 2019 Topper Interview: Saathwik Kolluru, 99.99 percentileCAT 2019 Topper Interview: Rahul Manglik, 99.99 percentile
CAT 2019 Topper Interview: Karan Goyal, 99.95 percentile CAT 2019 Topper Interview: Ankit Desai, 99.91 percentile
CAT 2019 Topper Interview: Romik Banerjee, 99.87 percentilerCAT 2019 Topper Interview: Srishti Banzal, 99.86 percentile
CAT 2019 Topper Interview: Ronit Banerjea, 99.80 percentileCAT 2019 Topper Interview: Karal Maheshwari, 99.03 percentile
We will be happy to hear your thoughts

      Leave a reply

      Choose Your Best Education Destination!!
      Logo
      Register New Account
      Reset Password
      Compare items
      • (0)
      • (0)
      Compare
      0

      How CollegeKampus helps you in Admission

      Check Fees Details

      Application Deadlines

      24/7 Counselling

      Brochure Details

      Shortlist and Apply

      Scholarships Details

      Check Fees Details

      Application Deadlines

      24/7 Counselling

      Brochure Details

      Shortlist and Apply

      Scholarships Details

      Register Now To Apply

      Register Now To Apply

      Indian Institute of Technology, Bhubaneswar

      Indian Institute of Technology, Bhubaneswar

      By Submitting This Form You Accept And Agree To Our terms of use.

      How CollegeKampus helps you in Admission

      Check Fees Details

      Application Deadlines

      24/7 Counselling

      Brochure Details

      Shortlist and Apply

      Scholarships Details

      Check Fees Details

      Application Deadlines

      24/7 Counselling

      Brochure Details

      Shortlist and Apply

      Scholarships Details

      Register Now To Apply

      Register Now To Apply

      India Institute of Management – [IIM], Kashipur

      India Institute of Management – [IIM], Kashipur

      By Submitting This Form You Accept And Agree To Our terms of use.

      How CollegeKampus helps you in Admission

      Check Fees Details

      Application Deadlines

      24/7 Counselling

      Brochure Details

      Shortlist and Apply

      Scholarships Details

      Check Fees Details

      Application Deadlines

      24/7 Counselling

      Brochure Details

      Shortlist and Apply

      Scholarships Details

      Register Now To Apply

      Register Now To Apply

      Delhi University – [DU], New Delhi

      Delhi University – [DU], New Delhi

      By Submitting This Form You Accept And Agree To Our terms of use.

      Get updates on: Cut-offs | Government Exams | Entrance Exams

      Answer Keys | Practices Paper | Exams