CAT '98
(December 13, 1998)
Comprehensive Analysis of the Common Admission Test
(for admission to the elite IIMs and allied institutions in India)
Prepared by contributions from 10 cities in India and almost 65 top-ranking PT students. Questions collected on the basis of memory.

After months (possibly years, for many) of bated breath and tonnes of expectations, the CAT 1998 had a lot in store on both fronts - the expected and the unexpected. On the expected front, we had the usual stuff like :

1. Lots of standard questions in English Usage (Verbal) section
2. The usual stuff of Reading Comprehension (RC)
3. The type of Data Interpretation that is usually expected
4. Lots of usual and standard questions in the MA section

Thus, for the well-prepared student, CAT '98 had a lot to offer. In fact, at least 100 questions were of the standard variety.


* Total 185 Questions, Time Allowed 2 Hrs., Test Time = 10:30 am - 12:30 pm
* Negative Marking does exist, as was mentioned on the cover page of the test.
* Exact extent of the negative marking not known, but expectations vary from 25% per wrong answer to 100% per wrong answer (!) More about it later in a detailed write-up on the topic -

"Progressive Negative Marking - Does it Exist ?"


CAT 1998 was a return to the good old times of "4 Sections, Overall 2 hrs, no individual sectional time limits."

In fact, this pattern had been consistently followed in CAT from 1990 onwards, except for the last two years.

             Section 1     EU              (50 q.)

             Section 2     MA              (45 q.)

             Section 3     RC              (50 q.)

             Section 4     DI              (40 q.)


                          Total Test        185 q.

(Of course, the order of sections may be different for different test papers as there were at least 4 sets of papers.)


1. English Usage Section (EU or VA) - 50 questions in all

Here is a DETAILED sample list of questions that appeared :

Please note that we have tried our level best to be as accurate as possible. However, due to the sheer nature of Memory Reproduction, it is not possible to give you the 100% actual stuff. Still, you can take this as almost the actual thing that came on 13th Dec., 1998.

Q.1 - 5 : Each question has a set of four statements. Each statement has three segments. Choose the alternative where the third segment in the statement can be logically deduced from the preceding two.

1.  A. Computers are for nerds. Ramesh is a nerd. Computers are for Ramesh.
     B. Goodness is for saints. Some people are saints. Goodness is for people. 
     C. Capital punishment is for killers. Seema is a killer. Capital punishment is for Seema.
     D. Liquor is for drinking. Coke is for drinking. Some liquor is coke.
           (1) A only       (2) D only        (3) A and C      (4) A and B 

Solution. Start with A as it appears in 3 options. A is valid. So now check B and C. B is absurd as goodness may not be for all people. But C is obviously correct. Hence answer is (3).

2.  A. No S is P; All X is S; No X is P.
     B. No S is P; All X is S; All X is P.
     C. Some S is not P; Some X is S; Some X is not P.
     D. Some S is not P; All X is S; All X is not P.
           (1) C only       (2) A and B    (3) A only     (4) D only

Solution. The best way to solve this is to start from the options directly. Here we see that A appears as a choice in 2 options. So start with that. Now A says that no S is P. So S and P are disjoint sets. All X is S. So X is a proper subset of S. Hence it naturally follows that there can be no common elements between X and P. So A is OK. So only (2) or (3) can be the answers. So just check "B" now. By a similar reasoning, B is absurd. So only A is OK. So (3) is the answer.

3.  A. No Martian is tall; some humans are not tall; some humans are Martians.
     B. All Martians are green; Glx is green; Glx is a Martian.
     C. No Martian is fair; Mlx is a Martian; Mlx is not fair.
     D. No Martian is fair; Alx is a Martian; Alx is Green.
           (1) A only          (2) D only         (3) C only    (4) C and D

Solution. Here we see that C appears as a choice in 2 options. So start with that. Now C is pretty straight in that it says Martians are not fair and Mlx is a Martian => Mlx cannot be fair. So C is correct. But D may or may not be correct always. Alx may be Green but he may be Purple also! Hence best answer is (3).

4.  A. Some apples are sour. This fruit is an apple. This fruit is sour.
     B. Sita is a nurse. All nurses are tall women. Gita is a tall woman.
     C. Army officers are smart. Airforce officers are smart. Military officers are smart.
     D. No animal likes fire. Aardvarks are animals. Aardvarks do not like fire.
           (1) B only       (2) D only       (3) C only     (4) None	

Solution. Easiest of all! Directly you can see that only D is logically correct where the third statement can be deduced from the first two. Hence answer is (2). Be careful - before marking (2) as the answer do check out A. (Why??)

5.  A. Some babies are girls; some girls are mothers; some babies are mothers.
     B. Some movies are books; Some books are good; Some movies are good.
     C. Some animals are cute; Some monkeys are cute; Some animals are monkeys.
     D. Some mothers have babies; Some babies are girls; Some mothers have girls.
            (1) B only       (2) B and C    (3) D only     (4) None	

Solution. The best way to solve this is to start from the options directly. Here we see that B appears as a choice in 2 options. So start with that. Now B says that some movies are books, some books are good. This does not at all mean that some movies are good. They may not be. Hence "B" is absurd. So options (1) and (2) are ruled out!! Now just check "D". Obviously as some mothers have babies and some of these babies are girls, some mothers must be having girls. Hence, D is OK. Hence final answer is (3). Did you see that by the SHORT-CUT suggested here you could've done it in 15 sec flat ? There was no need to check any other data statements given at all.

Q.6 - 15 : Fill in the blanks using the relevant option.
[For Q.6 - 15, we have reproduced whatever was possible. The missing questions are also on the same lines.]

6. To pursue their decision to resist what they saw as anti-labour acts, the employees' union launched an agitation to ____________.

	(1) reaffirm their commitment to the country
	(2) demonstrate their strength
	(3) bring down the central government
	(4) exhibit their virility

Solution. Obviously (2) is the only sensible choice available (looking at the context).

7. The best general characterisation of the European philosophical tradition as it has developed upto to now, with all its diversity, is that it consists of a _____________ Plato.

	(1) series of footnotes to	(2) set of prologues to
	(3) collection of chapters on 	(4) string of commentaries to

Solution. The best answer is (4). Why? (1) is absurd (due to "footnotes"). (2) is wrong (you never have a "set" of prologues). (3) is wrong as we are not talking of a book per se. Hence (4) is best.

8. The ideas that these companies used seem so simple with _________ that their comepetitors will now ___________ themselves for not thinking of them first.

	(1) technology, hit
	(2) new ideas, disparage
	(3) passage of time, curse
	(4) hindsight, kick

Solution. (1) and (2) are directly ruled out. (4) is wrong due to "hindsight". Also, "kick" is slightly looking out of place. Hence (3) is the best choice.

9. In our India, the challenges are to raise ________ incomes to reduce poverty, and to _______ insufficient enterprises.

	(1) farm, liberalise
	(2) middle-class, privatise
	(3) workers', suppress
	(4) rural, restructure

Sol. The best answer is (4). It is too obvious by common sense.

10. Overall, all the recent policy changes by the government only amount to a _______________ in the sugar industry.

	(1) superficial attempt at liberalisation
	(2) lack of solution 
	(3) large change
	(4) small regulating authority

Solution. The best choice is (1) as the key words in the sentence are "only amount to".

11. The world is moving into a period of 'civilisational clash' in which the primary identification of people will not be ___________ as during the Cold War, but _______.

	(1) religious, technological
	(2) cultural, ethnic
	(3) political, economic
	(4) ideological, cultural

Solution. Best answer is (4). "ideological" matches with "Cold-war" and "civilisational clash" matches with "cultural". (Remember Prof. Huntingdon's prophecies?)

12. The telepohone represents that awkward ___________ in all communication systems; while it __________ to bring us together, it keeps us apart.

	(1) paradox, tries		(2) irony, intends
	(3) paradox, needs		(4) irony, wishes

Solution : General Comments on Fill-in-the-blanks : Very trying, indeed!! Not only was your knowledge of specific words in specific contexts being tested, a lot of common sense developed over several months through massive general reading was also under question. For this particular question, the best answer is (2). Why ? The basic difference between "irony" and "paradox" is that irony represents an apparent contrast, whereas a "paradox" looks false but is actually true. Hence possible answers can be (2) or (4). Now (2) is the better choice as "wishes" is absurd!

Directions for question 16 to 20 :
Replace the underlined part with the best option available.

16. I think Mahesh had something useful to say, however he was unable to communicate his viewpoint to a sceptical audience.

	(1) he did not change the minds of a knowledgeable public 
	(2) the people were willing to accept his views
	(3) he failed to convince a suspicious congregation
	(4) he could not convince the doubting audience

Solution. (1) is wrong as additional data is not required. (2) is factually wrong. (3) is absurd (do we need "congregation"). (4) is BEST.

17. In the twentieth century intellectual elites assumed that economic and cultural modernisation was leading to the decay of religion as a determinant in human existance.

	(1) total decay of religion as a determinant
	(2) withering away of religion as a significant element
	(3) humanisation of religion
	(4) debasement of religion 

Best is (2). Here the word 'determiner' would have made (1) right.

18. British Aerospace had been focusing on building European links.

	(1) stressing on building European links.
	(2) focusing on forging European links.
	(3) pursuing ways of building European connectivity.
	(4) concentrating on creating European links.

(4) offers the best choice, as if any other option is taken, it changes the basic import of the sentence. (1) is wrong because "stressing" is not as good as "concentrating" while talking of "focusing." (3) is absurd. (2) is doubtful due to the word "forging." Hence (4) is the best choice.

Again, a few questions here could not be gathered. Sorry!

Direction for question 21 to 25 - Given are an opening sentence (1) and a closing sentence (6). Arrange the sentences A, B, C and D to form a logical sequence between sentences (1) and (6).

21.  1.  Buddhism is a route to salvation.
       A.  But Buddhism is severely analytical.
       B.  In Christian tradition there is also a concern for the fate 
            of human society conceived as a whole, rather than merely as 
            a  network of individuals.
       C.  Salvation is a property of individuals.
       D.  Not only does it dissolve society into individuals; the individual
             in turn is dissolved into component parts, a stream of events.
       6.   In modern terminology, Buddhist doctrine is Reductionist.
             (1) ABCD   (2) DCAB   (3) BCDA   (4) CBAD

Solution. Best choice is (4) as "BA" is the key required. Also, "AD" is a key.

22.     1.  Our Grandfather was a gentle and generous man.
          A.  Every visitor to our house praised his lovely workmanship in constructing our kitchen 
                and dining-room.
          B.  He was a skillful, self-employed mason.
          C.  Then he would sit and tell us about the wonderful things he had built and the friends he had made.
          D.  When he got paid for a job, he would come home with the best treats.
          6.  Those were the pleasant memories.
               (1) DCAB   (2) ADBC   (3) BADC   (4) BCDA

Solution. Best choice is (3) as the key connection is "BA" and also "DC". (note the word "then"). Again, we could not exactly reproduce 3 more on this type but that does not matter much. The theme is clear and at least 2 questions have been fully reproduced.

Directions for question 26 to 30 -
Each question has a main statement followed by four statements. Choose the best logical connection as indicated by the option.

26. I get a swollen nose whenever I eat pakoras.

	A. I ate pakoras.
	B. I did not eat pakoras.
	C. I did not get a swollen nose.
	D. I got a swollen nose.

	(1) CB   (2) BC   (3) DA   (4) CA

Solution. The best answer is (1). For such questions you should check the reversibility of the idea. e.g. All A’s are B’s does not mean all B’s are A’s.
Also take an example:

Ex. If you once visit Baba’s bar, you get addicted to liquor.

	(A) Ram got addicted to liquor.
	(B) Ram didnít visit Babaís bar.
	(C) Ram didnít get addicted to liquor.
	(D) Ram visited Babaís bar.
	    (1) AD   (2) BC   (3) CB   (4) AB

Look at option (1) AD . Here the concept used is the reversibility of the idea. (A) says Ram got addicted. Ram can get addicted to liquor because of something else also, hence we can’t say this for sure. But if he visits Baba’s bar, he is bound to get addicted. Look at option (2) BC. B says Ram didn’t visit Baba’s bar; as explained above, visiting Baba’s bar may be one of the many reasons for addiction to liquor. But if there is no addiction to liquor, he can’t have visited Baba’s bar. Hence the result. Ans (3), because it is 100% sure that if Ram did not get addicted, he could not have visited the bar. There are some standard types of questions in this category. (1) ‘If’ types (2) ‘Either / or’ types (3) ‘whenever’ types (4) ‘may be’ types The solution methodology to solve all these types remains the same.

27. Either the employees have no confidence in the management, or they are hostile by nature.

	A. The employees are hostile by nature.
	B. The employees have confidence in the management.
	C. The employees are not hostile by nature.
	D. The employees have no confidence in the management.
	(1) CD   (2) DA   (3) AD   (4) BC

Solution. In this typical "either-or" question, only that option is correct which supports one of the contentions. Consider option (4). BC means "Employees have confidence - AND - They are not hostile." This is perfectly true as the Original statement clearly tells us that at any given time, only one of the two situations can exist. Best answer is (4).

28. All irresponsible parents cause their children to become drugs addicts.

	A. Mohan is a drug addict.
	B. Mohan is not a drug addict.
	C. Mohan's parents are responsible parents.
	D. Mohan's parents are irresponsible.

	(1) BD   (2)   AD   (3) CB   (4) DA

Solution. Exactly by the method given for the first question, the answer is (4). You must be wondering why not AD ? Well, if Mohan is a drug addict, how can you say for sure that the parents are irresponsible. After all, he may become a drug addict due to several other reasons also. Here the entire clue is "Cause-Effect" relationship and "non-reversibility of idea." Also, (3) CB may not be certainly correct as you cannot make extra assumptions using GK.

29. Whenever Prem reads late into the night, his father beats him up.

	A. Prem did not read late into the night.
	B. His father did not beat him up.
	C. His father beat him up.
	D. Prem read late into the night.

	(1) AB   (2) CD   (3) BA   (4) None of these

Solution. We hope you saw that (3) is the best choice. (note: Prem's father may beat him for several other reasons also!)

30. Either Priya is sick, or she is careless.

	A. Priya is careless.
	B. Priya is not careless.
	C. Priya is sick.
	D. Priya is not sick.
	(1) DB   (2) BC   (3)   AC (4)   CA

Solution. (2) is the best choice.

Q.31 - 40 : These 10 questions carried a mini-RC passage and a direct question based on that. The passages were approximately 150-200 words long and were based on diverse fields.

The questions were of the following types :
Type 1. Which of the following best summarises the given passage ?
Type 2. Which of the following, if true, would weaken the author's contention the most ?
Type 3. Which of these is not true as per the passage ? etc.

The skills required for these 10 questions were "Good Reading Speed" coupled with "Good immediate comprehension."

Q.41 - 50 : These 10 questions were based on sequencing of 4 given statements (jumbles up) to form a coherent paragraph.

These are extremely mundane questions and appear in CAT every year in bulk. This year too!! The skills required for these 10 questions were quick grasp of the KEY Concept, and Overall Logical arrangement of the four statements. Thousands of such questions are given in the regular PT material and our students cracked these 10 questions in 15-20 seconds each. Due to the sheer nature of these questions, we cannot reproduce them here.

Thus, the overall structure of the EU section was :
5 questions - Logical structure of 3 statements,
10 questions - Fill in the blanks,
5 questions - Replacement of the underlined part,
5 questions - Paragraph formation (4 jumbled between 2),
5 questions - Logical Reasoning questions (Reversibility of Idea type),
10 questions - Mini-passage followed by question in its theme,
10 questions - Paragrpah fomation of 4 statements (jumbled up).

Almost all of these can be termed as standard questions. Ample practice study material is provided in the PT courses for each type of question.

Objective Benchmarks (for the IIMs) :
Questions to be attempted - At least 39-44 (10-12 were very close ones, could've posed problems)
Time to be taken - Not more than 20-22 minutes in any case
Net Score - Minimum 33 +

Subjective Benchmarks (for the IIMs) :
The trend is very clear - Less and less stress on monotonous senseless cramming of words and more & more emphasis of genuine understanding of the practical use of language. Of course, logical bent of mind and speed of reading is also being judged side by side. WHAT A BEAUTIFULLY DESIGNED SECTION !!! Our opinion - Medium toughness level for the well-prepared student.

Would you like to ask any doubt in this EU/VA section ? Just click here and send a mail!

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