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How to answer non-MCQs / TITA Questions in CAT 2017

Sep 28, 2017 10:19 IST
CAT 2017
CAT 2017

The countdown has begun for the aspirants preparing for the CAT 2017 Exam. The exam that is considered as one of the toughest in the domain of management is loaded with variety of questions from each domain. Give the fact that the aspirants need to solve the MCQ type questions in the limited time span of 180 minutes; there is another type of questions known as TITA questions that test the descriptive writing skills of the CAT exam aspirants.  

If you are still grappling with the concept of non-MCQs in CAT 2017, we are here to help you. In the below write-up, we have presented a complete analysis of TITA (Type in The Answer) type questions for CAT 2017. In addition to this, we have also listed down certain key points and tips that might help you use non-MCQs to your advantage in the upcoming CAT 2017 MBA entrance test.

What are non-MCQs or TITA Questions in CAT 2017?

Last year, MBA aspirants were left like a ‘CAT on a hot tin roof’ (no pun intended!), after IIM Ahmedabad choose to introduce non-MCQs in the CAT 2015 MBA entrance exam. Non-MCQs or what is now fondly termed as TITA (Type in The Answer) Questions are the ones that do not present 4 options before the candidates. Instead, CAT aspirants have to type in the correct answers in a text box provided on the screen using a keyboard on their own.

Why TITA Questions in CAT 2017?

The CAT Exam Committee hasn’t given any specific reason for the inclusion of TITA Questions in CAT 2017. But many management pundits have speculated the cause to be the rising scores and percentiles among the candidates.

One of the most popular theories regarding it has been that, TITA questions are included in CAT 2017 to enhance the general difficulty level of the test. Prior to the introduction of non-MCQs, majority of CAT aspirants used the options provided in as a guide to guess the right answer in case they were unable to solve the questions. However, in the case of non-MCQs or TITA questions, candidates will have to solve the questions and arrive at the right answer without the help of any options. This makes answering the TITA questions a bit more difficult compared to the MCQs.

How many non-MCQs to expect in CAT 2017?

Being one of the most popular and toughest MBA entrance exams to crack, it is impossible to predict the exact number of non-MCQs that may appear in CAT 2017. However, looking at the recently released CAT 2017 Mock Tests, we can get a rough idea about the approximate number of non-MCQs that can be expected in the upcoming MBA entrance test.

As per the CAT 2017 official Mock test, the section-wise breakup of TITA questions is given in the table below:





















The official CAT 2017 Mock test shows that nearly 28 out of 100 questions will be of non-MCQs. For section-wise breakup, candidates can expect 10 TITA questions in VARC and QA sections, while the DILR section would have only 8 non-MCQs.

However, candidates must keep in mind that CAT 2017 mock test is only an indication of the type, style and format of the final exam. Therefore, the non-MCQs for the final CAT 2017 test might be different in terms of number as well as style and format.

No Negative Marking for non MCQs

The introduction of TITA questions for CAT has been met with general criticism and averseness by MBA aspirants. However, the only thing that has calmed the tempers has been the ‘no negative marking’ clause for non-MCQs.

Yes, you read that right; there will be no deduction of marks for wrong answers to non-MCQs. Therefore, candidates can attempt the TITA questions without any fear of being penalized for an incorrect answer.

Time management for TITA Questions

While the prospect of answering questions in CAT 2017 without any negative marks sounds exciting, it also has a challenge. Last year, many students ended up spending way more time to solve non-MCQs in attempt t score full marks without the fear of negative marking in case of an incorrect answer. However, in the absence of options which can help you complete your calculations easily, the accuracy with which candidates could answer the TITA questions fell quite significantly. In fact, the time spent on TITA questions adversely impacted the time available to answer the other / MCQs which draws negative score of 1/3 mark.

To put this simply, time management is very important while answering TITA questions. All candidates must ensure that the time spent to answer the TITA questions doesn’t eat into the time left to answer other / MCQs. It would also be wise, if candidates attempted to answer the non-MCQs only if they possess the necessary conceptual clarity about the topic, otherwise due to low accuracy and lack of options to help guess work, it might just cost you time, which is very dear when it comes to CAT 2017.

Free CAT Mock Test Papers

How to handle non-MCQs or TITA questions in CAT 2017?

The non-MCQ / TITA questions were introduced for CAT MBA entrance test only last year. This makes it difficult for CAT 2017 aspirants to devise a winning strategy to handle these questions. However, with the basic analysis of last year’s CAT test and this year’s CAT 2017 mock test, we have come up with some basic points that may help you excel in handling the TITA questions. For the benefit of students, we have listed down the key type / style of non-MCQs that candidates can expect in each section below.

CAT 2017 Official Mock Test Analysis

VARC: As per the recently released CAT 2017 Mock Test, candidates can expect 10 non-MCQs in this year’s exam. These may mainly be of the following types:

  • Misfit / Odd Sentence Out: As per the mock test, candidates can expect around 3 non-MCQs on misfit / odd sentence out type questions. The answer to such questions will depend on the examiner; therefore, the answers cannot be predicted in advance. The only way to solve these questions successfully is to treat them as MCQs by creating your own options.
  • Summary Questions: There may be 3 summary type non-MCQs in the CAT 2017. Just like the misfit format questions, these questions also need to be treated as MCQs by creating your own options and picking the right one out of them.
  • Parajumbles: Candidates can expect around 4 TITA parajumble questions in this year’s CAT 2017. Looking at last year’s paper, these were the toughest non-MCQs that candidates encountered. Answering them consumed a lot of time and still the accuracy was lowest among all other questions. Therefore, we would advise candidates to attempt the Parajumbles TITA question at the end, if time permits.

Study Free CAT 2017 VARC Material

Quant: Last year, the major chunk of non-MCQs (15 questions) was from Quant section. However, the recently released mock tests have restricted that number to 10. As far as style and format of Quant based TITA questions are concerned, there is no clarity available on that front, as last year and even in this year’s mock test, the questions range from different topics and formats. However, in most quant non-MCQs, the answer was relatively easy to calculate with major hints being dropped in the questions. The safest way to save time on Quant based non-MCQs is by attempting them at the end of the session and trying to solve only those about which you have some knowledge or idea.

DILR: Under the DILR section, candidates can expect a total of 8 non-MCQs for CAT 2017. The different type and format of TITA questions for DILR section are discussed below:

  • Table Set format: Candidates should expect around 4 non-MCQs based upon the ‘Table Set’ question format.  The questions can be of moderate difficulty level but would still require you to use the on-screen calculator to arrive at the right answer. In fact, the instructions also specified the decimal points, up to which the answer needed to be typed in, which was of some help to the candidates. But, despite being of moderate difficulty, the questions were quite time-consuming. So, you should only attempt the DI table set questions if you are sure about the right approach regarding the calculation. Also, use of on-screen calculator might consume a lot of time, due to lack of a functional keyboard; so remember your cube roots and fractions.
  • Arrangement Questions: For DILR section, candidates must expect a set of 4 non-MCQs in Arrangement format. Last year’s CAT paper had a difficult set of arrangement type TITA questions; however, this year’s mock test has thrown up relatively easier set. When it comes to arrangement type questions, the options provided on the MCQs are not of much help and candidates mainly rely upon their own calculations for it. Therefore, the TITA type arrangement questions don’t require any alternate strategy to solve them. Stick to the basic and you will be able to ace these questions.

5 step process to answer CAT 2017 Questions easily


Just like Salman Khan’s movies; you can love the non-MCQs or hate them, but you can’t choose to ignore them for CAT 2017. The TITA questions for CAT 2017 are here to stay and will surely impact the prospects of a lot of MBA aspirants. The low accuracy level in TITA questions has already demonstrated them as a honey-trap for CAT aspirants and thus needs to be handled carefully. While some gullible aspirants may be attracted towards them due to the prospect of no negative marking, only few will be able to take advantage of this prospect and emerge out victorious.  Therefore, we advise candidates to adopt some of the key points mentioned above in their preparation strategy and handle the non-MCQs in CAT 2017 more effectively without wasting too much time on them.

For more Tips and Strategies on CAT Exam and other MBA Exams, keep visiting mba.jagranjosh.com. You can also subscribe with us to get latets updates about the top B-schools of India.

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