Important tips for CAT 2019 TITA or Non- MCQ Questions: Indian Institute of Management (IIMs) will conduct the CAT exam every year on a rotational basis. CAT 2019 will be conducted by IIM Kozhikode, and the registrations for the same will start in August 2019. Every year, the CAT exam observes over 2 lakh candidates who are vying to secure their seats in their dream B -schools.

Where CAT 2019 is concerned, aspirants have already started preparing, alongside looking for ways to crack the exam with finesse so they can achieve their targeted scores. A systematic preparation and time management is the key to success in this vital examination which has 3 sections to be aced in a duration of 180 minutes.

As far as the questions in CAT 2019 are concerned, an aspirant needs to answer two kinds of questions in order to succeed in achieving good marks – MCQ and Non-MCQ or TITA questions. In the case of the latter, one needs to give a good account of one’s skills of elaborate/descriptive writing in order to secure good marks.

If you are looking for ways to overcome the challenge of answering TITA or non-MCQ questions, you have come to the right place. The tips given below will steer you through to success.

What are non-MCQ Questions in CAT 2019?

TITA or Non- MCQ questions

IIM Ahmedabad threw a major curveball towards management aspirants when it first introduced the non-MCQ questions for the first time in 2015. Back then, the announcement only said that in CAT 2015, “some questions in each section may not be of multiple choice types. Instead, direct answers are to be typed on the screen”. Naturally, this left everyone guessing about the number of such questions in CAT 2016. 

In 2017, most CAT aspirants found themselves in a soup again when they came across a new set of questions which necessitated them to type the correct answer in the box with a keyboard instead of choosing the correct answer out of the four options in multiple-choice based questions.

These questions are fondly named as the ‘TITA Questions,’ and TITA stands for “Type in The Answer”. 

This new set of questions, also called non-MCQ or TITA questions, remained in 2018 and will also feature in the question paper of CAT in 2019.

Why Non-MCQ Questions?

Though the dedicated committee for the CAT exam has not given any official reason behind the inclusion of these questions in the question paper for the CAT exam, the popular opinion is that they have been added to elevate the level of difficulty of the paper.

Then again, there are also those who feel that the presence of MCQ based questions made things a little easier for candidates to guess the right answer out of the four alternatives. The situation will be the direct opposite with TITA questions. With this change in the pattern of questions, one will need to use one’s descriptive writing skills plus one’s knowledge base to answer them. As such, examiners will be able to adjudge the capability and understanding of a candidate in a better way in the upcoming CAT exam than the ones preceding it.

However, the silver lining in the entire situation is that there is no negative marking for non MCQs in the CAT exam. Therefore, candidates can attempt TITA questions without any fear of being penalized for an incorrect answer.

Non-MCQ or TITA Questions: how many can one expect in CAT 2019?

This is a million-dollar question and almost all aspirants are trying their best to find an answer to it. In practical terms, it is next to impossible to find out how many TITA questions will make way in the question paper. However, you can get a hint of it from the previous year’s question paper.

In CAT 2015, TITA questions were there in all the three sections: VARC, QA and DILR. So, despite not being sure about the actual number of non-MCQ questions, you can expect to have these questions in all the sections in this year’s question paper as well.

For best results, it is recommended that you should not base your plan solely on the Mock Test and keep a Plan B in mind, so you have a plan in place in case there is a slight variation in the question pattern of the paper.

Are TITA questions a blessing in disguise?

The move to include non-MCQ questions in CAT 2015 was accompanied with a lot of criticism on the part of CAT aspirants. There hasn’t been any change in the perception towards these questions among candidates since. However, it has an interesting spin-off. There will be no negative marking for incorrect answers. So, you can rest assured that you will not be penalized for a wrong answer.

That said, it is also important to keep in mind that you may end up spending more time in answering these questions than what you might want to. Your best bet to deal with this problem successfully is to formulate a strategy early on. The next thing you should do is practice and make use of the strategy in mock tests as much as you can. This will give you a clear understanding of whether all is well with it or you need to make changes to it.

Key highlights of the TITA Questions in  CAT 2019 Exam

  • Around 25%-30% questions will be from non-MCQ type or TITA questions.
  • There will be no options provided to solve these questions.
  • Answers must be typed in through the virtual keyboard with the help of a mouse, and submitted by clicking on the ‘Save & Next’ tab.
  • Candidates will be tested on their conceptual clarity and descriptive writing skills.
  • There is no negative marking for TITA questions. Correct answers will carry +3 marks.
  • With no options to choose from, TITA questions tend to be slightly more time-consuming than the MCQ-type questions.

CAT 2019 Mock Tests: Things to do to improve CAT 2019 Score!

Tips to tackle the challenge of TITA questions in CAT 2019

The pattern for the CAT Exam keeps changing each year. So, you cannot put an exact number in your head in terms of the number of non-MCQ questions that you can expect in the examination. Furthermore, it is not easy to decipher the details of these questions as they are relatively new. Not only candidates but even experts are also studying the finer aspects of these questions to work out an effective strategy for answering these questions. Still, if you feel the need for any assistance, you can rely on the rough approximation provided by the mock paper.

Top scores and experts suggest attempting as many questions as possible, while keeping a close watch on the time spent in attempting them. The catch for TITA questions is that failure to predict the correct answer, low accuracy and lack of options to aid guesswork may cost candidates a lot of precious time. You must keep in mind that you cannot be lured away thinking of scoring 75-90 marks without any fear if negative marking and spend more time on TITA questions that leave you very less time to answer the rest of the paper.

It is recommended that you should go for a flexible approach instead of a fixed plan in mind. That is to say, you should consider a different plan for different sections.

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)

VARC: You can expect about 10 TITA questions from this section. If the trend in the Mock Paper for CAT 2019 is anything to go by, then there will be three kinds of questions that you can expect under the section. These include the following:

  • Parajumbles (4 questions): Notably, they were the toughest of the non-MCQs in CAT 2016. Para jumbles are best solved with the help of options; without them, they become high time-consuming and the probability of making mistakes increases, bringing down accuracy. Therefore, you must attempt non-MCQ para jumbles only at the end, if you have any free time left on your hands.
  • Summary (3 questions): It is hard to comprehend the thought process of the CAT examiners behind providing options and all one had to do was type: A, B, C or D.
  • Odd Sentence out/Misfit (3 questions): Similar to Summary based non-MCQs.Please note that the Summary based and misfit type non-MCQs should be treated and solved like traditional MCQs and no separate approach is required.

How to score 99 Percentile in the first attempt in CAT 2019 Exam?

Quantitative Aptitude (QA)

The non-MCQ questions for this section can be a little tricky to deal with. Though it is difficult to assign an exact figure to the number of TITA questions that you can expect in this section, the popular perception is that there can be about 15 questions in this section. Read the questions carefully. If required, do not hesitate to read them for more than once for gaining an insight into what you need to answer. In case you do not feel sure about answering these questions or feel they are taking more time than usual, proceed to the other sections and get back to the questions of this section only when you are done with the questions from the other sections.

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (LR)

You can anticipate about 8 questions under this section with the need to answer the following questions:

  • Questions of table set format (4 questions): The questions would be of a moderate difficulty level. It, however, would still require you to make usage of an on-screen calculator to arrive at the correct answer. The instructions although specified the decimal points, up to which the answers needed to be typed in, which offered some relief to the candidates. You must remember your formulas, cubes and fractions, as the use of on-screen calculator might consume a lot of time due to lack of a functional keyboard.
  • Arrangement questions (4 questions): For the DILR questions, one can expect a set of 4 non-MCQs in the Arrangement format. Where these questions are concerned, it is advisable to rely on one’s own calculations that the options given on the MCQs. To ace TITA type arrangement questions, you need only have your basics brushed up. 

How to master Reading Comprehension for CAT 2019?

Important tips for CAT 2019 TITA or Non- MCQ Questions: Conclusion 

Like they say, ‘What cannot be cured, must be endured.’ Therefore, Regardless of if you like TITA or Non- MCQ Questions, the fact remains that you cannot overlook the importance of having a plan in mind to answer these questions. The key here is not get swayed by the honey trap of no negative marking and be careful of the low accuracy rate of the TITA or Non- MCQ questions. 

Since the TITA or Non- MCQ questions are time-consuming, you have two vital challenges to deal with: Firstly, you need to refine your descriptive writing skills. Only practice will make you perfect in this regard.

Secondly, you also need to adjust your timing for answering these questions. The idea should be to have sufficient time in hand so you are able to check for errors before the submission of your answer sheet in the examination centre.

Do not treat the TITA or Non- MCQ questions as a single category of questions and remember that there is no straightjacket approach for solving them. This would ensure more openness and flexibility in terms of answering these questions. 

Bear the aforementioned tips in mind and put them to test while writing your answers in CAT 2019 Exams.