Friday, May 4, 2012

CSAT 2011 Analysis

CSAT  2011 had  80 questions to be solved in 120 minutes.  Correct answers for the first 72 questions carried 2.5 marks each and a negative marking of 0.833 marks for each incorrect answer. 8 questions (Q 73-80) based on Decision Making did not attract any negative marks. Students who have solved our CSAT CT1 and CSAT PT 1 (both of which were of 80 questions) would have found the structure of the test quite similar. Moreover, students who had attended our Maths and Verbal workshops would have found many question types that were very similar to the ones solved in the workshops. In terms of level of difficulty, CSAT had   a standard of its own – easy  questions on Basic Numeracy, slightly tricky Reasoning, Mental Ability & Data Interpretation questions and  too many passages in Comprehension.

Total Duration of the exam (minutes)
 120 minutes
Total number of questions
Number of choices per question
Marks per question
Negative marking (ONLY FOR 72 QUESTIONS)

No. of questions
English Comprehension
Basic Numeracy & Data Interpretation
Verbal Reasoning
General Mental Ability
Decision Making

There were 7 Reading Comprehension passages followed by questions, which were a mix of direct and partially indirect questions with very few inferential questions. For these passages, a translated version of each in Hindi was also provided. The passages were of mixed level of difficulty. None of the passages were too lengthy. The break-up of the passages is given below:

Sr. No.
No. of Questions
Overall Difficulty
Passage 1
Sociology – state of mind of people under oppression
132 words
4 (1-direct, 2- partially indirect, 1-inferential)
Easy to Medium
Passage 2
Economy – Inclusive growth and enabling state
205 words
5 (1- direct, 3- partially indirect, 1- inferential)
Passage 3
Socio-political – concept of creative society
120 words
3 partially indirect
Passage 4
Social issue – Right to Education and its limitations in India
280 words

5 (1-direct, 1- partially indirect, 3-inferential)
Medium to Difficult
Passage 5
Ecology – effect of growing population on biodiversity
210 words
3 (1-direct, 1-partially indirect, 1-inferential)
Easy to Medium
Passage 6
Philosophy – moral act
176 words
3 (1-direct, 1-partially indirect, 1-inferential)
Easy to Medium
Passage 7
Ecology – keystone species and their influence
304 words
4 (2-direct, 2- partially indirect)
Most of the passages were easy to read and the questions were also solvable. Reading so many passages would have proved a constraint for some students; so a judicious selection of passages would have been crucial. Ideally, one should have solved all the smaller passages first before moving on to reading the lengthy passages. A student with a good reading speed and an average vocabulary would have solved these question sets quite easily.
 English Comprehension
This set had also had Reading comprehension passages but their Hindi translations were not provided. There were three very short passages (ranging from 98 to 120 words); 2 narrative passages and 1 on animal life. One should have attempted all the passages because the questions were extremely easy and could be easily located in the passage. Any student with an average reading speed and comprehension ability could have easily solved these three RC passages.

 Basic  Numeracy &  Data Interpretation
There were a total  of 10  questions  on  Basic Numeracy which were primarily Arithmetic Word problems   based  on   topics like  Simultaneous Equations,L.C.M,TSD,Set Theory, Basic Geometry,Simple Permutation & Combinations.,Averages and Simple Arithmetic Progressions.All the questions were easy and  these type of questions have been covered in our  classrooms as well as our comprehensive tests.A  good strategy would have been to attempt all the questions on  Basic Numeracy as they were all very easy.
As mentioned above, questions based on Data Interpretation  were slightly  tricky and involved  moderate reasoning  ability   and   good observation  skills . All questions  were either single questions based on graphs  or  Sets of 2 /  3 questions and there were a total of 9 questions  on Data Interpretation .Solving our  Comprehensive Tests and attending our classroom sessions   would have given  adequate practice  to these type of questions .
Verbal Reasoning
There were only 4 questions under this category. They were variations of syllogisms where one had to deduce the correct conclusion from the premises. The questions were not difficult per se but they were a bit tricky. One should have been very careful while solving these questions and should have read the directions carefully.
General Mental Ability.
The topics covered in this area include Logical Puzzles,Numerical Puzzles,Linear Arrangement, Routes/ Direction Sense &  Family Tree.Logical Puzzles included visualization  in  Geometrical figures. Numerical puzzles included  analyzing a arithmetical problem  and  formation of  numerical grid /table  to solve the same..Problems based on directions involved basic understanding of  reflection of objects in a mirror  , movement of  objects along a grid and  North-South-East-West Directions. Linear Arrangment involved understanding position of  people standing  in a line.About 7  out of the total of 13 questions  were single questions and  there were 2 sets of 3 questions each based on Family Tree and  Numerical Puzzle.
The questions were primarily varying from an easy to a moderate level of difficulty and  some of these questions involved reasonably good analytical skills. Again all these type of questions have been covered in our classrooms, workshops as well as our comprehensive tests.
Decision Making
This set was a relief because at least one did not have to bother about the negative marking. The situations given were easy to understand and a clear decision could be easily arrived at. This set was a must for all the students because this did not require any specific skill. One had to arrive at the answer only on the basis of the  given situation.

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