5 ambiguous questions in CAT 2017

5 ambiguous questions in CAT 2017
A detailed blog on 5 ambiguous questions in CAT 2017

CAT conveners have released the official answer key for both the slots. They have also provided a window to raise objections to the answer keys. In this blog, let us see such 5 ambiguous questions in CAT 2017.

Try preparing for XAT using online preparation for CAT and XAT. Take free mock tests to keep track of your preparation. Also, solve previous year papers of CAT and XAT to sail through such ambiguous questions.

We do not claim any of the answers to be wrong. But, the questions seem to entertain other possibilities too instead of ruling them out completely. In this blog, let us see some questions for which another solution also seems probable.

5 ambiguous questions in CAT 2017:

Slot 1:

Passage on Maps:

Which one of the following best describes what the passage is trying to do?

a: It questions an explanation about how maps are designed.
b: It corrects a misconception about the way maps are designed.
c: It critiques a methodology used to create maps.
d: It explores some myths about maps.


The use of the word ‘misconception’ in the option seems strong. Option C also seems legit. The passage explains why North was put at the top despite so many things going against it. Though option B is the best option available, it cannot be termed absolutely convincing.

Passage on Maps:

It can be inferred from the passage that European explorers like Columbus and Megellan

a: set the precedent for north-up maps
b: navigated by the compass
c: used an eastward orientation for religious reasons
d:navigated with the help of early maps


There is no strong ground to rule out option D. It has been mentioned in the passage that Megellan and Columbus navigated using Mappa Mundi (a medieval period map). Though option C seems legit, option D is not outright wrong. This is why we have included this question too in the list of 5 ambiguous questions in CAT 2017.

Passage on Malls:

In paragraph 1, the phrase “real estate developers once stumbled over themselves to court suggests that they

a: took brand-name anchor outlets to court.
b: no longer pursue brand-name anchor outlets.
c: collaborated with one another to get brand-name anchor outlets.
d:were eager to get brand-name anchor outlets to set up shop in their mall.

Answer: b

The answer seems legit. But so does option D. The answer has been chosen on the basis of the words ‘once stumbled’. Though it implies that it was a thing of the past, option D too seems to gel well. We can rephrase Option D as ‘Back then, real estate developers were eager to get brand name outlets’. This does not violate what the passage intends to convey. Though option B is better, we cannot term option D as completely wrong.

Slot 2:

Passage on Subnivium:

The purpose of this passage is to

a: introduce readers to a relatively unknown ecosystem: the subnivium.
b: explain how the subnivium works to provide shelter and food to several species.
c: outline the effects of climate change on the subnivium.
d: draw an analogy between the effect of blankets on humans and of snow cover on species living in the subnivium.

Answer: c

Though the answer seems legit, we cannot rule out option A completely. The passage seems to revolve around subnivium and the effects of climate change on subnivium. The passage starts in an introductory tone. Therefore, both options A and C seem legit and hence, choosing one over other is a difficult task.

Passage on creativity:

The author’s conclusions about the most ‘creative cities’ in the US (paragraph 6) are based on his assumption that

a: people who work with their hands are not doing creative work.
b: more than half the population works in non-creative jobs.
c: only artists, musicians, writers, and so on should be valued in a society.
d: most cities ignore or waste the creativity of low-wage workers.

Answer: a

In this question, the answer seems fine. IIMs have set the answer key based on the wordings ‘those who work with their mind’. The answer feels legit. At the same time, we lack the proper cause to rule out option D. Though the author mentions that the creativity of low wage workers is underutilized, we cannot rule out the possibility of it being his assumption.

As has been the case with the previous questions, the answer is right but the other option cannot be ruled out completely.

These are the 5 ambiguous questions in CAT 2017. For the complete paper with detailed solutions, try referring CAT 2017 slot 1 question paper with solutions and CAT 2017 slot 2 question paper with solutions.


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