CAT Exam Difficulty LevelAnisha Mukhija
Is the CAT exam tough?
CAT Exam, the name itself makes one’s blood run cold. Such is the impression of this MBA entrance exam held in India every year. Is the CAT exam really that tough? Let’s find out.
Getting into a top Indian B-school is definitely not going to be a cakewalk, not because the exam is tough but because there is a lot of competition to enter a premium B-School.
Let’s learn more about CAT exam:
CAT exam is held in November every year and has 3 sections:
- Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VA & RC)
- Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation (DI & LR)
- Quantitative Ability (QA)
It consists of 100 questions, of which VA & RC and QA have 34 questions each whereas LRDI has 32 questions. The exam is of 300 marks (3 marks for each correct answer & -1 for each incorrect answer). 1 hour is allotted for each section. i.e. approx you have 1.7 minutes for each question. Negative marks are only applicable to the MCQs & not the descriptive questions.
Some students take this time limit too literally, which makes them feel that the exam is tough. No one attempts all the questions in the CAT exam, the exam is set in such a manner that no one can solve/attempt all the questions. You would have to leave a few time-consuming questions and focus on the ones which are less time consuming and easy to score.
Now that we know that we should not attempt all the questions, we should play on our strengths. Many students focus on their weaknesses; this is not a good practice especially in competitive exams such as CAT.
Over the years, the difficulty level of the verbal section is increasing making it tougher for people to score good marks, especially for engineers. The VA section is not that tough and especially for those who are regular readers. But as compared to VA in GMAT and XAT, the difficulty level still remains a little less. People with a good frequency of reading quality materials and clear concept of basic roots of the word can easily achieve a decent percentile in the VA section.
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
DI & LR questions are tricky for almost everyone. In CAT 2015, a scaled score of around 49 out of a maximum of 96 meant nearly 98%ile. Someone who likes puzzles and has above average aptitude can work on this section and do well as this section requires speed and a great attitude to solve the problems. However, if you are weak in Quants or Verbal; you definitely need to be strong with DI & LR questions. Since you can’t afford to be weak in 2 sections, as it will drop your overall percentage.
Also read: Why do people fail in CAT?
The Quant section is for sure the toughest part in CAT exam. Engineers dominate this section as they are more comfortable with Quants. A regular practice of questions will definitely improve the concepts as well as speed to attempt this section. It’s always good to start with the basic questions and then move to more advanced problems. It’s good to practise as much as possible since a small variation in marks in this section affects your sectional percentile a lot.
Overall CAT is not tough, but the high competition which is increasing on a yearly basis that makes it tough. The actual CAT exam is easy if planned well.
Check this video & break the myth that CAT is Tough
It just tests your math and logical skills of grade tenth level tenth class. It evaluates one’s managerial which includes working under pressure, managing time, making decisions and tackling change, after all, everyone taking up CAT exam are future managers.
I would rather say that CAT mocks are much difficult to solve as compared to the real exam. Like said earlier, the perceived competition makes CAT tougher. So the best way to get a high score is to put in your best efforts in learning and practising the concepts and keeping a cool and calm mind while writing the exam.
Don’t let the pressure about the outside competition ruin your exam. Be confident and work hard!