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Competition in CAT Exam
April 10 2024

What is the CAT exam? 

Common Aptitude Test- CAT is a computer-based test for admission in postgraduate management programs in India. CAT provides admissions for more than 500 MBA colleges in India including All 20 IIMs, FMS, JBIMS, SPJIMR, MDI, IMT, DoMS IITs, IISc, etc. The most awaited MBA exam of the year, for which lakhs of students prepare for, is none other than CAT. The Common Admissions Test, also famously abbreviated as CAT is one of the most difficult MBA exams as it is the gateway to the coveted IIMs. In this article, we will know more about the exam and the CAT exam pattern. CAT online courses

The paper pattern over the years

CAT exam pattern has gone with perceptible changes since 2014 not only in CAT structure but also in content. Going by the tradition in changes in different types of questions in CAT, you cannot rule out a different CAT 2021 Exam pattern. CAT 2021 exam is expected to be held in the month of November/December 2021. The next 6 months will be a crucial period to devise a well chalked out plan for your CAT preparation as per the CAT 2021 pattern.

What will be the CAT exam pattern

Be that as it may, regardless of a number of changes achieved amid the most recent 4 years in CAT exam design, the nuts and bolts of the CAT exam have not changed. CAT exam design since 2015 has stayed on similar lines. CAT exam is of 180 minutes with 100 questions, but in CAT 2020, both exam duration and number of questions were reduced. Apart from that, no other change was made in the CAT exam pattern. However it is expected that CAT 2021 will be on the similar lines as CAT 2020, nothing firm can be said yet. CAT mocks According to the overhauled CAT exam design 2020, CAT 2021 will comprise of 3 segments with a sum of 76 inquiries. Each area is planned with an individual time point of confinement of 40 minutes. You have to guarantee a high score in every one of the 3 segments as there is additionally a sectional score cut-off in IIMs for shortlisting.

CAT paper pattern

  • The total number of questions in the exam is 66 and these are in both MCQ and non-MCQ format.
  • The time allotted was 120 minutes (2 hours) to answer these questions
  • There is a time limit of 40 minutes for each section
  • The exam is conducted in online mode at various test centers
  • The CAT marking scheme is +3 for every right answer, -1 for every wrong answer, and there is no negative marking for non-MCQs, and skipping questions.

CAT Syllabus

Sectional composition

Section name
No. of questions
Total MCQs (With negative marking)
Total Non-MCQs (Without negative marking)
Maximum marks
24 20 4 72
6 60
22 15 7 66
  1. VARC: Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension
  2. DILR: Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning
  3. Quant: Quantitative Ability

CAT 2024 exam will be directed on the third or fourth week of November 2024 of every solitary day isolated in morning and evening sessions. One of the best six IIMs will be the Convener for CAT 2024 and has reported that CAT 2024 exam example will stay unaltered. Reacting to this inquiry IIMs, in spite of the fact that acknowledge that CAT paper design is PC based however whether CAT is an online test, they say 'No.' Regarding the CAT exam design, IIMs say "Feline isn't an online exam. It is an advanced or Computer Based Test (CBT); not an Internet-Based Test (IBT); that is, an applicant won't take the exam on a web website. Rather than perusing the inquiries in a paper booklet and obscuring the ovals on the appropriate response sheet, a hopeful will read the inquiries on a workstation and pick an answer by tapping on the right choice."

So the CAT exam design 2020, regardless of being a PC based exam, won't be an online exam. Sharing the key contrast and USPs of CAT exam design, IIMs additionally expand "In the PC based arrangement, the hopeful peruses an inquiry on a work station and taps on the right answer. Moreover, the clock on the PC screen discloses to you the rest of an opportunity to finish the present segment." CAT GDPI WAT

CAT exam: Sections: sub-sections, Expected difficulty level

CAT exam pattern was totally revamped in CAT 2015 by IIM Ahmedabad and since then the CAT exam pattern has followed the same CAT pattern for all the 3 sections except the recent change in CAT 2023. The key features of CAT 2023 sectional exam pattern are:

  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension: 

Total questions: 24 LOD: Moderate to Very difficult Section Highlights: No Grammar or vocabulary based questions in CAT 2023 Verbal Ability questions confined to 3 topics – Jumbled paragraph; Para summary; picking the odd sentence out of the jumbled sentences

  • Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning:

Total questions:20 LoD: Moderate to difficult Section Highlights: Questions appeared in set of 6 & 4 Time crunch is faced by test takers as questions are more time consuming 

  • Quantitative Ability:

Total questions: 22 LoD: Moderate to difficult Section Highlights: More questions are on Arithmetic – Percentage, Profit & Loss, Time & speed, Work/days, Compound & Simple interest

CAT Exam: Key Facts

The entrance exam is a Computer-based Test (CBT) of 3 hours length. CAT exam is separated into 3 primary areas of an hour each The 3 segments in CAT exam 2019 example are – Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC); Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR); Quantitative Aptitude (QA) There will likewise be sub-segments inside the 3 segments in updated CAT exam 2020 example. For instance, the patched-up CAT exam design for VARC comprises of Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension sub-segments; DILR contains inquiries on Data Interpretation and Logical thinking.

  • Applicants are not permitted to move between one segment to others amid the 1 hour relegated to the specific area.
  • CAT Test takers can't leave their seats amid the exam.
  • MCQs in CAT 2020 exam example will require you to choose 1 rectify answer decision out of 4
  • Non-MCQs in the CAT exam example will expect you to type in the right answer on the PC screen.
  • There may not be any answer decisions for Non-MCQs in an amended example of CAT 2020.
  • Each right answer in CAT exam example will be granted 3 marks whether it is MCQ or Non-MCQ
  • Each wrong response for MCQ in CAT exam 2020 will be forced punishment of 1/3 negative check (- 1 stamp)
  • There will be no punishment of negative checking on wrong responses to Non-MCQs in CAT 2020 exam design
  • CAT exam design stays on the lines of the CAT official Mock test discharged by IIMs a month prior to the CAT exam.

CAT exam changes since Computerization

The exam design in the course of recent years since it was automated in 2009 has gone for detectable changes. Feline paper design before 2009 was paper-pen based. Feline exam design was changed from paper-based exam to CAT online PC based test in 2009. Indeed, even after that CAT paper design kept changing from 3 areas to 2, and after that CAT design was changed to 3 segments in 2015. From that point, forward CAT is following a comparable example. Feline 2020 example likewise continues as before as that of CAT exam 2019 example with 3 segments and 3 hours time in spite of the fact that the quantity of MCQs and Non-MCQs may change.

Understanding the Competition in CAT Exam 

Learn how to strategically prepare for CAT and make your IIM dream come true If there is any Exam which has both the quality and quantity of students participating in it, it surely has to be the CAT exam. CAT is the superset for most of the MBA entrance exams in India, and the mindset of a CAT aspirant would be such that if he is prepared for CAT, he is almost prepared for any MBA entrance exam to happen across INDIA. Understanding the competition in CAT will help you to know where you stand and how much more effort is required to crack CAT.  Following factors are considered to understand the level of Competition in any exam

  1. Total applicants
  2. Quality of students
  3. Difficulty level
  4. Marking Criteria

Total applicants:

The best metric to understand the level of competition for any entrance exam is the number of applicants who are participating. For CAT the number of applicants for the year 2017 was approximately 2.5 lakhs. For NMAT, the number of applicants was about 88000 and for SNAP this number was about 65000. Even having the reputation of being the trickiest exam, the huge number of applicants for CAT shows why it is the most competitive exam. 

Quality of Students:

 It is only through CAT, that students are able to get into top B schools, mostly the IIM's. Even if the student is not willing to appear for exams like NMAT, SNAP, or XAT, it is certain that he or she would be appearing for CAT. This is because unlike other MBA entrance exams, results of CAT exams are considered for the admission for most of the colleges. Also Read: How much time is required to prepare for CAT?

Difficulty Level:

 CAT is not the most difficult exam but trickiest exam to crack. There are the following factors that make CAT difficult exam to crack. Mocks to ace the exams

  1. High Competition and quality of students
  2. Marking Criteria with negative marking
  3. Questions asked being more logical and tricky
  4. Reservation of seats in top B schools through CAT.

Marking Criteria:

 Accuracy becomes an important point when you are competing with lakhs of students and there is a negative marking involved for each wrong answer. Leaving all this aside, if you have a strong foundation and your concepts are clear, you may find CAT being the easiest exam, and the competition will help you instead.  Interesting Reads: CATKing Quora

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Anisha Mukhija

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