Evolution of CAT Exam Pattern- Changes in CAT exam pattern over the years
The CAT exam pattern was changed after six years in 2020 due to COVID-19. Until last year, the CAT was carried out in line with the method adopted in 2014. In this article check the history of the changes in CAT exam pattern over the years.
CAT 2021 will be conducted on November 28, 2021 and the pattern will be same as 2020. In 2020, IIM Indore conducted CAT and they made major changes to the pattern. This is not the first time the CAT exam pattern has been changed by IIM Indore. Students were slightly be uncomfortable with the new paper pattern as they had been preparing according to the old one. The biggest change is that the CAT exam is now only two hours with 40 minutes per section. The distribution of questions is- 26 questions in the Verbal ability and reading comprehension and the Quantitative ability section respectively, and 24 questions in the Data interpretation and logical reasoning section. Also, the number of exam slots has been increased from two to three.
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Changes in CAT exam pattern in the last 20 years
In the last six years, the marking scheme of the CAT exam has also not changed. For each correct answer, 3 marks are allotted and for each wrong answer, -1 mark is deducted. there’s no deduction of marks for TITA questions and questions left unattempted. The total marks of the CAT 2020 paper are yet to be known.
However, watching the trends of the past 11 years of the CAT exam pattern one cannot fail but notice that the test structure of the CAT exam witnessed an enormous change in 2013-2014 in terms of duration and number of questions. While in CAT 2013, the number of questions was 60 and therefore the time duration was 140 minutes, in CAT 2014, the number of questions increased to 100 and therefore the time duration was increased to 170 minutes.
On the opposite hand, the number of sections kept changing from three to 2 to 3 again between 2010 and 2015. Between 2011 to 2014, the number of sections was two. The DI section of the CAT exam was clubbed with QA and LR section was clubbed with VARC. Given below may be a table indicating changes in the CAT exam pattern over the years.
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CAT 2009 witnessed an enormous change because the test shifted from paper-pencil based test to the computer-based test. The exam duration was also changed to 2 hours and a quarter-hour. Prometric India Pvt. Ltd. was the web testing partner of the primary computer-based CAT exam conducted by IIM Ahmedabad. due to the large shift in pattern, the primary year of the computer-based CAT saw many technical glitches which finally resulted within the retest.
CAT aspirants also raised the question on the normalization process of the test. the general difficulty level was even easier within the retest which was conducted in January 2010. the precious lessons learned from 2009 led to the implementation of several changes within the entrance test in 2010 including an increased no. of testing days, more stringent verification checks on the technical and physical infrastructure, improved scheduling and registration system, study material for candidates, etc
In 1998-1999 CAT exam pattern used to be speed based where questions used to be more than 150 and the time allotted was 120 minutes. Before it got changed in 2004 where different marking for different questions was introduced in different sections with the same time limit of 120 minutes and the number of questions was reduced to 123.
After this, in the year 2005-2006, the number of questions was reduced to 90 and 75 respectively where the exam was no more speed based exam.
Trends in Change in CAT Exam Pattern Year-wise
|Year||Number of Questions||Sections||Marking Scheme||Duration (In minutes)||Conducing Body||Other Instructions|
(Tentative changes expected)
|Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension(VARC), Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning(DILR) and Quantitative Aptitude(QA)||+3, -1, no negative for non MCQ||120||IIM Indore||-|
|Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension(VARC), Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning(DILR) and Quantitative Aptitude(QA)||+3, -1, no negative for non MCQ||180||IIM Khozikode|
|Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension(VARC), Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning(DILR) and Quantitative Aptitude(QA)||+3, -1, no negative for non MCQ||180||IIM ahmedbad||Introduce On-Screen Calculator/ Induction of Non-MCQ|
|Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation, Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning (Not in order)||+ 3 Marks for every correct answer and -1 for every incorrect answer||170||IIM Indore||Test was divided into two sections|
|Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation (QA & DI), Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning||+ 3 Marks for every correct answer and -1 for every incorrect answer||140||IIM Indore|
|Data Interpretation/Data Sufficiency/Logical Reasoning,Quantitative Aptitude (QA),Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension(VARC)||+ 4 Marks for every correct answer and -1 for every incorrect answer||150||-||In 2009-10 paper made was changed for pen pencil mode to computer mode|
|Quantitative Ability (QA), Verbal and Reading Comprehension (VRC) and Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DI & LR)||3 Marks for every correct answer and -1 for every incorrect answer||150||-||Marking system for 2005 was different for different types of question|
|2004||Total 123 Questions||Data Interpretation: 20Q of 1 mark each|
Data Sufficiency: 6 Q of 1 mark each
Logical Reasoning: 12 Q of 2 marks each
QA: 20 Q of 1 mark each
Math problems: 15 Q of 2 marks each
Verbal Ability: 10 Q of 0.5 marks each
Verbal Ability: 14 Q of 1 mark each
Verbal Ability: 5 Q of 2 marks each
Reading Comprehension: 21 Q of 1 mark each
|Marking Scheme different for different sections||120||-||-|
Total = 150
|Marking Scheme different for different sections||120||-||Exam Format Changed in 2001|
|Marking Scheme different for different sections||120||-||Speed based Test|
Total = 185
|Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension(VARC), Data Interpretation & (DI) and Quantitative Aptitude(QA)||Marking Scheme different for different sections||120||Speed based Test|
Trends in CAT Registration
CAT 2015 witnessed the worst ever number of applicants and IIM Ahmedabad, the conducting authority was then forced to increase the appliance deadline by 5 days. Only 1,38,000 registrations were received for CAT till the first registration deadline. However, by extending the date by 5 days the registrations went up to 1.90 lakhs. However, the fear of MBA crisis was allayed when the number of registrations went up to 2.18 lakhs, after the second deadline. Around 18% of these who registered for CAT didn’t appear for the test. In 2015, out of 2,18,664 registered students just one,79,602 appeared for the exam.
The number of CAT applicants has seen an upward trend within the last 2 years showing after a quick decline during the recession years. In 2018, approximately 2,40,338 candidates registered for CAT.
|Year||No. of Registrations||No. of Test Takers|