This year's Common Admission Test (CAT) will have a new format. Candidates will not only have more time, but also a section less to attempt. The test will start from October 22 and continue till November 18.
According to the CAT committee, the computer-based test will now have only two sections with separate time limits. Candidates will also be given a 15-minute tutorial before the commencement of the main examination.
"The first section will focus on quantitative ability and data interpretation, while the second will be on verbal ability and logical reasoning. Each section will have 30 questions and 70 minutes will be given. Both sections will follow a sequence with on-screen countdown timers for each," said professor Janakiraman Moorthy of IIM-Kolkata and CAT 2011 convenor. Earlier, the test was divided into three sections with 20 questions each.
Under the new format, once time ends for the first section, the aspirants will move to the second without the option of coming back to the previous one. Although new in the computer-based version of CAT, this format was previously experimented with when it was still a paper-and-pencil test. Including the tutorial, the examination will be of two hours and 35 minutes duration.
CAT 2011, which will be conducted within a window of 28 days, will have 20 actual testing days, like last year. For the convenience of the candidates, three new cities - Bhilai, Jammu and Dehradun - have been added to the existing 33 test locations. Moreover, CAT brochures can now be purchased from 201 Axis Bank branches. This step shall reduce the difficulties faced by applicants in registering for the test.
Moorthy said: "Considerable effort has been made to maintain similar level of difficulty across papers. A small number of statistically and psychometrically validated questions have been randomly inserted in each question paper as equating blocks. These will be used for establishing post test equality across the days."
The check-in procedure this year will start one-and-a-half hours before the scheduled test time instead of two hours in CAT 2010. With this change, the afternoon session will have an earlier start time of 3.15pm.
Under the new format, once time ends for the first section, the aspirants will move to the second without the option of coming back to the previous one.