CAT 2015 exam pattern undergoes changes-Admission Jankari
  • Connect With Us

CAT 2015 exam pattern undergoes changes

rates: 1 avg: 1
Published : 31 Jul, 2015 By: AdmissionJankari
  • Test to be held only on ONE day:  The Common Entrance Test has been brought down from the earlier several days, to just two in CAT 2014 and finally to only one day November 29th in 2015.

    IMS interpretation:  With the test now being held on just one day with only two slots (morning and afternoon), the need for scaling and equating goes down, since there will only be two test papers. Also, since the test will be on the same day, there will be less hearsay and therefore less confusion among the students.

    THREE sections instead of TWO: Quantitative Ability with 34 questions, Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension with 34 questions and Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning with 32 questions.

    IMS interpretation: As per the IIMs, aspirants have to show equal competency in all three sections. (Mind you this is an IIM requirement and not a CAT requirement. Other institutes that accept the CAT only use the overall percentile) Quant, VA-RC and LR-DI: Performance in one area (or the lack of it) cannot be subsidized by performance in another. For example, earlier students could get away with solving LR questions in the second section and still get a decent sectional and overall percentile. (Eternal optimists, however, will say that you can still subsidize your DI weakness by your LR strength in the new format).

    Test duration: 180 minutes instead of 170 minutes, with 60 minutes per section. Also, unlike CAT 2014, you can’t switch between sections.

    IMS interpretation: More time (10 minutes overall more to be precise) is a marginal change to have any impact, but any increase is always welcome. However, your test stamina now needs to increase marginally too.

    Sectional time limit: 60 min each for 3 sections. Unlike CAT 2014, you cannot switch between sections.

    IMS interpretation: Sectional time limit is a boon for students who aren’t good at time management and who end up spending more time in one section at the cost of another. As the IIMs require you to show equal competency in each of the sections, this change will force you to display equal competency in all 3 sections. However, test-takers who have the ability to complete a section well within the allotted time can no more leverage this to their benefit by using the time saved in section and use it in another.

    It is still not clear whether a test-taker will be allowed to choose the order in which he/she wishes to answer the sections. We will keep students informed as soon as we have more clarity.

    Type-in questions: There will be “TYPE-IN-THE-ANSWER (TITA)” questions in each section, for the first time in the history of the CAT. However, the history of the CAT is littered with such changes and students who are prepared do not have a problem at all.

    IMS interpretation: There should be 5 to 10 questions without options in each of the sections. Any normal Quant or DI-LR question can be given as a question without options, while in the Verbal Ability section; you could get question types like Jumbled Paragraphs, Sentence Correction and FIBs without options. As a test-taker, you should look at answering most of these questions, as you never know if you have got it right or wrong (unlike, an MCQ where you can skip the question if you don’t find your answer in the given options). So, you need to ensure that your accuracy levels don’t go down due to this change.

    On-screen calculator: A basic on-screen calculator will be introduced in CAT 2015, another first in the history of the CAT.

    IMS interpretation: While a calculator won’t make much of a difference to most of the Quant questions (and definitely not for the VA-RC section), its presence will ease the life of many aspirants for DI questions that may be calculation intensive. The IIMs have decided to assess your ability to find out “what to calculate” rather than “how to calculate”. We don’t see all questions becoming calculation intensive simply because a calculator is being provided. In the Quant section, the calculator might not find utility in more than 6 to 8 questions.

    CAT 2015 vs CAT 2014: A comparison


    CAT 2015

    CAT 2014





    Quant – 34

    DI& LR – 32

    Verbal – 34

    Quant – 50

    Verbal – 50

    Number of Questions



    Total Duration

    180 minutes

    170 minutes

    Section Duration

    60 minutes per section

    No sectional time-limits

    Moving across sections



    Penalty for Omission / Skipping a Question



    Penalty for incorrect answer



    Question Type: Multiple Choice Questions



    Question Type: TYPE-IN-THE-ANSWER Questions



    On-screen calculator



    Need to perform equally well in all sections

    For IIMs and few top
    B-Schools - Yes;

    For other institutes - No

    For IIMs and few top
    B-Schools - Yes;

    For other institutes - No


    To conclude:

    a) Has the test changed its subject dramatically – NO

    b) Has the test changed the Number of Questions – NO

    c) Has the test changed the Penalty awarded for incorrect questions – NO

    d) Has the test changed to award Penalty to omitted questions – NO

    e) Has the test changed the overall time for the test – YES: 10 minutes extra

    f) Has the test given a calculator – YES: Good for the student

    g) Has the test brought in some questions where you have to find the answer: YES

    h) Has the IIM rule of PERFORM WELL IN ALL SECTIONS changed – NO

    So, the strategy to take the test has changed, but the subject, areas tested, topics, etc remain the same, which means the content does not alter. The third section has been carved out from the earlier two sections, which had questions leaning towards the DI, Logical and Analytical type.

    How will IMS help

    All forthcoming tests will be as per the new test format and structure. One sample test as per new format will be available by July 27 on the IMS Attend Last Mile to CAT: A 1 day workshop to be conducted in your city to know the implications of the changed CAT and how to prepare for it.

    We wish all the aspirants good luck, for their upcoming Exam. If you have any queries, for more information on college and courses,

    Please call us on 8800 567 711, 8800 567 733 or mail us at

Facebook Fan


450 characters left

Most Viewed College