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Managed by IIMs, Common admission test (CAT) is a computer based exam which is a prerequisite for an MBA and other management programmes. The scores are accepted by, close to 170 colleges across India for various courses. Until 2009, CAT was a completely paper based test and after that they have updated to computer based test. Every year there are some minor changes in pattern or the number of questions asked.


Important Dates for CAT 2017:

Registration Start Date:
To be announced

Last Date of Registration:  
To be announced

LINK:   iimcat.ac.in
         CAT Test Date:
         To be announced

         CAT Result:  
         To be announced


CAT is termed as difficult because of its ever changing structure and unpredictable results. Over the years in Paper based tests from 2004 to 2008, the number of questions reduced from 123 to 90 to 75 and then back to 90 questions in 2008.


However the time allotted to take the test increased from two hours till 2005 to 2hours 30 min from 2006 onwards. Until 2009, CAT was a completely paper based test. Since then, CAT has become a computer based test. However in the online test the pattern initially for two years was 60 questions split equally across the three sections to be taken within 2 hours and 15 minutes. In 2011, the new pattern had 70 questions in two sections that need to be taken over a period of 140 minutes split equally across the two sections. In 2015 revised pattern, the major change was - number of exam days was restricted to 1 and the sections were increased from 2 to 3. The change in patterns, however signify that the focus is clearly between speed and selection of questions across the years.

CAT 2016 Paper Pattern

CAT 2016 was conducted in 138 cities with more than 650 centers across India and around 1.95 Lakh candidates appeared for it. The CAT 2016 paper pattern was similar to last year with difficulty level a notch higher. A total of 100 questions were asked from Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DI LR), Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) and Quantitative Ability (QA). both has 32 questions each. The total duration for the exam was 180 minutes. Candidates will not be able to switch from one section to another, but use of basic on-screen calculator for computation will be beneficial for the students to save time.      


There will be 3 sections:


1. 'Quantitative Aptitude (QA): 34 questions (60 minutes)
2. 'Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR): 32 questions (60 minutes)
3. 'Verbal and Reading Comprehension (VRC): 34 questions (60 minutes)

To be eligible to appear for the exam a student must hold a Bachelor's Degree, with at least 50% marks or equivalent CGPA. Candidates in their final year of the bachelor can also apply. The selection process will include Written Ability Test (WAT), Group Discussions (GD) and Personal Interviews (PI). IIMs may use previous academic performance of the candidates, relevant work experience and other similar inputs in short listing and ranking of candidates at various stages of the admission process.

CAT 2016 Exam Analysis

A single line summary of CAT 2016 – format same as CAT 2015 with difficulty level a notch higher.


CAT 2016 had 3 sections:


=> Verbal Ability – Verbal Ability (10 questions) & Reading Comprehension (24 questions)

=> Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning – Data Interpretation (20 questions) & Logical Reasoning (12 questions)

=> Quantitative Ability had 34 questions


The sectional, in depth analysis is as follows:


The paper was in this order – Verbal Ability first, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning second, Quantitative Aptitude third.


1. VARC section:

a. As usual, Vocabulary based, Grammar based, Logical Continuation & Critical Reasoning questions missing.
b. RCs were 24 in number out of the 34 questions. RCs were 5 in numbers – 3 RCs with 6 questions each & 2 RCs with 3 questions each. However, this subsection can't be called difficult. Out of the 24 questions, 15 questions were direct and hence these questions called for a lot of regression. Apart from that, 4-5 other questions were of the format "Author would agree to all of the below EXCEPT" which again led to back & forth reading of the passages. All in all, the RCs in terms of intensity of language / density or depth of the topic were light but slightly time consuming because of the regression it called for.
c. Verbal Ability had just 3 types of questions: Logical Discontinuity / Out of Context question (3 in number), Summary of the passage (3 in number) & Parajumbles (4 in number). All the questions in this subsection were of the "key-in" or "non-MCQ" variety. The problem with this being non-MCQ is that the parajumbles became difficult because each of the parajumbles had 5 sentences to be rearranged. Links were available, but two broken links and hence it make this part a little tricky. However, a cheeky CAT taker will take the shots because these fall under the "non-negative marking" category. Summary and Out of Context were non-MCQ variety but this can be called "pseudo non-MCQ" because it was more like keying-in a number instead of marking an option.
d. All in all, the section was Easy to Moderate to navigate.
e. 27-28 attempts with 90% accuracy can be classified as a good score in this section.

2. LRDI section:

a. Challenging section – Could be the final Decider, again.
b. The paper had 8 sets of 4 questions each. Total of 32 questions.
c. The sets based on – The girls buying the T-shirts, the 2 section paper with different marking scheme was easy. However, even in these 2 sets all the questions weren't solvable. Apart from these 2 sets, others were time consuming and because each of the questions demanded a separate data to work on, the whole process turned tricky. The test taker had to read the data, arrange the same, solve selected questions and let go of 1 or 2 questions per set.
d. This section was surely the decider with 5 DI sets and 3 LR sets and nearly all the sets were time consuming.
e. 15 attempts with 80% accuracy can be classified as a good score in this section.


3. QA Section:

a. Standard – is the word! Be it the spread or the difficulty level, it was as the doctor prescribed.
b. Nearly every chapter had a representative there. Percentages, Profit & Loss, Linear Equations, Quadratic Equations, Inequalities, Surds & Indices, Averages & Partnership, Numbers, Time & Work, Time & Distance, Alligations & Mixtures, Permutation & Combination, Inequalities, Triangles, Polygons, Circles, Area & Volume, Coordinate Geometry and the list goes on. With around a third of the section difficult, a third easy and a third moderate, the spread of the questions was really good.
c. Such a section has advantages as well as disadvantages – you should have been prepared with everything and just in case you have left just a chapter or two, the damage isn't astounding. Hence, a cheer-worthy paper for a prepared test taker.
d. 25 attempts with 85% accuracy can be classified as a good score in this section.


The softer aspect is that, in case the LRDI section broke the back of a well prepared student, his performance in the 3rd section would get affected.

All in all, an aspirant with47 net correct questions will be able to score around99%ile

An aspirant with36 net correct questions should be in the 95%ilerange

An aspirant with31 net correct questions should be in the 90%ilerange

An aspirant with25 net correct questions should be in the 80%ilerange

An aspirant with21 net correct questions should be in the 70%ilerange




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