Finally, the CAT is out of the bag! CAT 2015, the much-coveted MBA entrance exam was conducted on Nov 29, with around 2.19 lakh students participating in the computerized test to seek admission to the premier Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs). The exam was conducted in the revised format in two slots with morning and afternoon sessions being completed in a single day. The new CAT 2015 format threw up a bunch of surprises for the test takers, who described the test as relatively easier but extensively lengthily compared to past few years.
The Revised Format
Despite the revised CAT 2015 format being advertised quite well, test takers were in for a surprise when it came to the actual test. The key changes which included three sections, sectional time limit and the inclusion of descriptive/non-MCQ questions were received well by the MBA aspirants. Many reported that sectional time limit helped them concentrate on respective sections better, whereas non-MCQ type questions consumed extra time for some aspirants. To help the test takers understand the new format, test instructions were displayed on their computer screen 15 minutes prior to the beginning of CAT 2015.
The general opinion among the test takers was that the CAT 2015 was of moderate difficulty than the previous years, but was structured in a lengthy and time-consuming manner.
VARC Section: The Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension section was the first section for the online test. The section was designed on the lines of demo test released before the exam, with 24 questions from Reading Comprehension and 10 Verbal Ability questions. According to aspirants, the RC paragraphs had simple vocabulary and were easy to understand; the associated questions were also easy to answer. Whereas, the Verbal Ability questions were mostly direct input types with prime focus on para jumbles, odd sentence out and para summary question formats.
LRDI Section: The Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation Section was reckoned to be the most difficult section because of the lengthy structure of the questions. The section consisted of total 32 questions with 16 questions on Logical Reasoning and 16 questions on Data Interpretation. Questions in LR section were relatively more complex, whereas DI questions were more focused around calculative aptitude. The majority of test takers have said that they could only attempt around 20 questions from this section due to sectional time constraints.
Quantitative Ability: Quantitative Ability section, which traditionally has been the first section in CAT exam, was put as the last section for the 2015 test. The QA section consisted of 34 questions, most of which were of moderate difficulty and covered core math concepts like Algebra, Trigonometry, Geometry along with general arithmetic, Ratio, proportion, profit & loss as well as time-work-speed. Despite being considered easy, many students reported that they were able to attempt only 20 questions due to the lengthy structure of the questions. Quant questions were more calculative in nature and the onscreen calculators were put to good use by aspirants while attempting this section.
Despite the high number of test takers, the CAT 2015 was concluded without any major problems apart from a few computer glitches reported at some centres. The overall CAT 2015 exam was termed as moderately difficult but time-consuming. Experts have suggested that candidates who have attempted around 27 to 30 in VARC, 20 in LRDI and 25+ in QA, should expect good CAT score.