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CAT 2016: Exam structure may be revamped, sectional composition of questions to change

Aug 30, 2016 14:30 IST
    CAT 2016
    CAT 2016

    Since the publication of CAT 2016 notification on 31st July 2016, MBA aspirants have rolled up their sleeves and started CAT preparation on war footing. Like every year, the CAT 2016 notification has provided detailed information on all important aspect associated with the most popular MBA entrance test; including names and order or exam sections, time limit of 3 hours, 1 hour sectional time limit (which was introduced this year), maximum 3 marks per question, inclusion of MCQs and non MCQs, lack of negative marking for non-MCQs and other important details. However, one very important aspect has been mysterious omitted from this year’s CAT 2016 notification, which has cast a spell of doubt on CAT preparation of several aspirants.

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    CAT 2016 Notification & Change in Exam structure

    This year, the CAT 2016 notification has skipped over the details about total number of questions or the sectional composition of questions for each section. The absence of information about total number of questions and section wise composition of questions is a marked departure from the standard. CAT notification format, which was followed last year. Put simply, this means that CAT 2016 aspirants are going in for the biggest entrance exam of their lives without knowing the total number of questions they are to face or the number of questions in each section of the exam. While, many aspirants have happily ignored this fact stating that CAT 2016 will follow the same format as last year, many other are quite anxious about the conspicuous silence of CAT Centre 2016 on number of questions in the exam.

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    Probable changes in CAT 2016

    The recent interview given by CAT convenor Prof Rajendra K Bandi has further fuelled the fire regarding changes in the CAT 2016 Exam format with respect to the sectional composition of questions. In his interview, Prof Bandi has emphasised upon the need for academic and gender diversity in IIM classrooms. Further elaborating on the fact, he also stated that CAT 2016 has been re-designed in a manner that doesn’t favour candidates from any one academic background or gender.

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    Decoding the statement of CAT convenor, it can be assumed that CAT 2016 aspirants are in for a big surprise with significant changes to the sectional composition of the test.

    • Reduction of Quant, DILR questions: In all likelihood, CAT 2016 would avoid the old format of giving equal number of questions to all sections as it would give an undue advantage to students from engineering backgrounds who are comfortable cracking Quant, DI and LR sections. Therefore, CAT 2016 aspirants must expect a change in sectional composition this year.
    • Increase of VARC section questions: The second change is expected in VARC section, which can see an increase in the total number of questions to give a chance of fair fight for students from humanities and other academic backgrounds. This would also mark CAT going back to paper-based era of 2008, when VARC questions made up almost 44% of the total questions.
    • Non MCQs: Last year, CAT introduced non-MCQs in the test with no-negative marking policy. This strategy is likely to be continued even this year with greater emphasis to attract students from Arts and humanities background.

    CAT 2016: Expected Sectional Composition

    Although, there is no official confirmation from CAT Centre 2016 about the prospective changes in the MBA entrance test lined up for 4th December 2016; our experts suggest that aspirants might be in for a major surprise this year. To ease the blow, we suggest CAT 2016 aspirants to modify their preparation strategy keeping in mind the new expected sectional composition as mentioned below:


    Number of Questions


    Quantitative Aptitude

    25 to 28 questions

    Reduced by 5-6 questions

    Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

    25 to 28 questions

    Reduced by 5-6 questions

    Verbal and Reading Comprehension

    40 to 44 questions

    Increased by 6 to 10 questions

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