1. Home
  2. |  
  3. MBA|  

CAT exam: Evolution and changes over the years

Oct 26, 2018 17:06 IST

    Common Admission Test (CAT) is an MBA entrance exam which is considered as the mother of all other MBA entrance exams in India. The test is conducted once every year to shortlist candidates for admission to top 20 Indian Institute of Management (IIMs) in the country. CAT Exam is important for all the MBA aspirants because apart from the IIMs, other prestigious institutes such as FMS Delhi, MDI Gurgaon, IITs, IMT, IMI among others accept CAT score to give admission to the MBA aspirants.

    However, the CAT exam has undergone tremendous changes since it was introduced in the year 1950. Before 2009, CAT MBA entrance exam was a pen and paper based test which was conducted in single day session for all the candidates across India. But from 2009 onwards, CAT became a Computer Based Test which was conducted for the first time by IIM Ahmedabad. Since then, CAT exam is conducted by different IIMs on rolling basis.

    The current article attempts to reveal how CAT exam has evolved over the years and what changes have been introduced in the MBA entrance exam. Let’s take a look at various aspects of CAT exam that have been modified or tweaked for enhancing the experience of CAT exam for the candidates: 

    CAT exam goes online

    When the CAT exam became online for the test-takers, American firm Prometric was entrusted with the responsibility of conducting CAT exam from the year 2009 to 2013. However, there were technical snags and glitches that often hampered the practise of conducting the online test. To conduct the exam smoothly, CAT convenors decided to give this responsibility to Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). Since 2014 onward, CAT is organised online by TCS.

    6 IIMs conducted 10 CAT exams till date

    From 2009, when the CAT Exam was held in the computer based format, a ritual of conducting the exam began wherein each year one of the 20 participating IIMs gets the responsibility of managing the entire course of conducting the exam. Starting from IIM Ahmedabad, each IIM mentioned in the list below has been entrusted with the responsibility to conduct CAT MBA Entrance exam in the entire nation successfully. In 2018, IIM Calcutta is the official convener of the CAT 2018 exam.

    CAT exam year

    CAT Convener

    2009

    IIM Ahmedabad

    2010

    IIM Lucknow

    2011

    IIM Calcutta

    2012

    IIM Kozhikode

    2013

    IIM Indore

    2014

    IIM Indore

    2015

    IIM Ahmedabad

    2016

    IIM Bangalore

    2017

    IIM Lucknow

    2018

    IIM Calcutta

    Changes in CAT exam pattern since 2009

    The exam pattern, which holds strategic importance for the candidates has also, underwent sea-change since 2009. From time duration of the exam, to number and type of questions, sections and testing days, all the aspects have been modified to ensure a smooth exam process.

    Time Duration tweaked

    Earlier the CAT exam was conducted for 140 minutes. In the year 2014, this time limit was increased to 170 minutes. However, as per the current pattern, aspirants are allotted time span of 180 minutes to solve the questions.

    Number of questions reduced

    As per the previous pattern which was introduced in the year 2013, CAT exam comprised of 60 questions. Later, in the year 2014, CAT exam carried 100 questions to test the aptitude of the aspirants. Since then the number of questions have remained the same in the exam.

    Numbers of sections increased

    Until 2014 there were only two sections in the CAT Exam i.e. Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation, and Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning. It was from the CA T2015, that three sections were introduced in the exam namely Quantitative Ability, Verbal and Reading Comprehension, and Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning.

    Introduction of Non-MCQs

    CAT exam tested the aptitude of the candidates entirely on the basis of the MCQs until 2014. However, from CAT 2015, non-MCQ questions i.e. descriptive type questions were also introduced in the exam which did not carry any negative marking as against the MCQ questions in which -1 mark is deducted for picking the wrong option.

    Break-up of Questions altered

    Apart from the number of questions, the break-up of questions in each section has also been tweaked with each passing year to enhance the experience of exam for the candidates. Undoubtedly, the difficulty level of the CAT exam cannot be gauged because it depends upon the preparation strategy of the candidates, however, the break-up questions gives a fair idea about the strategy to crack the exam:

    Year

    Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension

    Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

    Quantitative Aptitude

    Total Questions

    2017

    34

    32

    34

    100

    2016

    34

    32

    34

    100

    2015

    34

    32

    34

    100

    2014

    50

    16

    34

    100

    2013

    30

    10

    20

    50

    2012

    30

    10

    20

    50

    Sectional time limit introduced

    Earlier, the concept of sectional time limit was introduced in the exam2013 which was removed in 2014. But later, in the year 2015, IIM Ahmedabad re-introduced sectional time limit in the CAT exam. A time limit of 60 minutes has been introduced as a part of sectional cut-off to solve questions of each question.       

    Marking Scheme revised

    CAT exam has not only been about the exam pattern and the race for scoring high percentile to get admissions in the IIMs. Drastic changes have been introduced in the marking scheme of the questions as well. For the MCQ questions, benchmark of 33% negative marking has remained constant, whereas for the non-MCQ questions, until 2015, 3 marks were rewarded for each correct answer. From the year 2016, only 1 mark will be rewarded for each correct no-MCQ answer.

    This was all about the changes that have been introduced in the CAT exam over the years. IIMs and the CAT exam convenors introduce change in the MBA entrance exam with an objective to ensure that the candidates are able to attempt the exam with complete preparation. It should be noted that before appearing in the final exam, the CAT exam convenors also launch a Mock CAT exam to prepare the aspirants for the D-day.

    If you are aware about other changes that have been introduced in the CAT exam since 2009, then do post them in the comments section below. Please provide your reviews about the article by clicking on the emoticons provided at the end of the article. For more such articles, keep visiting MBA section of jagranjosh.com

    Also Read

    CAT 2018 Admit Card: Available for download at iimcat.ac.in

    CAT Toppers from IIM-Calcutta share their CAT preparation strategy

    Can I get a good MBA college (IIM) without work experience?

    DISCLAIMER: JPL and its affiliates shall have no liability for any views, thoughts and comments expressed on this article.

    Latest Videos

    Register to get FREE updates

      All Fields Mandatory
    • (Ex:9123456789)
    • Please Select Your Interest
    • Please specify

    • ajax-loader
    • A verifcation code has been sent to
      your mobile number

      Please enter the verification code below

    This website uses cookie or similar technologies, to enhance your browsing experience and provide personalised recommendations. By continuing to use our website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. OK
    X

    Register to view Complete PDF