New format for CAT this year

With the CAT exams undergoing a format change this year, MBA aspirants are anxious, to say the least. But experts say starting out with the right section and scanning the questions before attempting the paper could help you crack it.

The Common Admission Test (CAT) — the gateway to pursuing MBA from the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) among other prestigious institutions — will be held from October 22 to November 18 this year. Nearly 2,05,000 students have registered this time against the 3,000 IIM seats. This marginally exceeds last year’s registrations of 2,04,000.

In the new exam pattern, the CAT paper will have only two sections instead of three. Till last year, the paper was divided into Quantitative Ability, Verbal Ability, and Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning. From this year, the first section will focus on Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation and the second on Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning. These two sections will now have to be tackled sequentially with separate time limits unlike earlier when students could divide their time between the sections as per their priority.

There are different sections; one student may be strong in Quantitative Ability and weak in Verbal Ability. Till last time, he had the liberty to decide which section he wanted to spend more time on, says Ulhas Vairagkar, director of T.I.M.E.

The total time for the exam has been increased from 135 minutes to 140 minutes, and 70 minutes each have been fixed for the two sections. Now you have to be good at both the sections. Even if you are good at one section and complete it before time, you cannot carry it forward. That is one thing which can have an impact on a student’s performance, Mr Vairagkar said. According to Mr Vairagkar, time management will be the most important factor for students this time.This year, the maximum number of candidates scheduled to take the exam are from New Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Pune.
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