By Salony Satpathy:
This is for all those people who are all set to appear for one of the toughest exams in the country: the Common Admissions Test (CAT), clearing which is a stepping stone towards the coveted MBA degree from various prestigious institutions in India, including the IIMs. The changes that have been introduced in CAT 2011 are:
- There will only be two sections in the paper. The first one will be based on Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation and the second one will be on Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning.
- The candidates will be allotted separate time limits of 70 minutes each to crack the sections and once the time limit for the first section ends, the candidate will not be allowed to go back to it when the timer will be on for the second section.
- Each section will consist of 30 questions each, which makes the exam consist of a net decrease of 10 questions compared to the previous year.
- The number of test days will be 20 days within the window from October 22nd 2011 to November 18th 2011.
- Three new centres —Bhilai, Jammu and Dehradun have been added to the existing list of 33 test centres all over India.
- To get people used to the new pattern, a 15-minute tutorial will be provided before the start of the test, and candidates will be advised to go through the same carefully before starting the main examination.
- The total duration will be two hours and 35 minutes including the tutorial.
- A practice test to provide candidates with a feel of the timed sections, as well as navigation and functionality of the actual test will be made available in the coming weeks. Once again candidates will be advised to go though them carefully to familiarize themselves with the screens, layout, and navigation.
- The check-in procedure this year will start one-and-a-half hours before the scheduled test time instead of the previous two hours. With this change, there will be earlier start time of 3:15pm for the afternoon session.
More information at www.catiim.in.
Professor Janakiraman Moorthy, the Convener for CAT 2011, when questioned on the reason for the changes said that the new pattern will make students concentrate equally on both the sections instead of spending too much time on just one section and losing out on the others. This is also the reason for not allowing the student to go to the previous section on expiry of the time limit. He also said that a lot of effort has been made to make sure that the papers have the same level of difficulty so that only deserving candidates are able to crack them.
The new pattern may come as a blessing in disguise for some people and a curse for others. It requires the candidate to be proficient in all the sections to clear the cut-offs. What exactly will happen, only time will tell. Till then all the prospective candidates can do is keep practicing and wait with crossed fingers.