CAT 2017: 7 points preparation guide with key facts how to crack CAT in 5 months

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Updated on July 11, 2017
Unless you know well about CAT 2017, its proposed structure, content, time duration necessary do’s and don’ts, you may not win the race and get into your dream IIM in 2018. CAT is the largest MBA entrance test for admission to 20 IIMs and other top B-schools, the exam has also earned the reputation of throwing surprises every year
CAT 2017
IIM Lucknow, the convener of CAT 2017 is one of the 3 IIMs that have been twice assigned the responsibility to convene Common Admission Test (CAT) since it was computerized in 2009

IIM Lucknow, the convener of CAT 2017 is one of the 3 IIMs that have been twice assigned the responsibility to convene Common Admission Test (CAT) since it was computerized in 2009. Apart from IIM Lucknow, IIM Ahmedabad and IIM Indore have convened CAT twice since 2009.

IIM Ahmedabad was the first to convene the 1st computerized CAT 2009 and again convened CAT 2015; IIM Indore convened CAT for two consecutive years in 2013 and 2014 and now it is the turn of IIM Lucknow who convened CAT 2010 and has again been given the responsibility to convene CAT 2017.

2nd timer IIMs brought changes in CAT
Surprisingly, IIM Indore and IIM Ahmedabad modified and revamped CAT structure and pattern when they conducted it second time only. Now it is IIM Lucknow which is convening CAT for the second time after 7 years. Going by the historical data, you should expect more changes in CAT 2017.

Carefully craft plan to crack CAT 2017
Unless you know well about CAT 2017, its proposed structure, content, time duration necessary do’s and don’ts, how do you propose to win the race and get into your dream IIM in 2018. While CAT 2017 would be the largest MBA entrance test for admission to 20 Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), the exam has earned the reputation of throwing surprises every year.

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Know the key facts first
It is of utmost importance that you must know the key facts about CAT 2017 to avoid any misleading information while preparing with right stuff for the exam. In the first instance, if you are a fresher and is in your final year of bachelor’s degree, you may not be aware what are the major constituents of CAT exam, how to prepare, what to study, can there be any well defined syllabus, where to begin and number of FAQs would hover your mind.

Sometimes you do not even find anyone to answer your queries. When you begin your self-study, it appears that you have entered an unorganized thick and large forest where it is difficult to locate which way to go. This is the juncture wherefrom you will start your preparation journey for CAT 2017. So it is always good enough to have clarity about the CAT exam, its recently revamped exam pattern and where to begin. In case you continue beating about the bush, you may end up without scoring required percentile prescribed by different IIMs to get shortlisted for final admission round.

CAT 2017: Admission test for IIMs, FMS, SPJIMR, MDI & others
CAT is a yearly examination conducted by Indian Institutes of Management. CAT 2017 will also be conducted for admission to PGDM/MBA programme in 20 IIMs and other top management institutes in India like FMS Delhi, IMI Delhi, IMT Ghaziabad, JBIMS Mumbai, MDI Gurgaon, NITIE Mumbai, Management departments of IITs, SPJIMR Mumbai, TAPMI Manipal and other more than 500 B-schools.

2.32 lakh candidates applied for CAT last year. This number may increase this year as during last few years CAT has seen tremendous growth. IIMs and other top B-schools along offer admission to more than 30000 students in their different management programmes. Read more about CAT 2017

IIM Lucknow will conduct CAT 2017
One of the highly ranked IIMs, IIM Lucknow has been assigned the responsibility to convene Common Admission Test CAT 2017. No other University or B-school than a well established IIM with proven track record can conduct CAT exam. Every-year the CAT convening responsibility is assigned to one of the Old IIMs namely IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, IIM Calcutta, IIM Lucknow, IIM Indore, IIM Kozhikode.

This is the 2nd time that IIM Lucknow has been awarded the responsibility to convene CAT 2017 since CAT has become a computer based test in 2009. The first CAT which IIM Lucknow conducted was in 2010.  

When and how to apply for CAT 2017
Notification for CAT 2017 is proposed to be published in all the leading news papers in the last week of July 2017 preferably on July 29 or 30, 2017.

The registration/application process for CAT 2017 will begin in the first week of August, 2017. It will be an online process where the candidate will be able to register from the official website The registration and application fee for CAT 2017 is Rs.1700/-.

Read more about the CAT 2017 registration

Eligibility riders for CAT 2017
A graduate in any discipline with minimum 50% marks with or without work experience can apply for CAT 2017. Since there is no age bar to apply for CAT, candidates who have graduation degree in old pattern of 2 years of graduation, can also apply. Those who are in their final year of bachelor’s degree can also apply for CAT 2017.

Read complete details about CAT 2017 eligibility criteria  

Revised exam pattern of CAT 2017
The changes and surprises which CAT exam brings with it every year are more than in any other exam. But despite all the structural and content level changes brought about last year, following 4 will remain the key components of CAT 2017. Number of questions and their type may change.

  • Section-1: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension - 34 questions
  • Section-2-Part-1: Data Interpretation - 16 questions
  • Section-2- Part-2: Logical Reasoning - 16 questions
  • Section-3: Quantitative Aptitude - 34 questions

Read about the CAT exam pattern, changes over the years and number of questions in each section

Type of questions in CAT 2017
Till 2014 CAT used to consist of only objective type Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs), but with effect from 2015, CAT has started including Non-MCQs also in each section. The biggest advantage to attempt Non-MCQ type of questions is that it does not impose any penalty for wrong answer which is applicable at 1/3 to MCQ type of questions. The ratio of MCQs and non-MCQs in each section remained as under-

Section Name No. of MCQs No. of Non-MCQs Total questions Sectional Time limit in minutes
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC) 24 10 34 60
Data Interpretation & Logical reasoning 24  8 32 60
Quantitative Aptitude 27  7 34 60
Total 75 25 100 180

Source: CAT 2016 exam

Read the detailed CAT exam analysis

Scoring in CAT 2017
CAT 2017 as in earlier years is supposed to award 3 marks for each correct answer. A penalty of 1 mark for each wrong answer for an MCQs is imposed in the exam.

There is no penalty of negative marking to wrong answers for non-MCQs. As such the candidates can get double benefit if they attempt all the Non-MCQs. If the answer is correct for Non-MCQ you will get full 3 marks and in case the answer is wrong, no penalty of negative marking will be imposed on you.

These scores are then converted to percentile score with equated scoring pattern mechanism.

What score you would need for IIMs?
All the 20 IIMs need a balanced high sectional percentile between 70 to 100 in each section of CAT exam to shortlist the candidates for next stage of admission round. Interestingly IIM Ahmedabad the top ranked among 100 top B-schools of India has the lowest minimum 70 sectional percentile required by it. It implies if you have scored 99 in VARC, 99 in Quant but 69 in DILR in CAT 2017, you will not be shortlisted by IIM Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Lucknow, Indore, Kozhikode, Shillong and even any of the 13 new and newest IIMs.

The reason is that the above score might award you a percentile score as high as 98 or 99 but you need to qualify on the minimum sectional score prescribed by the respective IIMs in each of the 3 sections.

Accordingly, in spite of scoring a high overall percentile in CAT 2017, there are no chances to get shortlisted by any IIM whereas a candidate with uniformly high balanced sectional percentile score of 90-94 can expect to be shortlisted by many IIMs.

Required CAT score and shortlisting at IIMs

So when you begin your preparation do not think that high score in 2 sections will compensate for low score in remaining 1 section. Your aim should be to maximise your scores in each section if you wish to pursue Post Graduate Programme (PGP) in Management in 2018-20 batch at an IIM.

If no change in CAT 2017 is introduced, you will have one day testing window divided in two sessions. The exam date may fall in the first week of December 2017. The test structure and content in CAT 2017 could again be changed as compared to CAT 2016. However, it is expected that overall number of questions in CAT 2017 would be 100 divided in 3 sections.

Stay tuned to for more updates on CAT 2017

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