CAT 2017: Exam pattern to benefit second timers more; may get edge in IIMs shortlist

Add Review News Desk |
August 16, 2017
The second timers going to appear in CAT 2017 will get an edge over their peers to crack the exam with high scores given the fact that CAT 2017 exam stays on exactly the same pattern as that of last year and as such CAT 2017 may prove to be more advantageous for them.
CAT 2017

Equipped with last year’s CAT exam experience, the second timers going to appear in CAT 2017 will get an edge over their peers to crack the exam with high scores given the fact that CAT 2017 exam stays on exactly the same pattern as that of last year.

NMATbyGMAC 2017: Registrations open. Apply now. NMAT by GMAC™ exam opens doors to leading management programmes.

Accordingly, CAT 2017 may prove to be more advantageous for the second chance takers as they have the experience of taking a revamped and modified CAT last year. Clarifying about the CAT 2017 exam pattern, Prof Neeraj Dwivedi, Convener CAT 2017 and faculty at IIM Lucknow has already shared in the media release that ‘the duration of the test will be 180 minutes. There will be three sections:  Section I: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, Section II: Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning, Section III: Quantitative Ability.’

Important CAT 2017 Links:

Sharing further the salient features of CAT 2017 expected type of questions, Prof Dwivedi informed ‘Some questions in each section may not be of multiple choice type. Instead, direct answers will have to be typed on the screen. The tutorials will clearly explain this. Also, we will allow use of basic on-screen calculator for computation. Candidates will be allotted exactly 60 minutes for answering questions in each section and they cannot switch from one section to another while answering questions in a section.’ This exam pattern is exactly on the same lines as that of 2016 CAT exam conducted by IIM Bangalore.

The non-MCQs will continue this year as well in CAT 2017 exam. Since Prof Neeraj Dwivedi, Convener CAT 2017 and faculty at IIM Lucknow has preferred not to change anything in the structure and content in CAT 2017, the second timers will be at advantage and can devise their preparation plan and D-day strategy, in view of the exactly same exam pattern CAT as was there in 2016.

3 sections CAT 2017 in same order
The CAT 2017 website also reveals this fact. It has many sub-parts that are full of information. If you go through it carefully, you will find that CAT 2017 will have same 3 sections as were there last year. The sections according to notification are-

  • Section I: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
  • Section II: Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
  • Section III: Quantitative Ability

Not only the sections are same but their order is also the same. Earlier, the Quant used to be the first section followed by Verbal Ability. Since 2015, this order has been changed and now Quant has become the last section in CAT.

The change in order also impacts a little adversely with Quant placed as the last section. Quant, in fact requires more calculation and is more formula based, by the time the test takers get the opportunity to attempt Quant section, they are exhausted.

CAT 2017 aspirants appearing for the first time will now need the strategy to prepare with a focus to attempt the Quant questions after 2 hours of mind boggling exercises on Verbal, DI and LR. This will help test takers to get good experience with hands on practice which will help in attempting more Quant questions with accuracy. Those who appeared in CAT 2016 know it well and should move accordingly.

Min 25% No penalty Non-MCQs
Non-MCQ types of questions were introduced for the first time in CAT 2015.  Those who appeared for the first time in CAT had to first understand how to deal with these questions.

A non-MCQ is not followed by answer options. You have to solve it and arrive at the correct answer and then type the answer in the given space on the computer screen.

When it was amply clear that Non-MCQs would not carry any negative marking for wrong answer, candidates solved them first to avoid time constraint.

Without informing the expected number of non-MCQs, CAT 2017 Notification shares ‘The number of questions varies and cannot be disclosed’. In 2015, Non-MCQs carried substantial weightage of 28%; in 2016 the share was reduced to 25%. In CAT 2017 it is expected that share of Non-MCQs would remain 25%. 

Out of 34 VARC and 34 Quant questions, there were 10 and 7 Non-MCQs respectively in each of the 2 sections. The newly created DILR section with 32 questions also had 8 Non-MCQs.

Sharing that second timers in CAT 2017 would be at advantage, Prof S K Agarwal expert on Verbal Ability and mentor on CAT 2017 preparation, is of the view ‘those who are taking CAT second time, they know very well that there is no fear of losing marks due to negative marking, even if your answer goes wrong in Non-MCQs’.   According to CAT Centre 2017 “For questions other than MCQs, 3 marks are assigned for ‘correct answer’ and no marks for ‘incorrect answer or no attempt'.”

Best utilization of sectional time limit
The sectional time constraint to attempt one section within allotted time was removed in 2014. It was again introduced in 2015 and continued in CAT 2016. Now, CAT 2017 convener has also confirmed to continue with the sectional time limit this year. CAT 2017 will probably the only exam which has this sectional time limit.

The biggest disadvantage of  imposing sectional time limit is that you cannot utilize your time saved from one section to solve questions in other section. The candidates who appeared in last year CAT however, have learnt how to best utlize the sectional time limit to its optimum level. They maximise their attempts to score more marks as they have to remain to same section during the sectional time of 1 hour.

Choose the right questions
Like last year, this year also, all the sections in CAT 2017 will consist of MCQs and Non-MCQs. Those who appeared in CAT last year preferred to attempt Non-MCQs first beginning with first section on VARC. After that you should move to the MCQs of your choice – preferably from easy to difficult. The key advice of past CAT takers and Prof S K Agarwal, expert on CAT preparation is, not to take any question as a challenge and don’t get tempted to attempt more MCQs unless you are sure of the outcome else you will lose substantial chunk of percentile due to negative marking in MCQs.

It should be noted that you have to begin with first section. CAT Centre 2017 clarifies “You must answer the sections in a pre-specified order and this order will remain same for all the candidates.”

It implies that you cannot attempt any section first but have to move from first section to second and third section according to the order of sections in CAT 2017.  

CAT 2017 scoring pattern: Unchanged
All the questions whether MCQs or Non-MCQs in CAT 2017 will carry equal 3 marks. According to CAT Centre 2017 “For questions other than MCQs, 3 marks are assigned for ‘correct answer’ and no marks for ‘incorrect answer or no attempt'. The scoring scheme for Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQs) is as follows: Each correct answer is awarded 3 marks; An incorrect answer fetches -1; No marks are given or deducted for un-attempted questions.”

Registration for CAT 2017 has already started on August 9. The computer based CAT 2017 will be held on Sunday November 26, 2017 in morning and afternoon sessions. Despite no changes in the exam pattern, it is expected that the exam may turn out to be more difficult. Anticipating a higher difficulty in CAT 2017, the admission policy announced by IIM Ahmedabad has reduced its minimum qualifying sectional percentile for 1st stage shortlisting from 80 to 70 for admission to PGP 2018-20 batch.

Stay tuned to for more updates on CAT 2017

Related links:

IIM Ahmedabad Admission 2018: CAT 2017 cut offs announced; needs 70 sectional percentile

CAT 2017 Registration: Exam in 144 test cities; 14 small towns scrapped – choose carefully

Take CAT 2017 Mock Full LengthTo assess your preparation in revised CAT 2017 exam pattern with 100 questions.
CAT Previous Year Question Papers, Answer With Solution:
CAT 2008    |    CAT 2007    |    CAT 2006    |    CAT 2005   |    CAT 2004
Section 1: Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension CAT 2017: Quiz 1 CAT 2017: Quiz 2
Section 2: Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning CAT 2017: Quiz 1 CAT 2017: Quiz 2
Section 3: Quantitative Ability CAT 2017: Quiz-1 CAT 2017: Quiz-2