CAT 2016: Mystery of not disclosing size of exam; 3 hints shared by CAT exam convener on the structure

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Updated on August 29, 2016
CAT 2016 exam convener has although not disclosed the number of expected questions and their sectional composition but has shared ample hints about the shape of test
During the interview session with, CAT 2016 exam convener shared 3 hints about the proposed test structure and content

CAT 2016 Convener is in no mood to disclose outright the size of test although shares hints about the changed pattern that could decode the mystery on sectional composition of questions in the exam.

Information Confidential only in CAT 2016
Despite attributing the non-disclosure of total or sectional number of questions in CAT 2016 to the confidentiality norms, the fact could be otherwise. The mystery deepens as on the one hand CAT 2016 exam pattern has been kept on the same lines as that of last year test, but unlike last year CAT which disclosed at the outset not only total number of questions but also their sectional division, IIM Bangalore has shied away from disclosing total or sectional composition of questions in CAT 2016. And all of it is in the name of confidentiality.

Does it mean that last year CAT was not kept confidential by IIM Ahmedabad or IIM Bangalore is up to throw some big surprise before the CAT 2016 test takers?

Marked deviation  
It is a marked deviation from last year CAT notification, when the total number of questions as well as their sectional division was shared with the notification. CAT 2016 press release by IIM Bangalore shares no information about the expected number of total questions in the exam to be held on December 4, 2016.

Not-sharing and keeping away the information on CAT 2016 about the total number of questions and sectional composition of the same by IIM Bangalore has raised suspicion among aspirants whether some big changes can be anticipated in the exam.

Is CAT 2016 taking U-turn? Convener hints big changes
CAT 2016 aspirants might be in for a big surprise and may find drastically changed sectional composition with varying weightage and fewer total questions in the exam.

Prof Rajendra K Bandi while sharing with the need for more academic diversity in IIM Class rooms, has already clarified “CAT aims to ensure that questions in the test, do not give any specific advantage to candidates from any specific academic background or for a particular gender. We would like to see an increase in the number of applicants from the non-engineering background and from female applicants as well.”

3 hints from Convener decode the mystery
During the interview session with, CAT 2016 exam convener shared 3 hints about the proposed test structure and content

-- Equal number of questions in every section will again give advantage to Engineers who are expert in Quant, DI and can crack Logical Reasoning questions faster than others. So, this composition may change

-- Since no such advantage is proposed to be awarded in CAT 2016 to any particular class of candidates, the other options are to increase the number of questions in their weak areas like VARC as used to be there during paper based test of 2008. Out of 90 total questions in 2008, VARC alone had 40 questions contributing to 44% share of total questions. Don’t get surprised if the same pattern is repeated in CAT 2016.  

-- Last year CAT introduced Non-MCQs in every section without penalty of any negative marking. It is very much possible that CAT 2016 may further change this strategy to attract gender diversity especially from Arts and Humanities

-- The move is closely watched by the CAT 2016 aspirants- from Engineering as well as from Non-Engineering background candidates.

Sectional composition: Expected in CAT 2016

The sectional changes that you could expect in CAT 2016 exam could be anywhere as

-- Quant with 25 to 28 questions: Reduced by 5-6 questions

-- VARC with increased number of 40 to 44 questions: Increased by 6 to 10 questions

-- DILR with 25 to 28 questions: Reduced by 4-6 questions

Other details shared: Composition not available
CAT 2016 notification published in news papers and the website enabled on July 31, had shared all the other details about the exam format – like names and number of sections; order of sections; time limit of 3 hours to complete the test; sectional time constraint of 1 hour for each of 3 sections; types of questions like MCQs and non-MCQs; award of 3 maximum marks per question; 1 mark penalty as negative marking on wrong answer on MCQs and  no penalty on Non-MCQs, but there is no mention how many total questions will appear in CAT 2016, nor there is any mention of number of questions proposed to appear in each section.

The last year CAT website which was also enabled simultaneously with the release of notification, had all the details including the total and sectional number of questions. The notification for CAT in 2015 was released on July 26 and the updated website informed that there would be 100 total number of questions which will be further divided in following pattern - QA section with 34 questions; VRC with 34 questions and DILR with 32 questions.

The silence of CAT Centre 2016 on number of questions in the exam indicates that something different is going to happen in CAT 2016 test content.

Accordingly, the mystery on number of questions in CAT 2016 and their sectional composition may throw more surprises than anticipated. Aspirants should also check well the written test composition of CAT during 2006 to 2008 as it could be going back to the same pattern.

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