CAT 2020 Website update: New 3 Exam Session Timings released; Check important updates awaited

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Updated on September 23, 2020
CAT 2020 website was updated with some of the changes in CAT exam duration, testing slots late evening on Sunday September 20, 2020 while other proposed changes which were expected to be updated on exam pattern, number of questions are awaited. IIM Indore had announced many important changes in CAT 2020 Exam in late evening on September 15 out of them a few have been updated on CAT exam website
CAT 2020 Website with new CAT Exam Pattern

IIM Indore had announced many important changes in CAT 2020 Exam in late evening on September 15, 2020 and all these proposed changes in exam pattern, duration and testing slots were expected to be updated on Sunday, September 20, 2020. However, while the changes in CAT 2020 Registration last date to September 23, 2020 from earlier September 16, CAT exam session timings, Number of sections and sectional time limit have been updated on CAT website, other changes are yet to be updated.

Regarding the updation of changes on CAT website with revised CAT 2020 exam pattern, number & type of questions, Prof Harshal Lowalekar, CAT 2020 convener and faculty at IIM Indore shared with, “CAT generally does not reveal the number or type of questions or the paper pattern. In fact, the CAT pattern is regularly changed so that the exam does not become predictable.”  Let’s check what has been updated on CAT website, what is awaited and what do experts say about them. 

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Out of the important key changes announced in CAT 2020 in test slots, reduction in test duration and sectional time limits which have been updated and remain to be updated on CAT 2020 website are:

1. Updated: Slot Timings for 3 CAT Test Sessions
CAT 2020 exam sessions have increased to three from earlier two. New CAT exam slots are of two hours duration each. All the three sessions will be conducted on same CAT 2020 exam date - November 29, 2020, as below:

  • Morning: 8.30 AM to 10.30 AM
  • Afternoon: 12.30 PM to 2.30 PM
  • Evening: 4.30 PM to 6.30 PM

2. Updated: Sectional Time Limit of 40 Minutes for 3 Sections in CAT 2020
Each of the three sections in CAT 2020 – VARC, DILR, Quant will have sectional time limit of 40 minutes instead of 60 minutes earlier. You cannot move from one section to other until the time limit for the section which you are attempting, is over.

3.  Awaited: Total Number of Questions in Revised CAT Pattern
Experts expect a reduction in number of questions in CAT 2020,. Check below the expected number of questions anticipated by experts in revised CAT 2020 exam pattern.

4.  Awaited: Sectional Composition of Questions
Apart from total number of questions, the number of questions, their division in MCQs and Non-MCQs in each section is also expected to be reduced. However the same is still awaited to be updated on CAT website.

Speaking to, the CAT 2020 Convener said “To familiarise themselves with the different types of questions (MCQ/ non-MCQs) candidates are advised to take the mock test which would become available on the CAT website sometime in October.” Read More about changes in number & type of questions in revised CAT Exam Pattern 2020

According to the experts, after the changes in CAT 2020 time slots, their impact will be on CAT 2020 exam pattern, number of questions, sectional composition, difficulty level as well as in the preparation strategy. Aspirants should expect following changes in CAT exam pattern 2020:

1. Total Number of Questions in CAT 2020: Expected
CAT exam so far consists of 100 questions of MCQ & Non-MCQ type. With the test duration time reduced, it is expected there will be fewer number of questions in CAT exam. Arun Sharma IIM Bangalore alumnus, Founder, Mindworkzz and Bestselling Author says, “I expect 33% drop in questions. This will mean there will be appx 66 questions in CAT 2020 - However, be prepared for anything between 60-70 questions in the test, with maybe an even mix amongst the 3 sections (like 22-22-22) or maybe a 23-20-23.”

2. Two Hours CAT 2020: How it will Impact?
The three time slots of two hours duration have changed the CAT testing time and reporting time. Earlier the time slots were from 9.00 AM to 12 noon and from 2.30 PM to 5.30 PM, now they are divided in three time slots of 2 hours each. The first slot time slot is 8.30 to 10.30 AM; second slot time is 12.30PM to 2.30PM and third slot time is 4.30PM to 6.30 PM. The reporting time may not be reduced from one and half as the social distancing norms are to be followed.

Till 2005 CAT remained a two hour exam. According to Arks Srinivas, IIM Calcutta alumnus and National Head MBA Prep, (India & Abroad) at Career Launcher, “Given the history of CAT since 1990, and actually come to think of it, the CAT exam was, for a long time, a 2-hour paper only. Till 2005, the CAT paper was a 120 minute paper.” In view of Arun Sharma the reduced time limit will be helpful for average students. 

3. Sectional Time Limit 40 Minutes: Test Takers May Starve for Time
The change in Sectional time limit to 40 minutes per section from earlier 60 minutes per section, is updated on CAT website. According to expertsTest takers might starve for more time as they will be left with less time with more questions and may not have more options to skip questions.

In view of Nishit Sinha, Alumnus, IIM Lucknow and Author of best selling CAT books published by Pearson publication, “Reduction in time limit, generally, makes section-handling more difficult for students who are not-so-well-prepared than who are well prepared in the section. students will be required to devise and adapt to a new test-taking strategy. The good news is - the test-fatigue, which many students complain by the time they arrive at third section, may be low.”

4. Expected Difficulty Level: Not to Change Much
CAT exam difficulty level is expected to remain same as in previous years. After analysing the changes, Hemang Panchmatia, Program Director, PG-India, IMS says, “We expect the level of difficulty & paper composition to be more or less the same.”  According to Arun Sharma the changed pattern may be beneficial for average students. Read Top CAT Experts’ Advice on Impact of changes in CAT 2020

5. No Extension in Registration: Apply in Time
CAT 2020 registration deadline is extended to September 23, till 5 PM. It is advisable to register in time. Advising the CAT 2020 aspirants to register early, Prof Harshal Lowalekar, CAT convener has shared with, “Candidates should register and pay the fee soon (much before the deadline) as the traffic increases substantially towards the registration closing date and may lead to problems in registration or online payment related transactions.” Check Step by Step Process for CAT Registration

Ensure to register for CAT exam well before 5 PM on September 23, 2020 as there is no chance for further extension in CAT registration date. Read CAT Convener advice


  1. Registration Deadline Extended to Sep 23: Registration for CAT 2020 closes at 5.00 pm on September 23, 2020.  According to CAT Convener, “No further extension will be granted in CAT 2020 registration.”
  2. CAT 2020 Exam in Three Slots: CAT 2020 will be conducted on November 29, 2020 (Sunday) in three slots on the same day.
  3. CAT 2020 Exam Duration Reduced to 2 Hrs: A big change is announced revising the CAT 2020 exam duration to 120 minutes. Earlier it was 180 minutes.
  4. CAT 2020 to Retain Three Sections: The exam continues to have following three sections. But major overhaul is expected in sectional composition
  • Section I: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension 
  • Section II: Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning  
  • Section III: Quantitative Ability
  1. Individual Sectional Time Limit Set to 40 Mins: Candidates will be allotted only 40 minutes for answering questions in each section. They will not be allowed to switch from one section to another while answering questions in a section.

Read below the inspirational stories of CAT toppers who are studying at IIM Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Lucknow and other top B-schools

 Stay tuned to for more updates on CAT 2020