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CAT is one of the most important and coveted management entrance test. According to official data, around 1,95,000 candidates appeared in CAT 2016. As the first slot of CAT 2016 got over, Careers360 brings the analytical slot wise difference between CAT 2016 and CAT 2015.
The CAT 2016 Slot 1 was conducted on December 4 from 9am to 12 noon. If we compare the slot 1 tests of both the years, the overall difficulty of the 2016 test was slightly higher than that of the 2015 test. Besides the difficulty level of the test, the overall ratio of non-MCQ's also varied. CAT 2015 had 32 non-MCQ's to be attempted, whereas, this year the number of non-MCQ's were reduced to 25. While the number of non-MCQs in VARC and DI & LR were same as last year, 10 and eight respectively, the number reduced in the QA section. Last year, there were 14 non-MCQs in the QA section, this year the number is seven.
We can say that this year's CAT is an old wine in a new bottle, but there are distinct differences between the both. As per experts and test takers, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning section was the toughest among all three followed by Quantitative Ability. Verbal and Reading Comprehension section was very easy. The CAT 2016 exam pattern was similar in both slots. Some of the questions were leaked on social media platform Facebook while the test was still on for the second slot. While IIMs have admitted to the malpractice, they claim that this has not compromised the integrity of the test.
Let us have a look at the 'Slot wise difference between 'CAT 2015 vs CAT 2016'.
The test takers have rated the exam to be of moderate to tough difficulty level. In Slot 1, experts suggested a few questions were wrong and misleading. "There were at least two errors in the Quant section of the paper. One question on Time & Distance and one question on Progressions were clearly wrong and a student who is good in this area may have spent couple of minutes more than necessary and would have lost out on the same. In such cases, if the IIMs recognise their error, they may ignore such question(s) while marking," says Arks Srinivas, CEO, Vistamind.
As also mentioned by experts, the image of the Square Root sign in some of the questions resembled more like a PI - thereby creating some confusion. There was at least 1 question which had a typographical error.
The exam was on predictable lines and the interface and navigation system was same as had been shown in the CAT 2016 tutorial released earlier by IIMs. Out of total 100 questions, 25 were non-MCQs or TITA (Type In The Answer) questions. Since these questions did not have the negative marking scheme, candidates attempted each non-MCQ to improve scoring chances. According to Vinayak Kudva, Chief Mentor, IMS Learning, this year, the VARC questions were easier than last year. QA and DI & LR were tough and tricky. Arks Srinivas, CEO, VistaMind mentions, "Compared to last year, the difficulty level was tough. This would result in lower cutoff than last year."
As per the CAT 2015 candidates who appeared for the Slot 1, the overall difficulty level of the exam was Moderate to Tough. The exam followed the changed pattern which had been introduced this year itself. The paper carried 32 non-MCQ questions spread across all three sections of the paper.
According to the students and experts, the DI & LR sections were tough, while Quant and Verbal & Reading Comprehension (VRC) sections were easily manageable. CAT 2015 Slot 1 examinee at a Delhi Centre, Sushant, says, “CAT 2015 was a moderate paper in terms of difficulty level, where VRC had many questions from comprehension passages. DI was a bit tricky and LR was the toughest of all sections.”
Verbal and Reading Comprehension
Five lengthy passages
Easy to moderate level
Four RC passages
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning
Was trickiest among all three sections
Time-consuming and calculation intensive
Moderate to tough
Logical reasoning questions were a mix of moderate and tough questions
Moderate to tough difficulty level
Easy to moderate
Easy to moderate
Like the first slot, which was conducted from 9 AM to 12 noon, this slot was similar to that of the first one. The topics and question types were also similar in both slots. While the Verbal and Reading Comprehension section had precedence of vocabulary, majority of the questions from Quantitative Ability section were from Arithmetic and Geometry. On the other hand, in the Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning section, which was the toughest of the three sections, had no questions from Pie Chart.
The overall difficulty level of the exam was Moderate to Tough. According to the students and experts, the DI & LR sections were tough, while Quant and Verbal & Reading Comprehension (VRC) sections were easily manageable. CAT 2015 Slot 2 examinee at a Delhi Centre, Smriti, says, “CAT 2015 was a tough one in terms of difficulty level, where QA was the toughest and DI & LR was somewhat tough. However, VRC was the easiest of all the sections. Time-limit was sufficient for VRC but I faced shortage of time in solving DI & LR sections.”
Overall, CAT 2016 and CAT 2015 were almost similar in terms of difficulty level, type and number of questions. RThe slight differences were the ration of non-MCQs and the higher difficulty level of CAT 2016.
IIM Bangalore conducts CAT 2016 on December 4: Live updates from centres
CAT 2016 Student Reactions
CAT 2016: Latest Updates
CAT 2016 Cutoff
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Dear Akshat, CAT is exclusively conducted by the IIMs. So the selection for admission to any of the 20 IIMs is through CAT exam. Unfortunately no other score except for CAT score is accepted for IIM Ahmedabad. You can check their selection process at:
Dear Sai, IIMs look for Diversity factor in Academics. They have a special rating scale for Professional courses like MBBS,BDS, CA, etc. We shall help you with the admission process of IIM Ahmedabad just as an example to show how does the selection process work. There are 3 sections in CAT: QA, DILR, VRC. IIM A has released its 2019 cut off percentiles. Only those Candidates who have scored this percentiles will be shortlisted for further rounds. The cut offs are as follows:
VRC DILR QA Overall
General 70 70 70 80
OBC-Transgender 65 65 65 75
SC 60 60 60 70
ST 50 50 50 60
PWD 60 60 60 70
PWD-ST 50 50 50 60
On an average IIMs need a cut off 90 percentile and more for admission to their colleges. You can check the complete selection process of IIM A at:
Now based on these cut offs top 5 percentile from each Category will be short listed for WAT and PI. So inorder to be able to score these cut offs, you need to know the exam pattern and marking scheme. CAT exam paper can be Categorised into 3 parts:
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
The Verbal Ability section and Reading Comprehension has 34 Questions, Data interpretation-Logical Reasoning section has 32 MCQ questions and Quantitative Ability has 34 MCQ questions totalling up to 100 questions. Each Question has 3 marks and a wrong answer takes away 1 mark.
NCERT books will sharpen your basics and you need strong basics for preparing for any entrance examination. Once your basics are in place, because the time period for preparation is quite less, your preparation should be extensive and thorough.
Quantitative Aptitude covers almost 30% of the CAT question paper. QA can be categorised into Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry and Advanced Mathematics. Practise chapter by chapter and develop mental calculations. Like practise more of basic summation, subtraction, fractions and tables. Numbers, Percentage, Profit and Loss, Simple and Compound Interest, Ratio, Proportionality, Time-Distance, Time-Work, Mixtures, Averages, Partnership, Permutation and Combinations, Probability, Set Theory, Progression and Series, Line, Angles, Triangles, Quadrilaterals, Polygon, Circles, Ares, Volume, Height and Distance, Coordinate Geometry, Basic Trigonometry are few important topics.
Because this section involves mathematics and takes most of your time, your focus should be on solving the problems efficiently in the beginning. Even if it takes time, practise upto perfection. Practise as many questions as you can in the conventional way. As and when you get a grip on the subject, you can go for short cuts. Memorise tables, square roots, cube roots, conversion from percent to fraction, etc. Solve sample papers on Mathematics. In the beginning, do not worry about the time it takes. As you practise, you will get the hang of the subject and it will be easier for you.
In Verbal Ability session, command on your English, Grammar, Vocabulary, Understanding of the given paragraph are of more importance. Reading English NewsPaper will also help you in your preparation.
Read articles from time to time. Follow newspapers, magazines, and watch the news channels and browse the internet to keep yourself updated. You will need a lot of reading to help you in the comprehension section. You will need speed to help you in this section and you can achieve that only by thorough practise and reading. Take time to understand the question because most answers are interlinked.
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning needs to be practised as much as possible. Comparison of data, Data Analysis, taking clues, interpreting missing data, coming to conclusions and making future projections will be covered under this Category. The questions here are interlinked and so if you get one formula correct, cracking the next few questions will be easy. So it's important to memorise and practise formulae. You should cover topics like Data tables, Data Charts, Bar Diagrams, Pie Charts, Graphs, Data Comparison and Analysis.
As this is the most tricky section, this needs a lot of practise. Solve as many sample papers as possible to get the hang of the section. Make notes when required. Regular practise can help you understand and solve the questions easily as time goes on.
Overall,once you know the syllabus, it's easier from there on.Go through the previous papers to analyse and prepare a comprehensive plan and set priorities according to the importance of different topics across sections. Customise your own study plan based on your strengths and weaknesses. Gauge your preparation from time to time by taking mock tests. Solve questions to check your levels of preparation but not to set any targets. Remember, its ok to have cheat days and relax. But make sure you have a plan and stick to it for the next few months
We can recommend a few books for you:
NCERT books to cover the basics from 6th to 10th Class
Quantitative Aptitude for CAT by Nishit Saxena
Quantitative Aptitude Quantum for CAT by Sarvesh Sharma
How to prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for CAT by Arun Sharma
Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Exams by Abhijit Guha
You can also download free downloadable e books at:
NIFT has nothing to do with CAT or GAT. Those are the exams for MBA. NIFT is for admission in fashion courses.
The eligibilitiy is just marks of your 10th and intermediate. The main point is the candidate must have qualified both from a recognised board and must be having PCM as the compulsory subject.
The exam has an age limit to be 23 and there is 5 years relaxation for category reserved candidates.
For more information please check the article:-
Hope it helps!
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