Your browser does not support iframes.
Know CAT evolution over the years - CAT 2018 conducting body, IIM Calcutta has released the official notification of CAT 2018 on July 29, 2018. As the most coveted national-level MBA entrance exam is famous for bringing alterations over the years, CAT 2018 announcement was also expected to unveil surprises. However, there has been no change in CAT 2018 exam pattern as compared to the last three years, the number of exam cities and application fee has increased. Over the past years, it has been observed that the CAT conducting authority throws surprises either in terms of pattern, schedule or other exam related components.
Latest: [Download free Question Papers and Sample Paper of CAT, Click here]
Download Free Sample Paper for CAT
CAT 2018 will be held on Sunday, November 25, 2018, and CAT 2018 application form is made available in online mode from August 8, 2018.
Careers360 brings an in-depth analysis of CAT changes over the years. Let’s see how CAT changed colours over the years.
CAT underwent major changes in the past few years. In the year 2015, CAT was announced with an introduction of on-screen calculator and non-MCQs. The test paper was also divided into three time bound sections instead of two sections as in the previous year. The duration of the test was also increased to 180 minutes from an earlier duration of 170 minutes. Some of the experts suggested that the changes in CAT exam pattern were not new as prior to CAT 2011 the exam followed a three-section structure along with a sectional time limit. The sectional time bound for one hour was welcomed not only by the candidates but by the experts as well. VistaMind Education CEO, Arks Srinivas said, “The pattern is a continuation of what the IIMs have always believed in. All the CAT exams between 1999 and 2010 actually have been three section exams and the split among areas is exactly the same.”
Srinivas further stated that by stipulating time restrictions per section the IIMs have made decision making easier for the students. Therefore, the continuation of section wise time limit along with the same test pattern by IIM Bangalore in CAT 2016 is beneficial for the aspirants.
The following table brings to you the test structure of CAT over the past 8 years.
CAT pattern changes over the years
Number of Question
100 (32 in 1 section and 34 in other 2 sections)
Quantitative Ability (QA), Verbal and Reading Comprehension (VRC) and Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DI & LR).
+3, -1, no negative marking for Non-MCQs
100 (32 in one section and 34 in other two sections)
Quantitative Ability, Verbal and Reading Comprehension and Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning
Introduction of Calculator/ Induction of Non-MCQ
100 (50 per section)
Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation, Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning (not in particular order)
+3, - 1
17 0 minutes or 2 hours and 50 minutes
Test was divided into two sections/Introduction of the two-day test window
60 (30 per section)
Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation, Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning (In first and second order)
140 minutes or 2 hours 20 minutes
Conducted on last years’ pattern
In the year 2014, CAT was conducted by IIM Indore in an absolutely new pattern. There were two sections with 50 questions each. While in CAT 2013, there were two sections and each section had 30 questions.
CAT 2011, conducted by IIM Calcutta also underwent a major change in terms of the exam pattern. Instead of three, the exam had two sections, namely Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning & Verbal Ability. While the areas of testing remained the same, the four areas were merged into two. The total number of questions remained 60 with each section having 30 questions.
In the year 2009, from the traditional paper-pencil based test, CAT became a computer-based test with a duration of 2 hours and 15 minutes. IIM Ahmedabad conducted the test and it was Prometric India Pvt. Ltd.’s first year as the online testing partner. Owing to the huge shift in pattern, the first year of the computer-based CAT experienced massive technical glitches resulting in a retest. CAT takers also questioned the normalisation process of the test. Also, as per the Non-Disclosure Agreement, the question topics and the number of questions per area cannot be disclosed in detail. The overall difficulty level was even easier in the retest which was conducted in January 2010.
New elements in CAT 2018
Seven (7) new exam cities have been added to the list of 140 cities of last year. CAT 2018 will be administered in 147 cities this year (2 new states added - Mizoram and Nagaland).
The application fee has been revised and increased to Rs. 1900 for General/ NC-OBC candidates and Rs. 950 for SC, ST & PWD candidates. Earlier the CAT registration fee was Rs. 1800 and Rs. 900 respectively.
Not only in the terms of exam pattern, CAT has observed changes in terms of its testing window too. As per the trend, CAT has been conducted in November every year. However, in 2016, IIM Bangalore conducted on Sunday, December 4, 2016, in two slots. This is for the first time that CAT was conducted in December since the introduction of the computer-based exam in 2009.
Preferring the single day window, Gautam Puri, Vice Chairman, Career Launcher said that the single day testing helps minimise controversies around normalisation processes. He even expected that CAT 2016 will see a higher number of test centres and a single day and single slot testing window. Echoing the thoughts, Arks Srinivas had last year said, “I would be extremely happy if, by CAT 2016, they conduct the exam in just one slot. The heartburn of flawed normalisation techniques would be gone and students can then compete and get judged on the same platform!”
Since its inception year 2009 till 2013, computer-based CAT was conducted in a 20-day window starting from October to November, in two slots each day. In the year 2014, the conducting body-IIM Indore announced CAT as a two-day test to be conducted in November. While the test window was reduced gradually the number of slots continued to two throughout the years. However, candidates were not given any liberty to select their preferred slots from the year 2014 onwards. The following table brings to you the year wise testing window of CAT.
CAT Test Taking Window over the years
Also, prior to 2014, applicants the had liberty to choose their test date, slot, and CAT exam centre while filling their CAT application form. The option was, however, scrapped from 2014 as applicants could only provide exam city preference and rights to allotted test schedule and centre remained with CAT authorities.
Last year, the total number of successful registration was 2,31,000. Though the total number of candidates who registered for CAT 2017 was 2.80 lakh, about 50000 candidates skipped final payment option which is a mandate to complete the CAT registration process.
CAT 2016 received applications from 2,32,434 candidates which were highest in past seven years. The actual number of test takers was around 1,95,000. This was the highest application number for CAT after the year 2009 when IIMs had received about 2.41 lakh applications.
After witnessing the worst-ever application numbers for CAT 2015, IIM Ahmedabad was forced to extend the application deadline by five days. According to the IIMA officials, the total number of registrations received till the original registration deadline was 1, 38,000, compared to the registered 1.90 lakh candidates in the year 2015.
However, the fear of MBA crisis was allayed when the CAT 2015 registrations number increased to a total of 2.18 lakh, after the second deadline. Out of the total registered students, 1, 49,408 applicants were male and 69176 were female, and the rest of the 80 applicants were Trans Genders. While the total number of applications received was 2,18,664 and the actual number of test takers was 1,79,602.
According to the experts, the positive sentiments in markets and economy might have been the key factors for an increased number of registrations in CAT 2016 as well. “MBA dream of aspirants are directly related to their perception towards an economy. Today, people are more optimistic and job scenario has also improved which reflects in placements at B-school campuses,” says Sandeep Manudhane, Chairman, PT Education.
CAT Application trend over the past 11 years
No. of Registrations
CAT 2018 Expert Interview: Practice adequately to find what works best on D-Day, says Erudite Director, Mr. Kaushik Kapoor
How to prepare for CAT VARC (Verbal and Reading Comprehension)
How to Prepare for CAT Quantitative Ability (QA)
CAT 2019 is a computer-based (online) exam which will be conducted on November 24, 2019. Get all ...
Students who have scored low score in CAT can now get admission in good MBA colleges of Madhya Pr...
Good MBA Colleges of Maharashtra and Gujarat - students can now apply with low CAT score in the g...
How to crack CAT 2019 in first attempt - Know the preparation tips and strategies from CAT topper...
CAT Exam Syllabus 2019 - Candidates can check the CAT 2019 syllabus as it will indicate the secti...
No basically, basis on your CAT percentile you can't...
Yes another drop year will not be tolerable from you. So now, that you have left, let's focus on it. With your BITSAT rank yo...
Hey Shilpi,Dont get worried if you have graduated from a low village college. Education is important and also your marks. The criteria is that you ...
Hi Nasreen,Seeing the neck-and-neck competition this it is hard to say that 514 will appropriate for a good government college.for sure shot chance...
DTE Maharashtra will release the final merit list status on the official website. Candidate can login with roll number and password to check the re...
Your CAT brochure has been successfully mailed to your registered email id .
Regular exam updates, QnA, Predictors, College Applications & E-books now on your Mobile