New CAT pattern may reduce engineers' dominance in exam

Descriptive-type questions to be introduced from this year

New CAT pattern may reduce engineers' dominance in exam

 The introduction of descriptive-type questions for the first time in the Common Admission Test (CAT) this year has the possibility of reducing the dominance of engineers or engineering graduates in the exam, a trend that has been established over the years, say experts.

A slew of changes has been announced in the CAT, to be conducted by the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, this year. Inclusion of some questions that “may not be multiple choice types” as mentioned in a release of CAT 2015, has become the most talked about change in this year’s exam.

Srinivas Belvi, Academic Head, TIME, Bengaluru, a coaching institute, said that many candidates who attempted the exam got away with only answering the portion on quantitative ability or quant. “Candidates regularly secure a 99 percentile just by concentrating on their quants. It holds great weightage while calculating the percentile. However, with the new pattern one cannot duck any section. The packaging of the exam this year is one of the best I have ever seen,” he said.

CAT-2015 Convenor Prof Tathagata Bandyopadhyay himself has been quoted in a website as saying that the move was aimed at bringing more “diversity” among IIMs and the change in exam pattern seems to be a step in that direction. 

Belvi said that the entrance examinations for Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) comprise a number of descriptive type questions and CAT is now falling in line. However, the catch to make it more appealing for non-engineering candidates would be sequencing of questions.

The new pattern consists of three sections- quantitative aptitude (QA), data interpretation and logical reasoning, (DILR) and verbal and reading comprehension (VRC). The previous version had only two sections - quantitative aptitude and data interpretation, verbal ability and logical reasoning. “If the exam starts with VRC first, this will put down the engineer. However one should make sure that the descriptive questions are of a certain percentage that would be able to make difference in the percentiles,” he said. 

Saif Kazi, an MNC employee City appear for CAT last year and will be attempting it again this year. “There are usually many candidates who leave the section on verbal ability completely and rely on quant. The way I look at it the new pattern is a way to test engineers who have better verbal ability than those who don’t. Having said that, this exam definitely looks like it will attract more students from other streams,” he said.

Specific order for each of the three sections, increase in the number of test centers and conducting the exam in two sessions in one day are other important changes in the CAT, 2015.  


Srinivas Belvi, Academic Head, TIME: Candidates regularly secure a 99 percentile just by concentrating on their quants. It holds great weightage while calculating the percentile. However, with the new pattern one cannot duck any section. The packaging of the exam this year is one of the best I have ever seen.


IMP DATES

 Registration: Starts on Aug 6
 Test: November 29

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