The CAT exam is one of the most significant exams for management students hoping to get into one of the IIMs. This exam is held only once a year in November. Scores on the CAT Exam are required for admission to top management schools and IIMs. Getting a 99+ percentile will allow you to pursue your dream of studying at one of the top IIMs. Several more business schools accept a 75+ percentile on the CAT Exam. There are MCQ and non-MCQ questions in the exam, which are divided into three sections. Non-MCQ questions are also called TITA questions. Candidates must submit their answers in the space provided on the screen for such questions.
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning, and Quantitative Aptitude are the three components of the CAT Exam question paper. The syllabus includes topics from all of the sections listed above. Candidates should begin studying for the exam eight to ten months in advance, as the competition is intense. The exam’s difficulty level ranges from moderate to challenging. Until 2009, the exam was administered using pen and paper; however, as of 2009, the exam is now administered using a computer-based test (CBT).
CAT Exam Syllabus and Question Paper Pattern
As aforementioned, there are 3 sections in the CAT Exam Question paper. There is no standard syllabus framed or released for the CAT Exam by the IIM’s. However, based on the past years’ trends, we have given below some of the important topics in the syllabus for the three sections. Candidates can refer to the CAT syllabus to get a comprehensive idea about the latest syllabus for the CAT Exam. The VARC section comprises questions based on the high school and graduate level English. Questions are asked from topics like Odd Sentences, Para-Summary, Cloze Passage, Sentence Correction, Vocabulary Based Synonyms and Antonyms, Reading Comprehension Passages, Idioms & Phrases, Inferences etc. The Quantitative Aptitude section consists of questions based on Arithmetic Number System, Geometry, Mensuration, Profit and Loss, Discount, Speed, Time and Distance, Simple and Compound Interest, Averages, Sequence, Series Quadratic Equations, Simplification, Simple Interest, Time & Distance, Time & Work, Inequalities, etc. Line Chart, Tables & Graphs, Data Charts, Venn Diagrams, Puzzles, Seating Arrangement, Calendar Syllogism, Blood Relations, Caselets, Seating Arrangement, Venn Diagrams, Binary Logic, Bar Graphs, Line Charts, Pie Chart etc. are some of the topics covered in the DILR section.
Switching between sections or correcting questions from other sections is not allowed after the exam has begun. The marking scheme of the exam is as follows:
- +3 marks are awarded for every right answer, and there is a negative marking of 1 mark for every incorrect answer.
- There is NIL negative marking for TITA Questions or unanswered questions.
The exam has a total time limit of 120 minutes. Candidates must keep in mind that each section has a deadline, and an onscreen timer indicates how much time is available for each section.
Preparation Tips to Ace the CAT Exam
More than 2 lakh candidates register for the CAT exam every year. There is intense competition, and the exam can be cracked only through consistent preparation and sheer hard work. Some preparation tips from our CAT Experts are listed below:
- Solve sectional practice tests on question papers to enhance your time management skills and familiarise yourself with the exam pattern, as well as to obtain a sense of the exam structure and changes in the question paper pattern over time.
- Solve as many Mock Tests as possible. Analyse the results and focus on the areas that need improvement. The key to passing the CAT exam is practice.
- Make a list of the shortcut techniques and remember to use them. Employing shortcuts can help you save a lot of time. Maintain a consistent practice schedule for these shortcuts. Also, keep in mind to examine your notes and shortcuts on a regular basis.
- Reading the newspaper every day will keep you up to date on current events while also helping you improve your vocabulary and skills required for reading comprehension.