The CAT examination has always been known for throwing curveballs at its candidates for ages now. Whenever you expect surprises the least, it happens. IIM Indore threw out this news just a night before the last day of registration for the exam and left everyone in a state of confusion and uncertainty.
The big news that came out was that the CAT pattern has changed in an unprecedented manner but the major reason behind this could be that we are already in the midst of a crisis and trying to cope up with the dangers of this pandemic. Keeping in mind the norms of social distancing and the rules outed by the government regarding the prevention of spreading of the virus, the authorities decided to hold the CAT exam in 3 different sessions instead of the traditional two- morning, afternoon and evening instead of the morning and the afternoon slots. Also, the number of centers hosting the examination would also be increased keeping in mind the fact that an enormous number of students now have to be accommodated safely in compliance with the government’s orders.
Instead of the traditional 180-minute duration of the exam, the duration of the exam has now been reduced to 120 minutes or 2- hours. No changes have been made to the components of the exam; i.e. the sections of the exam. The sections of the exam remain the same with the 3 sections being-
Verbal ability and reading comprehension
Data interpretation and logical reasoning
These sections earlier used to be of 60 minute each. Now, with the new pattern out, the duration of each of the sections has been decreased to a mere 40 minutes. This adds up to be 120 minutes in entirety which turns out to be a challenge for the candidates who were already quite far in their preparation journey- this poses a challenge to their strategies and dealing mechanisms. They would already have accustomed themselves to the 3 hour pattern of the examination and now would have to go through it all over again. This decision sure does place everyone on the same pedestal now since all of us would have to begin from scratch.
The deadline for registration was pushed forward by more than a week. The last day for the registration process which earlier was the 15th of September 2020 was now declared to be the 23rd of September 2020 till 5pm. This was probably to give some time to the candidates to deal with the sudden surprise.
The time slots for the examination are as follows:
Morning slot– 8.30 am to 10.30 am
Afternoon slot– 12.30 pm to 2.30 pm
Evening slot– 4.30 pm to 6.30 pm
The CAT although, retains its identity of being clandestine and has not yet revealed if any changes would be enforced in the number of questions in each section. IIM Indore has kept it under the wraps and continues to intimidate the candidates by asking them to wait for the official mock to be out on the 16th of October 2020 (Tentatively) where in it might disclose the changes regarding the question numbers. All this leads to a point of uncertainty where nothing can be said about anything and candidates continue to prepare in anticipation. A lot of CAT coaching platforms are changing their mock patterns in anticipation and are revising their mock patterns on guesswork.
Earlier, the total number of questions in the exam were 100 and the division of number of questions in respective sections were:
Verbal Ability and Reading comprehension- 34 questions
Data Interpretation and Logical reasoning- 32 questions
Quantitative Ability- 34 questions
Nothing as of now can be said about the new number of questions in the CAT 2020. There could be 2 possible scenarios:
Either the number of questions would remain the same with the timing reduced to 40 minutes per section. In such a case, the level of difficulty would have to be reduced a notch for the candidates or the number of questions could be brought down proportionally to something like (22,20,22), (24,20,24) or maybe (26,24,26). Although, this time, CAT could be marginally on the easier side but it surely does have a reputation of its own. It would definitely maintain its unique identity and would continue to throw challenges at the candidates.
What is the most important here is that it still is the same exam that you have to face. Do not get too excited or bogged down by this change since it is quite a possibility that this has just been enforced to meet the current situation with safety. Just go into the exam with the same mindset you would’ve had this not changed at all.