Change in CAT Pattern over the past 5 years

Last year, CAT 2020 was conducted on November 29, 2020. The challenging entrance exam was conducted by IIM Indore last year and it had an element of surprise awaiting the test taker. The CAT exam pattern has changed thrice over the last few years and CAT 2020 was no different. The CAT 2020 paper pattern was changed and it was announced just 70 odd days before the CAT exam. Here is an analysis of the changes in trend in the CAT pattern over the past few years.

Since the inhibition of computer-based test, the CAT exam pattern has undergone a lot of changes. Here is a comparison of the CAT paper of past years with respect to the given parameters.

Year

Number of questions

Time duration (mins)

Seconds allocated per question

Number of sections

Sections

Set by

2011

60

140

140

2

QA & DI, LR & VA

IIM Calcutta

2012

60

140

140

2

QA & DI, LR & VA

IIM Kozhikode

2013

60

140

140

2

QA & DI, LR & VA

IIM Indore

2014

100

170

102

2

QA & DI, LR & VA

IIM Indore

2015

100

180

108

3

QA, DILR & VARC

IIM Ahmedabad

2016

100

180

108

3

QA, DILR & VARC

IIM Bangalore

2017

100

180

108

3

QA, DILR & VARC

IIM Lucknow

2018

100

180

108

3

QA, DILR & VARC

IIM Calcutta

2019

100

180

108

3

QA, DILR & VARC

IIM Kozhikode

2020

76

120

95

3

QA, DILR & VARC

IIM Indore

2021*

64-76

120

95

3

QA, DILR & VARC

IIM Ahmedabad

*The exam pattern for 2021 is tentative

Check the graph below to understand the change of pattern over the past years in detail.

change of pattern graph

The most alarming thing about the exam is the decreasing seconds allotted per question.

This only proves that speed and accuracy is the most important factor for the exam.

CAT 2020 Exam Pattern

The CAT 2020 Slot 1 had 76 questions in total, with 26 questions in VARC, 26 in QA, and 24 in DILR section. In terms of the level of difficulty, the Slot 1 VARC section was long and tedious, the DILR section level was similar to CAT 2016-18 and the QA section level was similar to CAT 2019.

In terms of the level of difficulty, CAT 2020 Slot 2 was similar to Slot 1 for the VARC section and QA section, while the DILR section was slightly tougher.

The CAT 2020 Slot 3 remained consistent with Slot 1 and Slot 2with 26 questions in VARC (including 5 non-MCQs), 24 questions in DILR (including 6 non-MCQs), and 26 questions in QA (including 6 non-MCQs).

An overall 99%ile was achieved if one scored 42 marks in the VARC section, 34 marks in DILR section, and 44 marks in QA section. The detailed cut-off breakup is mentioned below:

Score v/s Percentile

VARC

DILR

Quant

Overall

2020

2020

2020

2020

99.5

47

39

50

115

99

42

34

44

102

95

33

25

30

77

90

28

20

23

63

80

22

16

16

49

CAT 2020 Exam Pattern Graph

CAT 2019 Exam Pattern

CAT 2019 paper format was similar to earlier years’ papers. With respect to the level of difficulty, VARC was slightly tougher, while DILR and Quant were easier than the previous year. Overall, the paper was easier than the previous year’s.

CAT 2019 Exam Pattern Graph

CAT 2018 Exam Pattern

CAT 2018 paper VARC section was easier than the CAT 2017 paper. But going against past trends, the DILR section proved to be moderately difficult, compared to high-difficulty papers observed for the past 2-3 years. But the IIM’s focus on the QA section resulted in the high-difficulty section.

CAT 2018 Exam Pattern Graph

CAT 2017 Exam Pattern

The CAT 2017 pattern did not see any changes in the pattern of the questions and was quite similar to the CAT 2016 pattern. Though the CAT 2017 varied from the no. of TITA questions and the difficulty of certain sections, the remaining things like total questions, duration, sectional marks, etc. remained the same. Overall CAT 2017 Paper Pattern is as follows:

CAT 2017 Exam Pattern Graph

CAT 2016 Exam Pattern:

The pattern for CAT 2016 was similar to the CAT 2015 with respect to the total questions and duration. The level of difficulty for CAT 2016 was moderately high compared to CAT 2015. Overall CAT 2016 Paper Pattern is as follows:

CAT 2016 Exam Pattern Graph

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CAT 2015 Exam Pattern::

The seventh edition of the computer-based CAT exam had everyone by storm. For the first time, candidates were able to use the on-screen basic calculator for computation purposes.

There were 3 sections – Quantitative Ability, Verbal & Reading Comprehension and Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning. The duration was increased to 180 minutes instead of 170 minutes, and the sections were time-bound with 60 minutes per section. The test takers could not switch sections. Some questions did not have multiple choices and they had to directly write the answer in the space provided on the screen.

CAT 2015 Exam Pattern Graph

CAT 2014 Exam Pattern :

In CAT 2014 jumping through sections was allowed that enabled students to focus on their strengths during the exams and then attempt the difficult questions. Quantitative Aptitude and Data Interpretations, Logic Reasoning and verbal ability were the two sections. The Paper was set by IIM Indore just like the previous year.

CAT 2014 Exam Pattern Graph

CAT 2013 Exam Pattern:

The CAT 2013 was set by IIM Indore. The paper had two sections – Quantitative Aptitude and Data Interpretations, Logic Reasoning and Verbal Ability. The time limit was 140 minutes to solve the 60 questions. The paper was of moderate difficulty.

CAT 2013 Exam Pattern Graph

CAT 2012 Exam Analysis & Pattern:

This edition of CAT was set by IIM Kozhikode. The paper was of moderate difficulty and jumping sections was not allowed. The time limit was 140 minutes to solve the 60 questions. The paper was of moderate difficulty.

CAT 2012 Exam Analysis and Pattern Graph

CAT 2011 Exam Pattern:

The third edition of the CAT exam was conducted by IIM Calcutta. This paper was different compared to the previous CAT examinations. The paper consisted of two sections instead of three – Quantitative Aptitude and Data Interpretations, Logic Reasoning and verbal ability. The time allocated was 140 mins instead of 150 mins to solve the 60 questions. The paper was of moderate difficulty.

The most important segments in the quants sections were Arithmetic, Numbers and Geometry from which 12-15 questions came.

Whereas in the verbal segment it was observed that Reading Comprehension was the most important segment with 12-16 questions came, 3-5 questions came from para jumbles and vocabulary based questions.

CAT 2011 Exam Pattern Graph

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