MBAP logo

Evolution of CAT Exam Pattern - Trend of Last 10 Years

Evolution of the CAT Exam Pattern over last 10 years

A brief about the exam

CAT Exam Pattern history – Common Admission Test, also known as CAT, has evolved over the years in terms of mode of examination, type of questions, number of registered students, exam pattern, and so forth. Previously, The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and Indian Institute of Science (IIS) used to select candidates based on their scores in the Joint Management Entrance Test (JMET), but since 2011 they adopted CAT Examination as the basis of the selection process for their Management Program. Similarly, the Faculty of Management Studies, Delhi (FMS) had their entrance test – FMS which got discontinued from 2012, after which CAT was used. Thus, the evolution of the CAT examination has been widespread. Currently, almost all the B-schools abide by the CAT exam pattern and accept CAT scores. Be it an IIM or a Tier-3 B-School, all of them have accepted CAT exam scores as their criteria for selection.

It has been observed that IIMs over the past few years have introduced several changes, therefore MBAP brings you a detailed analysis of the CAT evolution for the last ten years to make candidates aware of the changes and suggests changes that might appear in the coming years. Let’s take a closer look.

The Number of slots per year

The table below states the number of slots and windows in which the CAT was held over the last ten years.

 

YearTest-taking window (days)Slots
202013
2015-201912
201424
2011-132040

Number of registrations and number of candidates appeared over the years:

 

YearNo. of Applications Registered (In Lakhs)No. Of Applicants Appeared (In Lakhs)
20202.271.9
20192.442.09
20182.42.09
20172.311.99
20162.321.95
20152.181.79
20141.961.67
20131.941.73
20122.141.95
20112.061.86

CAT exam pattern evolution over the years: Some of the major changes introduced in the last 10 years

The online format of the CAT examination was introduced first in the year 2009. It was a big change for the 2009 CAT takers as it was happening for the first time. It turned out to be a huge challenge for them because before 2009 the examination used to be conducted in paper-based mode, wherein the students used to mark their answers on the OMR sheet. This was the first step towards the evolution of CAT.

Exam Duration:

2009:

Due to the shift in the mode of CAT examination, the duration of the exam was also increased to 2 hours and 15 minutes. Candidates also witnessed many technical glitches as the mode was new and the time limit was exceeded thus leading to a re-test.

2011:

The most important change in this year turned out to be a reduction in the number of sections.

It was IIM-A who conducted the CAT Examination this year. The authorities reduced the number of sections in CAT from three to two. The two sections were a combination of 2 subjects namely: 

  • Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation
  • Logical Reasoning and Verbal Ability

Both these sections had 30 questions each, making a total of 60 questions.

  • Sectional Time Limit

As there was a reduction in the number of sections, the authorities imposed the section wise time limit to attempt a particular section. This change was very much welcomed by the students as it helped them in effective decision making and reduced the chances of wasting time on a particular CAT question.

2012 – 2013:

Whatever changes occurred during the year 2011, remained constant for the next couple of years. There were no significant changes in the CAT exam pattern during these years.

2014:

An important change turned out to be an increment in the number of questions in each section. Each section used to have 30 questions previously. But it was increased to 50 per section since 2014.

2015:

Introduction to on-screen calculators.

With the introduction of calculators embedded within the screen, it became very easy for the candidates to do all the complex calculations in no time. This addition to the exam served as an upper hand for the candidates in the CAT Examination. 

The second change was the change in the CAT exam pattern:

  • The number of the sections was again increased from two to three. Similar to the pattern which was in practice till 2010.
  • This year witnessed the introduction of Non-MCQ questions.
  • The duration of the examination was increased from 170 minutes to 180 minutes.

2016:

The key change this year happened to be the change in the schedule.

CAT examination usually used to take place in the last week of November. But in 2016 it was for the first time that CAT was held in the first week of December (December 4th). There were 2 slots this year.

2017 – 2018:

Whatever minimal changes happened in the previous years, they remained constant. There was no change in any step for these two years.

2019:

In 2019, several changes were introduced in the application process for the CAT examination.

The registration fee was increased from Rs.1800 to Rs.1900 for general/NC-OBC categories. Also, it was increased from Rs.900 to Rs.950 for SC/ST/PWD categories.

  • Addition of new exam centers.
  • New payment partners were added:  PayU, Bill desk, and Paytm.

2020:

This year faced a lot of changes in the CAT exam pattern:

  • The total duration of the examination was reduced to 2 hours from 3 hours.
  • Section-wise time limit got reduced to 40 minutes for the general category and those belonging to the PwD category got a total of 53 minutes and 20 seconds.
  • The entire examination had 76 questions in total.

Changes in CAT Exam Pattern Year-wise: An Overall view of No. of questions, marking scheme and all other information

One common thing in the CAT exam pattern in all the years was the scheme in which questions of CAT were marked:

  • +3 for a correct answer
  • -1 for an incorrect answer and
  • no negative marks for non MCQ (TITA) questions.

The number of sections i.e., 3 – VARC, DILR, QA however kept changing over the years. 

  • 2 sections – QA and DI for the years 2015 – 2020
  • VA + LR for the years 2011-2014
  • 3 sections – DI+LR, QA VARC for the years 2008-2010.
 

 

YearNumber of QuestionsTotal no of QuestionsDuration (In minutes)Conducing BodyOverall Difficulty level
2020VARC-20
DILR-18
QA-20
76120IIM IndoreDifficult
2019-2016VARC-34
DILR-32
QA-32
100180IIM Kozhikode,
IIM Calcutta,
IIM Lucknow and
IIM Bangalore
Moderate – Difficult
2015VARC-34
DILR-32
QA-32
100180IIM AhmedabadModerate
2014QA+DI=50
VA+LR=50
100170IIM IndoreDifficult
2013-2011QA+DI=30
VA+LR=30
60140IIM Indore, IIM KozhikodeModerate – Difficult
2008-2010DI+LR=25
QA=25
VARC=40
90150Very Difficult

Details on This Page

Counselling Session
By IIM Mentor

Words From Our Students

Nihar Mehta
Nihar Mehta
Calls from IIMs, SPJIMR & MDI
Read More
During my CAT preparation, I enrolled at MBA Pathshala for classroom coaching. Abhijit Sir & Haider Sir guided me through the process of planning & executing the strategies I had to use to succeed in the test. I received regular feedback on my progress during the GD and PI preparations after CAT. I received calls from IIMs, SPJIMR, and MDI. MBAP played a huge role in this, and I cannot thank them enough for their efforts.
Ishan Rathod
Ishan Rathod
Calls from IIM I, S, and all New And Baby IIM's.
Read More
MBAP is a great place to prepare for MBA-CET, CAT, and CMAT, and the faculty are unbeatable. Most importantly, they pay personal attention to each student. Most faculty members come from IIMs. One-on-one interaction helped me improve as the exams approached, as well as get calls from IIMs I, S, and all New and Baby IIMs. Interview sessions were very beneficial for me to convert IIM S.
Sanskriti Reja
Sanskriti Reja
Calls from IIMs, XLRI, XIMB
Read More
I am glad I chose MBA Pathshala for my MBA coaching. The faculty here is excellent and very competent. If I had any questions or needed extra classes, they always gave me one. I got through my GD-PIs too after the exams with their help. Thanks to MBAP, I was able to pass CAT and other entrance exams. Among others, I received calls from XLRI, XIMB, and IIMs. A few of the colleges I've converted are KJ Somaiya, TAPMI, IIM Sambalpur, and IIM Sirmaur.
Parth Kanakia
Parth Kanakia
Converted SPJIMR
Read More
MBAP prepared me for GD, WAT, and PI. Abhijit Singh, Haider, and other MBAP faculty provided excellent training. Good knowledge was imparted from the very beginning. Regular mock interviews were conducted. As a former SPJIMR, I would recommend students to join MBAP.
Ronit jaiswal
Ronit jaiswal
Calls from IIM-A/B/C & SNAP 98.12%ile
Read More
Coaching offers me personalized attention and a competitive environment. Because the preparation was so rigorous, I eventually began to perform at my best. The mock interviews/GD/WATs were conducted by anonymous panels, and it really boosted my confidence. Although I got a call from SCMHRD (SNAP-98.12), Abhijeet sir felt that I should try again and aim for IIM-A/B/C. It has been your pleasure to have been your mentor.
Maitreya Khanapurkar
Maitreya Khanapurkar
Calls From IIMs
Read More
You will get good support from the faculty until you get into a B-School. The shortcut techniques you will learn will be extremely useful. You will be able to resolve doubts at any time. If you plan on taking CAT CET or any other entrance exam, go for MBA Pathshala. With the help of MBAP tutors, I received a call from IMT Ghaziabad.
Yash Dandavate
GMAT Score - 660
Read More
GMAT prep with MBAP was the best I've ever experienced. With Rohan Kulkarni Sir's Verbal Guidance, I scored 85th percentile in my GMAT exam as I was very weak in English. I always found Haider Sir and Abhijeet to answer my questions and to develop strategies and shortcuts to tackle GMAT problems for me. MBAP is a great option for GMAT and CAT prep.
Previous
Next

CAT Quantitative Aptitude

CAT DILR

CAT Verbal Ability

Reach Us

primary Menu

Inspiring Education… Assuring Success!!
Ⓒ 2020 – All Rights Are Reserved

Free Content !!!
Signup now to get the All recent CAT Exam Paper with Solution... Subscribe below with your Email ID
Free Content !!!
Signup now to get the All recent CAT Exam Paper with Solution... Subscribe below with your Email ID