It is now official - IIM Ahmedabad will be conducting the CAT 2021 examination. The last time the institute conducted the CAT exam was in 2015, when it made some changes to the CAT paper paper pattern and also introduced the on-screen calculator. Every year, there is debate around a correlation between the difficulty level of one or more sections of the CAT exam and the institute conducting the exam in that year. For instance, in 2018, IIM Calcutta conducted the CAT exam and the Quantitative Ability section was expected to be difficult - and it was. So, with IIM Ahmedabad conducting CAT 2021, which section is expected to be the toughest this year?
Short Answer - Which IIM conducts the CAT exam has no correlation with which section will be the most difficult in that year. Therefore, the fact that IIM Ahmedabad will be the coordinating IIM for CAT 2021 should bear no impact on your preparation strategy and efforts. We recommend you do not subscribe to unfounded speculation and rumours.
What Has Been The Difficulty Level of The CAT Exam In Recent Years?
In the past six years, each of the top six IIMs has conducted the CAT exam once. In 2020, for the first time in five years, there was a change to the CAT exam paper pattern, when IIM Indore reduced the number of questions as well as the allotted time but increased the number of slots in which the exam could be taken. Before this, the last major set of changes to the CAT paper pattern were made by IIM Ahmedabad in 2015. So, while the paper pattern has evolved over the years, what has been the trend in the sectional difficulty of the exam? Is there any correlation between the difficulty level of any particular section and the IIM conducting the CAT exam that year?
|VARC Difficulty||DILR Difficulty||QA Difficulty|
In 2018, it was speculated that with IIM Calcutta being a 'Quant-oriented institute', the Quantitative Ability section of the CAT exam would be the toughest section. In the following year, forums were rife with speculation that IIM Kozhikode would set a particularly tough VARC section. In 2018, both the QA and DILR sections were moderate-tough in terms of difficulty, while in 2019 both the VARC and DILR sections were moderate-tough in terms of difficulty, with the DILR section in-fact being the toughest section of the exam as per some analyses.
As is clear from the table above that captures exam analyses by IMS and TIME, there is no pattern that can be observed in the difficultly level of the CAT exam over a span of 5-6 years. Additionally, there appears to be no correlation between the difficulty level of any section of the exam and the IIM conducting the exam in that year. The difficulty levels of the various sections of the exam are unpredictable. Here is a more satirical answer to this unfounded rumor that is propounded by self-proclaimed experts.
Why Is It Important For This Myth To Be Busted?
Now that it is known that IIM Ahmedabad will be conducting CAT 2021, soon, the official CAT paper pattern and exam date will also be released, along with other important dates and information like registration deadlines. This will be followed by a lot of speculation around the expected level of difficulty of the exam. Anyone closely following such debates based on conjecture will, inevitably, have some expectations from the exam which may threaten to alter their preparation strategy by basing it on unfounded claims.
It is important to understand that there is no evidence to suggest a correlation between the paper pattern or difficulty level of the CAT exam (or any of its sections) and the IIM conducting the exam in any particular year. We strongly recommend against spending any time on such discussions, as it will be a waste of time that can be devoted to actually preparing for an exam that is only a few months away.