The IIMs have announced major changes for the 2014 CAT including changes in the number of questions, the duration of the exam etc. Here is an analysis of how these changes affect you and what you should be doing over the next three and a half months to make sure you are well prepared for all the changes.
Its a longer exam, with a lot more questions - The exam has become lengthier by 30 minutes, this is a substantial amount of time. A lot of us tire after doing multiple questions and are not used to taking a test for ~3 hrs at a stretch. Also the questions have gone up substantially, by 67% in fact. Solving 100 questions at a stretch takes much more exam endurance and practicing for that properly is really critical.
While the exam is lengthier, there is less time in CAT 2014 - The time available per question has gone down – from 2 mins 20 sec to 1 min 42 sec. This is a substantial reduction in time. I don’t think the IIMs will be changing the level of questions that will be there in the exam. I had earlier heard stories of people completing the exam before time, I guess that won’t be the case anymore. What this really means is that speed is now very important. Your strategy of attempting questions – understanding what is the right time to leave a question etc, will now play a key role. It is even more important to know your strengths and weaknesses and understand what questions to leave and not waste time on. The luxury of spending that extra time on some questions is now gone, be prepared for that.
The new Exam Interface - Secondly the CAT exam will have a new interface from this year. It would be beneficial that you are accustomed to it. You should at least take 2-3 mock test in this format to make sure you are accustomed to this interface and not the previous one. The test is being conducted by TCS, they also conduct the JEE Main, GAT and the IBPS exam. The interface for all these exams is the same, so it is highly likely it will be the same for the CAT exam.
Switching between sections - The exam gives you an option to move between the 2 sections at will. Well this is a good news, you have the flexibility of moving between sections and take a little bit extra time in the section you are weaker in. Using this efficiently can also get you time to review your answers at the very end.On the flip side, this also makes time management more critical. It becomes your responsibility to make sure you give ample time to both sections and are not swayed away by the available time and end up doing
After all the controversies with Prometric, this looks like a positive step. TCS has a much wider experience in conducting exams within India. The changes in the exam pattern are aimed at making the exam more competitive so that the IIMs are better able to judge student’s performance in CAT.
Deep Saklani, is working as Marketing Manager with GradeStack . GradeStack is an educational companion which helps students discover courses of their choice and connect with their peers who are studying similar courses. Gradestack offers the user an advanced learning platform with text, images, videos, flashcards, assessments and discussions that makes learning a lot more fun