There have been some significant changes introduced into the CAT 2015 exam pattern. CAT takers need to revisit their preparation strategy and tweak it to suit the changes. Below is the list of all the changes, its significance and the preparation strategy.
1. Section Split – 3 instead of 2
CAT 2015 will have 3 sections – ‘Quantitative Aptitude (QA)’, ‘Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)’ and ‘Verbal and Reading Comprehension (VRC)’. Effectively the four main areas – Verbal, Quantitative Aptitude, Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation have been restructured. The question split is 34 each for QA and VRC and 32 for DILR.
Key Preparation – The approach to select questions will have to be re assessed. It’s not too late though, because most of the mock tests are to be taken 3-4 months prior to the exam day. Be sure of your strong and weak areas and structure your approach to whole set of questions as per the new sections. You will have to practice each strategy well, before devising your final approach. 2 mock tests per week followed by critical analysis of the approach to question selection is the key.
2. Sectional Time Constraints
Usually we students develop expertise in 1 of the three areas and try to wrap that section up in 20% of the allotted time. They allocate around 30-33% of their time to the second area leaving almost 45-50% of the total time for their weakest area. For arts students mostly that is QA and for Engineers it might be VRC. (No stereotyping intended!). But this is no longer possible. It’s a major blow. 1 hour allocated to each section with no switching between sections allowed.
Key Preparation – Instead of defining the areas into strong, intermediate and week, you need to do that for the category of questions in each area. For e.g. in QA, ‘Numbers’ is your strength and ‘Geometry’ is tricky for you, scan through all the questions and skip all the geometry questions for the end. Some people like to face their weakest areas first. So the approach would be reverse for them. Likewise you have to strategize topics in each of the 3 sections and plan your 1 hour in such a way that your confidence increases with time.
3. Descriptive Questions
Some questions in each section may not be multiple choice questions. CAT takers will have to type-in the logic and method with which they derived the answer. The intent is to reduce the guess based attempts that may go right. Sometimes students are confidently eliminate two choices and are unsure between the remaining two. With a 0.5 probability of getting the answer right, they take their chances and guess it. This can significantly affect the percentile based results.
Key Preparation – You have to practice how much to describe your approach. Do no waste extra time in typing too much. On the other hand, do not write too less for your approach to be unclear. You may not score even if your answer was correct. Use bullet points to describe your steps instead of complete statements.
Practice! Practice! Practice!
Below are some important dates for CAT applicants. Give your Best! Rock the Test! All the very best!
Online Application Date: 6 August 2015 – 20 September 2015
Admit Card Download starts: 15 October 2015 (1 pm onwards)
Exam Date: 29 November 2015 (Sunday)
Result Date: Second week of January 2016
Jitu is Co-Founder of Mantras2Success. He has Engineering & MBA degrees to his name, along with 10+ years of corporate work experience in fortune 500 companies. Jitu is passionate about improving the careers of the modern day professional. He would be reading books or watching documentaries if not fulfilling his dreams at Mantras2Success.