Students appearing for the Common Admission Test (CAT) — to make it to top business schools including the coveted IIMs — will now have to pay equal attention to both mathematics and English.
This year, the CAT test paper has a new paper pattern primarily to ensure that students make a balanced attempt at answering questions of both subjects within the testing time. The previous paper pattern had three sections — quantitative, verbal and logical reasoning, and data interpretation — with 20 questions in each.
While the quantitative section tested the students on their mathematical skills, the verbal ability section tested the students’ analytical skills along with proficiency in English.
The logical reasoning and data interpretation section was based on graphical data, which the students had to interpret.
This year it has been clubbed into two standalone sections — the first being quantitative and data interpretation and the second, verbal ability and logical reasoning, each with 30 questions.
“Earlier students who were good at quantitative and data interpretation sections, would quickly finish those sections and move on to the next sections and spend a lot of time on that, since that was the weaker area.
“By dividing the paper into two sections, we will get a fair idea of students who are good at both since they have no option but to spend equal time on both sections,” said Janaki Raman Moorthy, convener, CAT 2011.
Despite the change in testing pattern, a candidate’s score will be adjusted as per the basic raw score that will be assigned to calculate the percentile rank.
“Raw scores are calculated by awarding three points for each correct answer and deducting one point for each incorrect answer. These raw scores are then adjusted according to the difficulty level,” added Moorthy.