CAT 2015: No minus marks for descriptive section

  • Apoorva Puranik, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Jul 31, 2015 20:21 IST

Common Admission Test (CAT) aspirants can heave a sigh of relief as the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A) has said that the descriptive questions that have been included for the first time in this years’ exam will not carry negative marks if the answer is wrong.

CAT scores are used for admission to the premier IIMs and other top B-schools in the country. This is the first time CAT will have questions other than the traditional multiple choice questions (MCQs) for which candidates will have to write descriptive answers, unlike MCQs where they have to tick the right option.

While all MCQs have a negative marking for each wrong answer - to discourage students from guesswork - wrong answers for the non-MCQ section will not entail a penalty.

However, negative marks for all other MCQ’s will remain as per earlier pattern. For every correct answer to an MCQ, three marks are awarded while for every wrong answer, one mark will be deducted. Not attempting any questions does not entail any penalty for the MCQs. However, for the descriptive answers, zero marks will be awarded for the wrong answer.

According to Tathagatha Bandyopadhyay, the convenor for CAT 2015 which will be conducted by IIM-Ahmedabad, since the non-MCQs are a new addition, they have decided against including a negative mark component. He however refused to divulge any more details. “We cannot give out any more details. Students can take the mock test for details and number of questions this year,” he said.

“Generally, almost 40% of the MCQs remain attempted due to the fear of negative marks which largely affects the percentile scores. However, students can attempt the short descriptive answers with ease as there is no penalty. I strongly advise all to take the mock tests that will be available on the official website in October to understand the new pattern better,” said a senior official at IIM-A, requesting anonymity.

Apart from the addition of a non-MCQ section this year, the CAT has undergone a slew of other changes. This year, the exam will be held on a single day-November 29 - and the time for the test has also been increased to 180 minutes. The number of sections in the exam has also been increased from two to three. Also, students will not able to switch between the three sections of the test before the 60 minutes allotted to each is over. Aspirants will have to compulsorily solve the exam chronologically.

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