In keeping with its goal of having a mix of students from all streams, the IIMs are changing the question pattern of the CAT this year.
For the last three years, the IIMs have been planning to have students from all faculties for its two-year post-graduate management diploma programme. The idea was to churn out managers who would not only be able to interpret mathematical data but also have knowledge of other subjects. This, the authorities hoped, would give them an ability to find solutions that would be beneficial for everyone across the board.
Now, instead of three sections — quantitative ability, verbal ability and data interpretation & logical reasoning — there will be two. Quantitative ability and data interpretation will comprise one section. The second will comprise logical reasoning and verbal ability.
To get through, students will have to score equally well in both sections. Earlier, only the overall score was considered while making the merit list.
More than 90% students who crack CAT are engineers, who do well in quantitative ability and data interpretation. Putting more emphasis on verbal ability — grammar and comprehension — is expected to bring in students from other streams.
“We want students who are good at all four sections,” said Janakiraman Moorthy, CAT '11 convenor and professor of marketing at IIM, Calcutta.
In another first, the time for answering each of the two sections will be limited.
The duration of the exam will be 140 minutes. Candidates will have 70 minutes to answer 30 questions in each section. Prometric, the testing company which began the computerised test two years ago, will introduce an on-screen countdown timer. Once the time ends for the first section, the second section will open and there will be no going back.
IIM Lucknow director Devi Singh said: “Changing the format of the CAT exam is a standard practice. This will help us get students with well-rounded knowledge.”