To ensure a fair test and healthy mix of students from all backgrounds, the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) have changed the pattern of the Common Admission Test (CAT) — the entrance criteria to the 13 IIMs and 150 other B-schools. The test will be held over a 20-day period from October 22 to November 18.
This year, the CAT will have two sections instead of three. The first section will focus on quantitative ability and data interpretation and the second on verbal ability and logical reasoning. Candidates will get 70 minutes to solve 30 questions in each section. Once the 70-minute time lapses, candidates cannot return to the section.
“Students often spend more time on some sections and give less time to the others. The aim is to quickly finish the section they are confident in and focus more on sections they are weaker at. We want students who are equally good in both aspects — quantitative as well as verbal,” said professor Janakiraman Moorthy, convenor, CAT 2011.
Usually 90% of students who make it to the IIMs are engineers who do better in the quantitative section than the verbal section. The CAT group was discussing ways to ensure that students who come into IIMs are not just mathematics wizards but are good at humanities too for over a year. “This change will give candidates from other backgrounds a fair chance and also engineers who make it will be equally good in both the sections,” said Moorthy.
Earlier the test was divided into three sections — quantitative ability, data interpretation and logical reasoning, and the third section was verbal ability with 20 questions each that had to be completed in 135 minutes.
After reviewing the process and candidate’s punctuality, the check-in time at centres has been made one-and-half hours prior to the exam instead of two hours. This will ensure the afternoon session begins at 3.15pm.
“Considerable effort has been invested in maintaining similar level of difficulty across papers. A small number of statistically and psychometrically validated questions are randomly inserted in each question paper as equating blocks.
These will be used for establishing post-test equality across the days,” said Moorthy.