Before 2009, CAT was a paper based test conducted on a single day for all candidates. The pattern, number of questions and duration have seen considerable variations over the years.
On 1 May 2009, it was announced that CAT would be a Computer Based Test starting from 2009. The American firm Prometric was entrusted with the responsibility of conducting the test from 2009 to 2013. The first computer based CAT was marred with technical snags. The issue was so serious that it prompted the Government of India to seek a report from the convenor. The trouble was diagnosed as 'Conficker' and 'W32 Nimda', the two viruses that attacked the system display of the test, causing server slow down.Since 2014 onward, CAT has been conducted by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). CAT 2015 and CAT 2016 were 180-minute tests consisting of 100 questions (34 from Quantitative Ability (QA), 34 from Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), and 32 from Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR)).
Different Sections of CAT
The CAT examination is divided into three sections
• Commercial Mathematics
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
• Logical Reasoning
• Data Interpretation, Sufficiency
• Reading Comprehension
• Verbal Logic
• Grammar Correction
Allocation of marks
In general, every correct answer gains 4 marks whereas every wrong answer results in one negative mark.
Cut-offs for each section
Candidates must secure a minimum mark in each section to qualify for that section and eventually for the CAT. The minimum marks required to qualify varies upon the relative difficulty level of that section compared to other sections of the test. Sectional cut-offs varies mostly on the basis of the performance who appear for the exam in that year. A candidate must also secure a minimum total cut off for the entire paper to earn GD/PI calls from IIMs. It has been observed that different IIMs use different cut-offs to offer calls to selected candidates.
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