Last year, as many as 1814 candidates scored 99 percentile in CAT (Common Admission Test) but none of them got a call from any of the Indian Institute of Management (IIMs) only because they failed to score the minimum qualifying percentile in one of the sections.
Thus, the message is clear. You have to do well in all the three sections– Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension; Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DI & LR); Quantitative Ability.
In CAT 2016, all the questions carry equal marks. The three sections also have equal weightage. However, IIM Bangalore, convenor of the test this year, has disclosed neither the total number of questions nor the sectional composition of questions. In the previous edition of CAT, IIM Ahmedabad had disclosed this information on the official website.
Prof. Rajendra K. Bandi, Convenor, CAT 2016 has stated that they wanted to ensure that questions in the test do not give any specific advantage to candidates from any specific academic background or for a particular gender.
The IIMs would also like to see an increase in the number of applicants from the non-engineering background and from female applicants as well.
Engineers usually get a head start in CAT since they have expertise in Quantitative ability, Data Interpretation as also Logical Reasoning.
Thus, it is possible that the number of questions in Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VA & RC) section, often a weak point for engineers and technical graduates, may be increased. In 2008, this section had 40 questions out of a total 90 questions.
The non-multiple choice questions in every section without penalty of any negative marking, introduced last year, is being retained this year too.
Thus, CAT 2016 may see VA & RC section having 40 to 44 questions, an increase of 6 to 10 questions. DI & LR will have 25 to 28 questions, dropping 4 to 6 questions. Likewise, QA will have 25 to 28 questions, 5 to 6 questions being dropped.
CAT 2015 had a total number of 100 of questions with 34 in QA section with 34 questions, VA & RC with 34 questions and DI & LR with 32 questions.
So, your game plan as a candidate should be to try and score the maximum in each section. The weak areas have to be identified since low percentile in one section cannot be compensated with high scores in another. Even the DI & LR that used to be neglected earlier, need to be taken up seriously.
Out of 32 to 34 questions in each section, you will need to have 18 to 20 correct answers to score 90 plus percentile. Also remember that for IIMs, the cut off percentile may go from 90 to 97. Thus, giving equal weightage to each section and trying to score the maximum is the only way to enter the hallowed portals.