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CAT 2017 Test Structure and Pattern

Below mentioned are the details about CAT 2017 structure and IMS interpretation of the same.

1. THREE sections with the following break up

Section No. Section  Time
Section 1 Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension 60min
Section 2 DI & LR 60min
Section 3

Quantitative Ability


IMS interpretation: As per the IIMs, students have to show equal competency in all three sections. (Mind you this is an IIM requirement and not a CAT requirement. Other institutes that accept the CAT only use the overall percentile) Quant, VA-RC and LR-DI: Performance in one area (or the lack of it) cannot be subsidized by performance in another. For example, earlier students could get away with solving LR questions in the second section and still get a decent sectional and overall percentile. (Eternal optimists, however, will say that you can still subsidize your DI weakness by your LR strength in the new format).

2. Test duration:

180 minutes with 60 minutes per section just like CAT 2016.

3. Sectional time limit:

Just like in CAT 2016, each section will have a time limit of 60 minutes i. e. you cannot switch between sections.

IMS interpretation: Sectional time limit is a boon for students who aren’t good at time management and who end up spending more time in one section at the cost of another. As the IIMs require you to show equal competency in each of the sections, you will have to display equal competency in all 3 sections. However, test-takers who have the ability to complete a section well within the allotted time cannot leverage this to their benefit by using the time saved in section and use it in another.

4. Type-in questions:

The “TYPE-IN-THE-ANSWER-QUESTIONS (TITA)” questions will continue to feature in CAT 2017 as well.

IMS interpretation: As per CAT 2016, Slot 1 there were TITA Questions in all (10 TITA questions in VA section, 8 in DI-LR section and 7 in QA section. As per CAT 2016, Slot 2 there were TITA Questions in all (10 TITA questions in VA section, 4 in DI-LR section and 7 in QA section. In CAT 2017, the number of TITA questionsare expected to be on similar lines. As a test-taker, you should look at answering most of these questions, since they do not carry any negative marking.

5. On-screen calculator:

CAT 2017 will continue to have the basic on-screen calculator, which was introduced in CAT 2015.

IMS interpretation: In CAT 2015 as well as CAT 2016, the calculator wasn't too useful in the Quant section it found some relevance for DI sets that were calculation intensive.

6. CAT 2017/ 2016 /CAT 2015 vs CAT 2014: A comparison (CAT 2015, CAT 2016 and CAT 2017 structure and pattern has remained same.)

  CAT 2017/2016/2015 CAT 2014
Sections 3 2
Sections As per CAT 2015 & 2016
Section 1 - Verbal – 34
Section 2 - DI & LR – 32
Section 3 - Quant – 34
For CAT 2017: Only 3 sections are specified
Section 1 - Quant – 50 
Section 2 - Verbal – 50
Number of Questions As per CAT 2015 and 2016: 100
For CAT 2017: Not specified
Total Duration 180 minutes 170 minutes
Section Duration 60 minutes per section No sectional time-limits
Moving across sections No Yes
Penalty for Omission / Skipping a Question Zero Zero
Penalty for incorrect answer Yes, (No penalty in case of TITA) Yes
Question Type: Multiple Choice Questions Yes Yes
Question Type: TYPE-IN-THE-ANSWER Questions YES NO
On-screen calculator YES NO
Need to perform equally well in all sections For IIMs and few top B-Schools -YES; 
For other institutes NO
For IIMs and few top B-Schools -YES; 
For other institutes NO

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