CAT Test Structure

Below mentioned are the details about CAT 2016 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 2015.

3. Sectional time limit:

Just like in CAT 2015, 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 introduced in CAT 2015 will continue to feature in CAT 2016 as well.

IMS interpretation: In CAT 2015 there were 32 TITA questions in all (10 TITA questions in VA section, 8 in DI-LR section and 14 in QA section). In VA all 10 TITA questions were non RC questions. In DI-LR, there was one DI set and 1 LR set with 4 questions each as TITA whereas in the QA section all 14 were from different areas. In CAT 2016 the number of TITA questions are 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 2016 will continue to have the basic on-screen calculator, which was introduced in CAT 2015.

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

6. CAT 2016 vs CAT 2015 vs CAT 2014: A comparison (CAT 2015 and CAT 2016 pattern remains same.)

  CAT 2016 CAT 2015 CAT 2014
Sections 3 3 2
Sections Section 1 - Verbal – 34
Section 2 - DI & LR – 32
Section 3 - Quant34
Section 1 - Verbal – 34
Section 2 - DI & LR – 32
Section 3 - Quant34
Section 1 - Quant – 50
Section 2 - Verbal – 50
Number of Questions 100 100 100
Total Duration 180 minutes 180 minutes 170 minutes
Section Duration 60 minutes per section 60 minutes per section No sectional time-limits
Moving across sections No No Yes
Penalty for Omission / Skipping a Question Zero Zero Zero
Penalty for incorrect answer Yes, (No in case of TITA) Yes, (No in case of TITA) Yes
Question Type: Multiple Choice Questions Yes Yes Yes
Question Type: TYPE-IN-THE-ANSWER Questions YES YES NO
On-screen calculator YES 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
For IIMs and few top B-Schools -YES;
For other institutes NO


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