• CAT Demo Lecture 2020

CAT 2018 Test Structure and Pattern

Below mentioned are the details about CAT 2018 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 2017.

3. Sectional time limit:

Just like in CAT 2017, 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 2018 as well.

For those who are new to TITA questions: TITA Questions require to type the answer and no NEGATIVE MARKING is allotted to these questions.

IMS interpretation: As per CAT 2017, Slot 1 & 2 there were 26 TITA Questions in all (7 TITA questions in VA section, 8 in DI-LR section and 11 in QA section.)For CAT 2018, no break-up has been shared hence, we expect the numbers to be similar or even higher as the attempt is to make the test more friendly for NON-engineers. As a test-taker, candidates should look at answering most of these questions, since they do not carry any negative marking.

5. On-screen calculator:

CAT 2018 will continue to have the basic on-screen calculator, which was introduced in CAT 2015.

IMS interpretation: In CAT 2016 as well as CAT 2017, the calculator wasn't too useful in the Quant section it found some relevance for DI sets that were calculation intensive.

6. CAT 2015 to 2018 vs CAT 2014: A comparison (CAT 2015 to 2018 structure and pattern has remained same.)

  CAT 2015 to 2018 CAT 2014
Sections 3 2
Sections As per CAT 2015, 2016 & 2017
Section 1 - Verbal – 34
Section 2 - DI & LR – 32
Section 3 - Quant – 34
For CAT 2018: Not specified
Section 1 - Quant – 50 
Section 2 - Verbal – 50
Number of Questions As per CAT 2015, 2016 and 2017: 100
For CAT 2018: 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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