Understanding Common Admissions Test (CAT) 2021 Pattern

The hallmark of a good professional in any field is their ability to manage the different aspects of work and deliver the expected results. Thus, for success in any field – be it science, engineering, arts, sports, or even running the family business – understanding management principles is crucial. With this in mind, every year, millions of students aspire to get into institutes providing management education.

With management education is so much in demand, the institutions need to come up with clearly defined criteria for offering admissions to qualified students. This is where most management entrance exams become so important, as they are the first step students need to cross for securing admission to a good management institute. Among the many such entrance exams, the Common Admissions Test or CAT exam is the most popular.

There are many reasons behind the immense popularity of the CAT exam. Some of these include:

  • Conducted by Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), the country’s premier management institutes for their admissions
  • The CAT exam score is accepted by the majority of management institutes across the country
  • One of the toughest exams in the world to test the aptitude of the candidates

The CAT exam is conducted every year by one of the older six IIMs on a rotational basis. The primary expectations from a management graduate are comprehending the situation, analytical thinking, and clear communication of their ideas. Hence, the CAT exam tests candidates in three skills: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Quantitative Aptitude (QA), and Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR).

What will be the pattern for CAT 2021?

While the main sections of the CAT exam have been consistent over the years, the number of questions within each section varies each year. CAT is a computer-based exam in which students need to answer questions in all three sections. Switching from one section to another is not allowed during the exam. With the official notification for 2021’s CAT exam expected to be released in the last week of July, students are curious about the CAT 2021 pattern.

Here are a few pointers that are expected to feature in CAT 2021 pattern:

  1. The CAT exam in 2021 is expected to be similar to last years with both MCQ and non-MCQ questions being a part of the paper
  2. The CAT 2021 pattern is expected to be on similar lines as last year with three sections – VARC, DILR, and QA
  3. The marking scheme is also expected to remain the same: +3 for a correct response and -1 for an incorrect one
  4. Clarity about the CAT 2021 pattern regarding the number of questions and duration of the exam will emerge from the notification. Earlier, the CAT exam was of 3-hour duration with 180 questions. However, in 2020, when the exam was conducted amidst a pandemic, the duration was reduced to 120 minutes, and the number of questions to 76. The expectation for 2021 will become clearer in the last week of July
  5. One aspect that is expected to continue in the CAT 2021 pattern is the time limit for individual sections. In 2020, each section had a limit of 40 minutes, and the candidate could move to the next section only after completing the previous one.

While the exact CAT 2021 pattern will be announced by the last week of July, the primary skills to be assessed by the CAT exam remain the same. So, the candidates should charge ahead with their preparations.