It seems the speculations moving around last month are going to be true. CAT 2014 will be conducted on just 2 days against the previous year’s pattern of 20 days. The dates proposed are 16 th and 22 nd November 2014 . So the test load of 20 X 2 = 40 slots will be reduced by 90% to 2X2 = 4 slots. A good riddance from tiring stretch of more than 3 weeks. This obviously implies that the number of test center and cities hosting CAT will be increased. The figures are estimated to be approximately 400 and 100 respectively.
The test conducting authority seems to be quite focused and straight in setting expectations. There are changes in the number of questions and overall timings of test. The sections will be same as last year i.e. Quant & Data Interpretation in one section and Verbal Ability, Reading Comprehension & Analytical / Logical Reasoning in second section. The number of questions in each section will be 50 as against 30 last year. Overall time allocated has also been increased to 170 minutes as against 140 minutes last year. The best part of the proposed change is that a student will have the liberty to choose a section and question and also hop between the sections as many times as needed. In short, no sectional time limits . This is just getting better for both, students and test conducting authorities.
What does the change of pattern indicate?
An optimist way to look at the increase in number of questions from 30 to 50 is that dependency on certain areas like Geometry, Higher Algebra etc will reduce drastically. The candidate will have better opportunities and wider question choices where he can demonstrate his performance. Number of questions is inversely proportional to luck factor so don’t depend on luck. It will be an advantage to the candidates who have worked hard enough this year.
Additional 30 minutes will surely bring in cheers to lot of candidates. Anyone who can keep the energy and concentration level high throughout 170 minutes will definitely have an edge. Candidate will be able to allocate proper time to the focused areas. Flexibility to choose question from any section ie no sectional time limit is a double edged sword. Candidates have been accustomed to spend equal time in each section since last 3 years. Most of them would be preparing themselves accordingly and hence the concern that this change might just make them a bit casual in their preparation. Some of them might not have a good strategy or approach on the day of exam so he can miss a golden opportunity. Not to forget the because of the reduction in day of test, the pressure will be high. Fear of uncertainty and anxiety of d-day will be put the candidate in tight spot. But the positive side is that candidates who are performing well in one section can sneak out the extra time from that section and spend quality time for other section. This will help candidate balance his performance and score good overall.
The dates of exam are also placed well. Though it could be better if the exam could have got completed in October but mid-November exam dates will also give a good advantage of Diwali Holidays. Candidates who started preparing late will get a boost because of extra 30 days. Students preparing since long will have to focus on extra revision. They must ensure that they don’t start writing Mocks before October. Preparation should peak on the day of exam only.
Overall the change is surely giving a good feel and a sign of “Acche din” for atleast CAT takers. Checkout your preparation by taking free online mock test at CATGurus
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