The year 2020 is leaving no stone unturned in wreaking havoc in people’s lives. The news regarding the change in the pattern of the CAT exam is yet another instance of it.
Ever since this notification is out, I have been getting messages from many aspirants as to how it will affect the aspirants. Many aspirants feel that just like NMAT, CAT has also been reduced to a game of speed. Some think that there is no use of taking the mocks now.
So, how this change in pattern can affect your preparation and chances of acing the exam?
To understand this, we will look into the three points.
- The impact of the change in duration on the question paper
- Advantages of the pattern change
- Disadvantages of the pattern change
The impact of the change in duration on the question paper:
As per the notification,
- The exam duration has been reduced to two hours from three hours.
- Each section’s duration has been reduced to 40 minutes from 60 minutes.
Now that the duration of the exam is reduced, I think the number of questions will also be reduced proportionate (though this is just conjecture). So, the total number of questions will be reduced to around 70. We can have any of the following section-wise counts of questions.
- In VARC, there can be 4 RCs of 4 questions each, and 8 VA questions.
- In LRDI, you might come across 5 or 6 sets of 4 questions each.
Advantages of the pattern change:
- The biggest advantage will be the retention of energy. I have seen almost every aspirant complaining about the mental fatigue they go through because of the 3-hour long duration of the CAT mock. Many of you tell that you feel completely exhausted by the time you reach the quant section. With this change in pattern, I think you won’t feel the fatigue anymore and will be able to concentrate well for two hours.
- Another advantage is the time spent on the mock analysis. In my previous answers, I have said that if one takes a mock for three hours, one should spend 5-6 hours in analyzing it. It was taxing, no? Now that the duration of the exam is reduced, and hopefully, the number of questions will also be reduced, you can analyze the mock in 3-4 hours. It can be a big relief for working professionals who struggle hard to steal time from their busy work hours.
- Those who have just started taking mocks may find it easy to get used to the new pattern because they do not have to unlearn the previous style of taking the mocks. I am assuming that the coaching institutes will change the mock pattern accordingly ASAP.
Disadvantages of the pattern change:
- The only disadvantage that I can think of is inertia. By now, aspirants have got used to this 3-hour pattern. They might not be able to adapt to this sudden change and get anxious.
My views on some of the narratives:
The CAT exam is all about speed now:
I don’t think so. With the change in duration, there is a very high possibility in the proportionate reduction of the number of questions as well. So, the strategy of the aspirants should not change.
Mocks are of no use now:
No, they are of utmost importance. I think the coaching institutes will change the pattern of their mocks as per the new pattern of the CAT exam. So, the mocks will help you get used to the new pattern of the CAT exam, which is very important.
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Don’t panic. The change in the exam pattern does not mean that you have to change your strategy. You don’t have to. Follow what you have been following till now. The only thing that can stress you now is the adaptability. Just try to get used to this new pattern. And business is also about adapting to the myriad changes, no?
So, just try to adapt yourself to this change and keep going.
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