Bangalore: CAT just got lengthier questions this year

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Bengaluru, Nov 17: The Common Admission Test (CAT) lived up to its reputation of unpredictability again this year with the number of questions being increased for the first time since the three-section format was introduced in 1999. This year"s paper saw an increase in the number of questions from 25 questions in 2007 to 40 this year.

Nearly 2.76 lakh students across 23 cities had signed up to take up CAT this year, vying for 1,784 seats across seven IIMs in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Indore, Lucknow, Kozhikode and Shillong. Bangalore alone had nearly 26,500 candidates who had signed up to take the test, the second highest in the country after New Delhi.

Chairperson (admissions) IIM-Bangalore, Subhashish Gupta said that the test went on smoothly in Bangalore. On publishing answer keys, he said: “We will scan the answer sheets and only then put up the solution keys. The solution keys will be ready in a month"s time." The final scores will be published on January 9, 2009. Besides the IIMs, CAT scores will be used by 118 institutions for choosing candidates.

CAT-2008 saw a total of 90 questions being posed to candidates, up from 75 in 2007. The additional questions appeared in the verbal section of the paper, which had 40 questions, while the sections on Data Interpretation and Quantitative Ability had 25 questions each. The previous two editions of CAT featured a total of 75 questions, with 25 questions in each section.

Since the three-section format was introduced in 1999, the total number of questions featured in the CAT has dropped progressively from 165 questions in 1999 to 75 in 2007. This is the first time in the past 10 years CAT has increased the number of questions.

Other than the additional questions in the verbal section, CAT did not spring any new surprise. Just as in 2007, the paper was of two-and-ahalf hours duration, and correct answers got the candidates four marks, while wrong answers entailed one mark off.

Quant tough, verbal & DI easy Most candidates that this website's newspaper spoke to felt that Quantitative Ability was the toughest of the three sections. “The quant section has been tougher this year compared to the last two years," said R Kumar, an IT employee.

Several candidates pointed out that this year"s paper featured more questions in algebra than usual. Data Interpretation was felt to be the easiest, with 'nothing out of the ordinary," said Vishal Sabharwal, another CAT-taker.

The questions in the verbal section were felt to be less ambiguous than previous years.

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