CAT 2016 Pattern

Before embarking on what to expect in upcoming Common Admission Test (CAT 2016) pattern, let us understand CAT 2015 in particular and last 10 year trends. CAT 2015 threw surprise to many a candidate who were accustomed to 2 sections and Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) type of questions. It comes as no surprise that IIMs changed the pattern in line with previous trends wherein the pattern changed 6 times in last 11 years. 

Takeaways from CAT 2015

  1. Introduction of Non-MCQ questions, where test takers had to key in the correct answer instead of checking an alternative as was the case with MCQs. Even though this act as hindrance to many but we believe that candidates who were good at fundamentals, should have excelled nevertheless.
  2. Non flexibility in allocating time for each sections. CAT 2015 made sure that all the candidates attempt the sections of exam in the pattern given and each section was given a maximum of 1 hour each. This really threw candidates off-balance who were more tuned to selecting the order of sections and attempting questions as per their wish.
  3. Use of Calculator that comes along with the system is allowed (A breather of sorts)
  4. Number of sections increased to 3 from 2.

Compared to previous years, Quantitative Ability (QA) was relatively easier and there was less focus on further mathematics enabling non-Engineers to have a genuine chance at making it. Reasoning section (Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning) considered to be tough compared to previous years and those who have a knack for picking easy questions had a good day. Verbal section had lot of weightage for Reading Comprehension (70% to be precise) and surprisingly there were no grammar related questions. Candidates with good reading habits may find this section to be comparatively better. Overall, CAT 2015 was considered slightly tougher than CAT 2014 due to above changes in exam structure and question pattern. Following the snapshot of exam across various sections and topics:

Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension

CAT 2015 Verbal Ability

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning

CAT 2015 Reasoning


Quantitative Ability

CAT 2015 Quant

What to expect in CAT 2016 and how to tide over any pattern changes

We had seen how IIMs changed pattern of CAT multiple times. However, whenever there was a drastic change of pattern the same continued for atleast 2 years. So we can expect CAT 2016 pattern to be more or less similar to CAT 2015 barring few tinkerings. Irrespective of whether CAT pattern changes or not, you should rely on fundamentals to tide over any unforeseen circumstances. We will be discussing on how to improve understanding of fundamental concepts in various sections going forward.