Announced changes in CAT 2020 Pattern
As we march towards the end of the year 2020, there is another unexpected turn in the sorry saga that has been unfolding for the past few months, though this time around it has nothing to do with Covid-19, but is something that certainly seems to be influenced by it.
The abrupt announcement of the change in the CAT pattern almost seemed like a midnight wake call for many aspirants who had been preparing for the past nine months, planning and strategizing the things that they would do on the D-day.
Though the change in the pattern announced so far has only to with the paper duration, there is no clarity as yet on the no of questions in each section. The media release, however, made it clear that the paper would be of 120 minutes, with each section having time limit of 40 minutes.
We should wait for a few days until we get some clarity on the no of questions, something that should made public in week or ten days’ time.
Implications of the current changes in CAT paper pattern
So what does the change imply, and whether it should be greeted with cheer, caution or indifference.
As far as the positive outcome of this change is concerned, bringing down the test duration by one hour means less exhaustion and more productive time. In the three-hour format, it was not uncommon to come across students whose brain stopped working after 120 minutes.
Because of this change, many more students would be able to maintain their focus and concentration right till the end of the paper. For such students this change would be a positive sign indeed.
But there is a flip side to it as well, and it is that now in the exam the aspirants will have less time to make up for any lost time. For example, in the 60 minutes per section format, if you wasted some time in solving a difficult question, you could always bounce back because you had 60 minutes; there was always a chance to make up for the loss and the mistakes made earlier.
In the truncated version, you will not have this luxury. Wasting 8 minutes in an LR set could seal your fate. As a result, this change will put more pressure on the aspirants to get things correct right from the word go.
This would, in effect, mean that luck will play a greater role because if the start is bad, then things will go out of hand, with little room for recovery. The questions that you pick at the start will decide whether you get the better of your anxiety or your anxiety gets the better of you.
Again, a lot depends on the no of questions and their difficulty level, greater no of questions, means more to choose from, but fewer questions means less to choose from. We can’t comment much on this aspect until we get to know the no of questions.
Our guess is that the no of questions will come down in the same proportion: 1/3. Thus we should expect 24 to 25 questions in each section. 72-75 questions in two hours is likely to be the pattern.
A few things that every aspirant must keep in mind:
- In the new pattern, it would be unwise for you to leave any topic untouched. Greater no of questions meant more questions from each topic, so leaving a topic or two would not have been that risky.
- You must change your strategy for the upcoming mocks. In the forthcoming mocks, you should try to look out for easy questions and attempt right at the start. You must train your eyes and sharpen your perception to that end. This will ensure that whenever you take a test, you immediately jump to those questions that are easy and take less time. This may not work straight from the first mock, and after a few mocks you will should be able to pick the easy questions in QA and easy sets in LRDI.
- As far as VARC is concerned, it is difficult to assess what is easy and what is not. Speed reading will become critical to ensure that you reach all the questions and get the easy ones correct in least possible time.
These are things that you have to keep in mind. We don’t think there is any need to change your preparation plans. The change in the pattern will have no bearing on the syllabus and the amount of time you study daily.
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