CAT 2010 is tougher but better than 2009, say those who have encountered both

The difference between the CAT 2009 and CAT 2010 can only be discussed by the people who have experienced both. PaGaLGuY speaks to a few candidates who have taken the CAT in the latest computerised avatar as well as last few years.

Naveenan Ramachandran (PGDM 2008, IIM-A)

Appeared for CAT in 2001, 2005, 2009 and 2010 two of them paper-based and two computer

“Comparing the two computer-based editions of CAT, the confidence level this year was definitely higher than that in the last year.

The biggest advantage that CAT 2010 has over CAT 2009 is the longer testing period. They knew the exact problem areas. They knew the strings which had to be tightened. In my opinion, they did a great job of using the experience of the last year to change things for the better.

Right from releasing the data about CAT test takers in the week before CAT to reducing the number of CAT centers (of course, the applicants were anyway lesser), somehow, the test taker was given the confidence that this years CAT exam will be a smoother one.

And it was indeed a smoother exercise. The test administrators seemed to be in complete control of the exercise even on the very first day and in the very first slot. I had taken the test in IBSAR, Navi Mumbai.

Content of the test: This has been my observation about the quantitative and data interpretation section of CAT over the last several years. It seems to be evolving into a test of ones common sense and ceasing to be a test of ones knowledge of formulae. A sharp person with a basic understanding of the behavior of numbers and a hang of the basic formulae would be able to crack the quantitative and data interpretation section of the test. In another sense, the questions were focusing on the practical applications of our Xth standard mathematics just the skills expected of a manager in the making.

Perhaps, the move is part of an effort to dispel the myth that CAT is an exam which is more suited for an engineer than to a non engineer. If that is indeed the case, hip hip hooray.”


Rajesh B (PGDM 2008 IIM-B)

“I took the CAT at Everonn, Perungudi in Chennai. From the outset, the processes were very clearly outlined and managed very efficiently. All test-takers were asked to wait in a room till 8:00 am and then asked to queue up to enter the exam hall. There were around 100 test-takers in the session and all of us were seated at our places by 8:45 am.

They completed verification, biometric profiling, giving instructions, starting computer terminals, etc. by this time. The center was more than adequately staffed and almost every person in the organizing group knew his/her role perfectly well.

We were allowed to log in at exactly 10:00 am and could start the test any time between 10:00 and 10:15 am. Perhaps due to the experience in the previous year, the exam was frightfully well-organized. Having said that, the one peeve that almost all test-takers will have is the time lag involved between entering testing room and beginning the test. The average test-taker would have waited for some time between when they would have sat in front of their computer screens and begun the tutorials.

Given that most of us would have spent 1.5 hours in the center prior to this, the wait was agonizing. The IIMs are probably overcompensating and they should definitely look at reducing this time. Imagine sitting at a blank screen for 100 minutes before starting the most important exam in your life.

Content of the test: The testing pattern and format were broadly similar to the previous year. Once the students exited the hall, there was no unanimous agreement on which was the toughest section. So, I think that the three sections should have been more or less evenly matched. The exam itself did not have any great surprises. CAT 2010, in many ways was an extension of the trend that we had seen in the previous few years.

Overall a good paper, excellent planning, good execution, friendly and knowledgeable support staff. No glitches (at least thus far) at all.”


Omkar Bibikar,

Appeared for CAT in 2009 and 2010

“Last years CAT was a very simple paper. The paper in my slot was atleast 20 per cent more difficult that the CAT of 2008. I took my test at Saraswati College, Navi Mumbai. Though the numbers of questions in CAT 2010 were much lesser, the RCs were longer. Where the questions were 150, the RCs used to be shorter with more questions with each comprehension. This year, the comprehension had just two questions each, so the times spent attempting two questions gets longer.

The similar thing happened in the DI section when the numbers of questions for each graph or data were only two where as in past years DI had sets of three or four question with every set of information. Logical reasoning would be simple for somebody who is fast with calculations and can attempt sums orally. Para-jumbles were confusing and time-consuming.

On the whole one has to figure out what their strong points and get started with the paper in that manner. Its a predictable paper and somebody who has done the CAT papers of 1999 to 2002.”


Sneha Satyamoorthy

Appeared for CAT in 2009 and 2010

“I gave the test at the same institute, Thakur College, Kandivali, where I gave CAT 2009. Hearing that there were no technical glitches and the test was being conducted smoothly, I was feeling more confident taking the test this year, though I found the test tougher.

The security was tighter and in the same institute, where I had carried the books right up to the lab where I took the test last year, this year I wasnt allowed to even carry it through the gate of the college. The toughest section was DI where there was a lot of data to be analysed and there were only two questions to be answered. Data given was irrelevant and confusing.

Quant was moderate but Verbal was dicey. Last year verbal section was more direct but this year the comprehension passages were lengthy and confusing. The para-jumbles were simple but there were four multiple usage questions, which is relatively a high number compared to last year.”

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