Pattern of CAT 2016 will not change and it will be same as that of CAT 2015. There will be three sections where all the questions may not be of multiple choice types. For some questions answers are to be typed on the screen. The duration of the examination will be 180 minutes. Sixty minutes will be given for answering questions in each section and switching from one section to another while answering questions in a section will not be allowed. There will be following sections:
Section I for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension; (VARC)
Section II for Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning; (DILR) and
Section III for Quantitative Ability. (QA)
All questions will be of three (3) marks. There will be a negative mark of one (1) for an incorrect answer in Multiple-Choice Questions only. No marks are given or deducted for unattempted questions in Multiple-Choice Questions. For non-Multiple-Choice Questions, 3 marks are assigned for ‘correct answer’ and no marks for ‘incorrect answer or no attempt’.
For qualifying, candidates have to obtain a minimum mark for each section. The sectional cut-offs vary every year depending on how best the candidates perform that year. Besides, a minimum total mark too is required. Then, the candidate is called for further screening procedures like GD/PI by IIMs.
CAT 2016 shall be conducted in two sessions. Two different Test Forms shall be administered in two Test Sessions. In order to ensure fairness and equity in comparison of performances of the candidates across different test sessions, the scores of the candidates shall be subjected to a process of Normalization. The Normalization process shall adjust for location and scale differences of score distributions across different forms. After normalization across different forms, the scores shall be further normalized across different sections. The scaled scores obtained by this process shall be converted into percentiles for purposes of shortlisting.
For reporting purposes, Scaled Scores for each section (Section I: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Section II: Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR), and Section III: Quantitative Ability (QA)) and Total along with the Percentiles shall be published.
The process of Normalization is an established practice for comparing candidate scores across multiple Forms and is similar to those being adopted in other large educational selection tests conducted in India, such as Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE). For normalization across sections, we shall use the percentile equivalence.