First impressions of CAT 2006

For your information: CAT or Common Admission Test is one of the largest MBA entrance exams conducted in India, anually. Indian Institute of Management (IIMs), the premier business-schools of the country (and counted among the best in the world) conduct this test for selecting potential students for the next round of admission process (comprising of a personal interview and a group discussion) for their MBA and Fellow-ship programmes. This year approximately 191,000 candidates have appeared for this exam from all over the country. Apart from the six IIMs, approximately 80 other B-schools use the CAT scores to select potential students for the next round of their respective admission processes.

It’s been just a few hours since I gave my Common Admission Test (CAT) 2006. This year’s paper carried a good potential to be a shocker for many. Noticeable changes in this year’s CAT paper are:

1. Number of questions reduced to 75 from previous years 90.
2. Elimination of differential marks allotment within a section i.e. no half-markers, one-markers and two-markers. All questions carried equal marks.
3. Number of available options to choose from increased to 5 (compared to 4 of last year).
4. Maximum marks possible increased to 300.
5. Marks awarded for every correct answer increased to 4 (compared to 1 of previous years) and negative marking for a wrong answer increased to 1 (compared to ¼ of marks allotted, in the previous years), which means that the overall equation of one-fourth marking still holds good 🙂
6. Good space for rough-work with questions being printed only on the right-hand side in the test booklet and the left-hand side was left blank for rough work.

Section specific outlook

1. Quantitative ability the last section in set 222 was perhaps the easiest in the last few years. Students from commerce background (who are scared of math) could have also scored reasonably in this section

2. Data interpretation had five set of questions that contained no graphs-based sets. Data sufficiency as usual was left out (it did not figure in the Quant section as well). There was a question based on a network diagram and one on shares which seemed like a newer model but were solvable.

3. Verbal ability was the biggest shocker (if I can call it that). There were five questions based on a new model where one has to identify if a particular statement is a fact, inference or judgment. There were no Para-jumbles and grammar corrections. All the three reading-comprehension passages (comprising of five questions each) were tough and inference-based in nature. There were five questions on paragraph-completion which had very close answer choices (that could have made life difficult for candidates).


IIMs have done a better job this time by breaking the stereo-types and giving a new life to the surprise element in the CATs. It will be interesting to see how various coaching institutes modify their syllabus coverage and coaching techniques in response (if they choose to respond) to this new pattern.

For estimated cut-offs, answer-key and solutions, I recommend checking out websites of reputed coaching institutes like Career Launcher, IMS, TIME etc (not in order of priority).

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you can down the entire paper along with detailed solutions (in pdf format) from this link. Please note that to download, you should register on the site and get administrator approval. All the best.