CAT Exam

CAT Exam

CAT EXAM  – Common Admission Test, popularly known as the CAT Exam, is a computer-based standardized test for shortlisting candidates for admission into the various Post Graduate and Fellow programmes of the prestigious Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) across the country. The CAT Exam is conducted on a rotational basis by a different IIM each year. This year, CAT entrance exam will be conducted by one of  the IIM in the month of November every year.

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Why is CAT  Exam important?

A valid CAT score is essential to qualify for the next steps of the selection process for the batch of the two-year MBA, PGP and PGDBM programmes at the IIMs.

There are currently 20 IIMs in India. CAT scores will be a prerequisite for admission to MBA and PGDBM programmes at the older and most reputed IIMs, namely, IIM Ahmedabad (IIM A), IIM Bangalore (IIM B), IIM Calcutta (IIM C), IIM Lucknow (IIM L), IIM Kozhikode (IIM K) and IIM Indore (IIM). These IIMs figure prominently in the NIRF Top 10 Management Institute Rankings announced by the Union HRD Ministry in June.

Admission to the MBA, PGP and PGDBM programmes at the other IIMs – IIMShillong, IIM Rohtak, IIM Visakhapatnam, IIM Tiruchirappalli, IIM Udaipur, IIM Amritsar, IIM Nagpur, IIM Ranchi, IIM Bodh Gaya, IIMSirmaur, IIM Sambalpur, IIM Kashipur, IIM Jammu, and IIM Raipur will also depend on the valid CAT score of candidates.

The CAT  scores are also allowed to be used by listed non-IIM member institutions. Apart from the IIMs, several other highly acclaimed management institutes will accept CAT Exam results as a criterion for admission to MBA and PGDBM courses.

Prominent MBA Colleges that accepts CAT score

  • SP Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR),
  • Faculty of Management Studies (FMS),
  • Management Development Institute (Gurgaon),
  • Institute of Management Technology (IMT), and
  • Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies (JBIMS). International Management Institute (IMI),
  • National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE),
  • Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA) and
  • Welingkar Education (WE School)
  • IITs


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These are some of the other top names that will be accepting CAT 2020 scores. However, the selection process for each of these institutes will be conducted independently.

What is CAT  Exam pattern?

The pattern for the CAT Exam has undergone changes many times in the past. Breaking away from the pattern in vogue till 2019.

CAT Exam will be held in three sessions of two hours each on the test date. Sufficient time will be given between any two sessions to allow staggered entry and exit of candidates.

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The revised CAT Exam pattern is as follows:

Number of sections in CATThree
Section namesI. Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension. Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning. Quantitative Ability
Time to complete each section40 minutes
The total duration of CAT 2020120 minutes
Switching between sections during the ExamNOT allowed

Both overall percentile scores and sectional percentile scores will be calculated for each candidate appearing for CAT Exam.

When registration opens for the CAT Exam?

The registration opens in the first week of August and closes with extended date till  first week of September.

Applicants need to indicate their preference for 6 test cities for allotment of test centres from the drop-down menu. Registered applicants will be allowed a very short window to edit their registration form after the registration window is closed. Candidates will get a chance to edit their test city preference, signature and photograph in the application form.

The Admit Cards for CAT Exam can be downloaded from 5 pm onwards beginning October till exam date.


What is CAT registration fee?

The CAT registration fee is ₹1000 for SC, ST and PwD candidates and ₹ 2000 for all other candidates.

A candidate needs to pay the registration fee only once, irrespective of the number of institutes s/he is applying for. SC, ST and PwD candidates must upload a copy of their SC/ST/PWD certificate at the time of registration. Fees that is paid cannot be refunded.

When the CAT Result Declared?

The CAT results will by all means be out by the second week of January next year. Candidates will be able to access their CAT 

score cards on the CAT website. Candidates may also be intimated individually by SMS.

Candidates have to declare and keep a valid email account and working phone number throughout the process.

Eligibility Criteria for CAT Exam

·         The candidate must hold a Bachelor’s Degree, with at least 50% marks or equivalent CGPA [45% inthe case of candidates belonging to the SC, ST and PwD categories], awarded by any University or educational institution recognised by the Ministry of HRD, Government of India.

·         Candidates awaiting final examination or results can also apply. However, if selected, they will be allowed to join the programme provisionally, only after a certificate from the Principal/Registrar of their University/Institution. 


Candidates applying for CAT should fulfil any one of the following conditions:

·         Completed Bachelor’s degree with the necessary percentage of marks*.

·         Completed professional degree (CA/CS/ICWA) with required percentage*.

·         Are in the final year of your Bachelor’s degree and have the necessary marks*

*SC/ST/PwD candidates should have a minimum of 45%. For General, EWS and NC-OBC

candidates, the minimum is 50%.

·  In the case of grades/CGPA, the conversion to percentage of marks would be based on the procedure as certified by the respective university/Institution. In case that cannot be done, the equivalence would be achieved by dividing the candidate’s CGPA by the maximum possible CGPA and multiplying the result by 100.

IIMs can verify a candidate’s eligibility at various points in the selection process.

What is the marking/grading scheme for CAT?

Ø  CAT 2020 Exam will be a computer-based test. There will be a mix of MCQ and Non-MCQ questions.

Ø  The examination will be held on a workstation assigned at the test centre based on the test cities selected by the candidate while registering for CAT. The test centre details will be printed on the Admit Card.

Ø  Rather than reading the questions in a paper booklet and darkening the ovals on the answer sheet, a candidate will read the questions on a computer terminal and mark an answer by clicking on the correct option (MCQ).

Ø  The candidate will type the answer in case of a question where no options are given (non-MCQ). Additionally, the timer on the computer screen will indicate the remaining time to complete the current section.

Ø  Candidates are prohibited from bringing calculators to the testing centre. They can use the onscreen calculator instead throughout the exam.

Ø  A candidate must answer the sections in a pre-specified order and this order will remain the same for all candidates.

Ø  All questions carry equal marks. For all non-MCQ-type questions, you have to type the answer.

Ø  For questions other than MCQs, 3 marks are assigned for ‘correct answer’ and no marks for ‘incorrect answer or no attempt’.

Ø  Each correct answer fetches 3 marks. An incorrect answer is awarded -1.No marks are given or deducted for non-attempted questions.


Importance of CAT score

Selection for the MBA and PGDBM courses at IIMs and other reputed management institutes in India is very competitive. A high CAT score is the first stepping stone to the overall selection process at IIMs. Apart from the overall percentile score, a candidate is also required to obtain a minimum percentile separately in each section, though the criteria vary from one IIM to the other. Hence, it’s very important for candidates to thoroughly prepare for each section and attempt a number of mock tests before appearing for CAT.

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