All About CAT (Common Admission Test)

By Universitykart Team, Posted on Nov 03, 2022
all about cat

What is CAT?

The CAT (Common Admission Test) Exam is the national management entrance test administered by the Indian Institute of Management for admission to 20 IIMs and more than 100 B-schools in India. Each year one of the more established IIMs is responsible for conducting the test. Over 2 lakh candidates are enrolled in the CAT exam each year but only a few thousand are admitted to their preferred top B-schools. Other than IIMs and other well-known B-schools that take scores from CAT are MDI (Gurgaon), IITs, SpJain (Mumbai), IMT(Ghaziabad), FMS(Delhi), KJ Somaiya Institute of Management Studies (Mumbai), Great Lakes Institute of Management (Chennai), Xavier Institute of Management Bhubaneshwar to mention some.

CAT Exam Pattern: Key Features

Given the limited admissions and the large number of test-takers, it is rightly regarded as one of the most challenging entrance tests. It's designed to test the candidate's ability to make decisions, ability to manage time, and ability to handle complexity. All of these aspects indicate the applicant's ability to pass the management school and acumen to be a manager. Learn about the major characteristics of the CAT exam's structure:

The CAT test is split into three parts: -

1.  Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)

2.  Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR)

3.  Quantitative Aptitude (QA)

·The time for CAT exams is 120 minutes.

·Since the introduction of TITA (Type in The Answer) questions in 2015 There have been some slight changes in the exam pattern test. The amount of TITA questions is different, however, they do not have negative markings for wrong answers.

·In the past few years, 25-33 percent of the questions were Non-MCQ (TITA) kind.

·The penalty is one point for every incorrectly completed MCQ. 3 marks are given for each correct answer.

·The sequence of sections of the CAT exam is set, and students are given 40 minutes for each section. Due to time limitations in sections, the students can't change sections.

NOTE: In case of modifications to the pattern of the CAT exam, IIMs inform the candidates via their official website. Students are advised to check the website for tutorials and mock tests as well as the most current exam syllabus. The mock tutorials are scheduled to be uploaded in October.

The scores that are stated for the CAT are the result of normalization and scaling, determined by candidate performance in several sessions. The majority of institutes establish their cut-offs according to the percentiles of CAT.

CAT Syllabus

There isn't any specific syllabus that is prescribed for CAT However, the format and difficulty of the exam have remained the same throughout the years. The following subjects are considered essential for various areas of the CAT exam:

·The quantitative part is primarily focused on the mathematical fundamentals and subjects of arithmetic algebra, number system geometrics, mensuration, and modern math. Arithmetic makes up the majority of questions within this section and is then algebra.

·In the VARC section Reading comprehension tests are always the most popular, comprising nearly 70% of total questions. The other important questions are based on para-jumbles and Para-Summary. Certain questions can be based on verbal reasoning or sentence completion, fill-in-the-blanks, and more.

·DI-LR sets are mainly focused on charts, case lets, tables graphs, and most common topics of reasoning, such as arrangements, syllogisms, blood relations, etc.

Additionally, the non-MCQs appear in all three sections of the CAT curriculum they are also based on the same topics as MCQs.

CAT Notification & Registration

The CAT examination is held in November each year. The official notification is published in July or August on the official website where you'll have to apply on the internet. You will learn the crucial dates and fees for applications for MBA/courses as well as other important information from the announcement.

CAT: Things to Know

·The CAT application form must be filled out online.

·The CAT exam will take place in more than 150 locations across the nation.

·Registration for CAT is open for nearly 45 days following its launch date.

·The most important thing is that CAT hopefuls must have an active and unique email address and a mobile phone number in order for the process of selection to go efficiently.

·The results of the CAT are announced after one month after the test.

CAT: Registration Process

Follow the steps given when applying online for CAT:

·On the official website Go to the official website and click on "Register Now" to create the login details. Enter the necessary information (Name Date of Birth and Email Address.).

Additionally, you will receive an SMS and email with the login details.

· The next step is that you must log in with your username and password. Then, you need to fill out the CAT application form and upload the scans of the required documents.

Be sure to hit 'Save and Continue' before going to the next step. The CAT application form may be completed over several sessions just by logging in again.

·Alongside your academic and personal information, in addition, you must give details of your work experience, if relevant. Further, you also have to indicate your preferred programs/institutes (IIMs) and select the interview cities from the given options.

·Then, you have to pay the CAT application fee using the Net Banking/Credit/Debit card or other similar methods. After you have completed the payment, you won't have the ability to do modifications to the form. Therefore, make sure to double-check the application before submitting it and making the payment.

CAT Admit Card

The admission card to CAT has to be downloaded via the official website. The admit card of CAT displays details about your exam center address, reporting time the exam's timing, Google map to find the location of the center, and required exam-related instructions. It is necessary to take an admit card to show at the center of your exam. These steps will assist you to download your CAT admit card:

·On the website of the official, log in to the official website using your account ID and password

·Click on the Download the CAT Admit Card button. Your hall will be shown on the screen. You can download it and print a copy of it. It is also possible to save its soft copy for future reference.

CAT Exam Day - Do's and Don'ts

Before you can sit for the test it is necessary to bring certain documents. Here's a checklist of the things you're expected to carry at the examination center:

·Admission card Be sure to have two printed copies of the admit card with your photograph pasted on it.

·Identity Identification Document: You are required to have an image ID (employer or PAN card Aadhaar card or Driving's license or passport/ voter ID)

If you've changed your name in the last few days and you need an identity change document or certificate.

Things to avoid at the center for CAT:

·Watch, calculator, phone tablet, or another electronic gadget

·Jewelry made of metal or accessories

·Bags, jackets, and clothes with pockets or shoes that are closed.

·Food items/ drinks

A few exceptions: People who have any type of implanted metal inside their body must obtain a medical certification to use the same.

CAT Answer Key

A little over a week following the CAT exam, the answer key and candidate's answer sheet will be available via the website of the organization. Follow the steps below to access the answer key for CAT on the website of the Department:

·Log in with your username and password on the official website

·Click on "CAT answer key', then select to download the answer key as a PDF.

Be aware that the opposition window to the CAT answers is open up to four days following the publication. If you would like to file a complaint about any error or discrepancy it is necessary to fill out the online form available on the official website. You must provide the relevant documentation to prove your claim and pay the fee as stated.

CAT Result

The CAT scorecard and CAT results are available on the official website in the format PDF. These are how you can follow to examine for and download your CAT scorecard:

·On the official website, you can find the 'CAT scorecard/Result tab.

·Enter your application number and password to CAT.

·Select the section ‘scorecard' and download your scorecard for the CAT.

Your scorecard for CAT will include individual sections, sectional scores, percentiles, the overall score, and the overall percentile.

CAT Exam Centres

The CAT examination is conducted across several cities in India. Thus, candidates are able to easily select a list of preferred cities from the list. In accordance with the previous year, we will present this complete list of exams centers for CAT:

State Exam Centres
Andaman & Nicobar Islands Port Blair
Andhra Pradesh Guntur; Kakinada; Kurnool; Nellore; Rajahmundry; Tirupathi; Vijayawada; Visakhapatnam
Arunachal Pradesh Itanagar
Assam Dibrugarh; Guwahati; Silchar
Bihar Aurangabad; Muzaffarpur; Patna; Purnea
Chandigarh Chandigarh
Chhattisgarh Bhilai; Raipur
Delhi-NCR Delhi, New Delhi, Faridabad, Gurugram, Noida, Panipat, Ghaziabad, Greater Noida
Goa Madgaon; Panaji
Gujarat Ahmedabad; Anand; Gandhinagar; Rajkot; Surat; Vadodara
Haryana Ambala; Bahadurgarh; Hisar; Palwal; Rohtak; Sonipat
Himachal Pradesh Simla; Waknaghat
Jammu & Kashmir Jammu; Samba, Kashmir
Jharkhand Bokaro; Dhanbad; Jamshedpur; Ranchi
Karnataka Banglore; Belagavi (Belgaum); Dharwad; Gulbarga; Hubli; Mangalore; Mysore; Udupi
Kerala Ernakulam; Kasaragod; Kollam; Kozhikode; Malappuram; Thrissur; Trivandrum
Madhya Pradesh Bhopal; Gwalior; Indore; Jabalpur; Sagar
Maharashtra Ahmednagar; Amravati; Aurangabad; Jalgaon; Kolhapur; Mumbai, Navi Mumbai; Nagpur; Nanded; Nashik; Pune; Raigad; Satara; Solapur; Thane; Ulhasnagar
Meghalaya Shillong
Odisha Balasore; Berhampur; Bhubaneswar; Cuttack; Dhenkanal; Sambalpur; Rourkela
Puducherry Puducherry
Punjab Bhatinda; Chandigarh; Fatehgarh Sahib; Jalandhar; Ludhiana; Mohali; Pathankot; Patiala; Ropar; Sangrur
Rajasthan Ajmer; Alwar; Jaipur; Jodhpur; Kota; Sikar; Udaipur
Tamil Nadu Chennai; Coimbatore; Madurai; Namakkal; Thanjavur; Tiruchirappalli; Tirunelvelli
Telangana Hyderabad; Karim Nagar; Warangal
Uttar Pradesh Agra; Allahabad; Barabanki; Bareilly; Ghaziabad; Gorakhpur; Greater Noida; Kanpur; Lucknow; Mathura; Meerut; Muzaffarnagar; Noida; Varanasi
Uttarakhand Dehradun; Roorkee
West Bengal Asansol; Bankura; Burdwan; Durgapur; Hooghly; Howrah; Kalyani; Kolkata; Siliguri

CAT Eligibility Criteria

Candidates must satisfy specific requirements to be eligible to sit for the CAT test. Be sure to have the required education:

·Candidates must have an equivalent degree in the field of bachelor's or Masters's from a recognized college or board. Students who are in their last year at graduation may be able to take the CAT test.

·Candidates must be able to attain a minimum of 50% in bachelor's degree or equivalent.

It is important to note that the precise qualifications for MBA admission vary from one B-school to another, as well as from course to course at certain institutions. In addition, most B-schools have reservations for different types of applicants. For complete information about eligibility requirements, check out their official sites of colleges.

Did you Know: Following the establishment of IIM-Calcutta as well as IIM-Ahmedabad in the year 1961 in the year 1961, B-schools began conducting admissions through their entrance tests. After the establishment of IIM-Bangalore in 1973, and IIM-Lucknow at the end of 1983 the institutions decided to conduct an entrance test that was common to all of them similar to GMAT. This resulted in the introduction of the CAT test in 1984.

TopColleges Accepting CAT Score

An estimated more than 115 reputed B-schools across India will accept scores from CAT and some foreign institutions will also accept the CAT. Alongside the 20 IIMs Participating CAT Institutes comprise other private and public institutions. The top B-schools that accept CAT marks are:

• Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad

• Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Bangalore

• Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Calcutta

• Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Lucknow

• S. P. Jain Institute of Management & Research (SPJIMR), Mumbai

• Management Development Institute (MDI), Gurgaon

• Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Kozhikode

• Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Indore

• International Management Institute (IMI), New Delhi

• Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), New Delhi

• Institute of Management Technology (IMT), Ghaziabad

• National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE), Mumbai

• Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Trichy

• Rajiv Gandhi Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Shillong

• Xavier Institute of Management (XIM), Bhubaneswar

• Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Kashipur

• Department of management studies (IIT Delhi), New Delhi

• Sydenham Institute of Management Studies and Research and entrepreneurship training (SIMSREE), Mumbai

• Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of management studies (JBIMS), Mumbai

• Shailesh J Mehta School of Management (IIT Bombay), Mumbai

• Vinod Gupta school of management (VGSOM) IIT Kharagpur

CAT Cut-off

For the majority of B-schools across India CAT is the primary criterion for shortlisting applicants for admission rounds. Once CAT results are released in January, test takers begin receiving inquiries from B-schools based on their profiles and scores. Some institutions place greater emphasis on CAT scores, whereas others consider equally the overall academic profile as well as work experience. Below are the major elements that determine CAT cutoffs:

• Students who take the CAT

• Level of difficulty of the test

• The total number of admission seats at the B-school

• Ranking/reputation of the B-school

The following table shows approximate cut-off figures for the most reputable B-schools from India:

CAT Cut-off Institutes
94+ FMS, MDI-G, IISc-B, IIM-RH, IIM-RN, IIM-RP, IIM-KS, IIM-UP, IIM-T, IIM-BG
90+ (profile-based) IIM-I, IIM-J, IIT-B, IIT-D, IIT-KH, IMT-G
80+ (profile-based) IIM-A, IIM-B, IIM-C, IIM-L, IIM-K, SPJIMR, NITIE, KJSIMSR
80+ DU, UBS-CHD, IMT-N, GLIM, FSM, IRMA, TAPMI, NIRMA, IIFM, LBSIM
70+ IMT-H, BIMTECH, MDI-M

MBA Admission Process

After the announcement of the results from the CAT, IIMs and other B-schools select the applicants for screening rounds: for WAT (Written aptitude test/Essay writing) as well as CD/GD (Group/case discussion) Group Exercise along with the PI (Personal interview). While IIMs and a few other top B-schools release the admission requirements and cut-offs prior to the announcement of the results, however, the majority of B-schools announce their cut-offs following the announcement of the results from the CAT. A lot of students have to endure a variety of challenges before they are admitted to their dream B-school. However, Energy and Persistence conquer every obstacle.

Final merit lists for the B-schools are based on candidates' performance on the CAT test as well as the selection rounds and the profile. Different B-schools give different weightage to CAT scores as well as academic profile/diversity, work experiences, and marks in their selection procedure. In this way, applicants are admitted to management programs.

MBA Courses Offered by IIMs

The table below gives an overview of the most popular and exclusive MBA/PGDM programs that are offered by IIMs:

Course Description
PGp- Post Graduate Program in Management

The flagship program at IIMs, PGpis equivalent to the MBA degree. It is an intensive two-year program with six trimesters.

PGp encompasses all the essential subjects in management. Additionally, during the second year, students have the option of choosing their preferred subjects from the electives available. After the completion of the Course, students will be awarded the PGDM (Post Master's Degree in Management).

PGDHRM - PGpin Human Resource Management This is the main program that is offered by IIM Ranchi. It is provided by IIM Indore as well as similar courses are also offered to other IIMs.
PGpFABM (Food and Agribusiness Management) Formerly PGP-ABM The IIM-A-sponsored PGP-FABM has a common syllabus as PGP in the initial year. The second and final year in FABM focuses specifically on subjects that are agro-related.
PGPPM - PGpin Public Policy and Management It is administered by IIM-B. PGPPM offers a single-year program designed to educate students on public governance and policy. It also includes an international immersion course lasting two weeks.
PGPBM - PGpin Business Management PGPBM can be found at the IIM Tiruchirappalli. It is a two-year program designed to coach executives to become leaders in the future.
PGPEM - PGpin Enterprise Management Preferred by mid- and senior-level executives, PGPEM is a two-year weekend course offered by IIM Bangalore. It is intended for individuals with at least 4 years of working experience.
PGP-ABM - PGpin Agri-Business Management PGP-ABM is a full-time, two-year program that was extended to two years by IIM Lucknow. It was specifically created to train leaders in the industry of agriculture.
PGP-SM - PGpin Sustainable Management PGP-SM is a full-time, two-year program provided through IIM Lucknow. It is designed to develop professionals who are knowledgeable about social economic, environmental, and other questions.

ROI of the TopMBA programs

There is no doubt that MBA is among the most expensive programs in India and around the world. But, when you consider its ROI in terms of job opportunities and the hefty compensation packages for placement it makes it worthwhile. IIMs as well as other top-ranked B-schools are renowned for their impressive return on investment. Check out this amazing information about the ROI of the most prestigious MBA programs in India:

·In 2021 130 companies participated in the placement process that was held at IIMIIM Ahmedabad.

·Executive MBAs from IIM-A the average wage is 30 Lakh per year.

·For IIM-A PGP/MBA graduates, the average wage is higher than 27 lakh rupees Lakh per year.

·TopMNCs like Goldman Sachs, Jp Morgan, McKinsey & Co., Blackstone Group, and Strategy hire management students at IIM Ahmedabad.

·The IIM Bangalore campus is home to IIM Bangalore, there are hundreds of offers from the best Multinational Companies and a constant rise in the total amount of jobs available when compared to the prior years.

·The median salary for MBA graduates of IIM Lucknow is Rs 26 Lakh per year. the median is 23.5 Lakh.

·In IIM Kolkata, the average pay for MBA graduates is 28 Lakh The median is 27 Lakh. The highest 10 percent of MBA graduates from IIM Kolkata receive astounding packages in the amount of an average of about Rs 54 Lakh per annum.

·The majority IIMs' average salary for placement is Rs. 20-26 LPA. Other B-schools that share similar statistics are FMS, MDI, SPJIMR, and others.

The data above suggests that students from these topIIMs can benefit in many ways. Being recruited by top multinational corporations to fill a variety of managerial positions will boost their education and boost their professional horizons.

Preparation Tips for CAT

Typically, candidates begin preparing at least six months prior to the test. It is recommended to begin with studying the syllabus and gaining a conceptual understanding of important topics prior to preparation for mock tests for CAT as well as the previous year's exams. Below are some of the most renowned strategies and tips to include in your CAT pre-plan:

·Note down important formulae and shortcuts that you can use for final-minute changes.

·Make it a habit to regularly study books, newspapers magazines, newspapers, etc.

·Note down notes or use flashcards to learn new words you are learning each day. If you set a goal to make use of them when you communicate with others, you'll have the ability to build a solid vocabulary.

·Take sectional and topic-wise tests on a regular basis. In addition, track your progress in speed and precision over time.

·Determine your weak and powerful areas, and then plan your strategy to focus on the weaker.

·When you're done with the required subjects, you can begin practicing the full-length mock test and then analyze your test results.

·It is possible to alter your test-taking method after you have tested it through mock tests. Be aware there are different ways to approach the test best for different types of candidates.

·Make sure to take frequent breaks during your studying routine. It can help you stay focused and motivated.

Finally, you should keep a clear routine for your day as well as a month-long plan for the CAT exam preparation. Consistency, along with a clever test strategy, can help you pass the CAT exam with a high score.

Best Books for CAT

There are a variety of CAT books that are available in offline and online formats. After careful review, our team of experts has selected the most trustworthy and most effective books for CAT preparation. This is the book list for CAT preparation for you to refer to:

• Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT by Arun Sharma

• Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT by Nishit K. Sinha

• Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension by Ajay Singh

• Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT by Arun Sharma and Meenakshi Upadhyay

• Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for the CAT by Nishit K. Sinha

• How do you get ready for data interpretation in the CAT written by Arun Sharma

• How to Prepare for Logical Reasoning for CAT by Arun Sharma

• Other than the books mentioned above suggestions, it is suggested to begin by reading books that include:

• Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis

• Barron's Pocket Guide to Vocabulary

• Puzzles to Puzzle You by Shakuntala Devi

• Quantitative Aptitude by R.S. Aggarwal

Important: Make sure you buy the most current edition of these books.

FAQs Regarding CAT

who is eligible to take the Exam CAT?

Candidates who have a bachelor's degree or equivalent from a recognized institution are eligible to be eligible for the CAT. Additionally, they must attain a minimum of 50% marks or equivalent CGPA in their bachelor's degrees. Candidates who are in the last year of their degree are eligible to take the CAT exam, however, they have to satisfy the remaining requirements prior to being admitted.

What are CAT exams used to test?

The CAT test is an entrance requirement for admission to MBA/PGDM/equivalent courses at B-schools as well as management institutes.

Does the CAT test intended meant for MBA?

It is an obligatory test for those who are seeking admission to MBA programs for the majority of B-schools located in India. Some B-schools will accept other entrance tests similar to the scores as well.

Do you think the CAT test is hard?

The CAT exam is not an exam for competitive purposes, but it is also a complex exam with regard to questions. But, if you remain focused and adhere to a strict approach to preparation, you'll be able to pass the test very well.

Is there a fee to register for the CAT?

CAT fee is Rs. 2300 per student for the general category, and for reserved category students, Rs. 1150 for reserved category students.

What is the fee for raising objections to the answer key to CAT?

You must pay at least Rs. 1200 for each question, when contesting answers to the key.

How long are scores of CAT valid?

The CAT score generally is valid for a year, with the exception of institutions that offer deferred admissions, considering the background of the applicant.

Do you have any age limits for being a CAT participant?

No age requirement to take CAT.

What is the maximum number of times I can sit the CAT test?

It is no limit to the number of times you can attempt the CAT.

Do I have to appear in several slots on the CAT?

You aren't allowed to show up for multiple slots in the Cat session.

Can I choose the shift in my exam that I want?

The CAT takes place in three shifts over the same day. However, the shift/slot is determined by the authorities only.

What's a good percentage or score on the CAT test?

In the beginning, all of the IIMs had candidates shortlisted in the 95-99 percentile. In the past few years, the most prestigious ones such as IIM-A have begun to use profile-based shortlisting and have established their CAT cut-offs to 80 percentiles. But, it's best to set a goal for i.e. 95 percentile or above, if you intend to be able to attend more B-schools.

Which questions must I ask to score 99+ percentile on CAT?

It is more of an exercise in tactical skill as opposed to time management. Experts advise that you have to answer at least 75% of the questions with high accuracy in order to score 99% or higher.

Is there a sectional qualifying score for CAT?

The majority of B-schools differ with respect to their CAT cut-offs overall Cut-offs for CAT as well as their sectional cut-offs. However, the best institutions like IIMs generally have their sectional cut-off criteria between 70 and 90 percentiles.

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