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CAT exam or the Common Admission Test is a computer-based MBA entrance test for admissions into the IIMs and several other prestigious B-Schools in the country. CAT exam is a highly competitive exam and almost a quarter of a million students appear for it every year. Only a handful of the total applicants make it their preferred institute.

For the CAT exam, it is important to note certain details before registration. The important exam details that should be checked are:

  • What is CAT Exam?
  • CAT Exam Date?
  • CAT Exam Eligibility?
  • CAT Exam Pattern?
  • CAT Syllabus?
  • CAT Registration?
  • Eligibility Verification?
  • Admission Process?

What is CAT EXAM?

CAT Exam (Common Admission Test) is a computer-based selection test conducted by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) as a prerequisite for admissions to their business administration programs. Apart from the IIMs, the CAT is also a prerequisite for admissions into numerous other prestigious management colleges across India, which include institutes like S.P Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR), Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), Management Development Institute (Gurgaon), Institute of Management Technology (IMT), Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies (JBIMS), International Management Institute (IMI), National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE) and several others.

CAT 2021

CAT 2021 notification will be released in the last week of July and the CAT registration process will begin in the first week of August. CAT exam will be conducted by IIM Ahmedabad and Prof M P Ram Mohan has been appointed as the CAT convener. CAT exam 2021 will be conducted in online mode at multiple exam centres in 156 cities across India. CAT 2021 result will be announced in the first week of January and IIM shortlisting begins soon after. The CAT 2021 exam is expected to be held on November 28.

CAT Eligibility Criteria

The minimum eligibility criteria for CAT exam is graduation. Read below for more details on CAT eligibility criteria.

  • The candidate must possess a bachelor’s degree with minimum 50 per cent aggregate or equivalent CGPA (45 per cent aggregate for SC, ST and PWD/DA category) from a recognised board or university
  • The candidate must have completed a professional degree (CA/ CS/ ICWA) with required percentage
  • Candidates appearing for the final year of bachelor’s degree/equivalent qualification or awaiting result are also eligible to apply for CAT exam

The pattern of the exam:

The paper pattern for the CAT exam has changed several times in the past. For the last 2 years, the pattern has remained the same with respect to the total marks and no. of sections. A brief detail about the pattern is given.

Total questions


Total marks


Total sections


Total duration

180 mins (3 hrs)

Negative marking

-1 for each wrong attempt

Sectional details

Quantitative Aptitude, Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension, and Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation.


CAT Exam Syllabus

For the CAT exam, there is no predefined syllabus. The syllabus is mainly from the middle school topics of Maths, and English with some generic logical reasoning questions. A few of the details of CAT syllabus are:

  • CAT Quantitative Aptitude: The syllabus for CAT quantitative aptitude mainly includes topics from class 8-10 like geometry, algebra, number system, etc.
  • CAT Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation: The logical reasoning section is very generic and a wide variety of questions based on seating arrangement, direction sense test, etc. are included. The data interpretation section includes questions mostly based on data caselets and graphs.
  • CAT Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension: In this section, comprehension passages are given followed by a few questions. Apart from that, few of the grammar-based questions like sentence completion, jumbled sentences, etc. are asked.

CAT Exam Registration

CAT exam registration is only available online. The application form is released by the conducting IIM on the official CAT website and applicants are required to fill out the details. The CAT 2021 registration is expected to start from August 1st week and will continue till September last week. A correction window will also be available later. It is important for the candidates to be careful while filling in the details as any discrepancies later may result in the cancellation of the complete application.

Eligibility Verification

If an applicant is shortlisted for WAT and PI by any of the IIMs, he/she has to comply with the following eligibility verification:

Marksheets and Degree Certificate:

Shortlisted candidates are required to produce all the original mark sheets and submit attested photocopies in support of their eligibility at the time of their interview. Also, if a candidate is selected for a particular programme, he/she is also required to submit the original degree certificate and marksheets of all semesters/years along with their respective attested copies at the time of joining the programme.

Reservation Category Requirements:

For ST, SC, NC-OBC and DA candidates, if shortlisted, are required to show their original caste/class and/or Disability certificate and submit a copy of the certificate at the time of the interview. Also, a candidate selected for a programme will have to submit the original certificate of qualifying degree and attested copy of the same for verification.

Candidates in the Final Year of Graduation:

Candidates appearing for the final year bachelor’s degree or equivalent qualification examination are required to produce an original certificate from the Principal/Registrar/Director of the University/institution certifying that the candidate has obtained 50% marks or equivalent (45% for the SC, ST, and DA category candidates) based on latest available grades/marks at the time of interview. He/she is also required to submit an attested copy of the original certificate (for category candidates).

For the Post Graduate Programmes of IIMs, if the candidates are selected, they will be allowed to join the programme PROVISIONALLY ONLY if they submit a certificate from the Registrar/Principal of their college/institute mentioning that they have completed all the necessary requirements including appearing for supplementary exams, if any (the results may, however, be awaited) for obtaining the bachelor’s degree/ equivalent qualification on the date of issue of the certificate. Also, one must obtain at least 50% marks or equivalent grade and should submit an attested copy of the graduation marksheets and their qualifying degree certificate.

The deadline for submission of the mark sheet and the certificate is December 31, 2021 (Tentative). IIMs also state that “NON FULFILLMENT OF THIS CONDITION WILL AUTOMATICALLY RESULT IN THE CANCELLATION OF THE PROVISIONAL ADMISSION.” In such cases, provisional admission will also be cancelled if it is found that the certificate is incorrect or has any discrepancies later. IIM does not allow any individual to join any of their programmes in case a candidate fails to complete all the requirements for a bachelor degree on or before June (last week) 2021. After June 2021, the IIMs would allow admissions to any candidate.

Admission Process

It should be noted that individual IIM shortlists candidates for their second stage of selection independently. The selection process includes a Written Ability Test (WAT) and a Personal Interview (PI). The performance of individuals in CAT 2021 exam will be an important component in the overall selection process. IIMs also consider previous academic records of the candidates, relevant work experience and other similar inputs while shortlisting and ranking the candidates at various stages during the admission process. The processes, academic cut-offs and the weights allocated to the evaluation parameters may vary across IIMs. For more information, one may refer to the admissions policies on respective IIM’s website. As the CAT exam is a very competitive exam, it is important that candidates should be well prepared for it.

Lastly we will discuss the benefits of the CAT exam:

CAT is an all India examination for entrance to prestigious IIMs. Other MBA institute use CAT score as well for their admission Criteria. If you score well in CAT ,then it will definitely help you in securing admission in a good B-School. Although it is just a part of admission process, it has a considerable weightage in most admission processes.

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