What is CAT Exam?

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All about CAT

The Common Admission Test, commonly known as CAT, is a computer-based entrance exam for getting admissions into the 20 IIMs and various other reputed B-Schools of the country. CAT exam is conducted every year by the 6 IIMs (Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Lucknow, Kozhikode and Indore) on a rotational basis. CAT 2018 was conducted by IIM Calcutta. The notifications regarding exam date and registration details for CAT 2019 should be released by last week of July. Some of the main details of CAT exam 2019 like what is CAT exam and CAT exam date 2019 are explained below.

The number of applicants in CAT 2018 was 2.41 lakhs.

Apart from the 20 IIMs, CAT is also essential for getting admissions into various other prestigious management colleges across India. Some of the prominent names are Faculty of Management Studies (FMS) Delhi, S.P Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR) Mumbai, Management Development Institute (MDI) Gurgaon, Shailesh J Mehta School of Management (SJMSOM, IIT Mumbai), National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE) Mumbai and several others.

CAT Eligibility

  • The candidate must hold a Bachelor’s Degree, with at least 50% marks or equivalent CGPA [45% in case of the candidates belonging to Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Persons With Disability (PwD) categories], awarded by any University or educational institution
  • Candidates appearing for the final year of Bachelor’s degree/equivalent qualification examination and those who have completed degree requirements and are awaiting results can also apply. However, it may be noted that such candidates, if selected, will be allowed to join the programme provisionally, only if they submit a certificate from the Principal/Registrar of their University/Institution (issued on or before the date as stipulated by the respective IIM) stating that they have completed all the requirements for obtaining the Bachelor’s degree/equivalent qualification on the date of the issue of the certificate.

For further details on Eligibility Criteria, visit the official CAT Website.

 CAT Exam Syllabus

There is no predefined syllabus for the exam. The syllabus primarily consists of middle school topics of Mathematics and English. Additionally, the exam has questions on Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation. Other significant details of the three sections of CAT are:

Quantitative Aptitude (QA): The syllabus for CAT Quantitative Aptitude includes topics from class sixth to tenth such as Algebra, Geometry, Number Systems, Basic Arithmetic, etc.

Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation (LRDI): The data Interpretation Section has questions mostly based on data caselets and graphs. The Logical Reasoning section is very generic and has questions based on Number Puzzles, Seating Arangement, etc.

Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC): This section has 5-6 passages with 23-25 questions in total. Apart from these, there are some grammar-based questions like jumbled sentences, sentence completion, critical reasoning, etc.

CAT Exam Pattern

Number of Questions 100
Total Marks 300
Marking Scheme +3 for correct answers, -1 for incorrect answers
Total Sections 3
Total Time 180 minutes (60 minutes for each Section)
Sectional Details Section 1: VARC (34 questions)

Section 2: LRDI (32 questions)

Section 3: QA (34 questions)


CAT Exam Registration

The registration for takes place online. The application form gets released by the conducting IIM on the official CAT website. For, CAT 2019 registrations are expected to start from second week of August and till the third week of September. A correction window is also opened later. The exam takes place at in the last week of November and the results are declared in the first week of January.

Admission Process

It is to be kept in mind that top 7 IIMs (Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Lucknow, Kozhikode, Indore and Shillong) shortlist candidates for their second stage of selection separately. The selection process has a Written Ability Test (WAT) and a Personal Interview (PI). Apart from the CAT score, IIMs also keep in consideration previous academic records of the candidates, relevant work experience and other similar pieces of information while shortlisting candidates. The parameters of selection vary across IIMs. For more information, one can refer to the admissions policies on respective IIM’s website.

Recommended CAT Books.