What is CAT?


CAT( Common Admission Test) is the most prestigious examination for anyone who aspires to pursue a management program from a university of repute in India. Two to three lakh students appear for this examination.

  1. It’s highly competitive like any other examination but is very unique too as it counts on the ability of the student to adapt and solve questions that have never been attempted before.

  2. The percentile score that one gets is even accepted by prestigious universities outside India. This shows how renowned it is and how valuable it’s for anyone to score well in CAT. It tests the candidate on his aptitude.

  3. The score reflects the readiness of an individual to undergo the rigors of a management program. There’s no set pattern to prepare for this examination. A self-assessment goes a long way in clearly defining the approach one should use in kickstarting the preparation for this examination.

There is no limit to how many times someone can appear for CAT. One can apply for this exam as many times as he or she wants. A working professional may also take the CAT. For those with more than five years of experience, there are executive programs available. This also means that there is no age restriction. However, unlike the GRE or GMAT, where the score is valid for 5 years, the score here is only valid for one year. To take this exam, you must be a graduate or in your final year of studies. This is because the courses available are postgraduate programs. A minimum of fifty percent in 10th, 12th, and graduation is required. However, there is a waiver for students from the reserved category who only need to have a minimum of 40 to 45 percent in their 10th, 12th, and graduation to be eligible to sit for this exam.

The majority of the questions have multiple-choice answers. A correct answer earns three points. If you attempt it incorrectly, you will lose one mark. Any question that is not attempted receives a score of zero. There are also some non-MCQ questions. There is no penalty for answering such questions incorrectly. It is worth three points if completed correctly. The examination is divided into three sections. The first section is titled “Vocal Ability and Reading Comprehension.” Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning is the title of the second section. Most students do not take this section seriously, and as a result, they make numerous mistakes. The third section is concerned with quantitative ability. This is the highest-scoring section, and someone with an engineering background can cover a lot of ground in this section. Before the pandemic, there were 100 questions to be answered in three hours. That has changed, with only 72 questions to be answered in two hours.

Common admission test or CAT is an exam held by IIMs every year in November. 100+ MBA Business schools are using the test scores of CAT for their admission process along with IIMs.

Each year, different IIM take over as the organizing body of the CAT. It is organized all over India, and students who want to pursue a career in management apply for the test through online applications.

There are some eligibility criteria for appearing in the exams that are as follows -

  • Candidates must have 50% or more aggregate in their graduation. (45% for the reserved categories)
  • Candidates can be a graduate or in the final year of his/her graduation.

CAT is a computer-based test consisting of three sections that are - Verbal and reading comprehension (VARC), Logical reasoning & data interpretation (LRDI), and Quantitative analysis (QA).

It was a 3-hour test initially consisting of 100 MCQs and Non-MCQs (34+32+34). However, due to the ongoing pandemic, the time limit and number of questions have been reduced to 2-hours and 76, respectively.