CAT Exam Syllabus: Exam Pattern, Eligibility, Latest News, Results, Admit Card

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What is CAT?

The Common Admission Test (CAT) is a national test that is used to get into management programs at Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and top B-Schools all over the country.

It is India’s most prestigious national-level entrance exam. It lets people get into top management schools. There is no doubt that it is the country’s largest MBA entrance exam. MBA Full form is Masters of Business administration, read a complete guide on MBA here. This Common Admission Test is administered on a rotating basis by the IIMs (Indian Institutes of Management).

 

Features Details
Exam name Common Admission Test (CAT)
Exam level National
Exam frequency Once a year
Exam fees INR 2,200 (General category) and INR 1,100 (Reserved category)
Eligibility Graduation with 50 % aggregate (45 % for SC/ST students)
Number of applications 2.31 lakh (previous year)
Number of test takers 1.92 lakh (previous year)
Exam purpose Admission into IIMs, SPJIMR, FMS, MDI, IMT and over 1,200 B-Schools in India
Course offered MBA/PGDM
CAT syllabus Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)

Quantitative Ability (QA)

CAT pattern Computer Based Test (CBT) with MCQs and non-MCQs
No. of test cities 156 (previous year)
Exam website https://iimcat.ac.in
Exam helpdesk no. 1-800-210-1088 (Toll Free)
Duration of Exam 2 hours (120 minutes)
Number of Sections 3 Sections:Quantitative Ability (QA)

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)

Number of Questions 66
Medium of Exam English (Exam is conducted in CBT mode)
Admission 20 IIMs + Various other Institutes
Courses Offered MBA/ PGDM in various streams

CAT Eligibility Criteria

To fill out CAT Application forms, candidates must meet certain eligibility criteria established by the exam’s administrators.

  • Graduation: You must have a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent from a well-known university in any field.
  • Minimum Marks: Applicants must have graduated with at least a 50 percent grade point average. The minimum total score for candidates from the reserved category is 45%. Read Reservation for CAT 2022
  • Age: There is no upper age limit for appearing in CAT 2023.
  • Final Year Students: Students in their last year of school can also apply for the exam, but they will only be admitted if they get at least 50% (or 40% for SC/ST/PwD) after graduation. Also, people who have taken their final exam and are waiting for the results can apply.
  • Professional Degrees: People with degrees in CA, CS, or ICWA can also fill out the CAT application form.
  • Number of Attempts: You can take the CAT test as many times as you want.

Courses offered through CAT

The CAT test is used to get into a number of Post Graduate Programs (PGPs), Doctoral Programs, and Executive Programs at IIMs all over the country. Some institutes even offer Fellowship Programmes in Management (FPM), which is the same as a PhD. 

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List of the courses that are offered by IIMs are as follows:

  • PGP (Post Graduate Program in Management) 
  • PGP- FABM (Food and Agribusiness Management) 
  • PGPEM (PGP in Enterprise Management) 
  • PGPPM (PGP in Public Policy and Management) 
  • EPGP (Executive Post Graduate Program in Management) 
  • PGPSM (PGP in Sustainable Management) 
  • PGPWE (PGP in Management for Working Executive) 
  • PGPBM (PGP in Business Management) 
  • FPM (Fellow Program in Management)

List of IIMS

There are 20 IIMs in the country as a whole. Check out the full list of IIMs, including the state they are situated:

 

Name Of Institute State Located
IIM Ahmedabad Gujarat
IIM Calcutta West Bengal
IIM Bangalore Karnataka
IIM Lucknow Uttar Pradesh
IIM Indore Madhya Pradesh
IIM Kozhikode Kerala
IIM Shillong Meghalaya
IIM Raipur Chhattisgarh
IIM Ranchi Jharkhand
IIM Rohtak Haryana
IIM Kashipur Uttarakhand
IIM Tiruchirappalli Tamil Nadu
IIM Udaipur Rajasthan
IIM Amritsar Punjab
IIM Bodh Gaya Bihar
IIM Nagpur Maharashtra
IIM Sambalpur Odisha
IIM Sirmaur Himachal Pradesh
IIM Visakhapatnam Andhra Pradesh
IIM Jammu Jammu and Kashmir

Reservation Criteria for admission through CAT

15 percent of the seats are reserved for Scheduled Caste (SC) candidates, 7.5 percent for Scheduled Tribe (ST) candidates, 27 percent for Other Backward Classes candidates from the “Non-Creamy” Layer (NC-OBC), up to 10 percent for Economically Weak Sections (EWS) Candidates, and 5 percent for Persons with Benchmark Disabilities (PwD).

The disability categories are as follows:

  • Blindness and poor eyesight 
  • Deaf and hearing impaired
  • Locomotor impairments like cerebral palsy, autism, dwarfism, etc.
  • Disability with intellect or mental illness

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CAT Exam Pattern

The CAT is a computer-based test that consists of a total of one hundred questions. It includes both multiple-choice (MCQ) and non-MCQ questions. There will be a total of three hours allocated for the exam. 

Candidates must be aware of the duration and format of the examination. CAT 2021 is administered for admission to management programs at IIMs and leading B-schools.

The CAT Exam consists of three sections:

  • Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)
  • Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)
  • Quantitative Ability (QA)

 

Name of Section Number of questions Duration
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC) 24 40 minutes
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR) 20 40minutes
Quantitative Ability (QA) 22 40 minutes
Total 66 questions 2 hours (120 minutes)

 

There are several types of questions asked in the CAT Exam from different sections. The difficulty level of the CAT exam is moderate to difficult, but the VARC section is difficult in all three time slots. DILR and QA sections are comparatively less difficult than VARC. The third QA section is slightly more difficult than those of slots 1.

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Name of Section Number of questions Type of Questions
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC) 34 16 RC questions, 8 VA questions
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR) 32 Two DI sets ( 4 and 6 questions)

Two LR set ( 4 and 6 questions)

Quantitative Ability (QA) 34 Dominated by Arithmetic (11 questions) and Algebra (5 questions)

 

The total marks awarded for all the questions answered correctly are 198.

There are both Multiple Choice Questions(MCQ) and Non-MCQ type questions in the exam.

There are four answer choices in case of Multiple Choice Questions and the exam is conducted in English language.

CAT Marking Scheme

The CAT exam pattern includes the marking scheme, which informs candidates of the total number of points awarded for each correct answer and the number of points deducted for each incorrect response.

  • Three points will be awarded for each correct answer.
  • One mark will be deducted for each incorrect answer.
  • No marks will be deducted for unanswered questions.
  • No marks will be deducted for non-MCQs.

 

Type of Question Marks for Correct answer Marks for wrong answer
MCQ +3 -1
Non-MCQ +3 0

CAT Syllabus

The CAT exam has three sections: Quantitative Aptitude (QA), Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR), and Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension(VARC). Even though the number of questions varies from year to year, the curriculum remains unchanged.

Verbal and Reading Comprehension (VARC):

  • Verbal Ability
  • English Usage or Grammar
  • Close Passage
  • Synonyms Antonyms
  • Facts-inferences-judgments
  • Jumbled Paragraph
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Verbal Reasoning

 

Data Interpretation and Logical reasoning (DILR): 

  • Caselets
  • Blood Relations
  • Calendars
  • Bar Graphs
  • Column Graphs
  • Tables
  • Cubes
  • Clocks
  • Binary Logic
  • Line Charts
  • Combination of two or more types linked to each other
  • Syllogism
  • Venn Diagrams
  • Pie Chart
  • Number and Letter Series
  • Seating Arrangement

 

Quantitative Ability (QA):

  • Algebra
  • Higher Maths
  • Geometry
  • Trigonometry
  • Mensuration
  • Arithmetic

CAT Registration Process

The Indian Institute of Management (IIM), which will administer CAT this year, will open the application window in the third week of September. Candidates must be well-versed in how to fill out the CAT application form without committing errors due to the multiple steps involved in exam registration. Before filling out the CAT form, aspirants must verify that they meet the eligibility requirements outlined by the IIM administering the exam on its official website, iimcat.ac.in.

The CAT application form consists of two sections: Registration and Application. The first section of CAT registration is intended for new candidates, while the second section of the CAT application form is available to candidates who have already completed the first section.

Here is the registration process:

  • Create a unique User ID and Password by registering.
  • Use the generated User ID and Password to access the CAT exam Application form.
  • After entering information and making a payment online, submit the CAT application form 2022 to conclude the registration and application process.

During registration, domestic candidates’ mobile phone number and email address will be verified via an OTP sent to their mobile phone numbers address. To complete the registration process, the User ID and Password will be sent to the registered email address or mobile number once the OTP has been validated.

Documents required for completing the CAT application process

Candidates must have satisfied the CAT eligibility requirements.

It is necessary for students to keep their unique ID and password by providing a valid mobile phone number and email address.

Maintain scanned copies of the following documents and images:

  • Mark sheets for Grade 10
  • Mark Sheet–12th Grade
  • Mark sheet–Bachelor’s Degree/ Diploma
  • Final Year Certificate from the Head of Department or Principal (if in the final year of a bachelor’s degree programme)
  • Experience certificate of any past work experience
  • Certificates applicable for upload (Category/Affidavits).
  • Photograph and signature scanned in passport size.

Before you fill out the CAT application form, you should compile a list of the IIM programmes to which you wish to apply and the preferred interview cities for each.

Prepare payment methods for the CAT application fee, such as debit/credit cards and internet banking.

Steps to fill application form:

By following the step-by-step instructions, candidates can easily and without difficulty register for the CAT.

  • Register on the official IIM CAT 2022 website.
  • Before completing the CAT application form 2022, candidates must visit the official website and enter the following information:
  • Click the ‘register’ tab and enter the following information:
    • Name of the candidate (as it appears on the 10th grade/SSC certificate)
    • Age at birth (DOB)
    • Electronic mail address
    • Mobile number (India based 10 digit number)
  • Then, click “Generate OTP” to receive the OTP on the registered mobile device. Log in to the webpage for CAT 2022 using the OTP.
  • Fill out the Personal Details,other important details, current address of communication, Emergency Contact Details, Upload Documents (in the prescribed format and size), Work Experience, IIM Programmes, and Interview Cities fields on the CAT exam 2022 dashboard.
  • Make an online payment for CAT 2022 registration and print out the completed application for future reference.

CAT Application Fees

CAT application fee is to be paid at the time of form submission. The CAT registration process will remain incomplete until the fee payment.

Candidates in the general category must pay Rs 2,200, whereas candidates in the reserved category must pay Rs 1,100. The CAT registration fee must be paid via debit card, credit card, net banking, BillDesk, PayU, or Paytm.

If you are from UR Category then you should face high cut off marks then others as compared to OBC Category.

Category CAT Application Fee
General Category Rs 2200
SC/ST/PwD Rs 1100

 

CAT Transaction Fees

A certain amount of transaction fees is charged for different modes of payment for the CAT exam.

For Credit Cards (Master/Visa):

1.20 percent of the transaction total, with a minimum charge of Rs 5 is charged on every payment.

For Credit Card (American Express):

2.85 percent of the transaction total, with a minimum charge of Rs 5 is charged on every payment.

For Debit Cards (Master/Visa):

1.20 percent of the transaction total upto the sum of 2000, with a minimum charge of Rs 5 is charged on every payment.

For amounts greater than 2000, 0.90 percent of the transaction total is charged.

Net Banking

In the case of Net Banking a sum of 20 rupees is charged on every transaction.

CAT Exam Test Centres 

The CAT exam is administered at multiple exam centres throughout India. The cities where the CAT will be administered in the coming year will be announced alongside the exam schedule. Candidates will have the option of selecting up to four cities for the CAT test location.

CAT Test Cities
Port Blair Hamirpur Mumbai
Guntur Jammu Nashik
Nellore Bokaro Satara
Vijayawada Dhanbad Palghar
Kakinada Hazaribagh Ulhasnagar
Rajahmundry Jamshedpur Shillong
Visakhapatnam Ranchi Aizawl
Kurnool Belagavi (Belgaum) Kohima
Tirupathi Bengaluru Balasore
Vizianagaram Hubballi(Hubli) Cuttack
Itanagar Mysuru(Mysore) Sambalpur
Dibrugarh Kalaburagi(Gulbarga) Berhampur
Silchar Shivamogga(Shimoga) Dhenkanal
Guwahati Dharwad Bhubaneswar
Tezpur Mangaluru(Mangalore) Rourkela
Jorhat Udupi Puducherry
Aurangabad-Bihar Kannur Pathankot
Darbhanga Ernakulam Ludhiana
Arrah Kollam Amritsar
Muzaffarpur Kottayam Bhatinda
Bhagalpur Kozhikode Patiala
Patna Thrissur Jalandhar
Mohali Trivandrum Sangrur
Chandigarh Bhopal Ajmer
Bhilai Nagar Jabalpur Jaipur
Bilaspur Ujjain Sikar
Raipur Gwalior Alwar
Delhi Sagar Jodhpur
Faridabad Indore Udaipur
Gurugram Satna Bikaner
Ghaziabad Bhopal Kota
New Delhi Jabalpur Madurai
Greater Noida Ujjain Chennai
Noida Gwalior Salem
Meerut Sagar Trichy
Panaji Indore Coimbatore
Ahmedabad Satna Vellore
Mehsana Amravati Tirunelveli
Vadodara Jalgaon Hyderabad
Anand Nagpur Karimnagar
Rajkot Pune Warangal
Gandhinagar Solapur Allahabad
Surat Navi Mumbai Bareilly
Ambala Ahmednagar Kanpur
Hisar Kolhapur Muzaffarnagar
Karnal Nanded Agra
Kurushetra Raigad Gorakhpur
Panipat Thane Lucknow
Rohtak Vasai Varanasi
Shimla Aurangabad Aligarh
Jhansi Moradabad Dehradun
Haldwani Roorkee Asansol
Durgapur Bankura Burdwan
Kolkata Hooghly Kalyani
Siliguri Srinagar

CAT Test Admit Card

The CAT admit card will only be issued to registered candidates. It will be distributed online and be downloadable from the IIM CAT website. The admit card for the CAT exam will be distributed during the fourth week of October. The admit card is a required document that must be brought to the examination site. Given below is the procedure for downloading the CAT admit card:

  • Open the website for IIM CAT.
  • Select “CAT 2022 Admit Card”.
  • Input CAT ID and password.
  • Select the “admit card” tab.
  • Access the CAT 2022 admit card online and save as a PDF.

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CAT Result

The results of CAT will be released during the first week of January. The result will be posted online at the IIM CAT website, where candidates will be able to download their CAT result cumulative scorecard using their login ID and password. Each candidate’s name, registration number, category, photo, sectional score, overall score, sectional percentile, and overall percentile will appear on the result cum scorecard of the CAT.

Candidates should be aware that the CAT result will only be accessible online; no hard copies will be mailed. After the announcement of the CAT results, the IIMs will begin shortlisting candidates for the WAT-PI round based on the CAT cutoff scores for admission to the new batch.

The CAT result 2022 will only be available for download on the IIM CAT website. Using their CAT login credentials, test takers can access their results and scorecards. To view the CAT result 2022, candidates must take the following steps:

  • Go to the official site (iimcat.ac.in).
  • Click on “Download CAT Scorecard”.
  • Enter your CAT 2022 username and password
  • Select the ‘scorecard’ tab.
  • Download the CAT rating sheet.

How to calculate Percentile?

In the CAT, three points are awarded for every correct response and one point is deducted for every incorrect response. No points are deducted for incorrect responses to non-MCQ questions. The calculation of CAT percentiles consists of three steps. Observe below:

  • First, each candidate receives a score for each section based on the number of correct and incorrect attempts, and then the overall score is calculated by adding the scores for each section.
  • These section-specific and total scores (raw scores) are then normalised to produce a scaled CAT score.
  • On the CAT scorecard, the normalised scores are converted to percentiles and displayed.

What is normalization in CAT?

The CAT examination is administered in three sessions, and the difficulty level of each session varies. To ensure fairness in the marking process, CAT officials follow a normalization procedure in which each candidate’s scores are scaled. During the normalization of CAT, the following parameters are considered:

  • Highest marks obtained
  • Lowest marks obtained
  • Mean marks
  • Median marks
  • Top ten percentiles
  • Lowest ten percentiles

The IIMs will invite candidates for the Written Ability Test (WAT), Group Discussion (GD), and Personal Interview (PI) rounds following the release of the CAT 2022 results. Candidates who meet the minimum CAT cutoff for this round will be required to apply for admission on the official websites of the IIMs they selected in their CAT application. The institutes will then shortlist candidates based on their overall and sectional CAT percentiles as well as their academic records.

Three stages comprise the IIM admissions procedure. Below is a concise description of the IIM admissions procedure:

  • Candidates are screened based on their CAT score and academic record.
  • Rounds of Written Ability Test, Group Discussion, and Individual Interview (WAT/GD-PI).
  • Selection of the final candidates.

The final selection of candidates for the MBA/PGP class of 2023-2025 will be based on multiple criteria, including CAT score, academic history, work history, academic diversity, gender diversity, and performance in the WAT/GD-PI.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

1. Is the CAT syllabus the same each year?

Ans: As mentioned previously, the CAT curriculum has remained unchanged for over a decade. The only change that can be considered is the reduction in the number of questions from 100 to 66 over the past two years.

2. What is a good CAT score? 

Ans: For IIMs, nothing below 97-98 percentile is acceptable, whereas for other top MBA schools, 90-95 percentile is acceptable. The majority of CAT test-takers score between 80 and 90 percentile, and hundreds of B-schools accept candidates with scores in this range.

3. Is the CAT valid for two years?

Ans: Validity of the CAT Score Card: The CAT scorecard is only valid for one year. After that, candidates will be required to take the CAT exam in subsequent years for admission to respective institutions. In India, the majority of institutions and universities accept the CAT score for admissions.

4. What is the CAT’s lowest percentile?

Ans: General category CAT cutoffs for top IIMs typically range from 99 to 100 percentile. The CAT exam cutoffs for students in reserved categories are between 95 and 98 percentile. The cutoffs for admission to prestigious MBA programs, including FMS, MDI, SPJIMR, and others, range between 95 and 99 percentile.

5. How many business schools admit students with a CAT score?

Ans: More than 1,200 MBA institutions in India accept the CAT for admission. In addition to IIMs, some of the top B-schools that accept CAT scores are FMS-DU, MDI, SPJIMR, IIT-DoMS, NITIE, GLIM, GIM-Goa, LIBA, Amity, JIMS, etc.