Common Admission Test
|Type||Computer-based standardized test|
|Developer / administrator||Indian Institutes of Management|
|Knowledge / skills tested||Quantitative Aptitude, Data Interpretation, Data Sufficiency, Verbal Ability, Reading Comprehension, Logical Reasoning, and Analytical Reasoning|
|Purpose||Admission to post-graduate management programs|
|Score / grade range||-100 to 300|
|Score / grade validity||1 year|
|Offered||Once a year (usually in November/December).|
|Countries / regions||354 centres in 99 cities and towns all over India.|
|Annual number of test takers||232,434 in 2016|
|Prerequisites / eligibility criteria||Bachelor's degree (or equivalent) with at least 50 % marks or equivalent GPA (45 % in case of SC, ST, PWD candidates). Final year undergraduate students also eligible|
₹1,800 (US$25) for general category candidates. |
₹900 (US$13) for SC / ST / DA (PWD) category candidates
|Scores / grades used by||Various business schools in India|
The Common Admission Test (CAT) is a computer based test held in India. The test scores a candidate on the bases of Quantitative Ability (QA), Verbal Ability (VA) and Reading Comprehension (RC), Data Interpretation (DI) and Logical Reasoning (LR). The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) started this exam and use the test for selecting students for their business administration programs. The test is conducted every year by one of the IIMs based on a policy of rotation.
In August 2011, it was announced that Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institute of Science (IISc) would also use the CAT scores, instead of the Joint Management Entrance Test (JMET), to select students for their management programmes starting with the 2012-14 batch. Common Admission Test (CAT) 2015 was conducted by the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIM Ahmedabad) on November 29, 2015. IIM Indore held Common Admission Test for the two consecutive years 2013 and 2014.
Before 2009, CAT was a paper based test conducted on a single day for all candidates. The pattern, number of questions and duration have seen considerable variations over the years.
On 1 May 2009, it was announced that CAT would be a Computer Based Test starting from 2009. The American firm Prometric was entrusted with the responsibility of conducting the test from 2009 to 2013. The first computer based CAT was marred with technical snags. The issue was so serious that it prompted the Government of India to seek a report from the convenor. The trouble was diagnosed as 'Conficker' and 'W32 Nimda', the two viruses that attacked the system display of the test, causing server slow down. Since 2014 onward, CAT has been conducted by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). CAT 2015 and CAT 2016 were 180-minute tests consisting of 100 questions (34 from Quantitative Ability (QA), 34 from Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), and 32 from Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR)). As per the official notification, this year CAT 2017 will be conducted by Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Lucknow.
Eligibility for CAT
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The candidate must satisfy the below specified criteria's:
- Hold a bachelor's degree, with no less than 50% or equal CGPA (45% for Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Persons with Disability (PWD)/Differently Able (DA) classification)
- The degree should be granted by any of the universities consolidated by an act of the central or state statutory body in India or other instructive organizations built up by an act of Parliament or pronounced to be considered as a university under Section 3 of the UGC Act, 1956, or possess an equivalent qualification recognized by the Ministry of HRD, Government of India.
- Competitors appearing for the final year of bachelor’s degree/equivalent qualification examination and the individuals who have finished degree prerequisites and are anticipating results can likewise apply. If selected, such applicants will be permitted to join the program temporarily, only if they present a certificate most recent by June 30, 2018 from the principal/registrar of their college/institute (issued at the latest June 30, 2018) expressing that the competitor has finished every one of the prerequisites for acquiring the four year college education/identical capability on the date of the issue of the certificate.
The Common Admission Test (CAT), like virtually all large-scale exams, utilises multiple forms, or versions, of the test. Hence there are two types of scores involved: a raw score and a scaled score.
The raw score is calculated for each section based on the number of questions one answered correctly, incorrectly, or left unattempted. Candidates are given +3 points for each correct answer and -1 point for each incorrect answer. No points are given for questions that are not answered. The raw scores are then adjusted through a process called equating. Equated raw scores are then placed on a common scale or metric to ensure appropriate interpretation of the scores. This process is called scaling.
Test pattern and duration
CAT Exam Pattern is unpredictable and it changes every year. Since last two years, the structure of the test has undergone a few changes. As per the notification released by IIM Lucknow, there is no such change introduced in CAT 2017 Exam Pattern. CAT is a computer-based test which consists of 100 objective type questions. There are 3 sections in the test:
- Verbal and Reading Comprehension (VARC)
- Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DI & LR)
- Quantitative Ability (QA)
The Quantitative Ability and Verbal & Reading Comprehension sections consisted 34 questions each, whereas the Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning section had 32 questions. This distribution of questions was same for CAT 2015 and CAT 2016. Before this, the distribution of questions was different. In CAT 2017, it is expected that a number of questions in each section may vary as compared to the previous year.
For CAT 2017, IIM Lucknow has released some points related to CAT Exam Pattern such as-
- A few questions in each section of CAT may be of non-MCQs type questions (TITA- Type In The Answer).
- Exactly 60 minutes will be allotted for answering each section.
- Each question carries 3 marks and there is negative marking of 1 mark for each wrong answer.
- No negative marking for non-MCQ type questions.
- A virtual calculator (on-screen calculator) will be available throughout for the purpose of calculation.
The test takers cannot switch between the sections and have to attend the test in a particular order. The order of the sections is same for all the applicants-
- DI & LR, and
Four scaled scores will be presented for each candidate: an overall scaled score and three separate scaled scores for each section. As the three sections evaluate distinct sets of knowledge and skills, scores do not correlate across sections. A high score in one section does not guarantee a high score in another section. Percentile rankings are provided for each individual section as well as for the overall exam score.
CAT registrations in numbers over the years
The number of registrations in the past years are shown in the following chart:
|Year||Approximate number of registrations|
- Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE)
- Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)
- Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
- Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 August 2017. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
- "CAT 2015". iimcat.ac.in. Retrieved 2015-12-09.
- "CAT replaces JMET in IIT, IISc". Deccan Chronicle. 27 August 2011. Archived from the original on 27 August 2011. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
- "Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - IIMA". www.iimahd.ernet.in. Retrieved 2015-12-09.
- "IIM Indore - भारतीय प्रबंध संस्थान इंदौर". भारतीय प्रबंध संस्थान इंदौर - IIM Indore. Retrieved 2015-12-09.
- "CAT to go online from this year". Business Line. 1 May 2009. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
- "Snags hit 7,000 candidates at CAT". The Hindu. 1 December 2009. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
- "Govt seeks report from CAT convener on exam disruption". Times of India. 30 November 2009. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
- "IIM-A names two viruses that caused CAT chaos". The Economic Times. 1 December 2009. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
- "CAT 2015" (PDF).
- "CAT Registration 2018". careers360.com. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
- "CAT 2017: About 2.31 lakh candidates register for exam this year". India Today. 26 September 2017. Retrieved 26 September 2017.