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Common Admission Test

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Common Admission Test
TypeComputer-based standardized test
Developer / administratorIndian Institutes of Management
Knowledge / skills testedQuantitative Aptitude, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning, Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
PurposeAdmission to post-graduate management programs
Duration2 hours
Score / grade rangevaries annually
Score / grade validity1 year
OfferedOnce a year (usually on the last Sunday of November).
Restrictions on attemptsNo restriction
Countries / regions165+ cities and towns all over India.
Annual number of test takersIncrease 2.88 Lakhs (CAT 2023)
Prerequisites / eligibility criteriaBachelor'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
Fee2,400 (US$29) for all other candidates.[1]
1,200 (US$14) for SC/ST/PWD category candidates
Scores / grades used byVarious business schools in India

The Common Admission Test (CAT)[2] is a computer based test for admission in graduate management programs. The test consists of three sections: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning and Quantitative Ability. The exam is taken online over a period of three hours, with one hour per section. In 2020, due to the COVID precautions, The Indian Institutes of Management Indore decided to conduct the CAT Exam in 2 hours with 40 minutes devoted to each section.[3] The Indian Institutes of Management started this exam and use the test for selecting students for their business administration programs (MBA or PGDM). The test is conducted every year by one of the Indian Institutes of Managements 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 2012-15 batch.[4]

Before 2010, 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.[5] The first computer based CAT was marred with technical snags.[6] The issue was so serious that it prompted the Government of India to seek a report from the convenor.[7] The trouble was diagnosed as 'Conficker' and 'W32 Nimda', the two viruses that attacked the system display of the test, causing server slow down.[8] 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, 34 from Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, and 32 from Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning.[9] CAT 2020 onwards, the exam duration has been reduced to two hours, with 40 minutes allotted per section.[10]

Eligibility for CAT[edit]

The candidate must satisfy the below specified criteria:[11]

  1. Hold a bachelor's degree, with not less than 50% or equal CGPA (45% for Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Persons with Disability (PWD)/Differently Able (DA) classification)
  2. 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.
  3. 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 of next year in which the exam is held, from the principal/registrar of their college/institute (issued at the latest 30th June of that year) expressing that the competitor has finished every one of the prerequisites for acquiring four-year or three-year college education/identical capability on the date of the issue of the certificate.

Exam pattern[edit]

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 negative marking for TITA (Type in the Answer) questions . 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'.

The change in the total number of questions and number of questions per section in CAT can vary by year. On the whole, there are 66 number of questions combining each section. The very first section which is the verbal ability and reading comprehension contains 24 questions, further bifurcating 16 questions of reading comprehension and 8 questions of verbal ability, then next section is of data interpretation and logical reasoning which contains 20 questions and the last section is of quantitative ability which contains 22 questions making it to 66 questions in total..

CAT is conducted in three slots/sessions (Morning Slot, Afternoon Slot, Evening Slot)

CAT Pattern and Duration[12][edit]

Three 40-minute sessions will be held to conduct the CAT 2024 exam. A total of 120 minutes will be given. The CAT exam pattern will consist of multiple choice questions (MCQs) and non-multiple-choice questions or TITA {Type In The Answer} questions. The three sections in the exam are as follows:

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

-> 24 questions are asked in VARC out which 8 questions are of VA (Para jumble - 2 TITA questions , Para summary - 2 MCQ questions , Odd one out - 2 TITA questions , Sentence Placement - 2 MCQ questions) 16 questions of RC are asked by 4 passages with 4 questions in each passage (all questions are of MCQ type).

-> 20 questions are asked in DILR , questions are asked in 4 sets with 6-6-4-4 or 5-5-5-5 pattern.

-> 22 questions are asked in QA , 22 independent questions are asked from topics such as Arithmetic , Algebra , Geometry , Number System & Modern Math.

There will be a maximum score of 198 marks and 66 total questions in the CAT exam pattern.

Candidates cannot jump between the three sections while taking the exam. The order of the sections is fixed: VARC -> DILR -> QA.

CAT registrations in numbers over the years[edit]

The number of registrations in the past years are shown in the following chart:[13]

Year No. of candidates


No. of candidates


2005[15] 170,000 155,000
2006 191,000 180,000
2007 250,000 230,000
2008 290,000 276,000
2009 241,000 230,000
2010 204,000 185,000
2011 205,000 186,000
2012 214,000 195,000
2013 194,516 173,714[16]
2014 196,988 170,000[17]
2015 218,664 179,602[18]
2016 232,434 195,679
2017[19] 231,067[20] 199,632
2018[21] 240,338 209,405
2019 244,169 209,926
2020 227,835 190,144
2021 229,969 191,660
2022[22] 255,501 222,184
2023 328,000[23] 288,000

Note: Data of candidates registered till 2012 are approximate.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Common Admission Test (CAT) 2021 Information Bulletin" (PDF). Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  2. ^ "CAT 2015". iimcat.ac.in. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  3. ^ https://cdn.digialm.com//per/g01/pub/756/ASM/WebPortal/17/PDF/CAT_2020_MediaRelease.pdf [bare URL PDF]
  4. ^ "CAT replaces JMET in IIT, IISc". Deccan Chronicle. 27 August 2011. Archived from the original on 27 August 2011. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
  5. ^ "CAT to go online from this year". Business Line. 1 May 2009. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
  6. ^ "Snags hit 7,000 candidates at CAT". The Hindu. 1 December 2009. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
  7. ^ "Govt seeks report from CAT convener on exam disruption". The Times of India. 30 November 2009. Archived from the original on 23 September 2012. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
  8. ^ "IIM-A names two viruses that caused CAT chaos". The Economic Times. 1 December 2009. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
  9. ^ "CAT 2015" (PDF).
  10. ^ "CAT Exam Pattern 2021: Check Here - New Section Wise Pattern and Marking Scheme". www.mbauniverse.com. Retrieved 17 September 2021.
  11. ^ "CAT Eligibility - IIM Ahmedabad".
  12. ^ https://cdn.digialm.com/per/g01/pub/756/EForms/CAT23/CAT_2023_Mock_Test_Navigation_Guide.pdf
  13. ^ "CAT Registration 2022, Start Date, Last Date and How to Apply". bschool.careers360.com. 29 March 2017. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  14. ^ "No Change in Percentage of CAT 2021 Test Takers: 1.92 Lakh including 35% Women took CAT 2021". www.mbauniverse.com. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  15. ^ "CAT Registration Trends, Facts and Figures over the Years". bschool.careers360.com. 10 August 2013. Retrieved 28 July 2022.
  16. ^ "CAT 2013: Even with a blank sheet you can score in 55th percentile". Firstpost. 15 January 2014. Retrieved 28 July 2022.
  17. ^ "CAT 2014 results to be declared on December 27; 1.7 lakh candidates eyeing outcome". The Economic Times. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  18. ^ "CAT 2015: 179602 candidates appeared in the exam; 58,270 comprising girls". www.mbauniverse.com. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  19. ^ "CAT 2017: About 2.31 lakh candidates register for exam this year". India Today. 26 September 2017. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  20. ^ "Over 1.99 lakh candidates appear for CAT conducted by IIM-Lucknow". Hindustan Times. 26 November 2017. Retrieved 10 July 2022.
  21. ^ "CAT 2018: Number of test takers touches 2 lakh mark after a decade, 13 per cent skip the test". bschool.careers360.com. 29 November 2018. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  22. ^ "CAT 2022 Media Release 01 Dec 2022" (PDF). 2 December 2022. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 December 2022. Retrieved 24 December 2022.
  23. ^ https://www.indiatoday.in/education-today/news/story/288-lakh-candidates-appeared-for-cat-2023-whats-next-details-here-2468624-2023-11-28

External links[edit]