Common Admission Test

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Common Admission Test
Acronym CAT
Type Computer-based standardized test.
Developer / administrator Jointly conducted by the IIMs. Technical support is provided by TCS.
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 (MBA, etc.) in IIMs and various other Indian universities and colleges.
Year started 1950 (1950)
Duration 3 hours.
Score / grade range 0-300
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.
Languages English
Annual no. of test takers Decrease 173,738 in 2013
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.
Fee 1,700 (US$25) for general category candidates.[1]
850 (US$13) for SC / ST / DA (PWD) category candidates.
Scores / grades used by Various business schools in India.
Website (for CAT 2016)

The Common Admission Test (CAT)[2] 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.[3] Common Admission Test (CAT) 2015 was conducted by the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIM Ahmedabad)[4] on November 29, 2015. IIM Indore[5] held Common Admission Test for the years 2013-14.


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.[6] The first computer based CAT was marred with technical snags.[7] The issue was so serious that it prompted the Government of India to seek a report from the convenor.[8] The trouble was diagnosed as 'Conficker' and 'W32 Nimda', the two viruses that attacked the system display of the test, causing severe slow down.[9] CAT 2015 was conducted by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). CAT 2015 was a 180-minute test 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).[10] As per the official notification, this year CAT 2016 will be conducted by Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) Bangalore.

Exam format[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 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[edit]

Since last two years, the structure of the test has undergone a few changes. CAT is a computer based test which consists of 100 objective type questions.

There are 3 sections in the test:

  • Verbal and Reading Comprehension (VRC)
  • Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DI & LR)
  • Quantitative Ability (QA)

The Quantitative Ability and Verbal& Reading Comprehension sections consist of 34 questions, whereas the Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning section has 32 questions. Along with the objective type questions, there are some non-multiple choice questions in each section. Candidates have to answer in the space provided to them.

The total duration of the test is 180 minutes or 3 hours. However, each section of the test has a time limit of 1 hour each. The test takers cannot switch between the sections and have to attend the test in a particular order. The order of the sections is-

  • VRC
  • DI & LR, and
  • QA

As per the marking scheme, each question carries 3 marks and there is negative marking of 1 mark for each wrong answer. There is no negative marking for the non-multiple choice questions.

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 registration in numbers over the years[edit]

The number of registration in the past years are shown in the following graph:

Number of Registration in CAT over the years[11]
Year Approximate number of Registration

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "CAT 2015". Retrieved 2015-12-09. 
  3. ^ "CAT replaces JMET in IIT, IISc". Deccan Chronicle. 27 August 2011. Archived from the original on 27 August 2011. Retrieved 10 February 2012. 
  4. ^ "Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - IIMA". Retrieved 2015-12-09. 
  5. ^ "IIM Indore - भारतीय प्रबंध संस्थान इंदौर". भारतीय प्रबंध संस्थान इंदौर - IIM Indore. Retrieved 2015-12-09. 
  6. ^ "CAT to go online from this year". Business Line. 1 May 2009. Retrieved 10 February 2012. 
  7. ^ "Snags hit 7,000 candidates at CAT". The Hindu. 1 December 2009. Retrieved 10 February 2012. 
  8. ^ "Govt seeks report from CAT convener on exam disruption". Times of India. 30 November 2009. Retrieved 10 February 2012. 
  9. ^ "IIM-A names two viruses that caused CAT chaos". The Economic Times. 1 December 2009. Retrieved 10 February 2012. 
  10. ^ "CAT 2015" (PDF). 
  11. ^ CAT Registration in Numbers Over The Years

External links[edit]