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 in November/December).
Countries / regions100+ cities and towns all over India.
Annual number of test takersIncrease 191,660 in CAT 2021
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
Fee2,300 (US$29) for all other candidates.[1]
1,150 (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 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.[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 30, 2020, from the principal/registrar of their college/institute (issued at the latest June 30, 2020) 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 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 merely happens, on a broader perspective there are 100 number of questions combining each section. The very first section which is the verbal ability and reading comprehension contains 34 questions, further bifurcating 24 questions of reading comprehension and 10 questions of verbal ability, then next section is of data interpretation and logical reasoning which contains 32 questions and the last section is of quantitative ability which contains 34 questions making it to 100 questions in total. Which had a variance since 2020 as the paper has got trimmed for the number of questions.

CAT is conducted in two sessions.

Test pattern and duration[edit]

CAT exact exam pattern changes every year. For CAT 2018, a mock test was supplied.[12]

CAT is a computer-based test which consists of 3 sections:

  • Verbal and Reading Comprehension
  • Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning
  • Quantitative Ability

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 since CAT 2015. Before this, the distribution of questions was different.[citation needed]

As per the Previous Papers and the CAT mock tests[13] conducted by mock test world, the Exam Pattern in 2022 will be as below

Section-1: Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)

  • Total questions: 24
  • RC passages: 4-5
  • Share of RC Based Questions: 70%
  • Type of RC Based questions: All MCQs with 1/3 negative marking
  • VA questions: 5-6
  • Type of VA Questions: Non-MCQs without negative marking
  • LOD: Moderate to Very difficult
  • Section Highlights:
  • No Grammar or vocabulary based questions
  • Verbal Ability questions confines to 3 topics – Jumbled paragraph; Para summary; picking the odd sentence out of the jumbled sentences

Section-2: Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)

  • Total questions: 20
  • Share of DI questions: 10
  • Share of LR questions: 10
  • Type of Questions: MCQs: 75%; Non-MCQs: 25%
  • LoD: Moderate to difficult
  • Section Highlights:
  • Questions appear in set of 4
  • Time crunch is faced by test takers as questions are more time consuming

Section-3: Quantitative Ability (QA)

  • Total questions: 22
  • Type of Questions: MCQs: 14; Non-MCQs: 8
  • LoD: Moderate to difficult
  • Section Highlights:
  • More questions are on Arithmetic – Percentage, Profit & Loss, Time & speed, Work/days, Compound interest

CAT registrations in numbers over the years[edit]

The number of registrations in the past years are shown in the following chart:[14]

Year No. of candidates


No. of candidates


2005[16] 170,000 155,000
2006 191,000 180,000
2007 250,000Increase 230,000
2008 290,000Increase 276,000
2009 241,000Decrease 230,000
2010 204,000Decrease 185,000
2011 205,000Increase 186,000
2012 214,000Increase 195,000
2013 194,516Decrease 173,714[17]
2014 196,988Increase 170,000[18]
2015 218,664Increase 179,602[19]
2016 232,434Increase 195,679
2017[20] 231,067[21]Decrease 199,632
2018[22] 240,338Increase 209,405
2019 244,169Increase 209,926
2020 227,835Decrease 190,144
2021 229,969Increase 191,660
Note: Data of candidates registered till 2012 are not exact.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Common Admission Test (CAT) 2021 Information Bulletin" (PDF). Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  2. ^ "CAT 2015". Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  3. ^[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". Retrieved 17 September 2021.
  11. ^ "CAT Eligibility - IIM Ahmedabad".
  12. ^ "CAT mock test". Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  13. ^ CAT, Mock Tests. "CAT - Mock Tests". Retrieved 19 September 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  14. ^ "CAT Registration 2022, Start Date, Last Date and How to Apply". 29 March 2017. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  15. ^ "No Change in Percentage of CAT 2021 Test Takers: 1.92 Lakh including 35% Women took CAT 2021". Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  16. ^ "CAT Registration Trends, Facts and Figures over the Years". 10 August 2013. Retrieved 28 July 2022.
  17. ^ "CAT 2013: Even with a blank sheet you can score in 55th percentile-India News , Firstpost". Firstpost. 15 January 2014. Retrieved 28 July 2022.
  18. ^ "CAT 2014 results to be declared on December 27; 1.7 lakh candidates eyeing outcome". The Economic Times. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  19. ^ "CAT 2015: 179602 candidates appeared in the exam; 58,270 comprising girls". Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  20. ^ "CAT 2017: About 2.31 lakh candidates register for exam this year". India Today. 26 September 2017. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  21. ^ "Over 1.99 lakh candidates appear for CAT conducted by IIM-Lucknow". Hindustan Times. 26 November 2017. Retrieved 10 July 2022.
  22. ^ "CAT 2018: Number of test takers touches 2 lakh mark after a decade, 13 per cent skip the test". 29 November 2018. Retrieved 6 July 2022.

External links[edit]