What is CAT?
Common Admission Test or CAT is an online examination conducted by IIM for pursuing MBA in 20 IIMs and about 1200 B-schools in India. This exam, held in the month of November is conducted in two slots- forenoon and afternoon. The question paper has a total of 100 MCQs from three main sections- Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR) and Quantitative Ability (QA). More than 2 lakh candidates appear for CAT each year. In 2019 about 2, 09,926 candidates appeared for the CAT exam held at 156 cities across India. Notification for CAT 2020 will be released in the month of July and registrations will commence from the first week of August.
CAT Eligibility Criteria
- The applicant must possess a bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 50 percent marks or equivalent CGPA ( 45 percent for SC, ST, and PWD/DA category) from a recognized board or university
- The candidate must have completed a professional degree (CA/ CS/ ICWA) with required percentage
- Candidates in their final year of bachelor’s degree/equivalent qualification or awaiting results are also eligible to apply for CAT exam 2020
Read more: CAT Eligibility Criteria
CAT 2020: Exam Highlights
|Exam Name||Common Admission Test (CAT)|
|CAT convening body||IIM|
|Exam Frequency||Once a year|
|Exam Duration||180 Minutes|
|Exam Syllabus||(1) Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)|
(2) Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)
(3) Quantitative Ability (QA)
|Exam Pattern||100 questions in MCQ and non-MCQ format|
|Number of Applications Received||2.44 lakh|
|Exam Fees||-General Category: INR 1900|
-Reserved Category: 950
|Exam Purpose||Admission into IIMs, SPJIMR, FMS, MDI, IMT and over 1200 B Schools in India|
|Course Offered||MBA / PGDM|
|No. of Test Cities||156|
|Exam Helpdesk No.||0495-2809219|
CAT 2020 Exam: Important Events and Dates
The answer key for CAT 2019 will be released on November 30th and the result is slated to be declared by January 6, 2020. Note the important dates with reference to CAT 2019 below.
|CAT 2020 Events||CAT 2020 Dates||Main Features|
|CAT 2020 Notification Release||4th Week of July, 2020||CAT 2020 Schedule and related details will be announced by IIM soon.|
|Starting of CAT Exam Registration 2020||1st Week of August, 2020||Opening of Online Registration window,|
Registration process and registration fee will be same as 2019.
|End of registration||4th Week of September 2020||Registration process ends for all applicants|
|Correct of CAT Exam Form||4th Week of September 2020||The new photo and signature can be uploaded. Candidates can not update any other information.|
|Release of CAT Mock Test||2nd Week of October, 2020||The CAT Mock Test will be available in online mode. |
In official mock test, number of questions will be 100 and total time duration be 3 hours
|Release of CAT official Tutorial||2nd Week of October, 2020||A video including the information about exam day guidelines, will be released|
|Release of the CAT Admit Card||3rd Week of October, 2020||The aspirants can download the admit card by visiting the official website of CAT 2020|
|Exam Date of CAT 2020||4th week of November, 2020||CAT exam 2020 will be held in forenoon and afternoon sessions in 156 test centers.|
|Release of CAT answer key||4th week of November, 2020||The answer key can be downloaded from the official website of CAT. If there is any objection, it can be raised.|
|Starting of answer key challenge process||1st week of December 2020||Aspirants can raise objections, INR 1000 to be paid per question|
|End of answer key challenge process||1st week of December 2020||Window for submitting objections will be open till 5:00 PM only.|
|Declaration of CAT Result||1st Week of January 2020||By 9 AM, Scorecards will be released on the official CAT website|
Also read: CAT 2019 Analysis
CAT Cut Offs
The cut-off mark to secure a seat in IIM differs from one IIM to the other and is set category- wise. Though the qualifying cut-offs usually range between 80 and 90 for the general category, the final cut-offs are much higher. The qualifying cut-offs of 2018-19 for different IIMs are mentioned in the table below.
*The above-mentioned percentiles are of General category.
CAT 2020 Selection Procedure
The selection process for admission in IIM is initiated after the results are announced. Each IIM sets a cut off percentile and candidates who meet the criteria are eligible for admission. The following is a brief of the selection process at IIMs and Non- IIMs.
IIM Admission Process
The selection process for all IIMs has the following steps
- Candidates are screened based on the CAT 2019 score
- Written Ability Test/Group Discussion/Personal Interview (WAT/GD/PI)
- The final selection is based on the aggregate score
Non-IIM Admission Process
Other B- schools apart from the IIMs also conduct GD/PI rounds after shortlisting candidates based on their CAT scores. However, certain colleges use only the CAT score for admissions to their MBA programs.
CAT Exam Pattern and Test Structure
CAT question paper has three sections: VARC, DILR and QA of 60 minutes each. There are MCQ and Non- MCQ type questions, both of which are expected to be solved by the candidates. The questions are generally of moderate difficulty level with the QA section being the toughest of the lot. The CAT exam pattern is given in detail below.
CAT question paper pattern and structure
|Number of exam sessions||Two:|
|Number of sections||Three:|
|Duration of exam||-60 Minutes per section|
-Total of 180 Minutes
|Number of Questions||-Total: 100|
(1) VARC: 34
(2) DILR: 32
(3) QA: 34
|Question Paper Language||English|
|Answer choices per question||4|
|Question types||MCQs and Non-MCQs|
|Difficulty level(section-wise)||-VARC: Easy to moderate|
-DILR: Moderate to difficult
|Marking Scheme||-1 correct answer: 3 Marks|
-1 incorrect answer: (-1) 1/3rd of the mark awarded for the right answer
Changes in CAT exam pattern over the years:
CAT exam, earlier conducted offline became an online exam from 2009. From then on, the exam has undergone several changes with regard to test structure, time and the total number of questions. In 2010, a total of 60 questions from three sections- QA, DILR and VARC had to be answered in 150 minutes. Over the years, the exam duration and the number of questions increased to 180 and 100 respectively. From 2011 to 2014, the question paper was divided into two sections only – QA & DI and LR & VARC. However, from 2015, it went back to the previous pattern of three sections.
CAT Mock Test
IIMCAT has released the official CAT mock test which can only be accessed by those who will register for CAT 2020. This test can be attempted by logging on to the IIMCAT website using the login IDs.
In 2019, about 2.44 lakh candidates applied for the CAT exam, which has been the highest since 2010. Last year, the number of applications received was 2.40 lakh.
CAT Test Cities and Exam Centers
CAT exam will be held at various exam centers in 156 cities across India. In the CAT application, candidates can choose up to four preferences for test city allocation, one among which will be allotted based on the availability of seats.
CAT Exam Day Guidelines
The following are the list of documents to be brought to the exam center:
- Admit card: Candidates have to necessarily bring their admit cards for CAT 2019 without which they will not be allowed to take the examination.
- Identity Proof: Along with the admit card, candidates need to bring a valid ID proof such as Aadhaar card, College ID (must be supported with a valid debit/credit card), driving license, voter ID, PAN card, passport, employee ID.
- Name change document: In case a candidate has changed their name, they are required to carry a name change degree document.
The following are the list of items prohibited inside the exam hall.
- Calculator, watch, phone, iPad or any electronic item
- Bags and purses
- Jewelry and accessories that contain metal
- Jackets and clothes with pockets
- Closed footwear
Note: Candidates with a metal implant, pacemaker, etc. in their body have to produce a medical certificate of the same at the Test Centre.
Here’s an overview of the CAT exam day:
Top Colleges Accepting CAT Exam Score
CAT scores are accepted by 20 IIMs and numerous B-schools across the country. The list of top colleges is as follows:
|IIM Calcutta||IIM Ahmedabad|
|IIM Bangalore||IIM Lucknow|
|IIM Kozhikode||IIM Indore|
|IIM Shillong||IIM Rohtak|
|IIM Ranchi||IIM Nagpur|
|IIM Raipur||IIM Udaipur|
|IIM Tiruchirapalli||IIM Visakhapatnam|
|IIM Kashipur||IIM Bodhgaya|
|IIM Amritsar||IIM Sambalpur|
|IIM Jammu||IIM Sirmaur|
IIM Fees- Campus Wise
Given below is the PGP/MBA program fee(in lakhs) for two years at each IIM.
|IIM campus||PGP/MBA seats||*PGP fees (total fee - in INR-Lakhs)|
*The fees have been rounded off to the nearest lakh and may be increased in the next academic year.
FAQs Regarding CAT Exam
A: CAT exam is held once a year. It’s an online exam conducted in two sessions – forenoon (9 am – 12 pm) and afternoon (2 pm – 5 pm).
A: The application fee is Rs 1,900 for General category and Rs 950 for reserved category students.
A: No, there is no restriction on the age limit. Any Graduate or a candidate in the final year of Graduation are eligible to apply for CAT.
A: Scholarships are given to meritorious candidates as well as to those hailing from an economically weaker background.
A: No, you must fulfil the minimum eligibility criteria to appear for the exam.
A: The exam has two slots: forenoon (9 am to 12 pm) and afternoon (2pm to 5 pm) and will be held on Sunday, November 24, 2019.
A: No, your exam can be taken only in one slot which is allotted by the exam authority. Thorough verification of admit cards, photo IDs, candidate photo and biometric records are done to ensure that every candidate attempts the exam in only one slot.
A: Yes, scribe assistance and extra exam hours are provided for PWD candidates.
A: Yes, the extra hour is equally divided among the three sections. The entire exam is for 240 minutes and each section is allotted 80 minutes.
A: You are required to upload a duly filled, self-attested EWS category form which is available on the CAT website.
A: For every correct answer, three marks will be awarded and for each incorrect answer, one mark will be deducted. The total marks for the exam are 300.
A: The CAT exam is conducted only on one day in two shifts. The candidate cannot select their preference for the shift as it is allotted based on availability by the exam authority.
CAT 2019 Contact Information
Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode
IIMK Campus P.O.
Kozhikode 673570 CAT Centre
Phone and email:
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