CAT Eligibility Criteria

The Common Admission Test or CAT is conducted for admission to MBA/PGDM programs offered by IIMs and over 1000 other B-schools across India. CAT exam is conducted in November and the application process commences in August.

CAT 2020 notification will be released in July. Candidates interested in appearing for CAT 2020 must start their preparations now. But before starting the preparations, the eligibility criteria of CAT must be verified. Read this article to know all about the CAT eligibility process, including the following:

  • Graduation Marks and Equivalent Degrees
  • Difference between IIM and CAT Eligibility Criteria
  • CAT Reservation Criteria
  • FAQs Related to CAT Eligibility Criteria

CAT Eligibility – Graduation Marks

The basic eligibility criterion for the CAT exam is a Graduation degree with minimum 50 percent marks in aggregate.

Mentioned below is the CAT eligibility criterion for students from different categories:

Students belonging to General and Non-Creamy Layer-Other Backward Groups (NC-OBC):

  • Must hold a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent from a university or educational institution recognized by the Government of India.
  • Must have scored at least 50 percent marks in Graduation (or equivalent) in any stream
  • Must be in their final year of Graduation or awaiting results
  • Professional degree holders like CA/CS/ICWAwith 50 percent marks in aggregate are eligible to apply

Students belonging to scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Person with Benchmark Disability (PWD):

  • Must have 45 percent marks in aggregate in Graduation (or equivalent) in any stream
  • Must be in their final year of Graduation or awaiting result

Professional degree holders like CA/CS/ICWA with 45 percent marks in aggregate are also eligible to apply. 

Also Check CAT 2020 Exam Dates

CAT Eligibility 2020: Equivalent Degrees

  • In case the marking scheme of any candidate’s Bachelor’s degree is in grades or CGPA, the percentage of marks would be calculated on the basis of the practice followed by the respective University/Institution.
  • If any University/institution confirms that they do not follow any scheme for converting CGPA into marks, the equivalent marks can be arrived at by dividing the candidate’s CGPA by the maximum CGPA attainable, and multiplying the value got by 100.

Who is Not Eligible to Apply for CAT?

  • If the candidate does not meet the eligible aggregate of 50 percent in Graduation (45 percent for SC/ST/PWD candidates)
  • Candidates, who do not have either a Bachelor’s degree or any professional degree like CA/CS/ICWA
  • Candidates in any year apart from the final year of their Bachelor’s degree.
  • If the Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) is not recognized by UGC/AICTE/MHRD-Govt

Difference between IIM Eligibility and CAT Eligibility Criteria

However, to appear in CAT exam, one has to fulfil mainly the academic criteria, which is Graduation from a recognized university. But to be able to get admission to the IIMs, one has to meet the CAT cut off percentile

CAT Reservation Criteria

There are no reservation criteria apart from a 5 percent relaxation of marks in Graduation for SC/ST/PDD candidates. However, IIM follows the rules fixed by the Government of India viz reservation criteria for educational institutions.

The table contains the details of percentage of seats reserved for SC, ST and NC-OBC candidates:


CategoriesPercentage of Seats Reserved


Also Check CAT 2020 cut off

What is the meaning of a Person with Benchmark Disability (PWD)?

A person with not less than forty percent (40%) of a specified disability as specified in the Schedule of the RPwD Act 2016 falls under the Person with Benchmark Disability category.

The following list contains the disabilities that come under CAT’s PwD category:

  1. If a candidate is blind and has a low vision
  2. If a candidate is deaf and hard of hearing
  3. If the candidate has muscular dystrophy, Locomotor disability including cerebral palsy, leprosy cured dwarfism or is an acid attack victim.
  4. If the candidate has specific learning disability, intellectual disability, Autism, and mental illness
  5. If the candidate has multiple disabilities mentioned in the clauses (a) to (d)
  6. If the candidate has other ‘specified disabilities’ mentioned in ‘The Schedule’ of the RPwD Act 2016 

Also Check Cat Examination 2020: A Complete Guide

Also read:

CAT Eligibility Criteria FAQ

Q: Is there any age limit to appear in the CAT exam?

A: No there is no limit on the age to apply for CAT exam.

Q: I have completed my Bachelor’s degree, but I have a backlog. Am I eligible to apply for CAT 2020?

A: Yes, you are eligible to apply for CAT provided your Bachelor’s degree aggregate is 50%.

Q: I currently pursuing my CA but I do not have a graduation degree. Am I eligible to apply for CAT 2020?

A: No, you cannot apply as you need to have completed a professional degree like CA/CS/ICWA in the absence of a Graduation degree.

Q: What is the eligibility criterion for scribes for PwD candidates?

A: There are no specific eligibility criteria for scribes. However, he/she needs to submit a scribe affidavit confirming his/her appearance as the scribe for a particular candidate.

Q: I belong to the Reserved category. What are the documents required to be submitted?

A: The Caste Certificate issued by the Government of India must be uploaded at the time of filling CAT application form. The certificate must clearly state the following:
• Name of the caste/tribe
• If the candidate belongs to either Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe
• District and the State/Union Territory of candidate’s residence
• The Government of India schedule under which his/her caste/tribe is approved as Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe.

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