Common Admission Test (CAT)

Common Admission Test (CAT)

CAT exam

Suggested: Read on to discover the list of best books for CAT preparation.


Common Admission Test (CAT) is a national level entrance examination for admission to various post graduate programs in Management in India. The exam is held at various test centers across India usually at the dawn of the year. As per Wikipedia, the exam was started in the year 1950 and since then has been used as admission criteria by IIMs. In 2009, the exam changed its mode from Pen/Paper based to Computer based test. As of 2016, the exam was taken by 0.2 million (approx) students across the country.

Suggested: Read about Management Aptitude Test (MAT) – 2017.

Table of Contents

  1. Conducting Body.
  2. Medium of Test.
  3. Date of Examination.
  4. Eligibility Criteria.
  5. Application Procedure.
  6. Examination Pattern.
  7. Admit Card.
  8. Result.
  9. Admission Procedure at IIMs.
  10. Normalization of Marks.

Who conducts CAT?

The CAT exam is conducted by IIMs, selected based on Round Robin method. CAT 2017 will be conducted by IIM-Lucknow.

Medium of CAT exam

The language medium for CAT exam is always and only ENGLISH.

How do I attempt CAT exam?

The CAT exam is a computer-based test (CBT).

Date of Examination

The CAT exam is usually held at the year-end every year.

In 2017, the exam will be held on 26th November 2017. To accommodate a huge number of test takers, the test is held in 2 sessions – one in the morning and the second in the afternoon. Candidate can choose either of the two sessions as per his requirement.

Eligibility Criteria for CAT

  1. Marks in Graduation/Bachelors: Candidate must have scored at least 50% (45% for SC/ST/PWD) aggregate marks or its equivalent CGPA in graduation studies/Bachelors.
  1. Year of Study: Candidate must either be in the final year of his UG/Bachelor studies or must have completed the same.

In the case of universities/colleges where CGPA is awarded in place percentage of marks, conversion methodology, as recommended by the institute will be followed. However, if the institution doesn’t have such a methodology then, the percentage of marks will be calculated by multiplying the candidate’s CGPA by 10.

Suggested: Read in detail about Integrated Program in Management (IPM) Admissions at IIM Indore.

How to Apply for CAT?

Application Fee

The application fee for CAT exam in 2017 will be Rs. 1700 (Rs 850 for SC/ST/PWD) for General category & NC-OBC students.

This application fee can only be paid via ONLINE mediums such as Debit Card/Credit Card or Net Banking or through Payment Wallets.

Application Form

The application process for CAT exam will begin from 9th August 2017.

Eligible candidates for the CAT exam can apply online through the official website of CAT exam.

The application procedure for CAT exam is completely online and no offline forms are available under any circumstances.

Must Read: Read in detail about CAT 2018

Examination Pattern

The CAT exam is a 3-hour long computer-based test (CBT). The test contains 100 questions of equal weight age, distributed over 3 sections. The sections are as follows:

Section 1: Verbal and Reading Comprehension (34 questions).
Section 2: Data Interpretation and Logical reasoning (32 questions).
Section 3: Quantitative Aptitude (34 questions).

There are two types of questions in CAT exam – MCQs and Non-MCQs. Each correct answer in CAT exam fetches 3 marks while an incorrect MCQ results in the deduction of 1 mark. There is no negative marking in case of wrong Non-MCQs.

The section-wise division of MCQ and Non-MCQs is as follows:

Section Name MCQs Non-MCQs
Verbal and Reading Comprehension (VRC) 24 10
Data Interpretation and Logical reasoning (DI) 24 8
Quantitative Aptitude (QA) 24 10

As per CAT exam rules, candidates have to attempt the test in certain fixed sequence. Also, candidates aren’t supposed to switch sections during the test. Each section must be completed in 1 hour time allotted for the section.

Admit Card

The admit card for the CAT exam is published on CAT exam official website (link) in the 2nd week of October and remains available for download till the exam day.

In the case of CAT 2017, the admit card will be available from 18th Oct 2017.


The score card of CAT exam is published usually in January of next year.

In the case of CAT 2017, the scorecard was published in the 2nd week of January 2018.

Admission Procedure at IIMs

Each candidate’s scorecard is directly sent to IIMs and IITs by the CAT conducting body. Using these scores, IIMs and IITs publish the list of shortlisted candidates on their respective website.

Remember each IIM has a different process of admitting candidates. To know about their admission procedure, please check their respective websites.

Normalization of CAT scores

Due to the fact that CAT is conducted in two different sessions on the exam day, the scores at these two sessions are normalized by the conducting body to create a level playing field.

Apart from the CAT exam scores, the marks scored by candidates in graduation are also normalized. This is done because of the different marking scheme and exam patterns followed by different universities across the country.

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