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Common Aptitude Test (CAT) Exam-Know everything: Exam dates, Syllabus, Cut-OFFs, Pattern

Common Admission Test (CAT Exam) is an entrance examination to secure admission in the prestigious Indian Institute of Management (IIMs) across the country and many other colleges for Masters in Business Administration (MBA) or Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) courses. It is taken once every year, on the last Sunday of November. 

Go through this article to know more about CAT.

What is CAT? 

Common Admission Test (CAT) is a national level entrance examination which is given by nearly 2 lakh aspirants every year. All the 20 IIMs and other 90+ Business schools consider the score of CAT for their admission process. Each year, one of the top IIMs takes the responsibility of conducting and administering the CAT exam. For example, This year, i.e. in 2022, IIM Bangalore conducted the CAT exam. 

CAT is a computer-based examination with Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) and Type In The Answer (TITA). The MCQs carry +3 for a correct answer and -1 for an incorrect answer. The TITA questions don’t carry any negative marking.

CAT Exam Overview:

CAT website
Exam duration2 hours (3 sections of 40 minutes each)
Exam dateLast Sunday of November month
Conducting bodyAny one of the IIMs
Exam sections3 sections:
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
Quantitative Ability
Question typesMultiple Choice Questions and Type In The Answer (TITA)
Exam modeComputer-based (in a desginated exam center)
Exam centres150 cities approx, all over India
Exam FeesINR 2200 (For general Category), INR 1100 (For reserved category)
Exam resultsFirst week of January (subject to change)

Why should you appear for CAT?

CAT is a gateway to the top management institutes of the country, some of which have an average placement of around 30 lakhs per annum.  Following are a few reasons why you should appear for CAT :

  • CAT syllabus is loosely based on the advanced topics of middle school, i.e class 9 and 10, so you can prepare for it in a short span of 5-6 months.
  • To pursue a career in business: A degree from a top business school in India, such as an IIM, can open up many doors for your career in business. A good score on the CAT exam can significantly increase your chances of getting into one of these prestigious schools.
  • To gain a competitive edge: The CAT exam is highly competitive, and a good score can set you apart from other candidates in the job market. This can be especially beneficial if you are looking to enter a competitive field such as consulting or investment banking.
  • To build your resume: A degree from a top business school can be a valuable addition to your resume, and can help you stand out to potential employers.
  • To gain access to a network of successful professionals: Business schools, especially the IIMs, have strong connections to the business world and can provide you with valuable networking opportunities.
  • Your CAT scores are accepted by various colleges across the country. Here if you score anywhere between 80 to 99 percentile, you stand a chance to get into a decent B-school. 

Important dates related to CAT-23 (tentative)

Online Application startsFirst week of August, 2023
CAT 2023 Exam26th November, 2023 (expected)
CAT 2023 Exam result First week of January 2024 (expected)

CAT 2023 Exam Syllabus

CAT Exam SyllabusTopic Names
Quantitative AptitudeArithmetic, Algebra, Number Systems, Modern Math, Geometry
Data Interpretation and Logical ReasoningPuzzles, Graph and table related sets, Arrangement, Tournaments, Relations, etc
Verbal Ability and Reading ComprehensionReading Comprehension based questions, Para-jumbled, Odd sentences, Fill in the blanks

CAT Exam eligibility:

All the CAT aspirants are required to have at least a Bachelor’s degree of 3 years with an aggregate score of 50% (at least). The students in their final year of bachelor’s degree are also eligible to appear in the CAT exam. Students passed out from a few universities that were offering (previously) a bachelor’s degree of 2 years are also eligible, provided their university is recognised by UGC India. 

CAT Exam pattern:

The CAT exam used to be a 3 hour long exam before 2020. Exam duration has been reduced from three hours to two hours since 2020. 

CAT consists of 3 sections: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning, Quantitative Aptitude. Each section is 40 minutes long. 

Refer the table below to get information on the marking scheme and no of questions in CAT 2022

Exam SectionQuestion numbers
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)MCQs: 19, TITA: 5
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR)MCQs: 15, TITA: 5
Quantitative Ability (QA)MCQs: 14, TITA: 8

Top colleges accepting CAT scores and their cut-offs:

College NameCut-off Percentile (%ile) (approx.)
IIM Ahmedabad99+
IIM Bangalore99+
IIM Calcutta99+
FMS Delhi99+
IIM Lucknow98+
IIM Indore98+
IIM Kozhikode98+
MDI Gurgaon97+
Baby IIMs92+

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