What is CAT Entrance Exam?

The CAT (Common Admission Test) is an entrance exam conducted in India for admission into postgraduate management programs, such as MBA, PGDM, and other management courses offered by various Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and other B-Schools. The exam is conducted annually by one of the IIMs on a rotational basis.

The CAT exam is a computer-based test that assesses a candidate’s aptitude in quantitative ability, verbal ability, data interpretation, and logical reasoning. It is considered one of the most competitive exams in India for MBA aspirants, and a high CAT score is generally required for admission to top B-Schools in India.

Exam Name CAT (Common Admission Test)
Conducting Body
IIM (Indian Institutes of Management) on a rotational basis
Exam Level
Exam Mode
Computer Based Test
3 (Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning, and Quantitative Ability)
Total Questions
2 Hours
Marking Scheme
+3 marks for correct answer; -1 mark for wrong answer (MCQs); no negative marking for non-MCQs
Exam Fee
Rs. 2,000 for general category; Rs. 1,000 for reserved category
Bachelor's degree with minimum 50% marks (45% for SC/ST/PwD)
Exam Date
Usually in November
Score Validity
1 Year
Accepting Colleges
Over 500 MBA colleges in India, including all 20 IIMs

Selection Process for MBA CAT Entrance

Stage Description
Stage 1: CAT Exam
The first stage is the CAT exam itself, which is conducted in November every year. Candidates who score above the cutoff marks for their chosen institute are shortlisted for the next stage.
Stage 2: Group Discussion (GD) or Written Ability Test (WAT)
The second stage may involve either a Group Discussion (GD) or a Written Ability Test (WAT), depending on the institute. The GD or WAT is conducted to assess the candidate's communication skills, analytical ability, and knowledge of current affairs.
Stage 3: Personal Interview (PI)
The third stage is the Personal Interview (PI), which is conducted by the institute. The PI assesses the candidate's overall personality, communication skills, and suitability for the MBA program.
Final Selection
The final selection is based on the candidate's performance in all three stages, as well as their academic record, work experience, and other factors as specified by the institute.

Exam Paper Pattern

Sections No. of Questions Time Allotted
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
60 Minutes
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
60 Minutes
Quantitative Ability
60 Minutes
180 Minutes

Note: The exam may also include non-MCQ (Multiple Choice Questions) questions in some sections. These may be in the form of Fill in the Blanks, Short Answers, or other formats. Additionally, there may be negative marking for wrong answers (usually 1/3rd of the marks allotted for the question). The exact marking scheme may vary from year to year.

Syllabus for the CAT (Common Admission Test) Exam:

Section Topics
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
Reading Comprehension, Para Jumbles, Sentence Completion, Summary Questions, Sentence Correction, Analogies, Synonyms, Antonyms, Idioms and Phrases, Vocabulary, Grammar
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
Tables, Bar Graphs, Line Charts, Pie Charts, Venn Diagrams, Caselets, Combination of Graphs, Syllogism, Blood Relations, Seating Arrangement, Cubes, Logical Connectives, Propositions, Puzzles, Assumptions, Statements and Conclusions
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
Number Systems, HCF and LCM, Percentages, Profit and Loss, Simple and Compound Interest, Ratio and Proportion, Time and Work, Time, Speed and Distance, Mensuration, Permutation and Combination, Probability, Geometry, Algebra, Trigonometry

List Of Some Of The Top Institutes That Accept CAT Scores

  1. Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs)
  2. Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), University of Delhi
  3. Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi – Department of Management Studies
  4. Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay – Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management
  5. Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur – Vinod Gupta School of Management
  6. Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies (JBIMS), Mumbai
  7. S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR), Mumbai
  8. National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE), Mumbai
  9. Management Development Institute (MDI), Gurgaon
  10. Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar (XIMB)

 Note: This is not an exhaustive list and there may be other colleges and institutes that also accept CAT scores for their MBA programs.

Key Preparation Strategies That Students Should Follow To Clear The MBA CAT Exam

  1. Develop a study plan: Plan your study schedule in a way that covers the entire syllabus and gives equal time to all sections. Make a daily, weekly, and monthly study plan and stick to it.
  2. Focus on basics: Clear your basics and concepts of each topic. It will help you understand the advanced concepts and solve complex problems easily.
  3. Attempt sectional tests: Take sectional tests to analyze your performance in each section. It will help you to improve your weak areas and strengthen your strong areas.
  4. Take mock tests: Attempting mock tests is crucial to get a feel of the actual exam. It will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses and devise a strategy accordingly.
  5. Improve reading speed: Reading speed is crucial to perform well in the Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension section. Improve your reading speed by practicing speed-reading techniques and reading newspapers.
  6. Practice regularly: Practice regularly to gain confidence and speed. The more you practice, the more you will be able to improve your accuracy and efficiency.
  7. Revise regularly: Revise the important topics, formulas, and concepts regularly. It will help you retain the information and perform well in the exam.
  8. Stay calm and focused: During the exam, stay calm and focused. Do not panic and take breaks to relax your mind.
  9. Analyze your performance: After each mock test or sectional test, analyze your performance and identify your mistakes. Work on your mistakes and try not to repeat them.
  10. Seek guidance: If you have any doubts or queries, seek guidance from your mentors, teachers, or peers. Join a coaching institute or attend online classes to get better insights and tips.

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