CAT Exam Synopsis: Dates, Eligibility, Registration, Pattern, Fees

By Namrata Padhi

The Common Admission Test (CAT) exam is conducted for admission into MBA/PGDM programs in the management schools of India. This exam is the gateway to premium B-schools of the country and every year lakhs of Aspirants try their fate to get admission to more than 5000 seats in all IIMs and hundreds of top MBA colleges including FMS Delhi, JBIMS Mumbai, SPJIMR Mumbai, MDI Gurgaon, IITs, XIMB, IMT, IMI, TAPMI, and others. CAT is conducted in two slots across various cities in India. The candidates who want to pursue management as a part of their career have to qualify in the Common Admission Test (CAT). There are no minimum marks set to qualify as different institutions set their own cut-offs and parameters on which a candidate is to be shortlisted.


Exam Mode Online
Exam Duration 3 Hours
Exam Shifts Morning and Evening
Official Website
Conducting Authority IIMs

CAT Exam Eligibility Criteria:

The candidates need to fulfill the minimum criteria set by the conducting authority to appear the exam.
Educational Qualification

Candidates who have completed graduation in any discipline from any recognized university


A final year student of graduation (i.e. B.A, B.Sc., B.Com, B.Tech, etc) can also apply for it


Age Minimum of 20 years and no upper age limit set
Work Experience Work experience is not mandatory
No of Attempts There is no restriction for the total number of attempts for the exam
Minimum Marks Required

 Aggregate 50% marks or CGPA in his/her bachelor's degree

  [45% in case of Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Persons with Disability (PwD) candidates]                                              


Upcoming CAT 2021 Schedule:

Event Date
CAT 2020 Registration start Date  August 5, 2020 (10.00 am)
CAT 2020 Registration last Date  September 23, 2020 (5.00 pm)
CAT 2020 Form Correction Window Duration September 27 - 29, 2020
 CAT 2020 Admit Card Download October 28 - November 29, 2020
CAT 2020 Exam Date November 29, 2020 (Sunday)
The dates will be updated when it is released on the official website by the conducting authority.
Check how to download admit card here
Also Check exam day guidelines here


CAT Exam Pattern:

1. The test duration of the CAT exam is 180 minutes or 3 hours(240 minutes for PwD Candidates)
2. The exam consists of 3 sections.
3. Sectional jump is not possible as there is a sectional time limit of 60 minutes each section.
4. There are multiple-choice and Subjective type questions.
Sections No of Questions Total Marks
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension 34 102
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning 32 96
Quantitative Ability 34 102
          - 100 300
Read CAT detailed Exam pattern here

CAT Marking Scheme:


1. Each correct answer is awarded +3 marks 
2. For all MCQ type, a wrong answer would result in -1 Mark. There would be NO Negative Mark for a non-MCQ type question.
3. The CAT scorecard displays scaled score/normalized marks out of 300 Marks and not out of raw scores.
4. No marks are deducted for unanswered questions.
Click here to read about scaled scores


CAT Syllabus:

The conducting body does not release the syllabus officially on the website. The syllabus is prepared looking at the past year's exam trends. 
Mathematics or Quantitative Section: Geometry, Mensuration, HCF & LCM, Profit & Loss, Averages, Time-Speed-Distance, Trigonometry, Ratios & Proportion, Algebra, In-equations Quadratic & linear equations, Partnership (Accounts), Surds & Indices, Number system, Arithmetic and Geometric Progression, Inequalities, Work and time, Percentages, Mixtures,Averages
English or Verbal Section: Critical Reasoning, Reading Comprehensions, Vocabulary usage in RC passages, Jumbled Paragraphs. The reading comprehension can be from varied topics such as history, culture, mythology, sociology, psychology, science and technology, literature, current affairs, politics, business, and abstract topics.
Data Interpretation and Analytical Reasoning Section: Tables, Caselets, Pie Charts, Bar Graphs, Line Graphs, Data Sufficiency, Venn Diagrams, Number and Letter Series, Calendars, Cubes, and Clocks, Binary Logic, Logical Sequences, Routes and Networks, Seating Arrangement, Blood Relation


CAT Application Form:

The Application Form is released on the official website and interested candidates can apply for the entrance exam via online mode only. The candidates have to log in to the official website of CAT and apply. 
The candidate should follow the steps mentioned for filling up the application form and make the necessary payment.

CAT Documents Required:

The candidates should have certain documents with them that are required while filling up the application form.
1. Image of scanned photograph(jpg/jpeg format).
2. Image of scanned signature ( jpg/jpeg format).
3. Debit/Credit Card/Net Banking/Paytm wallet details.
CAT  Application Fee:
Rs. 950 for SC, ST and PwD candidates.
Rs. 1900 for all other candidates.
Check  CAT detailed counseling process

CAT Result:

The result of the CAT is declared on the official website on the due date i.e on the first week of January. After declaration, the candidates will be able to check their result by visiting the official website, log in with the credentials and download the scorecard. The candidates should also know that the result will not be sent to them via any other medium.
Click here for Scorecard details
Click here for previous years CAT cutoffs
Read about other MBA exams XAT, SNAP, MAT


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