All about CAT

CAT Exam About

Considered as the mother of all MBA entrance exams, Common Admission Test (CAT) is the biggest MBA entrance test in India leading to admission at more than 5000 seats in all the 20 IIMs including IIM Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Lucknow. Apart from the 20 IIMs, hundreds of top MBA colleges including FMS Delhi, SPJIMR Mumbai, JBIMS Mumbai, MDI Gurgaon, IITs, IMT, IMI, XIMB, TAPMI and others accept CAT score as their key admission criteria.


The exam is conducted by IIMs in the month of November/December and is a yearly exam. Applicants for CAT have grown to more than 2 lakhs during past 3 years and going by the past trends, it is expected that more than 2 lakh candidates will register and apply for Common Admission Test (CAT) 2018 also.


CAT therefore offers a stiff competition for admission to top MBA colleges accepting CAT. Over the years the candidates applying for CAT aptitude test leading to IIM admission have been increasing year after year as the data for past CAT exam released by CAT convening IIM Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Indore, Lucknow and other IIMs reveal this fact.


CAT leads to high RoI MBA programmes

IIM- CAT is the most sought after MBA entrance exam which attracts the cream of talent in India. The best talent of country aspires for IIMs which are highly ranked in imparting management education.


The admission to IIMs is possible only through high scores in CAT MBA exam. Return on investment at IIMs is very high. 2 years fee and other expenses at IIMs come to around Rs.15 to 21 lakhs. Top recruiters from India and the world eye these institutes for their placement season. The offered salary packages go as high as Rs.50 to 70 lakhs per annum to the students of IIMs, FMS. SPJIMR, MDI, among others who offer admission on the basis of CAT scores.


The role of CAT convening body is assigned to one of the top six IIMs namely IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, IIM Calcutta, IIM Lucknow, IIM Indore and IIM Kozhikode. The name of forthcoming CAT 2018 exam convening IIM is to be announced shortly.


CAT structure – Know the recent changes

CAT Exam pattern over the past 7 years since it was computerised in 2009 has gone for perceptible changes. CAT paper pattern prior to 2009 was paper-pen based. CAT exam format was changed from paper based exam to CAT online computer based test in 2009. Even after that CAT paper pattern continued changing from 3 sections to 2 and then in CAT 2015 pattern changed to 3 sections.


Since 2015, CAT exam has remained on similar pattern with the only change that the number of MCQs and Non-MCQs have changed. The basic difference between MCQ and Non-MCQ in CAT exam is that while MCQ attracts 1/3 negative marking, the Non MCQ carries No negative marking

CAT: Not an online test 
Is the CAT online test? Responding to this query, IIMs, although accept that CAT paper pattern is computer based but whether CAT is online test, they say ‘No.’ Regarding the CAT exam pattern, IIMs say “CAT is not an online exam. It is a digital or Computer Based Test (CBT); not an Internet-Based Test (IBT); that is, a candidate will not take the exam on an internet site. Instead of reading the questions in a paper booklet and darkening the ovals on the answer-sheet, a candidate will read the questions on a computer terminal and choose an answer by clicking on the correct option.”
So the CAT exam, despite being a computer based exam, it will not be an online exam. Sharing the key difference and USPs of CAT exam pattern, IIMs further elaborate “In the computer-based format, the candidate reads a question on a computer terminal and clicks on the correct answer. Additionally, the timer on the computer screen tells you the remaining time to complete the current section.”

When to look for CAT Advertisement?

CAT notification is released by the IIMs in the last week of July. With the release of CAT notification by IIMs, shares the detailed information about the CAT exam and will publish it immediately. The CAT Advertisement contains following details:

  • CAT  Exam date
  • CAT exam registration and application fee
  • CAT  registration start and close date
  • CAT  registration and application process
  • CAT  eligibility criteria
  • CAT  exam pattern
  • MBA/PGP programmes in 20 IIMs
  • CAT scoring pattern
  • CAT result date

When to apply for CAT?

CAT registration and application process is online and begins about a week after the CAT notification is out in news papers. CAT 2018 registration fee is expected to be Rs.1900/- as there is an increase of Rs.100/- in CAT registration fee every year. For 2017 CAT registration fee was Rs.1800/- and for 2016, the CAT registration fee was Rs.1700/-


Who can appear in CAT exam?

If you have one or more of following qualifications with you, you can apply and appear in CAT exam

  • Completed Bachelor’s degree with the required percentage of marks, or
  • Completed professional degree (CA/CS/ICWA) with required percentage, or
  • Should be in the final year of Bachelor’s degree with required percentage
  • No Age bar to register and appear in CAT 2018 exam

Getting the CAT Admit Card

  • CAT Admit Card is the mandatory document to appear in the IIMs Common Admission Test (CAT) exam on the CAT exam date.
  • It is issued about a month before the CAT exam date.
  • There are two slots of CAT. A candidate will be allowed to appear in one slot only.
  • Separate CAT Admit card is issued for the designated slot-1 or slot-2 exam.
  • IIMs will issue CAT 2018 Admit card on the CAT website and no hard copy of the CAT Admit card is sent to any candidate.

CAT is Common Admission Test and does not require a specialist or professor in English, Maths or reasoning. CAT exam is to assess how you approach the question and how intelligently solve it in the shortest time. CAT does not require you to attempt all the questions but the need is to maximise your correct attempts and minimise the wrong attempts.


It may be noted that even half of the total questions, if attempted right can fetch you a percentile of 98-99. So prepare accordingly. CAT Preparation does not require you to study round the clock, instead you need to study smartly and with intelligent approach to crack the questions correctly in minimum time to achieve high score.


Experts advise to start preparing for CAT exam as early as possible. It needs around 6-8 months to prepare for CAT and get a good percentile in the exam for admission to highly ranked MBA colleges.

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All about CAT
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