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By Sneha Dasgupta

CAT Exam 2021: Dates, Registration, Eligibility, Syllabus, and Exam Pattern

9th June, 2021

CAT Exam

CAT exam, also known as the Common Admission Test is a computer-based common aptitude examination for a 2-year MBA program from 20 IIM colleges and other reputable B-schools in India. The CAT Exam is conducted every year in a rotational pattern. In 2020, it was conducted by IIM Indore, and this year, it shall be conducted by IIM Ahmedabad.

CAT exam details including registration and dates are scheduled to be released by the last week of July. To learn more about the CAT exam, let us guide you through the following sections!

What is CAT Exam?

“What is the use of CAT exam?” you may wonder. The first milestone that an MBA aspirant looks forward to is clearing the CAT exam. The CAT exam is an extremely competitive exam, where only a handful of students get admission into the institute of their dreams!

Conducted by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), the CAT exam is a selection test that serves as an entrance to business administration programs. Every year, 2 lakh candidates appear for this examination, out of which only 5000+ earn their place in one of the prestigious IIMs or top B-schools in India.

Before you appear for the CAT exam, you need to keep some important details in mind. These details are described at length below.

CAT Exam Info

To begin with, you would be required to complete your registration procedure. The registration is a three-step easy process that includes:

  • Registering online
  • Filling up the CAT exam form
  • Paying the CAT exam fees

Following this, you need to pay the CAT exam fee which is INR 2,000 for the general category, and INR 1,000 for the reserved category.

Some particulars of the CAT exam are as follows:

CAT Exam ModeOnline
Exam Date (2021)November (tentative)
Official Websiteiimcat.ac.in
Duration of Exam2 Hours
Sections in the Exama) Quantitative Ability
b) Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
c) Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
Medium of CAT ExamEnglish
Help-desk Contactcathelpdesk@iimcat.ac.in
1800-2090-830

CAT Exam Syllabus

As mentioned above the CAT exam paper is divided into 3 sections:

  • Quantitative Ability
  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
  • Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

A common factor linking these sections, in terms of the syllabus for the CAT exam is that they require a clear understanding of topics included within a school curriculum till Class 12. These topics include lessons from English and Math along with logical reasoning.

While there is no particular CAT exam syllabus, here are some pointers for you to prepare yourself well for the CAT exam:

  • For the Quantitative Ability section, the syllabus primarily includes topics from standard 8-10 algebra, number system, etc.
  • The Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension includes comprehension passages, questions on jumbled sentences, and sentence completion, to test grammar.
  • The Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning section is quite common and draws questions from direction sense, seating arrangement, graphs, case studies, etc.

Preparation is the avenue to success in all walks of life. So, all you have to do is prepare with your heart and mind till you reap the results you look forward to!

CAT Exam Date

Here are some important details you need to remember with regards to the CAT exam date:

Online Registration (Start Date)August 2021 (First week)
Online Registration (Close Date)September 2021 (Last week)
Admit CardMid-October 2021
Exam DateNovember 2021 (Last week)
Result DeclarationJanuary 2022 (Second week)

CAT Exam Eligibility

To appear for the CAT exam, you have to fulfill the following eligibility criteria:

  • Bachelor’s degree: You should hold a Bachelor’s degree from a recognized board with a minimum of 50% marks. For students belonging to a reserved category, the minimum is 45% marks. This is among the most important CAT exam eligibility criteria.
  • The degree must be provided by any of the Universities included by an act of the central or a state legislature in India, or any other educational institutions established by an act of Parliament or are declared to be deemed as a University under Section 3 of the UGC Act, 1956, or hold an equivalent qualification recognized by the MHRD, India.
  • Eligibility for the CAT exam also includes those candidates who are in the final year of their Bachelor’s degree, appearing for their final exams or awaiting the results for the same.

If a candidate is able to meet these CAT exam requirements, they qualify to appear for the exam.

CAT Exam Pattern

The CAT exam paper pattern has been subject to change multiple times. On account of the covid-19 crisis, in 2020 the CAT exam time duration was cut down to 120 mins, from its usual 180 mins, and there were 76 questions instead of 100.

The CAT question paper is divided into three main segments: Quantitative Ability, Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension, and Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning.

For easier understanding of the exam pattern, read below:

Number of sections3
Number of questions100
Total marks300
CAT exam time duration180 mins
Question typeMCQ & Non-MCQs
Marking patterna) Every correct response- awarded 3 marks
b) Negative marking of 1/3 for every wrong MCQ response
c) No negative marking for incorrect non-MCQ answer

CAT Exam Preparation

The CAT exam is one of the most competitive entrance tests. You could miss out on clearing it by the slightest margin.

To ensure that you have a robust preparation, you need a minimum of six months to prepare. So, if you are appearing for it this year, your preparation for CAT exam should have ideally started around May. However, even if it hasn’t, here are some important CAT exam preparation tips that are sure to help you:

  • Over 50% of your preparation for the CAT exam should entail solving CAT mock papers and previous years’ question papers. You need to confront your weak areas and work on them.
  • Refer to important texts for the three different sections in the paper.
  • On the basis of your strength and weaknesses, make a list of topics and address the weak areas.
  • Make good use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Telegram, and YouTube by joining online study groups.
  • Devote an equal amount of time to the three different sections of the paper. Cover a topic from each section every day.

CAT Analysis

To ace this competitive exam, it is very important to understand and analyze the question papers from previous years.

From 2015 to 2018, the exam pattern has remained unchanged. There were 34 questions from the QA section, 32 questions from LR & DI, and 34 questions from VARC.

You may be wondering about the significance of this analysis, so, here are some of its uses:

  • It helps you understand the pattern of the exam. This aids you in applying strategic plans to solve these papers.
  • It helps you understand the level of difficulty. You can figure out which sections are more difficult and tailor your study plan accordingly.
  • It helps you figure out the important topics so that you can identify them and focus on preparing them better.

Also Read: CAT Result | CAT Sample Papers | CAT Previous Year Question Paper

FAQs About CAT Exam

What is CAT Exam full form?

CAT stands for Common Admission Test, which is a computer-based test for admission in a graduate management program.

How to prepare for CAT Exam?

Over 50% of your preparation for CAT should entail solving mock papers. You need to confront your weak areas and work on them. Refer to important texts for the three different sections in the paper. On the basis of your strength and weaknesses, make a list of topics and address the weak areas. Make good use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Telegram, and YouTube by joining online study groups. Devote an equal amount of time to the three different sections of the paper. Cover a topic from each section every day.

How many times is the CAT Exam conducted in a year?

CAT is conducted once a year, usually in the month of November or December.

What is the CAT Exam for?

Also known as the Common Admission Test, CAT is a computer-based common aptitude examination for a 2-year MBA program from 20 IIM colleges and other reputable B-schools in India.

Is the CAT Exam only for an MBA?

CAT is meant for a 2-year MBA program. However, you can also apply for an MBA program on the basis of other management exams like XAT, MAT, CMAT, etc.

By Sneha Dasgupta

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