The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), which are the most prestigious management schools across the world, conduct the computer-based, national-level Common Admission Test. The CAT is part of the admission process of the participating management institutes to induce students into their various post-graduate level management programs, both at diploma and degree levels.
Along with the CAT, the management aspirants have to also attend Personal Interviews and Group Discussions as part of the selection process.
On a rotational basis, the IIMs conduct the CAT every year. Also, since the year 2014, the Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has been administering the CAT.
During the year 2009, the CAT started being carried out as a computer-based exam. Before the year 2009, CAT was a written exam and conducted on one day for all candidates. Over the years, the CAT pattern, duration, and number of questions have been ever-changing to suit the different times.
Some IIMs that offer post-graduate programs in Management are IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Lucknow, IIM Nagpur, IIM Visakhapatnam, IIM Calcutta, IIM Jammu, and IIM Bangalore – to list a few.
In addition to the premier IIMs, some other renowned management schools also admit pupils on the basis of their CAT scores into their various programs.
CAT Exam Highlights
|Exam Name||Common Admission Test|
|Short Exam Name||CAT|
|Exam Frequency||Once a year|
|Exam Duration||120 minutes|
|Number of Test Takers||2.44 lakh (In 2019)|
|Conducting Body||IIM Indore|
|Helpline Number||1-800-209-0830 (Toll Free)|
CAT: Eligibility Criteria
To be eligible for appearing for the CAT, the applicant is required to acquire a bachelor’s degree from any recognized educational board. Also, the minimum marks that candidates applying via the general category have to score in their graduation exam are pegged at 50% marks. However, in cases of SC and ST classes, the candidates have to score at least 45% marks.
An important point to note is that the eligibility criteria differ from institute to institute and course to course. So, the candidate must read the varied eligibility criteria of the different institutes to check if they are eligible to apply for admissions beforehand.
CAT: Exam Syllabus
The CAT has no specified syllabus and is structured to gauge the candidate’s capability and interest to pursue their desired field.
The CAT exam contains questions on a range of subjects: Quantitative Aptitude (QA), Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), and Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR).
CAT: Exam Pattern
The CAT contains three sections and runs for 180 minutes. For each section, the candidates have one hour to answer the given questions. After the candidate spends one hour on one section, the system automatically directs them to the next section. Plus, the candidates cannot move through sections while answering questions on a specific section.
CAT: How to Apply?
To apply for CAT, the candidates must browse the official website, www.iimcat.ac.in, and read the given instructions. Thereafter, they must follow the guidelines to apply for CAT.
CAT: Exam Fees
As part of the CAT application process, the aspirant has to pay the applicable exam fee as well. The CAT exam fees vary for the general category candidates and SC/ST ones, so they must make payment accordingly and as per the accepted payment modes. Moreover, the applicants have to submit their applications and exam fees before the stipulated deadline or else their applications will not be considered.
CAT: Exam Dates
Generally, the CAT is conducted in the months of November/December each year.
CAT: Admission Process
The different steps in the admission process of the topmost management schools are listed below.
- The candidate’s CAT scores are the main criterion on which candidates are shortlisted for the second level of the admission process, which includes the General Discussion and Personal Interview rounds.
- The applicant must perform well in each section of CAT because the authorities consider the marks in each section while calculating their exam scores. The candidates are then shortlisted as per their exam score. More so, the CAT scores are used to determine their final marks tally.
- In addition to the candidate’s performance in the CAT, the IIM authorities also assess their academic performance and work experience during the ranking and short-listing process.
- Each IIM has a separate selection process for the GD and PI rounds
- The selected candidates are also mailed letters from the respective IIMs. Each IIM conducts its GD and PI rounds independent of the other IIMs.
- Following the GD and PI rounds, the IIMs make offers to the shortlisted candidates. The final selection of candidates is completed after considering various aspects. These include the applicant’s performance in CAT, the GD and PI rounds, academics, participation in extra-curricular and co-curricular activities, and relevant work experience.
CAT: Test Centres
In India, the CAT is conducted in approximately 13 centers.
CAT: Validity of Scores
CAT scores are applicable at all the IIMs and other participating institutes.
Some non-IIM member national institutes that consider CAT scores for admission into their various programs include IIT Kanpur, National Institute of Technology, Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Petroleum Technology, Faculty of Management Studies, Chitkara Business School, among others.