CAT Exam

Common Admission Test (CAT), conducted by IIMs,  is the MBA entrance exam for admission to 20 Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and other highly ranked and internationally recognized top MBA colleges in India. The CAT 2018 exam date is November 25, 2018. CAT is now conducted as  a computer based test.  More than 2 lakh candidates appear in CAT exam every year.


Application process for the forthcoming CAT exam on November 25, 2018 has been closed on September 26, 2018. The Application fee for the CAT exam has been revised upwards for 2018 to Rs. 1900/-. There is no separate application fee to apply for any of the 20 IIMs. 

CAT exam is considered as the mother of all MBA entrance exams. Common Admission Test (CAT) is the biggest MBA entrance test in India leading to admission to more than 5500 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 also accept CAT score as their key admission criteria.


CAT Exam


CAT Exam Popularity Growing Each Year
Popularity of CAT exam is growing year after year as more and more candidates have been applying for the exam. CAT offers a stiff competition for admission to top MBA colleges accepting CAT exam. Over the years the candidates applying for CAT exam 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. 


Since 2010, the number of CAT applicants has grown from 2.04 lakhs to 2.32 lakhs.

CAT exam year
Total Candidates registered for CAT exam (In lakhs)
2.31 (231, 067)
2.32 (232,434)
2.19 (218,664)

Source: CAT data from IIMs and analysis


Who Conducts CAT Exam?
CAT Exam is conducted every year by one of the top six IIMs. For example IIM Kozhikode conducted CAT in the year 2012; IIM Indore conducted CAT exam in 2013 and 2014; IIM Ahmedabad conducted CAT in 2015; IIM Bangalore conducted CAT in 2016; IIM Lucknow conducted CAT exam in 2017 and IIM Calcutta is conducting CAT 2018 exam on November 25, 2018.


What is the CAT Exam Structure?
CAT is a computer based test of 3 hours duration. IIMs release a guide and mock test one month before the CAT Exam date to apprise the CAT aspirants how to appear in CAT exam and what type of questions they will face in CAT exam.


CAT exam over the past 7 years since it was computerised in 2009 has gone for perceptible changes. Till 2008, CAT Exam was paper-pen based. Now the CAT exam format has changed as computer based test. Since 2015, CAT exam has remained almost similar. Read more


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10 Key Facts about CAT Exam?

  • There are 100 questions in CAT exam
  • Overall Time Limit to attempt CAT is Exam is 3 hours
  • Sectional Time Limit to attempt each section is 1 hour
  • Number of sections in CAT are three
  • CAT exam has 70 to 75 Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) with 1/3 Negative marking
  • Rest other questions in CAT are of Non-MCQ Type without negative marking
  • Marking Scheme in CAT is 3 marks for each correct answer
  • Section-1 is on Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) with 34
  • Section-2 is on Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR) with 32 questions
  • Section-3 is on Quantitative Ability (QA) with 34 questions

When to apply for CAT exam?

CAT Exam notification is released by the IIMs in the last week of July in all the leading news papers. for 2018, IIM Calcutta has released the notification for the CAT exam on July 29, 2018. The candidates who wish to seek MBA admission in one of the IIMs, have to register and apply for the CAT exam. The last date to apply this year for admission to IIMs through CAT exam is September 19, 2018. has also shared the detailed information about the CAT exam and has published it immediately after IIMs released their CAT exam information.


CAT exam application is submitted online and has begun on August 8, 2018. CAT Exam Application Fee is Rs.1900/- for CAT 2018 for General Categpry candidates and Rs.950/- for reserved category candidates Read more about CAT Exam Registration 



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 is prescribed to register and appear in CAT exam

Read More about CAT Exam Eligibility Criteria


When is the next CAT Exam?
Next CAT exam is on Sunday November 25, 2018. You can apply for next CAT exam from August to September on CAT exam website.


How & When to get the Admit Card for CAT exam?
IIMs issue CAT Exam Admit card in the 3rd week of October on the CAT exam website and no hard copy of the CAT exam Admit card is sent to any candidate. For 2018 CAT exam, the Admit Card will be live at IIM-CAT website on October 24. The Admit card for CAT exam will remain available till the CAT exam date. Candidates have to download the Admit Card from IIM-CAT website. The Admit Card is issued after 12 Noon as per the practice adopted by the IIMs.  Read More about CAT Exam Admit Card


Why to Appear in CAT Exam?
CAT is the most sought after MBA entrance exams which attracts the cream of talent in India. The best talent of country aspires for IIMs who shortlist the candidates for final admission round on the basis of high overall and sectional CAT exam scores.


Apart from 20 IIMs, other top MBA colleges who accept CAT exam scores in MBA admission include FMS, SPJIMR, MDI, among others. Read more about Top MBA colleges accepting CAT Exam


CAT Not an Online Exam although Computer Based Test 
IIMs accept that CAT paper pattern is computer based but share that CAT is not an online test. CAT exam, according to IIMs is a digital or Computer Based Test (CBT) and is not an Internet-Based Test (IBT). A candidate will not take the CAT 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.

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 exam also does not require you to attempt all the questions but the need is to maximise your correct attempts and minimise the wrong attempts.


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