CAT Exam 2024, Eligibility, Registration, Admit Card, Results, Syllabus

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The CAT exam Expand for (Common Admission Test) is a computer-based MBA entrance test for admissions into the IIMs and several other prestigious B-Schools in the country. CAT exam is conducted every year by the IIMs on a rotational basis and CAT exam 2019 was conducted by IIM Kozhikode and the results were declared on 4th January 2020. CAT exam 2020 was conducted by IIM Indore and the results will be declared in January 2021. The CAT 2021 exam date and the registration details are expected to be released by July last week. Some of the main details of CAT exam 2021, such as what is the CAT exam and CAT exam date 2021 are explained below.

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What is a CAT Exam?

Common Admission Test is the full form of CAT. It is a computer based test held by one of the six designated Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) in rotation. Cat exam for what – IIM and other MBA admissions are through the exam. CAT exam is designed to gauge the quantitative ability, verbal ability and reading comprehension, data interpretation and logical reasoning skills of the candidates who appear for it to try for admissions at the IIMs and other leading BSchools. CAT exam scores are used not just by the IIMs but also by the Indian Institutes of Technology which also offer MBA programmes.


Full name of the examCommon Admission Test
Common NameCAT
IIM conducting CAT 2021Indian Institute of Management Indore
CAT 2021 ConvenorProfessor Harshal Lowalekar, Faculty for Operations Management and Quantitative Techniques
CAT exam 2021 Official
Periodicity of CAT examOnce a year
CAT exam typeComputer based national level exam
CAT 2021 exam dateNovember , 2021
CAT eligibility and ageNo age limit; any graduate with 50% can appear for the CAT exam
CAT exam patternQuestions: 100 Multiple Choice Questions
Duration: 3 hoursMedium: EnglishSections in CAT exam with number of questionsVerbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC) – 34 questionsData Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR) – 32 questionsQuantitative Ability (QA) – 34 questions
Time Limit per section in CAT 20211 hour per section
CAT 2021 application feeRs. 2000 (general category); Rs 1000 (reserved category)
CAT Registration ProcessOnline
Number of CAT Exam Centres376 centres across 156 cities (2019). Students have to choose 6 cities instead of 4.
CAT Participating Institutes and score using institutes20 IIMs, IITs, MDI, FMS, SPJIMR, JBIMS and more than 500 management schools in the country
Admission Process after CAT examSeparate applications to all IIMs and other MBA colleges. However, students do not need to pay a separate application fee for IIM admissions.
CAT Score is valid tillDecember 31, 2022
No of CAT applicants (2019)2,44,169 – 75004 female, 134917 male and 5 transgender candidates
CAT HelplineEmail:

What’s New In CAT 2021

  • There is an increase in CAT application fee 2021. It is Rs 2000 for general category and Rs 1000 for the reserved category In 2019, it was Rs 1900 and Rs 950 respectively
  • In wake of COVID 19, candidates can select 6 exam centres according to the preference as compared to 4 cities last year

CAT 2021 Exam Dates

IIM Indore has announced that CAT 2021 exam date is November. CAT exam dates are mentioned in the table below. Candidates can use the same to keep track of the important CAT exam events and plan their preparation.

CAT Exam Dates & Events

CAT 2021 Event DescriptionEvent Date (Tentative)
CAT Exam Online Registration Start DateAugust 2021 (First week)
CAT Exam Online Registration Close DateSeptember 2021 (Last week)
CAT Admit Card Release DateOctober 2021 (3rd week)
CAT exam DateNovember 2021 (Last week)
CAT Exam Result Declaration2nd Week of January, 2022

What is eligibility for CAT exam?

Applicants appearing for the exam must meet the CAT 2021 eligibility criteria which includes academic qualifications, age and nationality and other parameters as given below

  • Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree from a recognized institute or university (students from all backgrounds like engineering, humanities, science, commerce, arts etc can apply)
  • Candidates who are in the final year of graduation are eligible to apply for CAT exam 2020
  • General and OBC-NC category applicants must have scored at least 50 percent marks in aggregate or equivalent in their graduation. Reserved category candidates must have scored 45 percent in their graduation
  • CAT 2020 exam has no age criteria.

CAT Application Form 2021

IIM Indore has released CAT 2021 application form from August 5. The last date of CAT exam 2021 registration is September . Steps to fill CAT application form are given below:

Step 1 – Generate CAT user id and password

Step 2 – Use CAT 2021 Registration Login and fill details

Step 3 – Upload required documents and images

  • Photograph – 30 mm (width) x 45 mm (height) in JPEG/JPG format in a file not more than 80 KB
  • Signature – 80 mm (width) x 35 mm (height) in JPEG/JPG format in a file not more than 80 KB
  • PwD/ Category certificate if applicable

Step 4 – Pay the CAT exam fee through debit card/ credit card or net banking and submit.

Registration Fee

SC, ST and PwD candidatesRs 1000
All other candidatesRs 2000

Application Form Correction

Mistakes in the application form can be corrected when the CAT application correction window opens after September 16 when the CAT 2021 registration process ends. To make the corrections, they must login and rectify the details and submit them in the CAT exam 2021 registration form. Students should note that not all fields can be corrected.

CAT Application Statistics

YearNo. of RegistrationsNo. of Test Takers

CAT Exam Preparation

How to prepare for CAT 2021? Big question that is asked by most aspirants. However, there is no simple answer or shortcut for CAT preparation. It involves not just knowing CAT exam details but also checking out CAT subjects, books, tips from experts, CAT toppers and constantly solving CAT exam papers. The below table has been compiled keeping all these aspects in mind. Aspirants can use this concrete CAT 2021 preparation plan to ace the exam.

CAT Syllabus – Resources, Books and Materials
A crucial need to ace CAT exam 2021 is having the right CAT preparation material on hand. Now, most of these can be bought or even referred online. These cover the entire CAT syllabus and are a must for every CAT exam aspirant.

CAT Preparation Strategy – 1 Year to Last Minute

It is well known that the CAT exam preparation strategy differs from stage to stage. A one year preparation would need different handling while the monthly preparation would need different strategy. The reason being that as time passes, students may get familiar with the subjects, topics and would need more revision and practice than studying.

What is the best way to prepare for CAT 2021?

Every student has a method of preparation. Each aspirant has his/her own limitations and way of working and studying. This is why CAT preparation strategy matters if one has to crack the exam. The various types of CAT preparation strategies are given below suitable for all types of aspirants appearing for CAT exam.

CAT Preparation Tips – Toppers and Experts

Most toppers who have cracked the CAT exam have some or other other personal experiences, tips that helped in this journey of theirs. Mentors also experts who have coached many such aspirants know strategies to prepare for CAT that help. While the fact is that most have succeeded with a lot of hard work and dedication, one can always see if there is some tip that may help in CAT preparation 2021. Check such experts and toppers just to be motivated, understand some good tips and aim for the best results.

CAT Syllabus

IIMs don’t specify any particular CAT exam syllabus. The CAT 2021 syllabus given below is based on the CAT exam analysis of the past years. Candidates can also download the CAT syllabus pdf to keep it handy during preparation.

Quantitative Ability (QA)Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DI & LR)
Number Systems, LCM & HCF,Synonyms Antonyms (Vocabulary Based)Caselets and Tables
Profit, Loss & Discount, PercentagesGrammar or English UsageBar Graphs and Column Graphs
Speed, Time & Distance, Time & WorkCorrection in SentenceVenn Diagrams
Simple & Compound InterestFill in the blanksLine Charts & Pie Chart
Ratio & Proportion, AveragesReading ComprehensionCombination of two or more types linked to each other
Logarithm, Binomial TheoremVerbal ReasoningNumber and Letter Series
Coordinate Geometry & Mensuration, etc.Jumbled Paragraph and Close PassageCalendars, Cubes and Clocks
Complex Numbers, Quadratic & Linear EquationsMeaning/Usage MatchBinary Logic
Sequences & Series, Surds & Indices,InequalitiesAnalogies and Reverse AnalogiesSeating Arrangement, Syllogism
Probability, Permutation and CombinationSummary QuestionsLogical Matching, Connectives. Sequence
Set Theory, Functions & Geometry,Mixtures & Allegations, TrigonometryFacts Inferences Judgements, etc.Blood Relations, etc

CAT Exam Centres & States

The notification has mentioned that CAT 2020 will be held in 374 exam centres across 156 cities in the country. Candidates must choose six test cities while filling the CAT 2021 registration form. The CAT 2020 test centre allotted will be mentioned on the admit card/hall ticket with complete address details and the location code. The list of states and the number of CAT 2021 test cities are given below

Name of stateNumber of Test Cities
Andhra Pradesh9
Andaman and Nicobar Islands1
Arunachal Pradesh1
Himachal Pradesh1
Jammu and Kashmir
Madhya Pradesh7
Tamil Nadu7
Uttar Pradesh11
West Bengal8

Exam Pattern

There is no change in exam pattern of CAT 2021 as per the official CAT notification. One important factor in CAT 2021 preparation is the knowledge of how the CAT exam paper is like. Every aspirant has to know how many sections, subjects, types of questions, marking scheme etc to crack the exam. Check the CAT 2021 exam pattern detailed in the table below to know this and more.

CAT exam duration3 hours; 60 minutes for each section. Candidates cannot move from one section to the other randomly. They can move to another section after completing one.
Mode of the CAT 2021 examComputer based test
Total number of questions asked and type100 Multiple Choice Questions
CAT exam subjectsQuantitative Ability (QA)Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DI & LR)
Marking Scheme3 marks for every correct answer and – 1 mark for every wrong answer. No negative marking for non-MCQs or TITA (Type In The Answer) questions

CAT Question Papers

One way to cement preparation is to test what a candidate has studied. This is where the previous year question papers of CAT and sample papers as well as mock test play a role. CAT exam question papers of previous years must be solved by the candidates as it will help them to analyse the level of their prepration.

CAT Question Papers with Answer Key

YearDownload Link
CAT 2019 – Slot 1 Question PaperDownload
CAT 2019 – Slot 2 Question PaperDownload
CAT 2018Download
CAT 2017Download

CAT Mock Test 2021

The official mock test of CAT 2021 will be released on October. CAT mock test gives a true picture of the test. While IIMs only give one or two mock tests, candidates can get these on the net from various coaching centres and otherwise too. CAT mock tests should be an integral part of preparation as this allows students to know how exactly to time their answers, navigation between sections and more. The CAT official mock test (2019) can be used in the meantime to understand how the test goes.

IIMs have a separate mock test for PwD candidates. These candidates get twenty minutes extra for each section and need to complete CAT 2020 in four hours or 240 minutes. So the CAT mock test for PwD is released separately along with the regular one. The 2019 official CAT mock test for PwD candidates can be used for practice in the meantime.

CAT Admit Card 2021

It is mandatory for all candidates to carry and show the CAT 2020 admit card at the exam hall while appearing for the exam. CAT admit card 2021 can be downloaded by registered candidates from October 28 after entering their login details. The admit card of CAT 2020 will mention the exact address of the test centre and CAT exam day instructions to be followed . CAT hall ticket must be printed on A4 size paper. Any mistakes or discrepancies in the CAT hall ticket must be rectified by writing an email to the authorities at or calling them on 1800-266-3549.

What to Carry to CAT Exam Centre?

  • Candidates must bring with a valid government identity proof along with the hall ticket
  • A Medical certificate is mandatory if the candidate requires a scribe
  • CAT 2021 dress code specifies that plain pullovers, sweaters, cardigans without pockets are permitted inside the test centre
  • Candidates with a metal implant, pacemaker, etc. in their body must bring the medical certificate to the CAT test centre.

CAT Exam Analysis 2021

Post exam, CAT 2021 exam analysis will be provided for the overall and sectional papers. CAT exam analysis from students who have appeared for the exam will be available. In addition, in depth CAT 2020 exam analysis by experts from the coaching institutes will also be available after the exam concludes. The difficulty levels of the exam and expected cutoffs can be gauged from this analysis.

CAT Candidate Response File 2021

All candidates who have appeared for the exam can download their CAT 2020 response file after it is released by IIMs in the first week of December by entering the CAT login id and password. The response file of CAT 2020 will mention the answers which the candidate gave to a particular question. The details of the unanswered questions will also be given.

CAT Answer Key 2021

IIMs is expected to release the final CAT 2020 answer key in online mode around December 15. The final answer key will contain the correct responses to the questions asked in the test. Candidates can challenge it within a stipulated time with proof in support of their claim. They will be required to pay Rs 1200 per question. The authorities will refund the amount only for all challenges found correct. Candidates can gauge their probable CAT 2020 score.

CAT Result 2021

Candidates can know their qualifying status in the second week of January when the authorities release the CAT 2020 result. To download their CAT 2020 scorecard, aspirants must use their registered CAT ID and password. The scorecard of CAT 2020 will contain sectional and overall scaled scores and percentiles. Candidates must take the print out of the CAT result 2020 and keep it safely till the completion of the admission process. CAT scorecard will be valid for a year.

CAT Normalization Process

Since the CAT exam is conducted in two slots, the equivalence of the papers is ensure through the normalization process adopted by the IIMs. The details of the CAT 2020 normalization process are given on the official website. The CAT normalization process takes adjustment for location and scale differences of score distributions across different forms into account before the normalizing the scores. Achieved CAT scaled scores will be converted into percentiles to shortlist candidates for selection. The overall scaled score is computed by adding scaled scores of the three sections.

CAT Percentile Predictor

Once the exam concludes, candidates are curious to know about the likely percentile which they would score. The CAT 2020 percentile predictor is a tool which can be used by the candidates to know their probable percentile. BY using this tool, candidates will be able to know their overall and sectional score even before the announcement of CAT result. By knowing the percentile well in advance, candidates will get an idea as to which IIMs and other B-schools they can apply to. By judiciously using the CAT percentile predictor, candidates will be able to prepare for the next round of selection.

CAT Cutoff 2021

The minimum qualifying marks which are required by the candidates to be eligible for next round of selection are referred to as the CAT 2020 cutoff. The minimum percentile is generally referred to as the CAT cutoff 2020. Some of the important factors which are taken into account while determining the CAT cutoff 2020 are the overall difficulty level of the entrance exam, the total number of candidates who appeared for the entrance test, the seats that are offered in different programmes.

IIM Calcutta≥ 85≥ 75≥ 70≥ 65≥ 65

CAT 2019 Cutoff for top colleges

B-SchoolExpected Cutoff of CAT
FMS, Delhi98.20 Percentile
DMS, IIT Delhi98+ Percentile
SJMSOM, IIT Bombay99+ Percentile
MDI Gurgaon95+ Percentile
National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE) Mumbai95+ Percentile
DMS, IIT Madras95+ Percentile
XIMB Bhubaneswar90+ Percentile
IMT Ghaziabad90+ Percentile
SPJIMR Mumbai85+ Percentile
TAPMI Manipal85+ Percentile

CAT Selection Procedure 2021

Candidates who clear the entrance exam will have to participate in the selection procedure of CAT 2020 that include shortlisting of candidates by the IIMs for the next round of selection. IIM will comprise Written Ability Test (WAT), Group Discussion (GD) and Personal Interviews (PI). Some of the important components of CAT 2020 selection procedure include academic performance of the candidates at the school and college level, gender, requisite work experience etc. The respective IIMs determine their own cutoff on the basis of which they shortlist the candidates and also allocate weightage to different sections.

CAT Reservation Criteria 2021

All the IIMs and the management institutes follow the reservation criteria that has been laid down by the candidates. The category wise reservation percentage is given below in the table:

Category wise seat reservation

ST (Scheduled Tribe)7.5
PWD (Person with Disability)3.0
OBC-NC (Other Backward Class – Non-Creamy Layer)27
SC (Scheduled Caste)15

CAT Participating Institutes 2020

Candidates must understand that CAT participating institutes are of two types- IIIMs and Non- IIMs. About 115 CAT 2020 participating institutes allow admission to their MBS and postgraduate programmes. Non-IIMs have to apply to the conducting IIM before being declared one of the CAT participating institutes. 20 IIMs and other institutes like 6 IITs, NITs, IISc Bangalore, JNU, IPU, IMT Ghaziabad, MDI Gurgaon, SPJIMR Mumbai to name a few use CAT scores.

IIM Programmes and Admission Criteria

Name of the instituteProgrammes offeredIIM Admission Criteria
Indian Institute of Management AhmedabadPGP, PGP-FABM, ePGPIIM Ahmedabad Admission Criteria 2020-22
Indian Institute of Management AmritsarPGPIIM Amritsar Admission Criteria 2020-22
Indian Institute of Management BangalorePGP, PGPEM, PGPPM, PGPBAIIM Bangalore Admission Criteria 2020-22
Indian Institute of Management Bodh GayaPGPIIM Bodh Gaya Admission Criteria 2020-22
Indian Institute of Management CalcuttaMBAIIM Calcutta Admission Criteria 2020-22
Indian Institute of Management IndorePGP, PGP-HRMIIM Indore Admission Criteria 2020-22
Indian Institute of Management, JammuPGPIIM Jammu Admission Criteria 2020-22
Indian Institute of Management KashipurPGP, EPGPIIM Kashipur Admission Criteria 2020-22
Indian Institute of Management KozhikodePGP, PGP-BL, PGP-F, EPGP (Kochi Campus & IL)IIM Kozhikode Admission Criteria 2020-22
Indian Institute of Management LucknowPGP, PGP-ABM, PGP-SMIIM Lucknow Admission Criteria 2020-22
Indian Institute of Management NagpurPGPIIM Nagpur Admission Criteria 2020-22
Indian Institute of Management RaipurPGPIIM Raipur Admission Criteria 2020-22
Indian Institute of Management RanchiPGP, PGP-HRMIIM Ranchi Admission Criteria 2020-22
Indian Institute of Management RohtakPGP, EPGPXIIM Rohtak Admission Criteria 2020-22
Indian Institute of Management SambalpurMBAIIM Sambalpur Admission Criteria 2020-22
Indian Institute of Management, SirmaurMBAIIM Sirmaur Admission Criteria 2020-22
Indian Institute of Management ShillongPGP, PGPEXIIM Shillong Admission Criteria 2020-22
Indian Institute of Management TrichyPGPM, PGPBM, PGPM-HRIIM Trichy Admission Criteria 2020-22
Indian Institute of Management UdaipurMBAIIM Udaipur Admission Criteria 2020-22
Indian Institute of Management VisakhapatnamPGP, PGPExIIM Visakhapatnam Admission Criteria 2020-22

Contact Details for CAT Exam

Helpline: 1-800-209-0830 (Toll Free) – Monday to Saturday 9 am to 6 pm (excluding National holidays)

For Academic queries like eligibility, category and PwD certificate

CAT Centre
Indian Institute of Management Indore
Prabandh Shikhar,
Rau – Pithampur Road,
Indore- 453556, Madhya Pradesh, India

Phone: +91-731-2439410 – Monday to Friday excluding holidays, from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm


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