CAT exam or the 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.The exam is of a duration of 3 hours, carrying 100 objective type questions, that are divided into three sections: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DI & LR), and Quantitative Ability (QA). Time allotted for each section is 60 minutes each. Candidates will have to attempt the exam in a chronological order, and they cannot switch from one section to another during the exam. Results are announced in the form of Percentile, in a cut-off list. Candidates can check the same, by providing their log in info. Counseling procedure for the paper, starts from the last week of January. After clearing the exam, the Candidates are required to appear for the Written Ability Test (WAT), Group Discussions (GD), Group Activity (GA), Extempore Activities, and the Personal Interview (PI) rounds, to get admission in IIMs, or other Business Schools in India.



CAT is a computer-based exam, judging the candidates across three sections, namely, Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DI & LR), and Quantitative Ability (QA). The total test duration will be 3 hours, with a total of 100 questions, while each section will have 34, 32, and 34 questions, respectively.

Get Detailed Pattern and Procedure for CAT Exam

There will be 3 Sections in CAT 


  • Duration of the examination will be 180 minutes.

  • Some questions in each section (Quantitative Ability, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning and Verbal and Reading Comprehension) may not be of multiple choice type. Instead, direct answers are to be typed on the screen. Also, use of a basic on-screen calculator will be allowed for computation.

  • Candidates will be allotted exactly 60 minutes for answering questions in each section and they cannot switch from one section to another while answering questions in a section.

  • The on-screen timer will mark remaining minutes for the test.

    • The questions will be both in the form of MCQs and Non-MCQs. According to CAT Exam 2017, there shall be 28 Non MCQs and 72 MCQs in the exam. The answers to the Non MCQs will be typed in the given space, on the computer-screens, as they will not have any answer options. The Non MCQs will have no-negative penalty. The candidate is not allowed to leave the examination in between.

  • Three (3) points will be awarded for each correct answer; one (1) point will be deducted for each wrong answer.

  • There is no penalty for questions that are left unanswered.


Eligibility for CAT Exam 

The Candidates wanting to appear for CAT Exam , must fulfil the following Eligibility Criteria:

  • The candidate must hold a Bachelor’s Degree in any discipline, securing a minimum of 50% marks, or equivalent CGPA. The candidates belonging to the categories of Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST), and Differently Abled (DA), need only 45% marks. Even if the candidate has done his/her graduation in the old system of the 2 years graduation, is allowed to appear for CAT, provided that the degree is UGC recognized. Final year Graduation students can also apply for CAT. If selected, these students shall be allowed to join the Programme provisionally, provided, he/she submits a certificate from the Principal/Registrar of the College, stating that the candidate has fulfilled all the requirements of obtaining the Bachelor’s Degree, or equivalent qualification on the date of the issue of the certificate.

  • Alternatively, the candidate must hold a professional degree (CA/CS/ICWA), securing the required percentage.

  • The percentage of marks obtained by the candidate, shall be calculated based on the practice followed by the respective University/Institution.

  • In case of the CGPA/Grading System, the conversion to the percentage of marks, shall be based on the procedure certified by the respective University/Institution, in accordance with the CAT  Eligibility Criteria. In case of the absence of a conversion system, the equivalence will be established by dividing the CGPA by the maximum possible CGPA, and then multiplying the result with 100, as per CAT Eligibility.

  • The candidate must also maintain and declare a valid and unique email ID and a phone number, throughout the selection process.


List of Equivalent Qualifications for Eligibility for CAT:

  • Bachelor's degree in Engineering/Technology (4 years after 10+2/Post B.Sc./Post Diploma) or B.E/B.Tech equivalent examinations, of Professional Societies, recognized by MHRD/UPSC/AICTE (e.g. AMIE by Institution of Engineers- India, AMICE by the Institute of Civil Engineers- India).

  • Any Qualification recognized by Association of Indian Universities, New Delhi, which is equivalent to a Bachelor's Degree, awarded by UGC recognized University/Institutions.

  • Cases not covered above equivalency certificate to be produced by Association of Indian Universities, New Delhi.

Reservations of Seats as per the Government of India:

  • 15% - Seats are reserved for Scheduled Caste (SC)

  • 7.5% - Scheduled Tribe (ST) candidates

  • 27% - Seats are reserved for Other Backward Classes candidates belonging to the non - creamy layer (NC - OBC)

  • 3% - Seats are reserved for Differently Abled (DA) candidates

Steps to Apply for CAT Exam Online

  • The candidate must log on to the official website for CAT : 

  • The candidate shall then register himself/herself with a valid Email ID and Phone Number.

  • The IIMs will then send the Login Credentials to the candidates, through mail or SMS.

  • On receiving the Login credentials, the candidates must log in the Application window and fill up the Online Application Form, which has the following areas to be filled up:

    • Personal Details

    • Contact Details

    • Academic Details

    • Work Experience

    • Selection of IIMs to apply for

    • Selecting the Test Centers and the Interview Cities

  • It is advisable for the candidates to review the Application Form, once it is filled up, and then upload the necessary documents, with the form, which include:

    • A scanned copy of the Candidate’s Photograph, in the jpeg format

    • A scanned copy of the Candidate’s Signature, in the jpeg format (The candidates should make sure that the Photograph and the Signature are clear and appropriate.)​

CAT Application Fee

After the completion of the Application Form, the candidates need to pay the application fee online. On completion of the Application Form, the candidates shall click on the PAY tab, after saving the filled Application Form. The Application Fee has to be settled through Credit Card/Debit Card/Net Banking/ATM-cum-Debit Cards/Cash Card & Wallet.

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