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The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) annually administers the Common Admission Test (CAT) to applicants seeking admission to the nation's many management schools. A candidate's aptitude, critical thinking, English language ability, and numeracy skills are assessed in the test. It is divided into three sections: Quantitative Ability (QA), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR), and Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC). The test is computer-based and has a time limit of 60 minutes for each component. It is 180 minutes overall. The test has both multiple choice questions (MCQs) and non-MCQs, and the amount of questions fluctuates from year to year.


Each year, millions of students take the CAT test, which makes them competitive for admission to renowned business schools like IIMs, IITs, FMS, and others. To do extremely well on the test, new applicants must study the curriculum thoroughly and rehearse the previous year's question papers. Furthermore, time management is of the utmost importance given the strict deadlines for every component. In the final analysis, the CAT is a rigorous and competitive entrance test that assesses a candidate's abilities as a manager.


The major criterion for shortlisting candidates is their CAT score. Those who cut move on to the next round of the selection process, which includes written ability tests (WAT), group discussions (GD), and personal interviews (PI). Candidates carefully prepare by consulting study resources, completing practice exams, and perfecting their test-taking techniques to gain admission to their preferred management colleges and start a lucrative career in management. This is because CAT scores are heavily considered.

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Eligibility Criteria

The Common Admission Test (CAT) is one of the most sought-after exams for admission to top business schools in India. The CAT exam conducted annually by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) is known for its high level of difficulty and competitiveness. To appear in the exam, candidates must fulfill certain criteria, which we will discuss in detail below. 

  • Academic Qualification: To qualify for the CAT exam, candidates must have completed their bachelor's degree from a recognized university or institute. Applicants who are in their final year of undergraduate studies can also apply. The degree must be awarded by a recognized university or educational institution. 
  • Minimum points: Applicants must have at least 50% marks or equivalent CGPA in their undergraduate program. The minimum mark for reserved category candidates is 45%. The percentage is calculated based on the standards of the university or edu...

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  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
  • Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
  • Quantitative Ability (QA).
  • General Awareness
  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC): Reading comprehension passages, English language usage and grammar, vocabulary and word usage, and para-jumbles and sentence completion.
  • Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR): Data interpretation from tables, graphs, and charts Logical reasoning based on patterns, arrangements, and puzzles Data sufficiency and data analysis
  • Quantitative Ability (QA): Number systems and arithmetic, algebra (including equations and inequalities), geometry and mensuration, modern mathematics (probability and permutations), time, speed, and distance, as well as ratio, proportion, and variation.
  • General Awareness: Current affairs and news events, business and economic awareness, political and government-related knowledge, as well as social and cultural developments.

Cut Off

Estimated CAT 2023 cutoffs for general candidates admitted to IIMs are between the 95th and 100th percentiles. See the table below for the qualifying IIM cut-offs for CAT 2022 based on the IIM admission requirements for 2023. The deadlines for the upcoming academic session will be revealed later in the year. 



Qualifying CAT cut-offs

IIM Ahmedabad


IIM Bangalore


IIM Calcutta


IIM Lucknow


IIM Indore


IIM Kozhikode


IIM Amritsar


IIM Nagpur


IIM Sambalpur


IIM Trichy


IIM Raipur


IIM Ranchi


IIM Kashipur


IIM Vizag


IIM Udaipur


IIM Bodhgaya


IIM Shillong


IIM Sirmaur


IIM Rohtak


IIM Nagpur


IIM Jammu


Exam Pattern

CAT is an entrance exam conducted by IIMs to select students for their management programs. It is a highly competitive exam and considered one of the most challenging entrance exams globally. The exam pattern has undergone changes over the years and comprises three sections: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning, and Quantitative Ability. The exam is computer-based, and each section has a time limit of 60 minutes, with a total duration of 180 minutes. The exam consists of MCQs and non-MCQs, where the candidates need to enter the answer using a virtual keyboard. The exam is scored out of 300, with each section carrying 100 marks.


The Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension section comprises 34 questions that assess the applicant's English language skills, including grammar, vocabulary, and comprehension. The Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning section consists of 32 questions that evaluate the candidate's ability to interpret data and draw logical conclusions. The Quantitative Aptitude section comprises 34 questions that assess the candidate's mathematical and analytical skills.


How to Prepare

  • "How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for CAT" by Arun Sharma
  • "How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT" by Arun Sharma and Meenakshi Upadhyay
  • "Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for CAT" by Nishit K. Sinha
  • "Word Power Made Easy" by Norman Lewis
  • "Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Examinations" by R.S. Aggarwal
  • "How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CAT" by Arun Sharma
  • "Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT" by Nishit K. Sinha

Admit Card

The Common Admission Test (CAT) is one of the best-known admission tests for admission to management programs offered by reputable B-schools in India. Here are some important details about the CAT admission card:

  • Availability: CAT admission cards are normally issued by the governing authority, the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) a few weeks before the exam date. Candidates can download it from the CAT official website.
  • Download process: To access the CAT admission card, the candidate must log into her CAT official website using her registered CAT user ID and password. Admission tickets are available in PDF format.
  • Important information: The CAT admission card contains important information such as the candidate's name, CAT registration number, photograph, signature, test date and time, test center details, and important instructions.
  • Identification: The candidate must bring a valid photo ID to the test center along with her CAT admission card. Acceptable forms of identification include an Aadhaar card, PAN card, passport, voter ID, or driver's license.
  • Allow card authentication: Candidates should carefully review all details on their CAT admission card, including personal and test center information. In the event of any discrepancies, the CAT Help Desk or the respective IIM must be contacted immediately.
  • Exam day guidelines: The CAT Admissions Card contains instructions and guidelines that candidates must follow on the day of the exam. You must read and understand these instructions for your exam to proceed smoothly.
  • Photo requirements: The CAT admission card contains a scanned photo of the candidate and must be clear and recognizable. We recommend that you carry a passport photo that matches the photo you uploaded during CAT enrollment.
  • Ticket storage location: Candidates are encouraged to keep their CAT admissions card after the exam as it may be required during the selection process and for future reference.
  • Print your ticket: You must bring a printed copy of your CAT exam card to the test center. Digital or electronic versions will not be accepted.
  • Verification of the admit card at the test center: On the day of the exam, the test center proctor will check your exam card to verify your identity. Candidates should cooperate by presenting their admission cards for verification.

It is important that Candidates regularly check the official CAT website for updates and notices regarding the registration card and carefully follow the instructions provided on the registration card. 

Seat Allotment

After the results are released, the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) handle the seat distribution for the CAT test. Candidates who pass the exam's cutoff are eligible for seat allocation. The CAT exam results, the candidate's academic qualifications, and their professional history are taken into account for allocating seats.


Candidates are obliged to participate in each round of the seat allocation procedure, which is handled in numerous stages. Based on their success in the exam, the IIMs publish a list of shortlisted candidates. These individuals are then invited to move on to the next level of selection, which may involve a personal interview, a group discussion, or a written ability test.


Once the selection process is completed, the IIMs announce the list of candidates who have been allotted seats. The candidates are informed about the seat allotment via email or through the official website. The candidates are required to accept the allotted seat within the stipulated time by paying the admission fee.



What is the eligibility criteria for CAT?

To be eligible for CAT, candidates must have a bachelor's degree with a minimum percentage of marks specified by the respective IIMs. The eligibility criteria may vary for different categories of candidates.

Who can apply for CAT?

Candidates with a bachelor's degree in any discipline from a recognized university or those in the final year of their bachelor's degree program are eligible to apply for CAT.

How many times can I appear for CAT?

There is no limit on the number of attempts for CAT. Candidates can take CAT as many times as they wish.