- The Common Admission Test (CAT) is an all-India test conducted by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) as an entrance exam for admission to the Post-graduate and Fellow Programs in management courses of several management institutes all over India including the IIMs.
- The CAT score is used separately by each institute along with other parameters, i.e. academic performance, work experience, group discussion, written assessment and interview performance etc. to select candidates.
- The weightage assigned to CAT score may differ for each institute. Candidates are advised to read the weightage, process, and breakup for each institute on its respective website.
CAT 2021 Overview
Given below are the important details regarding CAT 2021:
|CAT 2021 Exam Component||Details|
|Conducting Body||IIM Ahmedabad|
|CAT Exam Pattern|
1) MCQ Based
2) TITA (Type in the answer)
|Mode of the Examination||Computerized|
|Number of questions||76|
|Total number of sections||3|
|CAT Exam Time Slots:|
8:30 AM to 10:30 AM
12:30 PM to 2:30 PM
4:30 PM to 6:30 PM
1) VARC (Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension) - 26 Questions
2) DILR (Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning) - 24 Questions
3) QA (Quantitative Aptitude) - 26 Questions
|Medium of the paper||English|
|Marking Scheme||For Multiple Choice Questions|
For TITA (Type in the answer) Questions
- Correct Answer: +3
- Incorrect Answer: -1
No penalty for unanswered questions (Applicable to both MCQs and TITA questions)
- Correct Answer: +3
- Incorrect Answer: 0
|Number of answer choices||4|
|Validity of the CAT Score||1 year|
|CAT Selection Procedure||Noncentralized (Depends on the Institute)|
|CAT HelpDesk|| firstname.lastname@example.org |
|CAT Test Centers||Centres in 158 Cities|
|Preferred Exam Centre Options||6|
|Facility to change the test centre||During Application form Correction window after CAT registration closes.|
|Approximate number of candidates||2.5 lakhs|
CAT 2021 Important Dates
- The notification regarding CAT has been released on 31st July 2021 and the exam will be held on 28th November 2021.
- The information regarding the main events associated with CAT 2021 is tabulated below for your reference.
|CAT 2021 Exam Details||CAT 2021 Exam Details|
|Release of the official CAT notification||31st July 2021|
|Registration commencement||4th August 2021|
|Registration Deadline||22nd September 2021|
|Issuance of Admit card||27th October 2021|
|Deadline to download Hall Ticket||28th November 2021|
|CAT 2021 Exam Date||28th November 2021|
|Releasing of Answer Key||1st week of December 2021|
|CAT 2021 Result Declaration||Second week of January 2022|
CAT 2021 Eligibility Criteria
- In order to be eligible for CAT Exam, an aspirant must be a graduate degree holder in any stream.
- Candidates appearing in the final year/semester of their degree program can also apply for CAT 2021.
- Candidates with CA/CS/ICWA degree (Gen: 50% & SC/ST/ PWD: 45%) are also eligible.
- As for CAT Age Limit, there is no minimum/ maximum limit defined. There is also no restriction on the number of attempts.
- For ST, SC, NC-OBC and DA candidates, if shortlisted, are required to show their original caste/class and/or disability certificate and submit a copy of the certificate at the time of the interview.
The percentage requirement for the exam is different for different categories. It is explained in the table below:
CAT Reservation Criteria:
- As defined in The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 (RPwD Act 2016), “person with benchmark disability” means a person with not less than forty percent (40%) of a specified disability where specified disability has not been defined in measurable terms and includes a person with a disability where specified disability has been defined in measurable terms, as certified by the certifying authority.
- “Specified Disability” means the disabilities as specified in the Schedule of the RPwD Act 2016.
The categories of disability are:
(a) Blindness and low vision.
(b) Deaf and hard of hearing.
(c) Locomotor disability including cerebral palsy, leprosy cured, dwarfism, acid attack victims, and muscular dystrophy.
(d) Autism, intellectual disability, specific learning disability, and mental illness.
(e) Multiple disabilities from amongst persons under clauses (a) to (d).
(f) Other 'specified disabilities' mentioned in 'The Schedule' of the RPwD Act 2016.
- For the purpose of being considered for reservations, the applicable Central Government list as of the last date of CAT registration shall be binding. No subsequent changes will be effective for CAT 2019 and any subsequent selection process of the IIMs.
- The candidates should read the updated description of the selection process followed by each IIM on their respective websites. No change in the category will be entertained after CAT registration. The applicants are advised to pay attention while registering.
- The candidates are required to register themselves within the time the registration window remains open.
- At the time of registration, the candidates have to select any four Test Cities as per their preference from the drop-down menu.
- After the last date of registration, candidates will be allotted one among the four preferred cities subject to availability.
- In the rare case that a candidate is not allotted any of the preferred cities, he/she will be allotted a nearby city.
Candidates must declare and maintain a valid and unique email account and a mobile phone number throughout the selection process.
Payment of CAT Registration Fee
- Please note that a candidate needs to pay a registration fee only once, irrespective of the number of institutes he/she is applying for.
- SC, ST, and PwD candidates must upload a copy of their SC/ST/PwD certificates at the time of registration.
- Fee once paid cannot be refunded under any circumstances.
Test Duration & Pattern of CAT
The duration of the test will be 120 minutes.
There will be three sections:
Section I: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
Section II: Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
Section III: Quantitative Ability
- Candidates will be allotted exactly 40 minutes for answering questions in each section and they will not be allowed to switch from one section to another while answering questions in a section.
- Some questions in each section may not be of multiple-choice type. Instead, direct answers will have to be typed on the screen. The tutorials will clearly explain this. Also, we will allow the use of the basic on-screen calculator for computation.
- CAT is a computer-based test, conducted in multiple cities. A candidate can select his / her test date and slot as per choice and availability.
- There is no specific syllabus for CAT 2021. The experts have laid out the CAT syllabus 2021 based on the previous years’ exam analysis and the topics covered. While there might be a few topics that will be added to the syllabus and some topics might get omitted, the overall syllabus is likely to remain the same.
Admit Card of CAT 2021
- Admit Cards for the management exam will be available from October 28 onwards at the official website of CAT 2021.
- CAT Hall Ticket contains personal details and exam-related details such as test venue, session.
- It is a provisional document and must be supported at the test center with a valid photo id issued by the Govt of India.
Documents Required with Admit Card
- Aadhaar Card
- Voter ID Card
- PAN Card
- Driving License
- Photo ID issued by current education institute or employer among others
CAT 2021 Result
- CAT 2021 Result is expected in the 2nd week of January 2022. The conducting body of CAT 2021 will release the scorecards on the official website. An SMS will also be sent to all test-takers, informing them about their CAT Percentile. CAT Score is valid for 1 year.
The step-wise process to obtain CAT result is given below:
- Visit the official website of CAT.
- Click on ‘Download CAT Score Card’.
- You will be redirected to the login page.
- Enter your User Id and Password.
- You will be redirected to your candidate’s account page.
- Click on the Download Scorecard link and download it for future correspondence.
Candidates' CAT 2021 scorecards will be made accessible on the CAT website. Candidates may also be intimated individually by SMS. The CAT results are likely to be declared by the second week of January 2022. The CAT 2021 score is valid only till December 31, 2022, and will accordingly be accessible on the website. Thereafter, no queries related to the issuance of CAT 2021 scorecards will be entertained.
Normalization in CAT Scores
- CAT is conducted in two sessions. Two different Test Forms are administered in two Test Sessions. In order to ensure fairness and equity in comparison of performances of the candidates across different test sessions, the scores of the candidates are subjected to a process of Normalization.
- The Normalization process adjusts for location and scale differences of score distributions across different forms. After normalization across different forms, the scores are further normalized across different sections. The scaled scores obtained by this process are converted into percentiles for the purposes of shortlisting.
- For reporting purposes, Scaled Scores for each section (Section I: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Section II: Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR), and Section III: Quantitative Ability (QA)) and Total along with the Percentiles are published.
- The process of Normalization is an established practise for comparing candidate scores across multiple Forms and is similar to those being adopted in other large educational selection tests conducted in India, such as the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE).
If an applicant is shortlisted for WAT and PI by any of the IIMs, he/she has to comply with the following eligibility verification:
- Marksheets and Degree Certificate: Shortlisted candidates are required to produce all the original mark sheets and submit attested photocopies in support of their eligibility at the time of their interview. Also, if a candidate is selected for a particular programme, he/she is also required to submit the original degree certificate and mark sheets of all semesters/years along with their respective attested copies at the time of joining the programme.
- Reservation Category Requirements: For ST, SC, NC-OBC and DA candidates, if shortlisted, are required to show their original caste/class and/or disability certificate and submit a copy of the certificate at the time of the interview. Also, a candidate selected for a programme will have to submit the original certificate of qualifying degree and attested copy of the same for verification.
- Candidates in the Final Year of Graduation: Candidates appearing for the final year bachelor’s degree or equivalent qualification examination are required to produce an original certificate from the Principal/Registrar/Director of the University/institution certifying that the candidate has obtained 50% marks or equivalent (45% for the SC, ST, and DA category candidates) based on latest available grades/marks at the time of interview. He/she is also required to submit an attested copy of the original certificate (for category candidates).
- For the Post Graduate Programmes of IIMs: If the candidates are selected, they will be allowed to join the programme PROVISIONALLY ONLY if they submit a certificate from the Registrar/Principal of their college/institute mentioning that they have completed all the necessary requirements including appearing for supplementary exams, if any (the results may, however, be awaited) for obtaining the bachelor’s degree/ equivalent qualification on the date of issue of the certificate. Also, one must obtain at least 50% marks or equivalent grade and should submit an attested copy of the graduation mark sheets and their qualifying degree certificate.
- The deadline for submission of the mark sheet and the certificate is December 31, 2021 (Tentative). IIMs also states that “NON FULFILLMENT OF THIS CONDITION WILL AUTOMATICALLY RESULT IN THE CANCELLATION OF THE PROVISIONAL ADMISSION.” In such cases, provisional admission will also be cancelled if it is found that the certificate is incorrect or has any discrepancies later. IIM does not allow any individual to join any of their programmes in case a candidate fails to complete all the requirements for a bachelor's degree on or before June (last week) 2021. After June 2021, the IIMs would allow admissions to any candidate.
Top Colleges Under CAT
- IIMs: IIMs are the member institutes that conduct and accept CAT scores by default and do not need any Institutional registration for CAT.
- Non-IIMs: All the Non-IIMs whether Government or Private University Department; university affiliated college; Autonomous MBA college; Private PGDM college, have to sign the MoU to accept CAT score and have to pay the requisite Institutional CAT Registration fee to IIMs. There are at present 20 IIMs.
Other prominent B- Schools (not in any particular order) that accept CAT scores are:
Table: Cut off for Top IIMs
Frequently Asked Questions related to CAT:
Question 1: Who is eligible to take the exam?
All candidates who fulfil the qualifying criteria mentioned below are eligible to apply for CAT 2021:Graduate / Bachelor’s Degree minimum aggregate marks of 50% or equivalent CGPA (45% marks for reserved categories)
Final Year candidates are also eligible to apply for CAT 2021
Candidates holding a valid degree equivalent to Bachelor’s degree recognized by MHRD
In addition to this, applying candidates must also have Email ID and a phone number to complete the registration process for CAT 2021.
Question 2: I am not pursuing or completed my Bachelor’s degree or any Professional degree like CA/CS/ICWA etc., Am I eligible to appear for CAT 2021?
Any candidate who has not completed a Bachelor’s degree or any professional degree like CA/CS/ICWA etc is not eligible to apply for CAT 2021.
Question 3: Can I appear for CAT for practice purposes though I am aware that I am not eligible?
Candidates cannot appear for CAT 2021 for practice purpose, if they do not meet the eligibility criteria. Also, appearance in CAT for practice purpose would be counted as an attempt, which doesn’t work in your favour.
Question 4: Is there any age restriction for taking the CAT exam?
No, there is no age restriction to take CAT 2021.
Question 5: I have not completed my graduation course but I am in the final year of a professional course, am I eligible for CAT 2021?
No, only candidates who are in final year of their Bachelor’s degree are eligible to apply for CAT 2021. Candidates in the final year of their professional degree are not allowed to apply for CAT 2021. Moreover, any candidate applying for CAT 2021 also has to qualify the minimum percentage criteria for CAT 2021.
Question 6: I am a General category candidate and got 49% in the Bachelor’s degree. I have also completed a Master’s degree with 51%, am I eligible to apply for CAT 2021?
No. As per the CAT 2021 notification, candidates need minimum 50% marks in their Bachelor’s degree in order to be eligible to apply for CAT 2021.
Question 7: I am a PWD category candidate with 44% in the Bachelor’s degree and 46% in the Master’s degree, am I eligible to apply for CAT 2021?
No. As per the CAT 2021 notification, candidate need minimum 45% marks in their Bachelor’s degree in order to be eligible to apply for CAT 2021.
Question 8: I have completed my Bachelor’s degree in May-June 2021 but have a backlog, am I eligible to apply for CAT 2021?
Yes. Candidates who are expected to complete their Bachelor’s degree in 2021 are eligible to apply for CAT 2021. However, they have to select ‘Yes’ in their application form to the question “Are you in the final year of Bachelor Degree”.
Question 9: When and how do I register for CAT 2021?
As stated in the table above, the CAT registration process will be floated from 4th August 2021 and is expected to end on 15th September 2021. The CAT 2021 application process is completely online and needs to be completed on the official portal www.iimcat.ac.in. You can also find valuable help resources and video tutorials to help you along the way to complete your application process there.
Question 10: How to change details in CAT 2021 Application?
There are three ways in which you can change / edit the information that you have submitted in your CAT Exam application.
1. Change Prior to the Payment of Fees:
a. Details you can change: Academic Details, Exam Centres, Courses Selected
b. Details you can’t change: Name, State, Date of Birth, Email ID, Phone Number
2. Re-register for CAT Exam: For this you will need a fresh email id and phone number and would also have to repay the requisite exam fees
3. During CAT Application Correction Window: Generally, CAT Application Correction Window is announced 10 days after the last day of registration. The window stays open for three days during which candidates can change the following details
a. Percentage of Marks entered in the application form
b. Work experience listed in the application form
c. Course details entered in the form
d. Test centres