Students come out of an exam centre after appearing in NEET exam in Nagpur, on May 6, 2018. Image Source: IANS

Nagpur: Students come out of an exam centre after appearing in NEET exam in Nagpur, on May 6, 2018.

Common Admission Test (CAT) is an all India test conducted by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) as an entrance examination for postgraduate business administration programs. The test is conducted every year by one of the IIMs in rotation. IIMs and IIScs use CAT scores Instead of JMET to select candidates for their management programs. Some institutions use the CAT scores separately with other parameters such as academic performance, work experience, group discussion and interview performance to choose candidates.

Eligibility For CAT

  1. The candidates are required to be graduates with 50 percent marks or possess an equivalent qualification recognized by the ministry of Human Resource Development
  2. Candidate in the final year of Bachelors degree and those who have completed the degree course and are awaiting results can apply. If selected such candidates can provisionally join the program before they submit their original certificate.
  3. Mere fulfillment of the eligibility criteria alone will not guarantee shortlisting by IIMs. The candidate are required to maintain a valid email account and phone number throughout the selection process.

Equivalent qualifications

  1. Bachelors degree in engineering/technology or BE/BTech equivalent examinations recognized by MHRD/AICTE/UPSC.
  2. Any qualification recognized by the Association of Indian Universities, New Delhi, which is equivalent to bachelor’s degree.
  3. In cases not covered above, the equivalency certificate needs to be produced from the Association of Indian Universities.

Sections of CAT Exam

The CAT falls into three sections

  1. Quantitative aptitude

    This section is based on fundamental mathematics at senor secondary level. It covers areas like arithmetic, algebra, geometry, commercial mathematics and miscellaneous. The students are expected to apply mathematical concepts and solve real-time problems.

  2. Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

    This section consists of questions based on giver date. The data can be in the form of graphs, charts, tables or paragraphs. Data interpretation problems tests candidate’s understanding of data and problem solving skills where as logical reasoning tests candidate’s skills to evaluate questions.

  3. Verbal ability

    This section consists of questions on comprehension and use of standard English grammar. Verbal logical questions ask the candidate to arrange paragraphs in logical order, determine type of statements and complete paragraphs appropriately.

Duration and pattern of the CAT

The duration of the test is 2hours and 35 minutes. The Tutorial letting the candidates how to take the test lasts for 15 minutes. The part on quantitative ability and date interpretation carries 30 questions and the duration is seventy minutes Verbal ability and logical reasoning too carries 30 questions and the stipulated time is 70 minutes. In total there are 60 questions.


  1. CAT is a computer based test conducted over a period of 20 days in multiple cities. The candidate can choose the date and slot as per availability.
  2. While Taking the test the candidate can not choose any particular section first. Each section is separate. Once a section is finished, the candidate can not go back to it again.
  3. On screen-timer is there and, when the time is over, the sections ends and the new section begins.
  4. A 15 minute- tutorial is provided and the candidate is advised to go through it carefully before starting the test.
  5. The candidate seated at a desk with computer terminal is provided scratch paper for calculations, which has to be left at the desk after exam.

Sectional Minimum and overall minimum – cut-offs

Candidates have to obtain a minimum mark for each section to qualify. The sectional cut-offs vary every year depending on how best the candidates perform that year. Besides, a minimum total mark too is required. Then, the candidate is called for GD/PI by IIMs.


It is a fact that CAT score is a compulsory requirement for IIMs and also there many institutes in India that accept the CAT score. However, for those who think of studying abroad, Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is essential. There are more than 2000 universities and institutes that use GMAT Score for admission to graduate management programs. The test is administered in 112 countries worldwide.