Exam Detail

CATCommon Admission Test

  • Test Level-: National Level
  •     Eligibility-: Graduation
  • Duration-:3 Hours
  • Stream-: Management
  • Medium-: English
  • Examination Mode-: Offline
  • Total Questions-: 100

IIMs are considered India’s premier national institutes providing quality education in management and research. IIMs primarily offer post graduate, doctoral and executive education programmes. The flagship programme of IIM, is the two year post graduate diploma (PGDM) popularly known as Master of Business Administration (MBA). These two year programmes are residential in nature. The Fellow Programme in Management (FPM) is a fulltime doctoral level programme in management and research equivalent to Ph.D. degree. The Executive Post Graduate programmes are targeted for working professionals.

Admission to the two year PGDM programmes in IIMs are on merit, based on a rigorous selection process comprising of Personal Interview, Written Ability Test / Group Discussions, and scores in the Common Admission Test which is commonly known as CAT. CAT is a management aptitude test conducted by the IIMs primarily to evaluate and shortlist candidates for the post graduate programme. It is a computer based exam available for eager and eligible candidates to register and take once a year.


The candidate must hold a Bachelor’s Degree, with at least 50% marks or equivalent CGPA [45% in case of the candidates belonging to Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Persons With Disability (PWD) categories], awarded by any University or educational institution as incorporated by an Act of the Parliament or State legislature in India or declared to be deemed as a University under Section 3 of the UGC Act, 1956, or possess an equivalent qualification recognized by the Ministry of HRD, Government of India. 

CAT Exam Pattern

Common Admission Test is one of the distinguished entrance tests of the nation and almost every MBA aspirant craves to crack it. CAT  is the stairway to the 20 IIMs and top-notch B-Schools of India. This stairway is steep, so buckle up, be familiar with the CAT exam pattern, prepare, practice and give the shot. The exam pattern will help the candidates devise a strategy for attempting the test.

Some aspects of the CAT Exam Pattern  –  

  • It was a computer based test.
  • Total number of questions were 100, comprising of both MCQs and Non-MCQs.
  • The questions were asked from 3 sections, which are – Quantitative Aptitude, Verbal & Reading Comprehension and Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning. 
  • Duration of the exam was 180 minutes. However, it was 240 minutes for PwD candidates.
  • 60 minutes each were given to attempt a section. PwD candidates got 20 minutes extra for attempting each section.
  • A basic CAT virtual calculator was provided for doing the calculations.

The table given below will provide more clarity on the CAT Exam Pattern. The candidates must note that the sections in the table have been placed in the same order as they will be there in the actual test. The number of questions in the table below is as per the last years exam and this years official CAT mock test. These may vary in the actual exam but the experts are of the view that same number of questions will be asked in CAT 2016. 

S. No. Name of the sections No. of MCQs No. of Non-MCQs Marks Total questions which were asked each section Time that was allotted to attempt each section
1 Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) 24 10 102 34 60 minutes
2 Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR) 24 8 96 32 60 minutes
3 Quantitative Ability (QA) 27 7 102 34 60 minutes
4. Total 75 25 300 Marks 100 questions 180 minutes


CAT  Application Procedure

CAT application process https://iimcat.ac.in

The form was to be submitted online with payment of application fee through Credit Card, Debit Card or Net Banking.

CAT registration process is a three-step online process. 

The three step registration process involves – registration, log in and filling the application form. After registering, applicants have to fill the application form on the official website.

As per the rules:

  • Candidates will have four options to select the test cities in order of preference. Candidates do not need to rush during the initial registration days to block slots.
  • Candidates will be given their first preferred city. In case, they do not get the first preference, the same process will be repeated for the second, third and fourth preferred city. It will be allotted by CAT Centre on random basis. Candidates do not have the option to choose.

Test Fees

The registration fee is Rs 1700 for General and NC-OBC candidates (Rs 850 for SC/ST/PWD (DA) categories). Additional charges are applicable on the final amount.

Mode of Payment

The test fee can be paid via Debit/Credit cards or through internet banking. 


English/Verbal Ability: Reading comprehension, verbal reasoning, syllogisms, analogies, antonyms and synonyms, fill in the blanks, sentence correction, idioms, etc.

Maths/Quant Ability: Number systems, geometry, trogonometry, probability, permutation combination, algebra, mensuration, time and work, averages, percentages, profit and loss, quadratic and linear equations, etc.

Data Interpretation: Interpretation and analysis of data based on text, tables, graphs (line, area), charts (column, bar, pie), venn diagram, etc.

Logical Reasoning: Clocks, calendars, binary logic, seating arrangement, blood relations, logical sequence, assumption, premise, conclusion, linear and matrix arrangement, etc.

For Maths rs Aggarwal and Ranjesh Verma

For Reasoning rs Aggarwal and M.K. Pandey

For English S.P. Bakshi and Wren and Martin

Give yourself the best chance with these top ten study tips.

1.     Give yourself enough time to study. Don't leave it until the last minute.

2.     Organize your study space. 

3.     Use flow charts and diagrams. 

4.     Practice on old exams. 

5.     Explain your answers to others. 

6.     Organize study groups with friends. 

7.     Take regular breaks.

8.     Snack on 'brain food'


As per the legal requirements, 15% of the seats are reserved for Scheduled Caste (SC) and 7.5% for Scheduled Tribe (ST) candidates. 27% of seats are reserved for Other Backward Classes candidates belonging to the “non-creamy” layer (NC-OBC). 


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