CAT Frequently Asked Questions

by | Oct 31, 2021

To help you guide your entrance preparation journey to a top B-school, we have created FAQs categorized as per your preparation phases. These questions are a compilation of queries answered by CL gurus including GP & Team. Visit through the same and get your common queries resolved.

What is CAT?

CAT or Common Admission Test is a national level entrance examination which is a gateway to 20 IIMs and over 1,200 B-schools in India which includes prestigious management colleges across the country – S P Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR), Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), Management Development Institute(Gurugram), Institute of Management Technology (IMT), Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies (JBIMS) and several others.

What are the eligibility criteria for the CAT exam?

Before starting the CAT preparation, a candidate should know the complete eligibility criteria so that he/she does not have any problems while registering for the exam.

  • The applicant should hold a Bachelor’s Degree and should have secured 50% marks or equivalent CGPA. The students belonging to any of the reserved categories like Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST), and Persons with Disability (PWD) or Differently Abled (DA) category must have at least 45% marks.

  • The degree has to be awarded by any of the Universities included by an act of the central or state legislature of India, any other educational institutions established by an act of Parliament or are declared to be deemed as a University under the Section of the UGC Act, 1956 or hold an equivalent qualification recognized by the MHRD, India.

  • Applicants who are appearing for the final year of their bachelor’s degree and the candidates who have completed their graduation degree requirements and are awaiting their results are also eligible to apply. If selected, candidates will be allowed to join the program provisionally, only if he/she submits a certificate from the Principal/Registrar of his/her college/institute (issued on or before June 30,2021) mentioning that the particular candidate has completed all the requirements for obtaining the bachelor’s degree/equivalent qualification on the date when the certificate was issued.

What is the exam fee for CAT?

The exam fee for CAT is Rs.2000/- for the General Category and Rs.1000/- for the Reserved Category.

How to register for the CAT exam?

The registration for the CAT exam is only available through an online process. The application form is released by the conducting IIM on the official CAT website and the candidates are required to fill out the details. The CAT 2021 registration is expected to start from August 1st week and will continue till September last week. A correction window will be available later. It is extremely important for the candidate to be careful while filling the details in the form as any discrepancies afterward may lead to the cancellation of the complete application.

Who will be conducting the CAT 2021?

The CAT 2021 will be conducted by IIM Ahmedabad and Prof M.P. Ram has been appointed as CAT convener. CAT exam will be conducted in online mode at multiple exam centers in 156 cities across India.

When will the CAT 2021 exam be held and when will the results be announced?

The CAT 2021 exam is expected to be held on November 28, 2021. The result will be announced in January 2022 and IIM shortlisting will begin soon after that.

What is the CAT exam pattern?

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the exam structure was revised last year.

The duration of the exam was reduced from 3 to 2 hours (40 minutes for each of the 3 sections) and the total number of questions were also reduced from 100 to 76 (Quantitative Aptitude – from 34 to 26, VARC from 34 to 26, and DILR – from 32 to 24).

The total marks were also reduced from 300 to 228.

Moreover, the exam was conducted in 3 slots instead of 2

(Slot 1 – 8:30 AM- 10:30 AM, Slot 2 – 12:30 PM-2:30 PM, Slot 3 – 4:30 PM-6:30 PM). IIM

Ahmedabad is expected to retain the changes in CAT 2021 as well.

The language of the exam is English.

The number of answer choices will be 4.

The questions will be both MCQs (i.e. multiple choice questions) and Non- MCQs.

3 marks are given for every correct answer and a negative marking of 1/3 (i.e. –

For every wrong MCQ response.

There is no negative marking for wrong non-MCQ answers.

If there is any further change in the pattern, it will be shared in CAT Notification 2021.

What does the CAT syllabus comprise of?

There is no predefined syllabus for the CAT exam. The syllabus is mainly from the middle school topics of Maths and English with some logical reasoning questions. There are 3 sections – Quantitative Aptitude (number, arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and mensuration, modern maths, etc.), VARC (passages, fill in the blanks, para jumble, para completion, fact inference judgment, sentence correction, etc.), DILR (tables, pie charts, seating arrangements, logical deduction, cause and effect, calendars, clocks, blood relations, Venn diagrams, etc.). A candidate should try to prepare systematically and also learn to manage time properly as it will be a major plus for the preparation of CAT.

Can a CAT exam be cracked without coaching?

The CAT exam is said to be one of the toughest exams to crack. Also, there is a steady increase in the number of candidates applying for the same, making the competition even stiffer. With the right approach and a systematic preparation process, it is not a tough nut to crack. It would be an added advantage to take coaching as you will be able to prepare in a better way.

Through coaching, you will gradually learn to manage the time properly and also learn various shortcut tips and techniques to be able to score better in the CAT exam. During this pandemic, the concept of online courses has become a norm but in a way, it can be one of the surest ways to achieve your study targets while staying safe. If this is your first attempt for CAT then it is advisable to get help from an expert coach or join some institute as it will help you to clear any doubts regarding the preparation or any other aspect pertaining to the CAT exam. With the right guidance and techniques, you might be able to clear the exam on the first attempt and also with a 99+ percentile in the exam.

Is CAT compulsory for admission to MBA programs?

MBA is one of the most popular post graduation courses in India. It is a two-year course which is offered by many top management institutes in India as well as abroad. Though the majority of the business schools in India prefer candidates who opted for competitive exams, there are a few B-schools too which offer direct admissions without CAT exams. These private institutes provide direct admissions in the MBA courses based on their different entrance exams and personal interviews or, sometimes, on the basis of the candidate’s score in graduation. But even though getting direct admissions to seem easier, one must keep certain points in mind- like the placements offered through direct admissions are good but the salary package might be below. And also to keep in mind, top companies offer higher packages to those who opted for entrance exams like CAT and got into top IIMs. By opting for exams like CAT, you can have a better and higher chance of getting into any of the IIMs. Even though there are colleges offering direct admissions to MBA, preparing and crack exams like CAT is a much safer bet.

How many times is the CAT exam held in one year?

The CAT exam is held once a year. One can get admission in both, government and private colleges through CAT. It is one of the most popular yet toughest entrance exams to get admission to the topmost B-schools in India.

Can anyone appear for the CAT after the 12th class? How many attempts are allowed for the CAT exam?

CAT is an entrance exam for MBA which is a postgraduate course so it is not possible for anyone to appear for CAT after 12th.

There is no age limit for appearing for the CAT exam. But there is a certain

age limit in which the candidate should have completed the age of 20 to appear for the CAT exam. And there is no upper age limit for the exam. Also, you can attempt the CAT exam an unlimited number of times throughout your life unless and until you hold a bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 50% marks or equivalent CGPA awarded by a recognized university or educational institute.

How important are mocks for CAT preparation?

CAT is one of the most sought-after exams for better career prospects in India. Also, it is one of the toughest. CAT mock tests are a close replica of the actual exam which provides you with an opportunity to familiarise yourself with the actual CAT environment. It is highly recommended to take mock tests at each and every step of the preparation so that you develop a familiarity with the real test-taking experience. Candidates also get access to detailed analysis of the mocks which gives them a fair idea of where they stand with respect to their preparation. Writing mocks enables the candidates to get used to the exam pressure and understand the level of competition they will have to face. Mocks help you to strategize your preparation in a better way. By giving mocks at regular intervals, you are able to figure out your errors and work on them systematically. Giving mocks helps the candidate to be more confident to face the CAT exam.

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