About CAT

The Common Admission Test is one of the top management entrance tests in India. This computer-based test is conducted by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) for admission to their 2-year full time postgraduate programs in management. Other Indian business schools also accept CAT scores as part of their selection process.

Until CAT 2013, the CAT was held over a window of a couple of weeks in October/November. In CAT 2014, when TCS started conducting the test, the structure of the test was changed, and the test window was reduced to two days. CAT 2015 has now become a one-day test, to be held on Sunday, November 29, 2015. The structure has also been changed, with three sections instead of two: Quantitative Ability, Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension and Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning. Each section will have 60 minutes, with a total of 180 minutes to the test, and test-takers will not be allowed to switch between sections. For the first time in history, an on-screen calculator will be provided, and, another first for CAT, there will be several questions that are not MCQs, but Type-In-The-Answer (TITA) questions.

All questions will carry 3 marks each, and every incorrect answer (MCQs only, not TITA questions) will attract a penalty of -1.

IMS experts had taken CAT 2015. To review its analysis, please click here.

Who can apply

To appear for the CAT, the candidate must hold a Bachelor's degree, with at least 50 percent marks or equivalent CGPA (45 percent in case of the candidates belonging to Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Differently Abled (DA)), awarded by any of the Universities incorporated by an act of the central or state legislature in India or other educational institutions established by an act of Parliament or declared to be deemed as a University under Section 3 of the UGC Act, 1956, or possess an equivalent qualification recognised by the Ministry of HRD, Government of India.

Candidates appearing for the final year of bachelor’s degree/equivalent qualification examination and those who have completed degree requirements and are awaiting results can also apply. If selected, such candidates will be allowed to join the programme provisionally, only if he/she submits a certificate latest by June 30 (of the admission year) from the Principal/Registrar of his/her College/Institute stating that the candidate has completed all the requirements for obtaining the bachelor’s degree/equivalent qualification on the date of the issue of the certificate.

How to apply

If you meet the eligibility criteria, you need to purchase a voucher from any of the participating Axis Bank branches and register for the test.

In order to register you will have to visit the official CAT website and take the following steps

  • Create a profile.
  • Fill out the CAT application.
  • Schedule your test.

Structure and Pattern of CAT

From 2009 onwards, CAT became a computer based test wherein subjects are subdivided into different areas i.e.: Quantitative Ability, Data Interpretation, Data Sufficiency, Logical Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, Verbal Reasoning and Verbal Ability. For CAT 2015, the IIMs have changed the structure of CAT to the following.

The test will consist of three sections:

Section Section Name Number of questions TITA Questions Total Number of questions
Section-I Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension RC-24 10 34
Section-II Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning 24 8 32
Section-III Quantitative Ability 20 14 34
Total 68 32 100

The Scoring pattern of CAT 2015 was +3 and -1. CAT gives scaled scores for balancing the scores of various slots. The students are also scaled on percentiles which are the criteria for short listing students for the next round.

Apart from the CAT, an MBA aspirant may need to take a few more entrance tests based on the list of B-Schools one is planning to apply to. Some of the important B-School entrance tests are XAT, IIFT, NMAT, SNAP, TISS-NET, CET (Mah), CMAT, MAT and ATMA. These tests are generally unpredictable in their structure and composition. Whilst the objective of the test to assess the students’ aptitude in the broad areas of Quantitative, Verbal, Logical and Analytical Reasoning remains unchanged, the same cannot be said about the weightage given to each area. Increasingly, many institutes are also testing the students’ awareness of current affairs and general knowledge. The two prime requirements to beat these tests are (a) a really thorough knowledge of each basic area and (b) a consciously cultivated ability to think on one’s feet. Find below the test structure analysis of the latest edition of each of the above tests:

Test Name Test Mode Test Date(s) Institutes Accepting
XAT (Xavier Aptitude Test) Paper-based 1st Sunday of January XLRI, S.P.Jain, MICA, XIM-B, GIM, K.J.Somaiya, LIBA, Praxis, TAPMI, Welingkar
IIFT (own test) Paper-based 3rd Sunday of November IIFT (Delhi/Kolkata)
SNAP (Symbisosis National Aptitude Test) Paper-based 2nd/3rd Sunday of December SIBM Pune, SCMHRD, SIBM Bangalore, SIIB, SIMC, SIMS, SITM, SIOM, SCIT,SIHS, SICSR, SSBF
NMAT (NarseeMonjee Aptitude Test) Online Oct – Dec (3 month window) NMIMS Mumbai NMMS Bangalore
TISSNET Online January TISS