Gateway to Top Management Institutes in India

Common Admission Test (CAT) is an aptitude test conducted by the Indian Institute of Management every year for admission in 20 IIMs. The CAT question paper consists of questions from 3 sections which are Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR) and Quantitative Ability (QA).

CAT notification is released in the last week of July every year and the registration process starts at the beginning of August which goes till the third week of September, after that CAT Admit Card is released in the last week of October and the final exam is conducted in the last week of November.


  • The candidate must have a bachelor’s degree in any stream from a recognised university with a minimum aggregate percentage of 50% for the general category and 45% for the SC/ST and PWD category.
  • The candidate appearing for the final examination of bachelor’s degree can also apply for the CAT exam if they can furnish the complete details.
  • The candidate must have a professional degree like CA/CS/CWA in case they do not have a bachelor’s degree.


The CAT Syllabus is not fixed as it is a very generalized test. However, the questions revolve around different topics of the VARC section, which includes grammar, verbal reasoning, sentence completion, and reading comprehension, DILR section, which includes analytical interpretation of tabular data, puzzles, bar graphs, etc. and the QA section, which includes topics like Arithmetic, Geometry, Mensuration, and Trigonometry.

VARC: This is the first section that appears in the CAT examination; it comprises two sections which are Reading Comprehension and Verbal Ability. The total number of questions from RC is 20-24, while VA has 8-12 questions. The important topics for the examination are mentioned below:

Reading comprehension Subject-verb agreement Fill in the blanks
Sentence completion Idioms One word substitution
Jumbled paragraphs Preposition Antonyms

DILR: This is the second section in the CAT examination where the analytical skills of the candidate are tested. The total number of questions from this section is divided equally in DI & LR. The important topics from this section are:

Blood relation Family tree Venn diagram
Pie charts Data sufficiency Puzzles
Sets & Caselets Coding-decoding Assumptions

QA: The last section in the CAT examination is Quantitative aptitude which comprises questions from Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, and Trigonometry, past year trends show that most of the questions asked from the Arithmetic section. The other important topics from this section that CAT Syllabus prescribe are mentioned below:

Mensuration Logarithm Time speed distance
Probability Binomial theorem Partnership
Geometric and Arithmetic progression Number system Square root and cube root


  • The application fees for the general category in 2020 were INR 2000, which was increased to INR 2000 from INR 1900.
  • The application fees for the SC/ST category for the year 2020 were INR 1000, which was increased to INR 1000 from INR 950.

Exam pattern and Test structure

In 2020, IIM made some changes in the CAT examination pattern as the total number of questions was reduced to 76 from 100, leading total marks to fall from 300 to 228. The total duration of the examination was reduced to 120 minutes (40 minutes for each section). The score for every correct response was 3, with negative marking for MCQs and no negative marking for non-MCQs.

The number of exam slots was increased from two to three which consists of:

  • Slot 1: (8:30 AM to 10:30AM)
  • Slot 2: (12:30 AM to 2:30 AM)
  • Slot 3: (4:30 AM to 6:30 AM)

Application process

  • The candidate interested to appear for the examination needs to fill the application form available at the website
  • After filling the application form, they need to attach relevant documents and then pay the application fees to submit the form duly.
  • The candidate will be notified when the CAT Admit Card will be released, and to download, they need to log in on the official website.
  • The admit card contains all the details about the instructions and the date of examination, and in case of any doubt, they can reach out to the CAT helpdesk.

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