Common Admission Test (CAT) Overview

CAT, widely recognized as a premier exam in the country, and accessible to individuals ranging from recent graduates to working professionals with a year or two of experience across various domains. But what exactly is CAT, and why does it hold a position among the top five toughest exams in India? What opportunities does one hold once they clear the exam.

What is CAT ?

The Common Admission Test (CAT) is a nationally recognized computer based competitive entrance examination in India conduced by the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) that serves as a gateway for admission into various graduate management programs in Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and other top business schools across the country. It is recognized as one of the country’s most competitive and rigorous examinations, with a success rate of less than five percent. The exam is mainly divided into three sections namely : Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning and Quantitative Aptitude. It is a 2 hour exam with 40 minutes devoted to each section. The test is conducted every year by one of the Indian Institutes of Managements based on a policy of rotation.

CAT is an essential gateway for students and professionals seeking to advance their careers through management education. This examination serves as a competitive assessment, evaluating the aptitude and readiness of candidates to undertake the challenges presented by postgraduate management programs. It’s like a stepping stone that sets the foundation for them to become leaders and innovators in business. Understanding the CAT’s structure, its examination pattern, and the opportunities it unlocks, such as placements in IIMs, is crucial for aspiring MBA students.

Every year, over 2.5 lakh aspirants take the CAT exam, with the numbers rising annually. This leads to intense competition, as only a select few thousand are able to secure the spots in top B-schools throughout India. While the IIMs are renowned for excellence, other prestigious institutions like MDI (Gurgaon), IITs, SP Jain (Mumbai), FMS (Delhi), KJ Somaiya Institute of Management Studies (Mumbai), Great Lakes Institute of Management (Chennai), and other renowned B-schools also accept CAT scores, broadening opportunities for aspiring management professionals.

History and Evolution

CAT was introduced by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) to standardize the selection process for their management programs. Initially conducted as a paper-based test, CAT transitioned to a computer-based format in 2009. Since then, it has undergone several modifications in terms of duration, scoring system, and sectional composition. One of the major recent changes was regarding the duration of the examination. Prior to 2020, the examination used to be a 3 hour exam with an hour devoted to each section, but now it is a 2 hour exam with 40 minutes devoted to each section.

Purpose and Significance:

The primary purpose of CAT is to assess a candidate’s aptitude, problem-solving skills, logical reasoning, data interpretation, and verbal ability. It is a standardized measure to evaluate the candidates readiness for the demanding curriculum and competitive environment of business schools. Scoring well in CAT opens doors to some of India’s most prestigious business schools, including the IIMs and other renowned institutes. These institutions offer excellent academic curriculums, faculty expertise, industry exposure, and placement opportunities. CAT scores are also accepted by numerous other management institutes nationwide, expanding the range of options for aspiring students. Success in CAT not only secures admission to premier management institutes but also opens doors to lucrative career opportunities and professional growth in the corporate world.

Important Points at a Glance

  • Some of the basic information regarding the CAT examination are as follows –
Exam NameCommon Admission Test (CAT)
Conducting BodyIndian Institute of Management
Official Websitehttp://(
Frequency of ConductOnce a year (November End)
Exam LevelNational Level Exam
Mode of ExaminationOnline ( Computer Based)
Participating Colleges417
Exam Duration2 Hours
Slot Division3 Slots
(Morning Slot , Afternoon slot , Evening Slot)
SectionsVerbal Ability & Reading Comprehension
Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation
Quantitative Aptitude
Total Marks198
Total Number of Question66
Result Declaration1st week of January or December end

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