CAT- Common Admission Test: All You Need To Know

The Common Admission Test or CAT is one of the most important examinations for students across the country.  Premier MBA institutions utilize the score students get to offer them admission in.

Having an MBA in our society is less of a degree and more of a matter of prestige to many. The CAT examinations take you a step closer not only to that prestige but also a chance at a well-paying job and a better standard of living. They give you a chance to enter some of the most esteemed universities in our country.

CAT exams

Even though the CAT examinations are a great opportunity for students out there, there are also pretty tough to crack. This is because they require a lot of hard work and effort.

So the least you can do to begin your journey to crack this highly competitive exam is to stay well-informed.

Here is all that you will need to know to give your best shot at the CAT exams.

What is CAT?

What is CAT

CAT or the Common Admission Test is a computer-based entrance examination for admissions into prestigious Business Schools in India. It is conducted once a year and aids students to gain admission in MBA and PGDM courses.

The exam is conducted in 156 cities all across our country. The number of candidates applying for the exams has been steadily increasing every year. This may be because of the participating universities for this test.

Most Indian Institutes of Management use CAT as a filter to make sure that the candidates they receive for admission meet the standards they expect. Various other B Schools also provide admissions based on the CAT score.

Eligibility criteria for CAT

The eligibility criteria for CAT is quite simple and basic. They are mentioned below:

  • The candidate must hold a Bachelors or professional degree and should have secured a 50% (minimum) or an equivalent CGPA. The percentage score is reduced to 45% for reserved categories.
  • Candidates in their final year of graduation can also apply for the exam.
  • No age bar will be imposed upon the candidates.
  • The graduation must be done from a recognized university under UGC/ AICTE/ MHRD– Govt of India.

Test Pattern and Syllabus

There have been a few changes here and there with regard to the pattern of the question paper this year. The duration of the exam has been significantly reduced. Ample security and safety precautions will be taken up in all centres due to the prevailing issue of Covid-19.

Duration of the exam

This year, because of covid, the duration of the exam has been reduced to 2 hours. The section-wise split, hence, has reduced to 40 minutes.

The exam shall also be conducted in 3 sessions. The morning session shall be conducted in between 8: 30 AM to 10: 30 AM, afternoon from 12: 30 PM to 2: 30 PM and the evening session from 4: 30 PM to 6: 30 PM.

CAT Syllabus

The examination consists of 3 sections– Quantitative aptitude, Logical reading and Data interpretation along with Verbal ability and reading comprehension.

CAT Syllabus

The Quantitative aptitude section consists of questions that range from topics like the number system and averages to trigonometry and logarithms. They attempt to test your skill with numbers and figures

The logical reasoning and data interpretation section is the section that tries to figure out your capability in identifying patterns. And coming up with and using logical solutions to problems.

Some of the questions that you can expect in this section may be from topics like blood relations, bar graphs, syllogism, caselets, binary logic and number and letter series.

The third and final section is the verbal ability and reading comprehension section. It tests your comprehensive skills, grammar, analogies, and language skills.

CAT exam pattern

CAT exam pattern

CAT is a computer-based examination. It consists of a total of 100 questions in which every correct answer will gain you 3 marks and every wrong one will lead to a -1.

The question split between the sections is more or less uniform. There are 34 questions each in Quantitative ability, reading comprehension and verbal ability section. The logical reasoning section consists of 32 questions.

Preparations for CAT

Studying is a very individualistic task. It varies from one person to another. How you prepare for CAT is completely up to you. You could choose to get ready the way that is most comfortable for you.

Generally, students who choose to appear for CAT either attend coaching classes or go through intensive self-study. Here are a few tips that you should keep in mind in terms of coaching classes as well as self-study.

CAT Coaching classes

CAT Coaching classes

One of the major benefits of going to coaching classes is the fact that you will practically have all the necessary materials right at your fingertips.

You could get the necessary studying materials without much effort. Doubt clearance will not be an issue.

Expert advisors will be present to give you feedback and encourage you all throughout your preparations. You also have open access to mock tests which will help you know where you stand.

One thing you should keep in mind is that if you aspire to come at the top, then the materials and preparation that your institute may provide may not be enough. A certain amount of self-study and individual effort will be necessary.


Having been a person who has ALWAYS opted for self- study, to me, the major advantage that I get is the flexibility. I choose when I want to study.

The internet is diverse and is an open gateway to access all the materials that you could ever need. Books, question papers, study groups, mock tests, you name it the internet’s got it. Just choose where you want to begin and work your way through.

The biggest challenge of study, though, is staying motivated and keep working. You never know when that inbuilt gene of laziness can kick in. Make a time table and stick to it. Don’t get lethargic with your preparations.

There’s no doubt that cracking it is a tough job but don’t let that fact stop you from giving CAT your best shot. It could really change your life.

All the best!!!

Check out our article on Scholarships- A Complete Guide; to get a better understanding of it.

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