The Common Admission Test (CAT) is a computer based test for admission in graduate management programs. The test consists of three sections: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR) and Quantitative Ability (QA). The exam is taken online over a period of three hours, with one hour per section. In 2020, due to the COVID precautions, IIM Indore decided to conduct the CAT Exam in 2 hours with 40 minutes devoted to each section. The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) started this exam and use the test for selecting students for their business administration programs (MBA or PGDM). The test is conducted every year by one of the IIMs based on a policy of rotation.
|Type||Computer-based standardized test|
|Developer / administrator||Indian Institutes of Management|
|Knowledge / skills tested||Quantitative Aptitude, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning, Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension|
|Purpose||Admission to post-graduate management programs|
|Score / grade range||varies annually|
|Score / grade validity||1 year|
|Offered||Once a year (usually in November/December).|
|Countries / regions||100+ cities and towns all over India.|
|Annual number of test takers||Registered 2,30,000 .Appeared 1,93,000 in 2021|
|Prerequisites / eligibility criteria||Bachelor's degree (or equivalent) with at least 50 % marks or equivalent GPA (45 % in case of SC, ST, PWD candidates). Final year undergraduate students also eligible|
|Fee||₹2,200 (US$29) for general category candidates.|
₹1,100 (US$14) for SC/ST/DA (PWD) category candidates
|Scores / grades used by||Various business schools in India|
In August 2011, it was announced that Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institute of Science (IISc) would also use the CAT scores, instead of the Joint Management Entrance Test (JMET), to select students for their management programmes starting with the 2012-15 batch.
Before 2009, CAT was a paper based test conducted on a single day for all candidates. The pattern, number of questions and duration have seen considerable variations over the years.
On 1 May 2009, it was announced that CAT would be a Computer Based Test starting from 2009. The American firm Prometric was entrusted with the responsibility of conducting the test from 2009 to 2013. The first computer based CAT was marred with technical snags. The issue was so serious that it prompted the Government of India to seek a report from the convenor. The trouble was diagnosed as 'Conficker' and 'W32 Nimda', the two viruses that attacked the system display of the test, causing server slow down. Since 2014 onward, CAT has been conducted by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). CAT 2015 and CAT 2016 were 180-minute tests consisting of 100 questions (34 from Quantitative Ability (QA), 34 from Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), and 32 from Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR)). CAT 2020 onwards, the exam duration has been reduced to two hours, with 40 minutes allotted per section.
The candidate must satisfy the below specified criteria:
The Common Admission Test (CAT), like virtually all large-scale exams, utilises multiple forms, or versions, of the test. Hence there are two types of scores involved: a raw score and a scaled score.
The raw score is calculated for each section based on the number of questions one answered correctly, incorrectly, or left unattempted. Candidates are given +3 points for each correct answer and -1 point for each incorrect answer. No points are given for questions that are not answered. The raw scores are then adjusted through a process called equating. Equated raw scores are then placed on a common scale or metric to ensure appropriate interpretation of the scores. This process is called scaling.
The change in the total number of questions and number of questions per section in cat merely happens, on a broader perspective there are 100 number of questions combining each section. The very first section which is the verbal ability and reading comprehension (VARC) contains 34 questions, further bifurcating 24 questions of reading comprehension and 10 questions of verbal ability, then next section is of data interpretation and logical reasoning (DILR) which contains 32 questions and the last section is of quantitative ability (QA) which contains 34 questions making it to 100 questions in total. Which had a variance since 2020 as the paper has got trimmed for the number of questions.
CAT is conducted in two sessions.
CAT exact exam pattern changes every year. For CAT 2018, a mock test was supplied.
CAT is a computer-based test which consists of 3 sections:
The Quantitative Ability and Verbal & Reading Comprehension sections consisted 34 questions each, whereas the Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning section had 32 questions. This distribution of questions was same since CAT 2015. Before this, the distribution of questions was different.
The number of registrations in the past years are shown in the following chart:
|Year||Approximate number of registrations|