CAT 2021 Application Form, Exam Dates, Eligibility, Pattern and Syllabus

Common Admission Test [CAT]

CAT - Common Admission Test

Common Admission Test or CAT happens to be a computer based entrance examination which is conducted in India every year. It is a national level test which is conducted by the different IIMs for students who are willing to seek admission in different management programs offered by IIMs. The online registration for the test starts in August month. The examination will be through online computer based. It will conducted by the IIM Bangalore.

The examination is based every year on the basis of rotation policy by each of the IIMs. In the year 2011, it was declared that Indian Institute of Science and Indian Institute of Technology will make use of scores for the selection of candidates for their management courses.

CAT is believed to be an examination of ability and mental strength for taking the pressure. The manager of Business organizations requires undergoing severe stress for maintaining the position of the company. Owing to this, speed, time and pressure of aspirants are tested along with the language and quantitative skills.

CAT 2021 Highlights:

CAT Application Mode


Exam Mode

Computer Based Test


3 hours - 60 minutes for each section

Medium of Exam


CAT Marking Scheme

Correct answer - 3 marks
Incorrect answer - 1 mark

CAT 2021 Exam Date

The registration will usually start in the month of August. Every year more than 2 lakhs aspirant appears for this common entrance test. This is considered to be the toughest entrance exam in India.

Be aware of releasing of application forms and by completing submit the application form before the due date.



Notification Release Date

Last week of July

Registration Start Date

August 2nd week

Closing Date of Online Application form

Mid-week of September

Admit Card Availability Date

October last week

Exam Date

November last week

Result Declaration

January 2nd week

CAT 2021 Eligibility criteria

Candidates should have a graduation degree from a recognized university by the Ministry of HRD, Government of India. Candidates belonging to General candidates should score at least 50% marks or CGPA equivalent to the same.

ST, DA, PWD and SC applicants should score 45 % marks. Students attending final year graduation or equivalent or waiting for results have the eligibility to apply.

It is essential to verify your eligibility twice prior to applying for the test as IIMs will be checking the same at different stages of the selection procedure. If the students have procured marks in the form of CGPA, it can be converted to percentage marks on the basis of a process which is certified by the institute from where the student has obtained the graduation degree.

  • The candidates who are pursuing final year of graduation can also appear for the examination.
  • There is no CAT age limit like minimum or maximum, one with basic eligibility can appear for CAT Exam.
  • Candidates can appear for CAT exam how many ever times they want to, there is no restriction on number of attempts.

Different categories have got different percentage requirement and is explained in the below table:


Percentage required

General and OBC


Scheduled Tribe


Scheduled Caste


Persons with Disabilities


CAT 2021 Application Form & fees

Indian Institute of Management outlined notification for the candidates who are willing to get admission in different management programs. The students who want to seek admission in MBA should be filling registration form via online procedure with the required necessary details before the last date. The last date for filling the registration form will be usually in the month of September.

  • Register in the official website of the CAT
  • Fill the CAT application form by entering all the information with valid details
  • Scan and Upload your documents in the right format
  • CAT application fee need to be paid online via credit card/net banking/debit card


CAT 2020 Application fee







Steps to apply for CAT:

No. of Steps

How to apply for CAT Exam

Step 1

Register Online

Step 2


Step 3

Personal Information

Step 4

Upload Documents

Step 5

Academic Details

Step 6

Professional Information

Step 7

Test City Selection

Step 8

Online Payment


CAT Application form status:

  • Once the CAT application form fee is submitted a pop-up message, an email and a message on the registered mobile number are sent related to application status.
  • CAT 2020 application process will be completely online, so there will not be any failure or disturbance during the final submission.
  • “Successfully submitted” will be the application status if the form is submitted successfully else “Application Rejected”.

CAT Application form correction:

  • No need to panic if you go wrong in filling the application form, committing mistakes is common and there is an option to correct the application form.
  • The authorities of CAT exam will release the CAT application form correction dates but only few entries can be made.

Things to know:

  • The application form will be rejected if you provide wrong details at the time of registration.
  • During interview the certificates will be verified in case if there is any failure, admission to CAT exam will not be considered.
  • While entering the CAT examination centre along with CAT admit card you need to mandatorily carry any valid photo ID proof just for the verification, calculators are not allowed inside the examination hall.

CAT 2021 Syllabus & Exam Pattern

The syllabus is divided into three different sections which include

  • Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation: The logical reasoning and data interpretation section consists of questions in accordance with the given data. The data may be in the form of tables, graphs, charts and paragraphs. Logical Reasoning tests the capability of candidates for evaluating and ratiocinating problems. There are 32 questions in Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation.
  • Quantitative Ability: The Quantitative Aptitude section consists of fundamental mathematics which is based on 10 + 2 level. The Quantitative Ability section consists of 34 questions each.
  • Verbal Ability: The verbal Ability section, on the other hand, consists of questions on the standard use of English Grammar and comprehension. There are 34 questions in total in verbal ability section.



no. of questions and total


Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

32questions - 96 marks


Verbal Activity and Reading Comprehension

34 questions - 102 marks


Quantitative Ability

34 questions - 102 marks



100 questions - 300 marks


CAT Paper Pattern Highlights:

  • The question paper will consist of both Objective MCQ Pattern and Non MCQ pattern as well. Non MCQ s does not have any negative marking but MCQs deducts 1/3 of the negative marking.
  • The duration for completing the entrance test is 180 minutes. The total duration of the entrance test is 3 hours. There is allotment of only 60 minutes for completing each section.
  • Candidates are allowed to make use of a basic on-screen calculator for computation during the exam.
  • It is not possible to switch from one section to the other while completing questions in one section.
  • There will be a deduction of one point for each wrong answer whereas the candidate will be rewarded 3 points for every correct answer. Students will not be penalized for questions that are not answered.

CAT Syllabus:

As per IIMs there is no fixed syllabus, based on the previous year question papers and collecting the most frequently occurring topics there are certain set of topics or concepts or types of questions as they do not release official CAT Syllabus.

Below given are the important topics of CAT Exam:

Quantitative Ability

Data Analysis & Sufficiency

Arithmetic Mean


Arithmetic Progression

Bar Graphs


Column Graphs

Instalment Payments

Graphs representing Area


Line Charts

Ratios and Proportions

Pie Charts

Work and Time

Venn Diagram


Logical Reasoning

Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension

Assertion and reasons



Contextual usage

Coding and Decoding


Critical Reasoning

Sentence completion

Matrix arrangements

Sentence Correction

Statements and assumptions


Visual Reasoning

Verbal Reasoning


CAT Recommended Books:

  • Rigorous practice is required for CAT and it is common to get confused with the books and study materials to go through.
  • The most recommended books for CAT are mentioned below:

Quantitative Ability

Book Name Author Name/Publisher
How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT Arun Sharma
Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT Nishit K. Sinha
Quantitative Aptitude Quantum CAT Common Admission Tests for Admission into IIMs Sarvesh K. Verma


Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning?

Book Name Author Name/Publisher
CAT 2020 Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning Gautam Puri
Data Interpretation & Data Sufficiency Ananta Ashisha
How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CAT Arun Sharma
Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for the CAT Nishit K. Sinha


Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension

Book Name Author Name/Publisher
PSC for VA for CAT Exam Nishit Sinh
How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CAT Sharma and Upadhyay
How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT Arun Sharma and Meenakshi Upadhyay/Arihant
30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary Mass Market Paperback Wilfred Funk & Norman Lewis/ Simon & Schuster


CAT Preparation Tips:

Only serious aspirants would look for preparation tips in the early stage, not that others are not serious but dedication matters. To get call form top MBA colleges or institutes one need to study or prepare on a regular basis. Here are few tips to clear CAT Exam

  • Start preparing from the early stage: If you are in your 12th grade or graduation and planning for CAT this is the best time to start. Any success would not come overnight preparation is very much important.
  • Basics need to be stronger:  Make sure along with the preparation for CAT even concentrate on your graduation final marks because marks are important to apply for any college. One of the most important tips is make your basics stronger, that is learn from zero level so that any question or any problem can be solved logically and in an easier way.
  • Follow the CAT exam date, exam patter and syllabus: To schedule the preparation time table, keep a track of CAT exam date so that accordingly can read, learn and revise. Before you start preparing for CAT know the exam pattern and syllabus. One can get market full of study materials for CAT so get the study materials of reputed authors or from any study centres and make a note of every concept and formulas so that it will be helpful during main exams. Also if there are any changes done in the exam pattern that should not bother you, preparation should continue the same.
  • Set Targets and take CAT mock tests: Managing time is very important in clearing these competitive exams, set your targets it might be for completing the concepts in short duration of time or to clear the tests in prior. Take CAT mock tests and solve precious year papers that helps us to be confident and would get an idea of how the exam will take place
  • Last one I would like to share is practice and practice harder every day.

CAT 2021 Admit Card

Candidates who have completed the registration process will be issued admit card. Candidates can download the admit card from the official website by entering the registered user ID and password.

The admit card will consist of various information related to the test which is inclusive of:

  • Name
  • Roll number of the student
  • Date
  • Timing of the entrance test
  • Venue
  • Session

Students will not be allowed to enter the examination venue without the admit card. The admit card is available for download from last week of October.

CAT 2021 Results & Score Card

The results can be provided to the students via online mode only. The authority will announce the results of the test via online process. The results of the exam will be announced tentatively in the month if January.

Students need to enter their User ID and Password to check the results and to download the score card.  Once the results are announced, a list of candidates will be displayed by the board of candidates who have successfully qualified the examination and selected for further admission process. The score card will have validation for 1 year.

Students can take a printout of the result and preserve the same till the completion of the admission process. The score card constitutes of details of the candidates and their performance in the entrance exam that is overall and sectional marks and percentile.


Steps to obtain CAT result


Visit the CAT official website


Download CAT score card


Will be redirected to login page


Enter User ID and password


Will be redirected to candidates’ page account


Download score for future correspondence


Expected CAT cut-off for IIMs:

IIM will declare a separate cut off list after the CAT results are declared for shortlisting the candidates for the selection procedure. There are two cut-offs that is sectional cut-off and overall cut-off.

  • Sectional cut-off is based on  candidates score in each section to get qualified in the exam
  • Overall cut-off is based on overall score that generally ranges between 90-99 percentile


CAT Cut off (Percentile)

IIM, Ahmedabad


IIM, Bangalore


IIM, Calcutta


IIM, Indore


IIM, Kozhikode


IIM, Lucknow


IIM, Raipur


IIM, Rohtak


IIM, Trichy



  • Through Online mode candidates can check the CAT cut-off marks it will usually be released in the month of November.
  • Every year the cut-off varies for each category and candidates obtained marks equal or above the cut-off can involve in the admission procedure.

CAT 2021 Counselling & Admission

Indian Institute of Management releases the dates for counselling. Once the results are declared candidates need to download the Rank card. Once this is done, need to check for the counselling date as per the ranking.

You got to verify the certificates and necessary documents on the mentioned date.

After the declaration of the results, the list of students is sent to each of the IIMs. The admission and counselling process of each of the IIMs are accomplished separately. The admission is done on the basis of merit. IIMs conduct a rigorous selection process that comprises of Personal Interview, Essay Writing, and Group Discussion apart from the written test.

  • The candidates will be selected on the basis of the exam score by the IIMs for the second stage.
  • The selection procedure will be based on the written ability test (WAT), Group discussions (GD) and Personal interviews (PI).
  • Work experience might get counted along with the academic performances by the IIMs in the admission procedure.

CAT Selection Procedure:

  • CAT qualified candidates will be invited for colleges for personal interview and GD or WAT round.
  • Except for new IIMs individually CAT selection process is carried out by each college. CAT does not have common counselling process during preliminary registration form-filling process for IIMs is done

Candidates will be shortlisted for WAT & PI based on different criteria that include:



Class 10th


Class 12th


CAT score



50 (Gender Diversity Factor 48+2)


Final Selection for the colleges will be calculated based on few of the sections mentioned below:



Personal Interview


CAT Score


Written Ability Test


Work Experience


Academic Diversity Factor for Bachelor's Degree (ADFB)


CAT 2021 Participating Colleges

CAT Participating Colleges:

  • Nearly in 140 test cities exam centres are spread out where the CAT is conducted in India
  • While registering for CAT candidates need to provide the exam centre of their preference.
  • In the registration form up to 4 cities can added as a preference for CAT test cities, generally CAT examination time slot will be allocated randomly.
  • Year by year number of test-takers are increasing and to accommodate them in all major cities CAT Exam Centres are available.

Below listed are newly added CAT exam cities:

Ulhasnagar in Maharashtra

Dharwad and Gulbarga in Karnataka

Bankura in West Bengal

Samba in J&K

Dhenkanal in Odisha

Ernakulam in Kerala

Bhatinda in Punjab

Purnea in Bihar

Waknaghat in Himachal Pradesh


Almost every Business school accepts the CAT scores.

List Of Participating Colleges

Sr. No. Colleges City
1 Indian Institute of Management Bangalore
2 Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad
3 Indian Institute of Management Calcutta
4 Indian Institute of Management Lucknow
5 Institute of Rural Management Anand
6 Xaviers Labour Relation Institute Jamshedpur
7 Management Development Institute Gurgaon
8 Indian Institute of Management Indore
9 S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research Mumbai
10 Indian Institute of Foreign Trade Delhi                                                                                          

Ask & Answers

Calculator allowed inside the CAT Exam or in Centre they provide calculators for use?

Calculator not allowed in examination hall. any other types of electronics devices like mobile /ipad etc also not allowed inside CAT exam Hall.

Any guidelines for important topics  in Analytical Reasoning for CAT?

  • Need to select books before starting the preparartion. topics which is there in CAT exam for Reasoning:
  • Coding-Decoding,Direction Sense,Data Structures,Series,Arrangements,Puzzles,Clocks and Calendars,Blood Relations .
  • Few Author which students prefer for CAT Exam Preparation, like Nishit sharma,Arun Sharam , Sarvesh Verma .

May I know the CAT Eligibility criteria and what is the percentage of seat reservation for SC/ST candidates?

CAT Eligibility Criteria:

  • Candidates should be qualified in their Bachelor’s degree or Equivalent recognized by Government of India.
  • Percentage criteria in CAT Eligibility: 50% aggregate marks (For SC/ST/PWD candidates, it is 45% marks).  
  • For ST Candidates, Reserved seats availability is 7.5%. 
  • For SC Candidates, Reserved seats availability is 15%.

which are the sections do we have in CAT Exam pattern and I want to know the duration of the CAT exam? 

Exam pattern details:

  • In Exam pattern, there will be 3 sections: Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning, Quantitative Ability, and Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension.
  • exam will be scheduled online via Computer based test.
  • Exam duration is of 3 Hours.
  • Exam pattern, there will be total questions of 100. 
  • Exam, for each correct response, 3 marks will be provided.
  • 1 mark will be deducted for every wrong response in exam. 

I want to know some Important CAT Preparation Tips? 

CAT Preparation Tips: 

  • The candidates must be well aware about the CAT syllabus.
  • One must need to be thorough with the CAT basic topics.
  • The candidates need to practice previous year CAT question papers.
  • One must practice CAT mock tests with all the levels i.e. easy, moderate and Difficulty. 
  • By this way the candidates will be aware about their strengths and weakness. 

I want to know the expected CAT cutoff for IIMS for General cadre? 

Expected CAT cutoff for IIMS for the year 2018:

  • The expected CAT cutoff for IIM Ahmedabad is 80.
  • The expected CAT cutoff for IIM Bangalore is 90.
  • The expected CAT cutoff for IIM Calcutta is 90.
  • The expected CAT cutoff for IIM Lucknow is 90.
  • Given above are some of the Expected CAT cutoffs for IIMs, But there are various other factors involved for the cutoffs i.e., on the number of applicants who appear for the CAT exam and the difficulty level of the exam.

I wanted to know the CAT Admission Process?

Details on CAT Admission Process:

  • The Top b-schools and IIMs shortlist the candidates depending upon the CAT cut-off marks.
  • Shortlisted candidates will be called for WAT (Written Ability Test) followed by Group Discussion and Personal Interview (PI).
  • CAT Admission process varies depending upon the B-school to B-schools.
  • IIMs will be having their own Admission criteria in order to provide admission.
  • Aspirant’s academics and work experience do matter at the time of admission.

Mock Test

  • Question papers of mock test and previous year’s papers and Common Admission Test [CAT] Practice tests help to get prepared for the entrance exam preparation.
  • The CAT online test helps you in evaluating yourself and tells you how well have you prepared for the main entrance exam also you would get to know how much have you learnt till date.
  • You will be getting the CAT test papers for free, and can practice or get prepared by appearing for free CAT online mock test.