CAT Exam 2021: Books, Syllabus, Exam Pattern, CAT Cut-Offs, Exam Analysis, Tips & More
The CAT exam is one of the most popular national MBA entrance exams in India conducted by IIMs every year. Common Admission Test (CAT) usually happens in late November or early December. The expected Date for CAT exam 2021 is 28th November 2021 and it will be conducted in 3 slots (early morning, after-noon & evening) of 2 hours each, in approximately 156 cities and has a validity (score) of 1 year. The candidates are allowed with a simple on-screen calculator, a pen & a paper which are provided at the cat test center.
The CAT 2020 exam aims to test a candidate's reasoning ability, mathematical prowess and proficiency in the English language in a dedicated 1 hour time for each of the three sections i.e. Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning, and Quantitative Aptitude in particular order. Also, the candidates can not switch or go back and forth between the sections during the exam.
The conducting body for CAT exam 2021 is yet to be disclosed. Last year, CAT 2020 exam was conducted by IIM Indore and the exam was taken by approx 2 Lakh people.
|CAT 2020||IIM Indore|
|CAT 2019||IIM Kozhikode|
|CAT 2018||IIM Calcutta|
|CAT 2017||IIM Lucknow|
|CAT 2016||IIM Bangalore|
|CAT 2015||IIM Ahmedabad|
|CAT 2014||IIM Indore|
|CAT 2013||IIM Indore|
|CAT 2012||IIM Kozhikode|
|CAT 2011||IIM Calcutta|
|CAT 2010||IIM Lucknow|
|CAT 2009||IIM Ahmedabad|
Throughout the year, we are inundated with questions from tense and eager CAT exam aspirants around profile evaluation, target CAT exam scores, and B-school call predictions - "Is there any chance of getting a call from IIM Ahmedabad?", "I screwed up my 10th and 12th, can I get a call from IIM Calcutta with a high CAT exam percentile?" To answer these questions, we decided to dig in deeper and find out exactly what profile it takes to make it - or get rejected - by an IIM. In this report, find out if your profile is good enough to make it to the top six IIMs!
What kind of an academic profile is it that the IIMs are really looking for? Is it really true that even with an abysmal academic profile, a high CAT percentile will be enough to get a call? What is the minimum 10th and 12th score below which you stand a very bleak chance of getting an IIM shortlist? This report will attempt to answer these questions by assessing the academic profiles of current and previous batches at the top-6 IIMs of the country - IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, IIM Calcutta, IIM Lucknow, IIM Indore, and IIM Kozhikode.
Which IIMs May Shortlist You With Your Academic Profile - A Summary
Academic Profile Required To Get A Call From IIM Ahmedabad
The following table encapsulates the academic profiles of 500+ IIM Ahmedabad current students/graduates. The rows capture the percentage of individuals under any one of five percentage ranges across 10th, 12th and graduation.
Academic Profile Required To Get A Call From IIM Bangalore
The following table encapsulates the academic profiles of 500+ IIM Bangalore current students/graduates. The rows capture the percentage of individuals under any one of five percentage ranges across 10th, 12th and graduation.
Academic Profile Required To Get A Call From IIM Calcutta
The following table encapsulates the academic profiles of 500+ IIM Calcutta current students/graduates. The rows capture the percentage of individuals under any one of five percentage ranges across 10th, 12th and graduation.
Academic Profile Required To Get A Call From IIM Lucknow
The following table encapsulates the academic profiles of 500+ IIM Lucknow current students/graduates. The rows capture the percentage of individuals under any one of five percentage ranges across 10th, 12th and graduation.
Academic Profile Required To Get A Call From IIM Indore
The following table encapsulates the academic profiles of nearly 500 IIM Indore current students/graduates. The rows capture the percentage of individuals under any one of five percentage ranges across 10th, 12th and graduation.
Academic Profile Required To Get A Call From IIM Kozhikode
The following table encapsulates the academic profiles of 500+ IIM Kozhikode current students/graduates. The rows capture the percentage of individuals under any one of five percentage ranges across 10th, 12th and graduation.
|Year||Attempts Required In Each Section||Overall Score Reqd. For 99 - 100%ile|
|2019||17 - 25||155 - 230|
|2018||18 - 28||160 - 250|
|2017||17 - 24||148 - 210|
|2016||17 - 25||155 - 220|
|2015||20 - 28||180 - 250|
CAT 2019 Score Vs Percentile - Section Wise
|Percentile||VARC Score||DILR Score||QA Score|
|CAT Exam Date (tentative)||28th November 2021 (Sunday)|
|CAT 2021 Exam Registrations - Open (tentative)||August 2021|
|CAT Exam 2021 Registrations - Close (tentative)||Late September 2021|
|CAT 2021 Admit Card (tentative)||Late October 2021|
|CAT Tutorial||Check Here|
|CAT 2021 Exam Timings||Morning Slot - 08:30 A.M. to 10:30 P.M.
Afternoon Slot - 12:30 P.M. to 02:30 P.M.
Evening Slot - 04:30 P.M. to 06:30 P.M.
|CAT Result 2020 (Announced)||2nd January 2020|
Many times aspirants are asked in b-school interviews, why MBA? What is something that they are looking forward to from an MBA? or something which they will only get after pursuing an MBA.
This is a big and a deciding factor whether they are going to get an admission or not because this is something which justifies your action and why you took it. It not only tells the interviewer how you analyze the things and take action currently but also how you will in the future to some extent.
There are several questions which come to one’s mind while deciding if he or she should pursue an MBA or appear for CAT exam. Some of the questions which are asked during the MBA interviews:
- Why MBA?
- Why Finance or Why MBA in Finance?
- MBA with work experience or MBA as a fresher?
- Why MBA in Operations?
- Why HR?
CAT Exam 2021 is a direct gateway to the most prestigious management institutes of the country. If you feature above the 99th percentile of all applicants, you are highly likely to be shortlisted for management institutes such as IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, IIM Calcutta, IIM Lucknow, IIM Indore, IIM Kozikhode and 14 other top IIMs.
You are also eligible to be shortlisted for premier non-IIM Institutes.
All of these institutes are responsible for refining and polishing a student to be at the top of the corporate ladder. At these institutes, you will be equipped with the most in-depth knowledge and technical expertise required to be at the helm of an organization. With Faculty having decades of invaluable experience and peers who belong to the creme de la creme of the country, your personality is likely to grow exponentially.
What's more, you are likely to be recruited by top global and Indian companies such as Hindustan Unilever, Nestle, ITC Limited, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, McKinsey & Company, The Boston Consulting Group, TATA Administrative Services, Aditya Birla Group, and many more such market leaders.
There is likely to be a significant escalation in your paycheck, along with the opportunity to work at some of the best offices across the globe.
But make no mistake, CAT exam or even admission into an IIM is not a guarantee of ready-made success. However, belonging to a premier management institute can be a safety net.
CAT 2021 Eligibility For Graduates, Professional Degree Holders & Working Class
CAT Eligibility Criteria 2021: General and NC-OBC
A candidate, with atleast 50% marks in his bachelor's degree/equivalent degree or higher or is in final year of pursuing the same from a university or professional institution recognised by the Parliament or State legislature or Ministry of HRD, Government of India or is a Deemed University, can apply for CAT exam 2021.
- Submission of caste/class certificate at the time of registration for NC-OBC candidates
CAT 2021 Eligibilty Criteria: SC, ST and PwD
Any candidate, who secured more than 45% marks in his/her bachelor's degree/equivalent or professional degree or higher can apply for the CAT exam.
- Should upload the caste/class certificate at the time of CAT exam form registration.
CAT Exam Eligibilty For Final Year Students
- A candidate should be pursuing a bachelor's degree or equivalent from an institution recognised by Ministry of HRD or a Deemed University.
- Should have a total aggregate marks above 50% for General/NC-OBC and 45% for SC/ST/PWD, so far.
- Can have a backlog in exams but should attain the degree before joining the b-school, in-case selected.
Min. Graduation Marks Required
Caste/Class Certificate Required
CAT Exam Fee
The CAT exam pattern has been ever-evolving, going online in 2009, followed by multiple significant changes to the CAT paper pattern. The CAT exam pattern 2021 will be same as CAT 2020.
- The CAT exam consists of 3 sections - Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VA RC), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DI LR), Quantitative Ability (QA).
- The VARC (Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension) section consists of 26 questions, the DILR (Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning) section consists of 24 questions and the QA (Quantitative Ability) section consists of 26 questions, making a total of 76 questions to be solved during the exam.
- Questions in each section must be solved within a time limit of 40 minutes, therefore amounting to a total of 120 minutes for the exam.
- The CAT exam has negative marking, deducting 1 mark for each wrong answer and allocating 3 marks for each correct answer.
- The CAT exam consist of Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) and Type In The Answer (TITA) format of questions. The TITA questions do not have any negative marking.
Every year CAT aspirants before starting their preparation have this very confusion in mind – Should I go with this book or Is that book better than what I’m reading right now or Will this book cover every topic under the CAT syllabus? To help you with this, we have got a list of books used/recommended by CAT toppers/gurus every year which covers a step by step approach to concepts followed by questions for practice.
How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for CAT by Arun Sharma (8th Edition)
Quantitative Aptitude Quantum by Sarvesh Kumar (2018)
Quantitative Aptitude for CAT by Nishit Sinha (2016)
|Price/Where To Buy||INR 472 (Amazon)||INR 523 (Amazon)||INR 451 (Amazon)|
How to Prepare for Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension for CAT by Meenakshi Upadhyay and Arun Sharma (8th Edition)
The Pearson Guide to Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT by Nishit Sinha (2016)
Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis (2019)
|Price/Where To Buy||Price – INR 483 (Amazon)||Price – INR 291 (Amazon)||Price – INR 140 (Flipkart)|
|Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning||
A Modern Approach to Logical Reasoning by R.S.Agarwal (2019)
How to Prepare for Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for CAT by Arun Sharma (2011)
Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation by Nishit Sinha (2018)
|Price/Where To Buy||Price – INR 204 (Amazon)||Price – INR 455 (Flipkart)||Price – INR 562 (Amazon)|
Read in detail: section-wise CAT books review
- Conducted By - IIM Indore
- Duration - 2 hours (Earlier 3 hours)
- Slots - 3 slots in 1 day (Earlier 2 slots in a day)
- No. of Questions - Reduced to 76 (Earlier 100 Questions)
- Conducted By - IIM Kozhikode
- Conducted By - IIM Calcutta
- Conducted By - IIM Lucknow
- Reduced the no. of TITA questions to 25 (earlier 28)
- Conducted By - IIM Bangalore
- Introduction of on-screen calculator & TITA Questions (28 Questions)
- Test Window - 1 day (2 slots)
- 3 Sections - 34 in two sections & 32 in other (Changed from 2 sections)
- No Negative Marking for TITA Questions
- Duration - 3 Hours (earlier - 2 Hours and 50 minutes
- Conducted By - IIM Ahmedabad
- Test Window - 2 days (2 slots per day) from 20 days
- Duration - 2 Hours and 50 mintues (earlier 2 Hours and 20 minutes)
- 2 Sections - 50 questions each (from 30 questions each)
- Conducted By - IIM Indore
- Online Testing Partner - Tata Consultancy Services (earlier Prometric)
CAT 2011 - 2013
- 2 Sections (30 questions each) - 3 sections earlier
- Test Window - 20 days window (2 slots per day)
- Duration - 2 Hours and 20 minutes (Changed from 2 Hours and 15 minutes)
- Conducted By - IIM Calcutta, IIM Kozhikode & IIM Indore resp.
CAT 2009 - 2010
- Mode - Online (introducted in 2009)
- Test Window - 20 days window (2 slots per day)
- Duration - 2 Hours and 15 minutes
- 3 Sections (30 questions each)
- Conducted By - IIM Ahemdabad
- Online Testing Partner - Prometric
- Attacked By 2 Viruses - 'Conficker' & 'W32 Nimda'
- Mode - Pen-Paper Based
- Test Window - 1 day
- 3 Sections (100 questions each)
- Duration - 3 hours
How to start preparing for the Common Admission Test or CAT exam 2021 is something which comes first in your mind, if this is your first attempt to crack the CAT exam and get into your dream b-school. But that's not it, it is equally important for someone for whom this might not be their first attempt. The question which crosses their path is, how can they scale their existing score or improve.
So, in order to help you, we have got a list of webinars conducted by CL faculty and current students of top b-school like IIM-L, IIM-Indore, etc. Check it out below!
A total of 111 management institute across the country consider an applicant's CAT score for the admission process, including 20 IIMs and non-IIM institutes such as SPJMIR Mumbai, MDI Gurgaon, FMS Delhi, IRMA, IMT Ghaziabad, XIMB, Great Lakes Institute of Management etc.
The rankings below are based on the desirability of a b-school which is an outcome of a survey conducted by us (InsideIIM) in which the aspirants are asked to vote the mba colleges they consider best.
|Rank (Based on Desirability)||Names of Business Schools||Ownership||CAT Cut-Offs||Selection Criteria||B-School Fees (including hostel fees)||Application Fees||Batch Size (Class of 2022)|
|4||FMS Delhi||Government||CAT - 98% +||Check here||₹1,92,000 (₹48,000 per semester)
(This doesn't include hostel & mess charges)
|₹1,000 (₹350 for SC/ST/PwD/EWS)||251|
|5||XLRI Jamshedpur||Private||XAT - 95% +||-||₹23,60,000||₹300 per programme while filling XAT form||364|
|12||MDI Gurgaon||Private||CAT - 95% +||-||₹21,34,000||₹3,000||359|
(Accepts GMAT/GRE & have no cutoff criteria)
|14||SJMSoM IIT Bombay||Government||
|17||SIBM Pune||Private||SNAP - 98% +||-||₹22,35,000||₹1,000 + taxes||180|
|22||DMS IIT Delhi||Government||-||-||₹9,60,000||
|23||NMIMS Mumbai||Private||NMAT - 208 Marks||-||₹19,77,000||₹1,770 for MBA or PGDM (₹2,124 for MBA & PGDM)||600
(This includes MBA & MBA HR only)
|27||SCMHRD Pune||Private||SNAP - 96% +||-||₹20,05,800 (excluding mess & hostel charges)||₹1,000||180|
|29||VGSoM IIT Kharagpur||Government||
|30||MICA Ahmedabad||Private||CAT - 85% (Have to appear separately for MICAT)||Check here||₹20,00,000||₹1,985||PGDMC - 180
PGDM - 36
- I am not an Engineer. Will I still be able to crack CAT exam 2021?
Yes, you most certainly stand an equal chance as anyone else to crack CAT exam. CAT is an exam which is increasingly being designed to cater to non-engineers as well. While it is true that Engineers may have an additional advantage in dealing with numbers, that is not the case for everyone. Furthermore, top management institutes such as IIMs also have points for diversity, which is an added advantage for non-engineers.
- I am weak at Maths. How do I prepare for the QA section?
Not everyone is highly proficient in mathematics. Therefore, to become good at number crunching, one must practice as much as possible. There are multiple online and offline resources to help you do this. A candidate very weak in Mathematics will take anywhere between 5-6 months to become CAT-ready. It is achievable.
- How to improve your reading speed and comprehension for CAT?
Reading Comprehension for CAT is one of the important topics which you can't left un-attended. People usually find it difficult to cope up with the speed with the limited time span allotted to candidates during the CAT. So, how should one tackle it. Read more
- What happens after CAT?
If you meet the selection criteria set by various management institutes, you will be given a short-list call and will be invited for the next set of rounds to gain admission into the institute. This set of rounds will involve Academic Writing Tests, Personal Interview, Group Discussions and Extempore. Selection criteria for institutes can be different. For instance, the Common Admission Process consists of a GD round, but IIM Ahmedabad substitutes that with an AWT round.
- How much time does it take to prepare for the CAT exam?
Ideally, a candidate will require 6-8 months to prepare well for CAT, although CAT 99 percentilers have been known to prepare for CAT in a duration of just 3-4 months as well.
- How long will my CAT score be valid for?
Unlike other MBA competitive exams such as GMAT and GRE, the CAT score is valid only for a period of one year. However, if you would like to work/continue working for a year before joining your institute, some B-Schools can provide you with deferred admission as well.
- Can I prepare for CAT exam while working? Should I quit my job to prepare for the CAT 2020?
You most certainly can prepare for CAT exam while working. In fact, it is recommended that you attempt CAT without leaving your job. Management institutes have marks for work experience, and this can boost your chances of being at a top B-School. Further, a lot of campus recruiters at your MBA institute would prefer industry experience, in which case you will have an advantage.
- What not to carry in CAT exam?
Unlike other exams, in CAT, there are certain things/items which you cannot carry or allowed in the examination hall apart from your admit card and valid photo identification ID. The list of following things which are not allowed in CAT exam are:
- Mobile phone or any other electronic gadgets
- What do I need to do to get into IIM Ahmedabad?
If you belong to the General Category, you would need a score upward of 99 percentile to ensure a shortlist call from IIM A. Also, a good academic score in Class 10th, 12th and Graduation will play a major role in getting a shortlist call. An ideal candidate should have (90/90/80) in their 10th, 12th and Graduation.However, it is common for aspirants to be shortlisted with graduation scores as low as 60% (although that would have to be compensated for by a high CAT score).IIM Ahmedabad also provides diversity points to non-engineers whom it categorizes under 7 academic streams - A1 to A7.
Believe it or not, CAT Exam is just a doorway to apply to the b-school you wanted to get into and doesn't guarantee any success or something of that sort. The actual preparation starts only after the CAT results are out. So, in order to help you with the selection process and how you can tackle the questions asked during the interview, etc., we have a got you guys webinars' conducted by current students of top b-schools like IIM Calcutta, IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Kozhikode, IIM Lucknow, etc.