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What is CAT?

CAT is abbreviation for Common Admission Test; it is a computer based joint entrance examination directed by the IIM and with the technical support provided by the Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) for obtaining admission in the one of most prestigious university in India in the field of business administration courses. CAT score is considered to get enrolled in the reputed colleges like Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Institute of Management Technology (IMT), Faculty of management Studies (FMS), Jamanlal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies (JBIMS), International Management Institute (IMI), S.P Jain Institute of Management & Research (SPJIMR), National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE) and many other elite business colleges which is well known around the globe for producing finest business administrators and researchers in the field of business administration and its related branches.

It concludes aspirant’s score based on the questions asked in the areas of the Data Interpretation, Verbal Ability, Reading Comprehension, Quantitative Ability, and Logical Reasoning. It is considered one of the toughest exams to crack, in the year 2015, approximately 2,18,664CAT candidates applied for the CAT for just little over 1550 seats, it is extremely difficult to land a good rank in the CAT examination.

Why CAT?

If you are thinking to pursue your master in business administration in any of the elite Universities which offers you a great starting package then you have to clear the CAT. As stated by the above figures it is a very tough examination conducted nationwide, you have to outperform most of them to secure a place in the most desired IIM’s and especially if you are targeting IIMA then get your mind set to commit yourself 100% in every area to get you through the examination into the IIMA.

There are great advantages of getting through the CAT examination, some are as below:

  • Admission in the top prestigious Universities of management& research.
  • Guidance under the faculty who is leading researcher in their respective field.
  • Corporate exposure.
  • Outstanding starting salary package.
  • Best resource to learn the concepts of management.
  • Top college graduate tag like: IIMA n other IIM’s.
  • Exposure of the latest research in the field.

Once you get a very high score in the CAT you will be securing a seat in the reputed university. Alone name of the institute will be enough to get good starting salary package, dream job and right to boost about your status in the society among your friends, family and relatives.

It will be really tough to score high in the CAT examination but if you work systematically by proper ways of studying the each area from where you can get questions in the CAT examination then you would surely end up scoring a very good rank among all over India rankings in the CAT examination and live your dream of studying in one of the top-notch colleges of business administration and research.

List of colleges accepting CAT score

  1. Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad
  2. Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore
  3. Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta
  4. Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow
  5. Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode
  6. Indian Institute of Management, Indore
  7. Indian Institute of Management, Shillong
  8. Indian Institute of Management, Ranchi
  9. Indian Institute of Management, Raipur
  10. Indian Institute of Management, Trichy
  11. Indian Institute of Management, Udaipur
  12. Indian Institute of Management, Kashipur
  13. Indian Institute of Management, Rothak
  14. Indian Institute of Management, Himachal Pradesh
  15. Indian Institute of Management, Amritsar
  16. Indian Institute of Management, Visakhapatnam
  17. Indian Institute of Management, Bihar
  18. Indian Institute of Management, Odisha
  19. Indian Institute of Management, Nagpur
  20. Faculty of Management Studies
  21. SP Jain Institute of Management and Research
  22. Management Development Institute, Gurgaon
  23. International Management Institute, Delhi
  24. National Institute of Industrial Engineering
  25. Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies
  26. T.A. Pai Management Institute
  27. Sailesh J. Mehta School of Management
  28. Institute of Rural Management, Anand
  29. K. J. Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research
  30. Welingkar Institute of Management and Research
  31. Institute of Management Technology, Ghaziabad
  32. Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar
  33. Department of Management Studies, IIT Delhi
  34. Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Guwahati
  35. Institute of Management, Nirma University
  36. Goa Institute of Management
  37. National Institute of Technology, Trichy
(Note: This list is not comprehensive as it includes only a few reputed B-schools in the country. The number of B-schools accepting CAT scores is big and the exact number varies slightly every year.)


To apply for an aspirant must hold Bachelor’s degree with 50% aggregate marks or CGPA equivalent to 50% for general category. For Schedule Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Persons With Disability (PWD) must hold the same with 45%.

Students appearing for the final year exam can also apply but if they make it to final list then they have to show up with the certificate from Principal or Registrar of their University, marking that they have completed all the requirements to get the degree certificate by the date of obtaining degree certificate.

Note: during entire selection process all candidate should maintain a valid email account and phone number.

CAT Syllabus

As it is very versatile exam there is no fix course area from where you have to deal with but by analyzing past many years papers it is concluded that there are certain topics which is asked frequently and considered as the course to understand and excel at.

Some of the topics from which one faces regular questions are as follows:

  • Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension: In this section topics like vocabulary based synonyms & antonyms, idioms & phrases, sentence formation & correction, fill in the blanks, Proper English grammar usage, close passages, jumbled paragraph, analogies or reverse analogies, meaning-usage matching, proper use of punctuation,summary questions, fact/inferences/judgments based on info, reading comprehension and answering questions based on paragraph, Grammar based question like use of noun, verb, tenses, adjective, adverb, preposition, article, relative clauses, direct-indirect speech and active-passive form. In here also verbal reasoning questions are asked.
  • Quantitative Ability: Here in this section questions from topics likebasic number systems, Least Common Multiple (LCM) & Highest Common Factor (HCF), percentage, ratio & proportion, work & remuneration, profit & loss, simple & compound interest, problems based on speed/velocity vs. time, time & distance, problems from coordinate geometry, surds, averages, mean, median, linear equations, quadratic equations, functions, logarithm, complex numbers & complex functions, sequence & series, mensuration, progressions, set theory, permutation & combination, probability, problems related to trigonometry and binomial theorem. Studying well all the above topics will cover almost everything in the quantitative section but still it is CAT examination it will surprise you.
  • Data Interpretation: From this part you will be given data in the form of various statistical presentations like tables, caselets, line & area graphs, column charts, bar charts, pie chart, Venndiagram and also you can get a question from the combination of two data interpretation techniques and you have to deduce after in depth analysis of the facts and figures.
  • Logical Reasoning: In this area generally questions from the topics like blood relations, problems related to clocks, calendar based questions, cubes, seating arrangement, logical connectives, logical matching, binary logic, syllogism, logical sequence and numbers & letters series.You may still find something in the paper just out of the blue, so be prepared for known topics and for unknown just give your best.

From the above all mentioned topics one may have to tackle one or more question in the CAT examination, any CAT participant who wants to score high must prepare well in all the above areas. Applicant must have sound understanding of the concepts and must be able to solve the questions in the given time frame or else he/she will run short of the time to finish the exam and will result in obtaining less marks even you may be well knowledgeable in the subject, it is very crucial in the competitive exams like CAT to manage time while solving the problems.

CAT Paper Style

Every year Paper style of CAT examination changes as per the IIM decides it, this year CAT exam comprises of the 100 questions and duration of it is 180 minutes, duration period can change.

Mode of the examination: It is a computer based examination; every CAT aspirant is assigned a dedicated computer on the test center pre decided by the IIM and other authority conducting the CAT examination,in the exam participants have to answer the objective as well as subjective question by means of keyboard & mouse. Last year over 650 test centers were arranged by the authority to gather all the mass CAT aspirants across the country.

Sections of examination:In the examination there are three main sections, Quantitative Aptitude (QA), Verbal and Reading Comprehension (VRC), Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR). Weightage from each section changes from year to year as considered by the authority conducting the test.

Section Name: No. of Questions: Total Time per Section:
Quantitative Aptitude (QA) 28-32 60 Minutes
Verbal and Reading Comprehension (VRC) 32-44 60 Minutes
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR) 28-34 60 Minutes
Total: 100 180 Minutes

No. of question and amount of marks it carries depends upon the paper setter. CAT exam has objective question in which candidate has to choose one option out of the four choices, sometimes in theexamination there is also subjective question which applicant has to answer by feeding the answer through keyboard.

Marking Scheme: In the CAT exam for every correct option selected by the candidate, he/she will be awarded by 3 marks and for every incorrect choice1 mark will be deducted from candidate’s score. So take care, do not just select answer randomly in the exam or else it will have an adverse effect on your total score. It is best to leave the question unanswered if you are not sure about the answer of the problem.

Time Constraint: Every candidate will be given 60 minutes per section, you cannot switch in between to other sections, prior to completing a section and also not before 60 minutes passes by, so if you complete the section in 45-50 minutes then still you cannot move to other section, you have to wait till 60 minutes lapses.

How to prepare for CAT?

If you are preparing for the CAT examination then here are few important guidelines on how to prepare for the CAT examination and obtain the highest score.

Analyze and plan: Analyze the syllabus and plan accordingly your strategy to learn all the essential topics necessary to clear the CAT exam with flying colours.

There are 4 main part of the CAT syllabus:

  • 1. Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension
  • 2. Quantitative Ability
  • 3. Data Interpretation
  • 4. Logical Reasoning

First of all understand the syllabus and the complexity of questions that are asked in the past years, based on it then decide which section is your strength and in which section you are comparatively weak.

After you know your strength and weakness, concentrate on both your strength and weakness, from the past papers you may get a brief idea about the questions and to what degree of complexity, again it is CAT examination so it is not possible to anticipate how or which type of questions will be asked next year but still past papers are worth going through to find your strength and weakness and consolidate your skills on the various topics from the four section of exam.

Dedicate your study hours according to your current level of efficiency and accuracy of solving the problems.

Understand all the basic concepts: Understand the core concepts in depth to answer complex problems, you should have sound knowledge of all the basic concepts and idea of how to apply it on the problems so no matter how twisted the questions are asked still you can counter it.

Make a list of all formulas and tricks: Make a list of all the important formulas and grammar rules, so it will be quite easy to revise just before you are practicing in mock tests.

In the CAT examination sometimes questions takes so much of your precious time to solve and obtain the correct answer, for such type of questions there are short cut tricks which should also be well documented and referred to save crucial time in solving the problems, prior to appear for exam.

It will help you to decide whether you need to invest your time on a particular problem or just move to the next one, as time management is of extreme concern.

Practice problems for accuracy and time management: It is very essential that you obtain the correct answer of the question that you attempt so the invested time will yield some marks, practice enough problems related to grammar and different logical problems to eventually get high accuracy and with accuracy you should also improve your solving pace to get things done in the bounded time.

If you are good at solving or answering in case of grammar section but if you will lack in time then all your knowledge will be in vain, in CAT exam time management is kind of a fifth section for which also you need to develop skills to crack the CAT exam with high merit.

Solve previous year’s papers: When you feel you are ready to face the challenges of the CAT then go for solving previous year’s papers, it will give you exposure of pressure and time management required to attempt the maximum possible questions in the given time frame.

Solve as many as possible past papers, it will be a significant confidence booster.

Revise all the formulas: At the last moment stop solving more problems and papers, revise all the formulas from the document you have created while preparing for the topics, go through all the concepts, formulas and basic rules prior to CAT examination.

Revise the documented material that you created by yourself while studying, as it is created by yourself it will be like going back to the trail you left.

After preparing with all your dedicated efforts, give your best! Do not let pressure shake your confidence. Stay calm and relax and answer the CAT paper.

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