Your complete guide to CAT exam preparation.
CAT (Common Admission Test) is one of the most popular exams conducted in the country for MBA aspirants. You get an entry to different IIMs if you appear for CAT. CAT and other MBA entrance exams are conducted for some of the best Indian institutes with either MBA or PGDM as a part of their curriculum. You can do an MBA in any field like Marketing, Sales, Finance, Supply Chain Management, etc. Before you start your CAT and other MBA entrance exams preparation, you must know the exams that you will have to take to secure a seat in one of the best colleges in India.
Also check: CAT 2023
CAT Exam Particulars
CAT 2023 Details
CAT Full Form
Common Admission Test (CAT)
CAT Exam Date
November 26, 2023
CAT Exam Timings
Session 1: 8:30 AM to 10:30 AM
Session 2: 12:30 PM to 2:30 PM
Session 3: 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM
CAT Exam Fees
INR 2,400 (General category) and INR 1,200 (Reserved category)
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)
Quantitative Ability (QA)
Computer Based Test (CBT) with MCQs and non-MCQs
No. of test cities
CAT exam website
The candidates who want to appear for the CAT exam, should have the proper information about the CAT eligibility criteria. The basic CAT eligibility criteria is a graduate degree from a very reputed university or equivalent. Before appearing for the exam or applying for the same make sure you read the CAT eligibility criteria completely. In the year 2021, IIM removed the minimum grades (45% and 50% CGPA) for appearing in the CAT exam. This was done to make sure that the candidates who have done their bachelor’s degrees in 2020 and 2022 are clearly represented in the exam. They could enter the “Promotion/Pass” in the CAT application form instead of the grades.Age Criteria -
According to the CAT eligibility criteria, there is no maximum age limit to apply for the same. As long as the candidates satisfy the other CAT eligibility criteria, there won't be any limitations on age.
The candidates must have completed the Bachelor’s degree with 50% marks for the unreserved category, 45% for SC, ST and PWD categories.
The candidates who have the professional degree of CA/CS/ICWA with a minimum required percentage to apply for the exam.
In the final year of the bachelor’s degree the required percentage may also apply.
CAT application process has been started already on the official website of IIM CAT. The candidates can apply from the official website to fill the application form or check this page also to get the form link. To successfully complete the CAT application form, they must go through the CAT registration process details and get to know the stepwise details on how to fill the CAT application form.Steps to fill the application form
Open the official website to fill out the application form
Check the link for CAT 2023 Application Form and click on the same.
Create your user profile by filling up the details such as name, date of birth, personal details and educational details. Once you complete the form click on the next step.
Now upload the required documents and pay the application fees.
Go through the draft form once and submit the same.
The hall ticket for the CAT exam will be issued to all the registered students. The candidates who have successfully completed the application form will only get the links to download the hall ticket. The direct link to download the CAT 2023 admit card will be updated here after it releases. It is the most important document for the CAT exam. Without presenting this at the exam hall, the candidates will not be able to enter the examination hall. The CAT hall ticket contains all the information about the candidates and the centre of the CAT 2023 such as application number, exam timings, exam centre address, etc. To download the hall ticket, the candidates are advised to use their login credentials such as ID and password.
Read more: CAT Admit Card
Open the official website.
Check the admit card tab and find the link to download the hall ticket.
Go for downloads and fill in the required information and get the admit card.
Make sure you go through the entire details of the hall ticket to avoid any kind of discrepancies.
Make sure that you download the hall ticket before the last date. It will be only available in online mode.
There are three sections in the CAT exam. Other exams also have the same sections, but they might have an additional general knowledge section. Let's have a look at the sections that are a part of the CAT exam:
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
All of these sections have an equal weightage, but the institutes release a different cut-off for all of these sections based on the difficulty level of the exam. For the CAT exam, the IIMs do not publish a set syllabus. The majority of the questions are based on middle school Maths and English concepts. CAT is a computer-based test administered annually by one of the IIMs on a rotating basis. Candidates' quantitative, linguistic, data interpretation and logical thinking are used to determine these test results. The Indian Institute of Management (IIMs) created this test to help them choose the best candidates for their various business administration degrees.
There are 76 questions in the CAT exam, out of which 54 are MCQs, and for the remaining 22 questions, you will have to type in the answers. The exam duration is 120 minutes, and 40 minutes are allotted to each candidate for every section. However, the students under the PwD category are given 53 minutes and 20 seconds to complete the exam. The exam is conducted in three slots on the same day. The slots are called morning, afternoon, and evening, respectively. The total marks of this paper are 228, and the cut-off is released later.
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)
Quantitative Aptitude (QA)
The English section covers concepts like comprehension, para jumbles, idioms, phrases, analogies, etc. However, every year the pattern of the question changes slightly. You must brush up on your basic grammar skills before appearing for the CAT exam.
Similarly, Data Interpretation tests your number chunking skills. You will be given some charts and graphs. You will have to crunch the numbers and determine the results based on these charts. Topics such as blood relations, Venn diagrams, etc., are covered in the Logical Reasoning section.
The Quantitative Aptitude section covers questions on basic aptitude. You will be tested on some basic Mathematical concepts and your knowledge of Algebra and Geometry.
It can be challenging to find appropriate content for your CAT and other MBA entrance exams preparation. You may come across many videos and materials on the internet, but you may be unsure where to begin. The internet is inundated with material, but there is no correlation between the material available on various platforms and how you should begin preparing for the CAT and other MBA entrance tests. With Unacademy, you may put an end to the turmoil and make a plan for your CAT and other MBA entrance exams.
You may have access to various resources to help you conquer the CAT and other MBA entrance exams. You may gain an overview of the topic by using the notes on the Unacademy platform, and then you can start digging further using the detailed resources on Unacademy.
Unacademy also provides you with a trove of free expert-level study materials. You can watch many videos from some of the country's greatest MBA professionals on the portal for free. If you like the material, you may upgrade your account to obtain unlimited access to some of the best-paid CAT and other MBA entrance test topics. Unacademy has a variety of resources that will guide you and help you put your knowledge to the test to see where you are in terms of your MBA entrance exam preparation. There are different practice tests on sections and topics that you can try out and take your preparation to the next level. The resources on Unacademy will be instrumental in your preparation.
It would be best if you kickstarted your CAT and other MBA entrance exams preparation as soon as you are notified about the dates of these exams. Also, you can start to prepare for CAT even from the day you decide to sit for these exams. Some of the steps that you can take to kickstart your preparation are:
Get notified about the exam dates.
The dates of the CAT and other MBA entrance exams must be known before you begin your CAT and other MBA entrance exams preparation. You might not plan the ideal strategy to prepare for CAT and other MBA entrance exams if you don't have a date in mind. You should be aware of the exam dates and watch for any notifications issued by the official institutions in charge of these exams. You can subscribe to Unacademy's notifications. You will be promptly informed of any developments or news regarding CAT and other MBA entrance exams if you use these notifications.
Prepare for the exam.
In most of these exams, there is just one online exam. These exams have multiple-choice questions, and you need to be prepared for handling these questions. You need to refer to all kinds of resources to pass CAT and other MBA entrance exams with flying colours. You can buy some books that will help you prepare for these exams. It would be best if you referred to the study material provided by Unacademy so that you are thorough with every topic.
Prepare for the next rounds.
While there are no other rounds after the CAT exam still some institutes take a written exam or a short aptitude test as a part of the selection process. You get a very small time frame to prepare for these rounds. Therefore, it is advisable to prepare for these rounds as and when you prepare for CAT and other MBA entrance exams. You need to clear these rounds to reach the personal interview round. Some institutes also take group discussions for these rounds. Unacademy has several resources that will prepare you for these rounds. You should go through all the material to be well-prepared for these rounds.
Personal Interview Preparation
Personal interview is one of the most important rounds of CAT exams. In some colleges, these interviews are even given more than 30% weightage. Therefore, you need to focus on the preparation of your interviews for CAT exam. Unacademy has several resources on interview preparation that will make the entire process smooth and hassle-free for you. You should take help from these resources and then give several mock interviews to prepare for CAT exam and understand your strengths along with the places where you need more help
There are several tips and tricks that you must apply when you start with your CAT and other MBA entrance exam preparation. You can easily navigate through the CAT and other MBA entrance exams preparation if you bring these tricks to action.
Build a schedule to prepare for CAT and other MBA entrance exams
Having a strategy is mandatory if you start with your CAT and other MBA entrance exams preparation. You should go through the syllabus thoroughly and then develop a plan to prepare for these MBA entrance exams. You need to cover hundreds of topics while preparing for these exams. You might lose track of everything you need to cover to get the best out of these exams. Therefore, you must create a schedule that helps you keep track of what has to be studied and what you have completed. Also, you must mandatorily include practice tests in your strategy, as you should keep measuring your process constantly.Watch this video on CAT schedule from Unacademy
Stay Updated (Current Affairs)
CAT does not have any questions on current affairs. However, other important exams like XAT, TISS-NET, SNAP, etc., have questions on current affairs. Therefore, you should keep yourself aware of these current affairs. Unacademy has a separate section on current affairs. You can refer to this section to keep yourself updated on what's going on worldwide. This section gets updated every day so that you don't miss any news or update on what's going on around you.
When studying for the CAT and other MBA entrance exams, it's critical to keep track of your time. CAT and other MBA entrance exams will have a total time limit of around 2 hours for all papers. As a result, you should get into the habit of finishing papers within a stipulated amount of time. You can give some of the topics a time limit and complete them within that time range. Time management is a talent that can only be learned through practice. As a result, you should maintain practice even if you finish the topics on time. You will only ace your examinations if you make it a habit to finish the questions on time.
CAT and other MBA entrance exams preparation depends a lot on mock tests. You will have to keep practising until you get all the answers right within the stipulated time. There are various mock tests for CAT and other MBA entrance exams preparation at Unacademy. You can use these papers to prepare for CAT and other MBA entrance exams. These mock tests are timed, making you ready for the final exams.
Once the exam is concluded, then the colleges will release the provisional and final answer keys on their official website. IIM releases the CAT answer key for various slots individually on their official website. The direct link to check the CAT answer key will be updated here.
Steps to download the CAT Answer Key
Open the IIM official website
Find the link to check the answer key and click on the same.
Use your CAT login credentials which will be your username and password.
CAT answer key will appear on your screen.
After checking your CAT answer key, you will get a window to raise the objections and submit the answer key challenges.
The final CAT answer key will be released once the objection window closes.
CAT result will be released in the scorecard format by January 1st week, 2023. The result will be released in the form of a scorecard. To check the result, the candidates can use their registration ID and password. CAT result will be available to download till December 31, 2023. This result will be valid for 1 year from the date of its release. IIM will also release the CAT Topper List along with the resultTop GD Topics for MBA Admission
CAT score vs percentile analysis is important in the cases to give the idea of the estimated score to get the desired percentile. CAT score is the total score that has been obtained in the exam based on the CAT marking scheme. The scaled CAT scores are different from the raw scores. These scores are calculated by the Indian Institute of Management after normalizing the raw scores including all CAT slots. The percentile is calculated on the basis of the scaled score of the candidates.
Other MBA Exam Notifications
Do all MBA colleges accept the CAT scores for admission?
While CAT is the most accepted exam for most B-Schools in India, several institutes in India accept scores of other entrance exams. Also, several institutes conduct their exams. Therefore, it depends on the college. You will have to check the official notification of different colleges to determine if they accept CAT scores.
Does IIM Ahmedabad accept CAT scores?
Yes, IIM Ahmedabad only accepts CAT scores, and they release their merit list based on the cut-off they decide for the year. This cut-off applies to the people who appear for the CAT exams.
What is the duration of the CAT exam?
Earlier, the CAT exam had 3 hours, where 1 hour was allotted to each section. However, this pattern has changed since 2021. The candidates get only 2 hours or 120 minutes to complete the exam. You will have to finish all the sections within these two hours.
What are the sections that are a part of the CAT question paper?
The CAT paper has three sections. These sections are Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning, and Quantitative Aptitude. You will have to clear the cut-offs for all of these sections if you want to get admission in any of the IIMs.
Are the cut-off marks for all the IIMs the same?
No, the cut-off marks for all the colleges are not the same. Different colleges release different cut-offs for their courses. You will have to meet their criteria to get admission into any particular college.
What are some of the other important MBA entrance exams?
There are several other important exams apart from CAT. These exams are XAT, TISS-NET, NMAT, SNAP, MICAT, MAT, etc. You can appear for all of these exams along with CAT to improve your chances of getting into a good MBA college. These exams are conducted by some of the best colleges in India.
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