CAT exam or the Common Admission Test is an online MBA entrance test for admissions into the sought after IIMs and several other reputed B-Schools in the Country. CAT exam is a highly competitive exam and almost a quarter of a million students appear for it every year. Only a handful of the total applicants make it to their preferred institute. CAT exam is conducted every year by the IIMs on a rotational basis. About 2.9 lakh candidates appeared for the CAT exam across the country last year. CAT exam date is designated for last Sunday of November. Apart from the IIMs, CAT is also a prerequisite for admission into numerous other prestigious management colleges across India which includes institutes like S.P Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR), Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), Management Development Institute (Gurgaon), Institute of Management Technology (IMT), Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies (JBIMS), International Management Institute (IMI), National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE) and several others.
There are 100 questions in CAT exam. Overall time limit to attempt CAT is 3 hours. The exam consists of 70 to 75 Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) with 1/3 Negative marking and rest other questions in CAT are of Non-MCQ Type without negative marking. Marking Scheme in CAT is 3 marks for each correct answer. Section-1 is on Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension(VARC) with 34 questions. Section-2 is on Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning DILR) with 32 questions. Section-3 is on Quantitative Ability(QA) with 34 questions on it. It should be noted that individual IIM shortlists candidates for their second stage of selection independently. The selection process includes not only a Written Ability Test(WAT) but also Personal Interview(PI) round. The performance of individuals in CAT exam is thus an important component in the overall selection process. IIMs also considers prior academic records of the candidates, relevant work experience and other similar inputs while shortlisting and ranking the candidates at various stages during the admission process.