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Common Admission Test - CAT

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Common Admission Test


If you aspire to secure admission into India's premier management institutes, taking the Common Admission Test or CAT is a must. CAT scores are considered by the six Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) and select top B-schools. SP Jain, Mudra Institute for Communications and Advertising, Ahmedabad and T A Pai Management Institute, Manipal, Management Development Institute, Gurgaon, The National Institute for Training & Industrial Engineering, Mumbai, JBIMS, IMT Ghaziabad and TAPMI use Common Admission Test (CAT) for the admission process.

The XAT is conducted for those students aspiring for admission to XIM Bhabaneshwar, XIME Bangalore, BIM Trichy and LIBA Chennai. CAT is an all-India entrance test that tests your skills in five broad areas.

Who can take CAT?

Being a master's degree, you need to be a graduate from an institution recognized by the Association of Indian Universities / All India Council for Technical Education. A minimum of three years of successful completion of graduation is a prerequisite to taking the CAT. Final year students awaiting degree results can also appear for Common Aptitude Test. In such cases, the student should produce a certificate from the Principal/Head of the Department/Registrar/Director of the university/ institution certifying his/her having obtained 50% marks or equivalent based on latest available grades/marks. There is no minimum or maximum age limits specified.

When is Common Aptitude Test held?

Common Aptitude Test is held once a year, in November-December. The test centers are spread across the country to facilitate aspirants. CAT bulletins are released every year with all relevant details.

CAT structure

The first stage of CAT is a paper-based exam with multiple choices. Spread over 4 sections, the test is for 2 hours or 120 minutes. The total number of questions varies from 150 to 180 and generally it is considered very tough to attempt all the questions. It is best not to expect a preset pattern of question paper, as CAT pattern is slightly unpredictable. You may have 48 seconds to answer a question. Negative marking for incorrect answers (1/3rd of the marks allocated) is an integral part of CAT evaluation.

Quantitative Aptitude (QA): Arithmetic, algebra, geometry are the topics covered to analyze your quantitative skills.

Data Interpretation and Logic: Data in the form of Caselets, pie diagrams, line graph, bar graphs are provided. 4-6 questions based on basic mathematics evaluate candidate's skill in interpreting the given information.

Data Sufficiency: Can be part of Quantitative section or Data Interpretation sections. A problem will be given followed by a question and two statements. Evaluation is based on analyzing whether the questions can be answered based on the information that forms part of the two statements.

Verbal Ability, reading comprehension: Tests your vocabulary, English grammar/usage and verbal reasoning. This section consists of 6-8 passages of 4500-5500 words. You will have to answer 50 questions in 30 minutes.

The second stage is a personality assessment test. Those candidates who qualify through written test are eligible to go through two stages of personality assessment. Subsequent to the written test, on the basis of their performance in the CAT, scholastic achievement and relevant work experience, candidates will be short-listed for the interview. The assessment includes group discussion, leadership tests, case study and personal interview.

Fee and Expenses

Towards tuition, room, boarding, teaching material, computer facilities, and other fees - Rs. 1, 75,000 per year (single student living inside the campus)

Points to remember
  • Take mock tests. You can think of taking CAT preparatory material or attend classes for training in cracking the CAT and preparing yourself for the group discussions.

  • Be smart in selecting questions. Maximize on your strengths.

  • Go for questions that you have tried a lot. Be careful while selecting questions and try to attempt about 100-110 questions with a possible error margin of about 5%.

  • Aim for a strike rate of over 85%

  • Start preparation 3 to 9 months earlier. You need sustained practice for around six months to become adequately groomed.

  • Though sufficiently large numbers of those who crack the CAT have a mathematical or engineering background, those with humanities or economics or other backgrounds stand equally good chance.
Common Admission Test