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Common Admission Test or CAT exam is a common aptitude test which is a gateway to 20 IIMs and over 1200 B-schools in India. CAT is conducted by the IIM in the month of November in online mode in over 156 cities. The exam is held in two slots and the question paper comprises 100 MCQs from Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR) and Quantitative Ability (QA). Over 2 lakh candidates appear in CAT exam every year. In 2019, the number of candidates who appeared in the exam was 2,09,926. CAT 2020 notification will be released in July and registrations will begin in the first week of August. Also Read: CAT 2020 registration

Latest Updates

  • April 24, 2020: IIMs conducting PI via video calls to ensure MBA admission is not delayed.
  • March 24, 2020: IIM Indore postpones GD/PI round shut to lockdown announced by the Government, in wake of coronavirus outbreak.  March 19, 2020: IIM Lucknow postpones GD/PI round due to coronavirus outbreak. New schedule to be notified soon.
  • January 4, 2020: CAT 2019 result announced at 12 pm on the official website of IIMCAT. The scorecards will be available for download on the same day.


CAT Exam Highlights




Exam Name

Common Admission Test (CAT)

Conducting Body


CAT convening body


Exam Level


Exam Frequency

Once a year

Exam Mode


Exam Duration

180 minutes

Exam Syllabus

  • Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)
  • Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)
  • Quantitative Ability (QA)

Exam Pattern

100 questions in MCQ and non-MCQ format



Exam Fees

Rs 1900 (General category) and Rs 950 (Reserved category)

Number of Applications Received

2.44 lakh

Exam Purpose

Admission into IIMs, SPJIMR, FMS, MDI, IMT and over 1200 B Schools in India

Course Offered


No. of Test Cities


Exam Helpdesk No.


Exam Website


CAT Registration Trend Over the Years


Last year, about 2.44 lakh candidates applied for the CAT exam and 2, 09,926 appeared in the exam. Last year, the number of applications received was 2.40 lakh. The number of applications received for CAT exam 2019 is the highest since 2010.


CAT registrations over the years


CAT Eligibility Criteria


The minimum eligibility criteria for CAT exam is Graduation. Read below, for more details on CAT eligibility criteria.

  • The candidate must possess a bachelor's degree with at least 50 per cent marks or equivalent CGPA ( 45 per cent for SC, ST and PWD/DA category) from a recognised board or university
  • The candidate must have completed  a professional degree (CA/ CS/ ICWA) with required percentage
  • Candidates appearing for the final year of bachelor's degree/equivalent qualification or awaiting result are also eligible to apply for CAT exam

Read more: CAT Eligibility Criteria




CAT 2020 Exam: Important Events and Dates


CAT exam date 2020 will be announced in July. Take a look at the table below for tentative schedule of CAT 2020.

CAT 2020 Events

CAT 2020 Dates

Salient Features

CAT 200 notification release

Jul 4th week, 2020

IIM to announced CAT 2020 schedule and related details

Exam registrations start

Aug 1st week, 2020

Online registrations open. No change in registration process or fees from last year

Registrations end

Sep 4th week, 2020

Registrations close for all candidates

CAT form correction

Sep 4th week, 2020

Candidates can upload new photo and signature. No other information could be edited

CAT mock test release

Oct 2nd week, 2020

The official mock test will have 100 questions to be solved in 3 hours

CAT mock test will be available in online mode only

CAT official tutorial release

Oct 2nd week, 2020

The exam conducting body will release a video to help candidates understand exam day guidelines

Admit card release

Oct 3rd week, 2020

To be downloaded from CAT 2020 website

CAT exam 2020

Nov 4th week, 2020

To be held in 156 cities in two slots – morning and afternoon

CAT answer key release

Nov 4th week, 2020

To be downloaded from CAT website. Candidates can raise objection (if any)

Answer key challenge process begins

Dec 1st week, 2020

Candidates can challenge official responses online by paying Rs 1000 per questions

Last date to challenge answer key

Dec 1st week, 2020

window open upto 5:00 pm only

CAT result declaration

Jan 1st week, 2021

Release of scorecard on official website by 9 am


CAT Exam Pattern and Test Structure


CAT question paper is divided into three sections: VARC, DILR and QA. Each section is allotted 60 minutes. The candidates are required to solve both MCQ and Non-MCQ type questions. The questions paper is usually of moderate difficultly level with QA posing more challenges in terms of tough questions. Check the highlights of CAT exam pattern below.

CAT question paper pattern and structure

Number of exam sessions

Two (forenoon and afternoon)

Number of sections


Names of the sections


Duration of exam

60 minutes per section (Total 180 minutes)

Total number of questions


Section-wise number of questions

  • VARC -34
  • DILR- 32
  • QA - 34

Total marks


Language of question paper


Number of answer choices


Type of questions

MCQs and Non-MCQs

Section-wise difficulty level

  • VARC - Easy to moderate
  • DILR- Moderate to difficult
  • QA - Difficult

Marking Scheme

  • 3 marks for each right question
  • Negative marking of 1/3 (-1) for each wrong MCQ
  • No negative marking for wrong non-MCQ