CAT Exam Pattern, Insights and Details

Common Admission Test or CAT is a computer-based entrance exam for admissions into management courses in Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and other top B-schools of the country. CAT is the biggest national level MBA entrance test which is taken by more than 2 lakh candidates every year. Around 4,000 seats are offered through the 20 IIMs and other non-IIM colleges. The regulating body/exam authority is IIM. Different IIMs conduct the CAT exam on a rotational basis every year.

In terms of exam pattern, the duration of CAT is for three hours, which is to be completed in one sitting, that is without any breaks in between. The motive of the exam is to test candidates in three areas; Quantitative Aptitude, Data Interpretation, and Logical reasoning and Verbal Comprehension and learning. The exam will be of 3 hours and the number of questions will be 100 for 300 marks. CAT is taken by after graduation in any discipline but students in their final year of graduation are also considered eligible. CAT is held across the country through various exam centers located in different cities and states of India. The purpose of this test/exam is to shortlist eligible candidates for management degree courses. The test scores of CAT are considered by all the top MBA management institutes/colleges/universities throughout the country including IIMs (Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Lucknow) that offer more than 5000 seats each year.

The exam will be conducted on Sunday, 25th November 2020. The process of application/registration will be done by the online medium through the official CAT website and It will start from 8 August 2020 to apply online for CAT. Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has also started accepting the CAT scores for its management courses since 2018.

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Key Highlight
of CAT
Exam type:
Computer Based Exam
No. of Sections:
VARC, Quantitative Aptitude, and LRDI
Application fees:
Rs.950 (SC/ST/PWD) Rs.1900 (For all the other categories)
Application Form:
8 Aug, 2020 (Start Date)
Admit Card Availability:
From 24 October to 25 November 2020
Date of Examination:
Nov 25, 2020
Date of Result:
2nd week of January 2021
Final Year Appearing Student and graduate
Exam Duration:
3 Hours
Marking Scheme:
3 Marks for every correct answer -1 Mark for every wrong answer

Understanding the CAT Competition: 

Understanding the competition is an important step before appearing for any competitive exam, so it is for CAT preparation. The candidates need to outperform others to secure a spot in the shortlist for WAT (Written Ability Test), GD (Group Discussion), and finally PI (Personal Interview) process.

CAT is a test of mental strength and the ability to take the pressure. In any business organization, the manager has to undergo stress and face market reality to maintain the positioning of the company's brand. Hence, in this context CAT aspirants are being tested not only for their quantitative skills and language skills but an added pressure of time & speed is added in the CAT exam so they have to ensure that during the CAT exam the factor of mental strength needs to be negotiated.

CAT Cut Off

Each candidate will be required to obtain a minimum score in Online CAT exam to be considered as a shortlisted candidate depending upon the state wise cut off of IIMs. According to some reports, approx 81.53 percentile is fixed by IIM Ahmedabad as the cut off for general category. The cut off may remain high as every year, ranging between 90 to 100. Most likely, for top IIMs, the cut off will go over 99 percentile. For new IIMs, the cut off will go over 90 percentile and for B-schools belonging to tier two to four range, the cut off will range between 80 and 50 percentile.

CAT Entrance Exam Exam Pattern
Type: Computer Based Test (CBT).
Duration: The duration of the paper CAT exam will be of 180 minutes.
No. of Questions: 100 Objective type questions.
Syllabus Covered: Logical reasoning & data interpretation, verbal ability & Reading Comprehension, and quantitative ability.
Marking Scheme: 3 marks will be awarded for every correct answer and 1 mark will be deducted for every wrong answer.
Time Limit per Section: Candidates will be allotted exactly 60 minutes for answering questions in each section

Video Link


CAT Syllabus Topics

Mathematics or Quantitative Section
Percentages and its applications, Ratio and its applications, Algebra, Numbers and its applications, Geometry and its applications

Analytical Reasoning Section

Seating Arrangement, Blood Relation, Syllogism, Tables, Graphs, Data Caselets

English or Verbal Section
Grammar, Vocabulary, Critical Reasoning (and its numerous applications), Reading Comprehension

Data Interpretation Section
Table, Bar, Pie, Line graphs

How to Prepare for CAT 

  • You should work on time management and accuracy in answering CAT 2020 to achieve a good rank. So go through the topics that are available on the CAT official website and start with the ones that you are good at. Practice reasoning and mathematics problems by memorizing formulas and try to approach practically. 

  • Youth4work is a good platform to practice mock tests, discussing queries and get online courses, etc.

  • After each study session keeps 1 hour for revision of topics learned/practiced.

  • Make mathematics and reasoning your strong suit, practice questions to solve them within time to increase efficiency. The trick here is to mug up math formulas by heart, so they come in handy while solving a problem.

  • Become smart by attempting questions that you are sure of first, then come to the questions you’re in doubt. But don’t attempt them anyway, remember negative marking is a factor here. Therefore, only attempt a question if you really know the answer to.

  • Manage your time properly; give an appropriate amount of time to each section. Try to improve your time by practicing as many online tests as possible. Youth4work provides online mock tests for all sections of CAT separately and time limitation is attached to each question; this way one can learn to finish the entire exam within the time limit.

  • Studying in a stretch for hours can be tedious and hard and also not so good. Therefore, try to study several times in regular sessions during a day. This will make learning easy and fun, also you will have enough time to brush up the already studied topics in between intervals.

  • It is very important to maintain proper health, so you don’t fall sick on the big day. Give appropriate time to your brain to refresh it. Don’t rush too much information into your head than its limit allows. Take it slow and steady. And get at least eight hours of sleep each night.


Youth4work Prep Tests

Online practice tests for competitive exams including free mock test of youth4work are very unique and popular among aspirants. Aspirants can take self-designed mock-tests as well as practice for sections and topics separately in y4w. Youth4work’s unique and proprietary technology is helping lakhs of aspirants to reveal personal details on what are the strength areas of aspirants for any exam and also suggest how they can improve the performance in mock tests.

 Interesting insights from youth4work is that nearly 3.3 lakh questions have been attempted on CAT exam practice tests on Youth4work. Every aspirant is rated on a Rating Scale. The ratings ranking of the aspirants change with every question attempt.

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