Common Admissions Test (CAT)

The Common Admission Test (CAT) is administered by the Indian Institutes of Management as an entrance exam for the management programmes of its seven business schools. In 2007 there were over 220,000 candidates competing for about 1,500 places in the seven IIM business schools.

The seven IIM business schools are: IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, IIM Calcutta, IIM Indore, IIM Kozhikode, IIM Lucknow, IIM Shillong.

The CAT covers numerical reasoning and verbal reasoning as well as English language skills. The total number of questions has varied over the years and has gradually decreased to 75 in 2006 and 2007. Since 2006 the duration of the CAT has been extended to two and a half hours. The test is multiple choice and even though there are relatively few questions it is impossible to answer them all in the time allowed. This means that candidates must be able to prioritise which questions to attempt in the light of their own known strengths.

The CAT is held annually on the third Sunday of November and is the first step for admission to the IIMs. CAT scores are relative and are calculated on a percentile basis for individual sections as well as for the overall total. Candidates invited for the next stage usually possess total scores that are in the 99th percentile and are well balanced across all three of the individual topic areas.

The CAT has 75 questions which are spread equally across three topic areas. Each questions has five answer options and there is a maximum of 4 marks per question. Note that one mark is deducted for each incorrect answer.

Some of the more prestigious colleges which accept CAT scores for admission are:

  • Institute of Management Technology Ghaziabad

  • Institute of Management, Nirma University, Ahmedabad.

  • Management Development Institute (MDI), Gurgaon

  • Mudra Institute of Communications Ahmedabad (MICA), Ahmedabad

  • National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE), Mumbai

  • National Insurance Academy School of Management (NIASoM), Pune

  • S. P. Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR), Mumbai

  • T.A.Pai Management Institute (TAPMI), Manipal

You may also be interested in reading background information on psychometric tests and aptitude tests.