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CAT EXAM : Eligibility, Test pattern, Registrations & Percentile Score

Candidates must take the Common Admission Test (CAT), a computer-based exam, to be admitted to graduate management programs. The three sections of the exam are Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning, and Quantitative Ability. The exam has a three-hour time limit, with one hour allocated for each section. The Indian Institutes of Management Indore agreed to run the 2020 CAT Exam in 2 hours, allotting 40 minutes for each section, due to COVID limits.

The Indian Institutes of Management created this test, and they also utilize it to select students for their MBA or PGDM business administration programs. Each year, one of the Indian Institutes of Management administers the exam in accordance with a rotational arrangement.

The Joint Management Entrance Test (JMET) will no longer be utilized to choose applicants for the management programs at the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institute of Science (IISc), according to a statement made in August 2011. Prior to 2009, the CAT examwas administered on paper to all applicants and was only given once. The structure, number, and duration of the questions have all changed significantly throughout time.

On May 1, 2009, it was announced that the CAT exam would switch to being a computer-based test as of that year. From 2009 to 2013, the test was administered by the American business Prometric. The initial computer-based CAT was plagued by technical problems.The issue was so serious that the convenor was asked to submit a report to the Government of India.The servers of the test were attacked by the viruses “Conficker” and “W32 Nimda,” which also slowed down the test’s server. Since 2014, the CAT exam has been conducted by TCS (Tata Consultancy Services).

 In the 180-minute CAT 2015 and CAT 2016 exams, there were 100 questions total—34 from the Quantitative Ability section, 34 from the Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension section, and 32 from the Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning section. From CAT 2020 forward, the exam will last two hours, with 40 minutes allowed for each section.

Table of Contents

Eligibility for CAT exam

The applicant needs to fulfill the conditions specified below:

1.Possess a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 50% (45% for members of the Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST), and Persons with Disability (PWD)/Differently Able (PWD) classifications) and a minimum GPA of 50% or equal.

2. The degree must be awarded by a university that has been established by a central or state statutory body in India, by another educational institution created by an act of Parliament, or by any other organization that has been declared to be a university under Section 3 of the UGC Act, 1956, or by one that has an equivalent degree that has been approved by the Ministry of Human Resource Development of India.

3.Competitors taking the bachelor’s degree/equivalent qualification test in their final year as well as those who have completed the requirements for their degree and are awaiting results are both eligible to apply. If chosen, these applicants will only be allowed to participate in the program temporarily if they can provide a certificate from the principal or registrar of their college or institute that was issued no earlier than June 30, 2020.  stating that, as of the date the certificate was issued, the applicant has fulfilled all prerequisites for acquiring a four-year, three-year, or equivalent qualification.

CAT Exam Pattern

The Common Admission Test (CAT), like almost all significant tests, makes use of many test formats. As a result, there are two different types of scores: a raw score and a scaled score.

Each section’s raw score is determined by how many questions were attempted, answered properly, or were skipped. Candidates receive three points (+3) for each accurate response and one point (–1) for each inaccurate response. Questions that are not addressed earn 0 points. The raw scores are then modified using a technique known as equating. Equated raw scores are then plotted on a standard scale or meter to guarantee accurate score interpretation. Scaling is the name of this process. On a larger scale, there are 100 questions combining each area, therefore the total number of questions and the number of questions per section in the cat exam only vary. First, there are 34 questions in the verbal ability and reading comprehension section, which is further divided into 24 questions about reading comprehension and 10 questions about verbal ability. Then, there are 32 questions in the section on data interpretation and logical reasoning, and 34 more questions in the section on quantitative ability, for a total of 100 questions. This underwent a change from 2020 because the amount of questions on the paper was reduced. Two sessions make up the CAT exam process.

Test pattern and duration

Every year, the CAT exam’s exact format is changed. For the 2018 CAT, a practice exam was provided.[12]

A computer-based test called the CAT exam has three sections:

Reading and Verbal Comprehension
Data Analysis and Logical Analysis
Mathematical Skills
The Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning section featured 32 questions, while the Verbal & Reading Comprehension and Quantitative Ability sections each had 34 questions. This question distribution has not changed since CAT 2015. The distribution of questions was different prior to this.

Percentile Score Calculation:

Calculating a candidate’s percentile score: The procedures listed below are used to determine a candidate’s overall and sectional percentile scores on the CAT 2023. The QA section is used as an example to show how the percentile score is calculated. The calculation of the overall percentile score and the scores for the other two parts of the CAT 2023 is done in a similar manner.

Step 1: After accounting for the morning, afternoon, and evening sessions, ascertain the total number of candidates (N) who took the CAT exam.

Step 2: Each applicant who took the CAT was given a rank (r) based on their scaled QA section results. The same ranks will be assigned to all candidates who received the same scaled score in the QA part, if there are two or more of them.

Consider the following scenario: If exactly two candidates earn the highest scaled score in the QA part, each of them will be given a rank of 1. Additionally, a rank of 3rd will given to the candidate(/s) who will received the second-highest scaled score in the QA part, and so on.

Step 3: Determine a candidate’s percentile score (P) for the QA section using their rank (r).:

𝑃 = 𝑁 – 𝑟    x 100 𝑁


Step 4: Round a candidate’s estimated percentile score (P) to a maximum of two decimal places. All percentile values larger than or equal to 99.995, for instance, are rounded off to 100. Similar to this, all percentile values that are strictly less than 99.995 but larger than or equal to 99.985 are rounded off to 99.99. The computation of the overall CAT exam percentile scores as well as the percentile scores for individual sections uses an approach identical to the one explained above.

CAT exam registrations in numbers over some years:

The numbers of registrations in the past years are shown in the following chart

YearNo. of candidates                 Registered                 No. of candidates Appeared  
2019244,169  209,926
CAT registrations in numbers over some years:

There will be three sessions for CAT exam 2023. There will be three test sessions with three distinct test forms each. The scores of candidates will go through a normalization process in order to ensure fairness and equity when comparing their achievements across many exam sessions. The

The normalization method must account for changes in the magnitude and position of score distributions among various forms. The scores must first be normalized across various forms before being further normalized across various parts. For the purpose of shortlisting, the Scaled Scores generated through this approach must be transformed into percentiles.

For reporting purposes, scaled scores, total scores, and percentiles must be made public for each component (component A: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Section B: Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR), and Section C: Quantitative Ability (QA)).
When comparing applicant scores across several Test Forms, the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) and other key educational selection exams given in India use comparable processes. This process is referred to as “normalization.” The data will be normalized across portions using percentile equivalency.

Brief on IIMs and CAT exam

Indian Institutes of Management, or IIMs
India’s leading national institutions for management research and instruction are thought to be the IIMs. IIMs primarily offer postgraduate, doctoral, and executive education programs. The IIMs’ signature curriculum is the two-year post-graduate program. These programs are residential in nature and last for two years. Upon completion of the Fellow/doctorate Programme in Management (FPM), a full-time doctorate program, a Ph.D. in management is granted. The executive postgraduate programs’ main audience is working professionals.

The Common Admission Test, or CAT exam, is a tough selection procedure that includes a Personal Interview, Written Ability Test/Group Discussions, and scores in order to be admitted to the two-year postgraduate programs at IIMs. Admission is based on merit and entails a difficult screening process. The IIMs administer the CAT exam, a test of managerial ability, largely to assess and narrow down the pool of applicants for the postgraduate program. It is a computer-based test, and in order to take part in the once-per-year exam, a candidate must register as required.

In compliance with Government of India laws, IIMs reserve 15% of seats for SC candidates, 7.5% for ST candidates, 27% for NC-OBC candidates, and up to 10% for EWS candidates. Furthermore, 5% of the available seats are designated for guests with physical disability. The IIMs also provide scholarships to deserving students who require financial aid.

The older IIMs were founded more than 50 years ago, making the Indian Institutes of Management one of India’s top universities for management education. There are now 20 IIMs operating throughout India.