Cracking CAT 2023: Everything You Need to Know with Tips



14 September, 2023

Cracking CAT 2023: Everything You Need to Know with Tips

What is the CAT Exam?

The CAT Examination (Common Admission Test) is one of the most highly competitive entrance exams in India. It is conducted every year by the Indian Institutes of Management to offer admission into the most prestigious B-Schools in the country. The CAT exam evaluates candidates’ analytical and aptitude skills in areas such as Quantitative Ability, Verbal Ability, Data Interpretation, and Logical Reasoning. The exam is conducted annually, typically in the last week of November.

Why CAT Exam?

There are several management entrance exams, such as MBA-CET, NMAT, SNAP, XAT, and many others. However, the CAT examination provides numerous opportunities as it is accepted by all the IIMs and most of the top B-Schools. It is among the most reputed management entrance exams in India which is accepted by almost all the universities in India for admission into MBA and PGDM courses.

Highlights & Exam Pattern of the CAT

Name of the Exam Common Admission Test (CAT) 2023
Conducting Body Indian Institutes of Management, CAT 2023 by IIML
Exam Level Postgraduate
Level Of Difficulty  Moderate to Hard
Exam Frequency Once Every Year (Last Week Of November)
Mode of Exam Computer Based Test
Sections Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
Quantitative Ability
Number of Questions Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension- 24
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning- 20
Quantitative Ability- 22 (As per CAT 2022)
Marking Scheme 3 marks for each correct answer
-1 mark for each wrong answer
Exam Duration 120 Minutes, 40 Minutes for each section
Total Questions 66
Total Marks 198
Medium of Exam English
Official Website

Eligibility Criteria

The detailed eligibility criteria for taking the CAT examination are as follows:

  • Must possess a graduation degree with a minimum of 50% marks (45% for SC, ST & PwD categories) from a recognised university.
  • Candidates appearing for their final year exams can apply but will need an official document from their college stating that they have successfully completed their graduation for admission.
  • Candidates with professional degrees such as CA/CS/ICWA are also eligible for the exam.

CAT Exam 2023:Timeline

Event Tentative Dates
Registration Process Start Date August 02, 2023
Registration Process Ending Date September 13, 2023
Admit Card Release Date October 25, 2023
Exam Date November 26, 2023
Announcement of the Result Second Week of January, 2024

Registration Process & Fee

To register for the CAT exam, follow the following steps.

  • Visit the official website of CAT and click on the “Register” button.
  • Then, fill in the required details and register yourself at the portal.
  • After registration, you will have to reverify the details and undertake a declaration.
  • Log in using your user ID and password, fill out the detailed application form. This form consists of six sections: personal details, academic details, work experience, programmes, test city, and payment.
  • Upload your photograph, signature, and category certificate in the prescribed format.
  • After this, make the application fee payment.

Application Fee

CAT exam application respective of the category is as follows:

Category Registration Fee
General/ EWS/ NC-OBC INR 2,400
SC/ST/PwD INR 1,200

A candidate can make the payment for the registration fee using SBIePay or BillDesk.

CAT 2023 Exam Syllabus

Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension Data Interpretations & Logical Reasoning Quantitative Ability (QA)
Reading Comprehensions Data Interpretation-Based Reasoning Geometry
Para-jumbles Seating Arrangements Number System
Para-Summary Bar and Line Graphs Modern Math
Out Of Context/ Odd One Out Grid-Based Data Interpretation Arithmetic
Tables Mensuration
Data Caselets Algebra

Important Topics 

Reading Comprehensions, Arrangements, Graphs, Caselets, Arithmetic, Geometry and Algebra.

CAT 2023: Section-Wise Distribution of Question Paper

Section Total Questions Total Marks
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension 24 72
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning 20 60
Quantitative Ability 22 66
Total 66 198

Colleges that Accept CAT Exam Score

IIMs Top Non-IIMs
Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad FMS (Faculty of Management Studies), Delhi
Indian Institute of Management Calcutta S.P. Jain Institute of Management & Research (SPJIMR), Mumbai
Indian Institute of Management Bangalore X.L.R.I. (Xavier School of Management), Jamshedpur
Indian Institute of Management Lucknow JBIMS (Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies), Mumbai
Indian Institute of Management Indore IIFT (Indian Institute of Foreign Trade), New Delhi
Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode Symbiosis Institute of Management, Pune
Indian Institute of Management Shillong TISS (Tata Institute of Social Science), Mumbai
Indian Institute of Management Rohtak NMIMS (Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies), Mumbai
Indian Institute of Management Udaipur MICA Ahmedabad
Indian Institute of Management Ranchi MDI (Management of Development Studies), Gurgaon
Indian Institute of Management Raipur SJMSOM ( Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management), IIT Mumbai
Indian Institute of Management Kashipur IMT (Institute of Management Technology), Ghaziabad
Indian Institute of Management Tiruchirappalli VGSoM (Vinod Gupta School of Management), IIT Kharagpur
Indian Institute of Management Visakhapatnam
Indian Institute of Management Amritsar
Indian Institute of Management Nagpur
Indian Institute of Management Bodh Gaya
Indian Institute of Management Sirmaur
Indian Institute of Management Sambalpur
Indian Institute of Management Jammu

CAT 2023: Expected Exam Cut-off

Name of the IIMs CAT Cut Off For Eligibility 2022 CAT Cut Off For Admission 2022
IIM Ahmedabad 85 99-100
IIM Bangalore 85 99-100
IIM Calcutta 85 99
IIM Lucknow 90 97-98
IIM Indore 90 97-98
IIM Kozhikode 85 97-98
IIM Amritsar 90 95-96
IIM Nagpur 85 95-96
IIM Sambalpur 93 95-96
IIM Trichy 93 94-95
IIM Raipur 93 94-95
IIM Ranchi 90 94-95

The cut-off of the CAT exam for IIMs affected by various factors such as:

  • Previous years’ cut-off
  • Difficulty level of the exam
  • Number of students appearing for the exam
  • Total number of seats
  • Past academic record
  • Work experience
  • Graduation course and many more

Each IIM’s admission process has a different cut-off based on its ranking. Generally, the cut-off for eligibility in the general category is around 85 to 95 percentile. To secure admission, the cut-off will be around 94 to 100 percentile depending on the institute.

Depending on the institute, reserved categories may receive a cut-off relaxation of around 5-7 percentile.

CAT Important Exam Guidelines

Following are some of the instructions and things to keep in mind while appearing for the CAT exam.

  • Affix your photo to the admit card and bring it, along with a photo ID, to the exam hall.
  • Use a mouse to select answers because it’s a computer-based exam.
  • A pen and scribble pad for rough work will be provided at the examination centre.
  • Leave your admit card, pen, and scribble pad at the examination centre after the exam.
  • Electronic devices are strictly prohibited in the examination centre.
  • Candidates will not be allowed to leave the examination hall before the exam ends.
  • Do not use the keyboard; it can lead to locking the computer system.
  • No printed material is allowed.
  • Do not wear jewellery, footwear with thick soles, or clothes with large buttons.

CAT Preparation Tips

  • If you have decided to prepare for the CAT examination, then first go through the previous year’s question papers to get familiar with the exam pattern.
  • Going through the entire syllabus is one of the starting points of your preparation.
  • Build your personalised study plan based on your goals, set targets, and drive your preparation towards achieving them. If you are doing self-study or preparing with coaching, alter your study plan according to that.
  • Once you are familiar with the syllabus and exam pattern, build your concepts and start solving the previous year’s paper to build momentum.
  • After finishing your whole syllabus, start giving mocks to test your concepts, and analysing those mocks is equally important to excel in your CAT examination.
  • After giving a good amount of mocks, identify which mock-taking strategy works for you to boost your score, which will help you overcome your fear of the actual CAT exam and build your confidence.
  • Don’t forget to revise topics regularly to polish your preparation.

Changes to the CAT exam pattern over the years

Features CAT 2022 CAT 2021 CAT 2020 CAT 2019
Number of CAT exam slots Three Three Three Two
Duration 120 minutes 120 minutes 120 minutes 180 minutes
Sectional time limit 40 minutes 40 minutes 40 minutes 60 minutes
Total number of questions 66 66 76 100
Total marks 198 198 228 300
Total questions in VARC section 24 24 26 34
Total questions in DILR section 20 20 24 32
Total questions in QA section 22 22 26 34

CAT 2023 Exam Centres

  • Andaman and Nicobar Islands: Port Blair
  • Andhra Pradesh: Guntur, Kakinada, Kurnool, Nellore, Rajahmundry, Tirupathi, Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram
  • Arunachal Pradesh: Itanagar/ Naharlagun
  • Assam: Dibrugarh, Guwahati, Jorhat, Silchar, Tezpur
  • Bihar: Arrah, Bhagalpur, Darbhanga, Gaya, Muzaffarpur, Patna
  • Chandigarh: Chandigarh
  • Chattisgarh: Bhilai Nagar, Bilaspur, Raipur
  • Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu: Silvassa
  • Goa: Madgaon, Panaji
  • Gujarat: Ahmedabad, Anand, Gandhinagar, Mehsana, Rajkot, Surat, Vadodara
  • Haryana: Ambala, Faridabad, Gurugram
  • Himachal Pradesh: Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Shimla
  • Jammu & Kashmir Jammu: Srinagar
  • Jharkhand: Dhanbad, Hazaribagh, Jamshedpur, Ranchi
  • Karnataka: Belagavi (Belgaum), Bengaluru, Hubli-Dharwad, Kalaburagi, Mangaluru, Mysuru, Shivamogga, Udupi
  • Kerala: Ernakulam, Kannur, Kollam, Kottayam, Kozhikode, Thrissur, Trivandrum
  • Ladakh: Leh
  • Lakshadweep: Kavaratti
  • Madhya Pradesh: Indore, Bhopal, Gwalior, Jabalpur, Sagar, Satna, Ujjain
  • Maharashtra: Ahmednagar, Amravati, Aurangabad, Bhiwandi, Boisar, Jalgaon, Kolhapur, Mumbai, Nagpur, Nanded, Nashik, Pune, Raigad, Satara, Solapur, Thane, Vasai
  • Manipur: Imphal, Ukhrul
  • Meghalaya: Shillong
  • Mizoram: Aizawl
  • Nagaland: Kohima
  • Delhi: New Delhi
  • Odisha: Berhampur, Balasore, Dhenkanal, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Rourkela, Sambalpur
  • Punjab: Amritsar, Jalandhar, Bhatinda, Ludhiana, Mohali, Patiala
  • Puducherry: Puducherry
  • Rajasthan: Ajmer, Bikaner, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Kota, Sikar, Udaipur
  • Tamil Nadu: Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai, Salem, Tiruchirapalli, Tirunelveli, Vellore
  • Telangana: Hyderabad, Karimnagar, Warangal
  • Tripura: Agartala
  • Uttar Pradesh: Agra, Aligarh, Bareilly, Ghaziabad, Gorakhpur, Greater Noida – Noida, Jhansi, Kanpur, Lucknow, Mathura, Meerut, Moradabad, Muzaffarnagar, Prayagraj, Varanasi
  • Uttarakhand: Dehradun, Haldwani, Roorkee
  • West Bengal: Asansol, Bankura, Burdwan, Durgapur, Hooghly, Kalyani, Kolkata, Siliguri

Exams Complimenting CAT

In many management entrance exams, a significant portion of the syllabus is common. Preparing for these exams can increase your chances of getting into a top B-school.

Following are some of the exams that you can prepare for while going for CAT:

  • XAT
  • SNAP
  • CET
  • NMAT
  • IIFT


Q1. What is the CAT exam for?

The CAT exam is conducted to provide admission into various top management institutes in India.

Q2. Who conducts the CAT exam

The CAT exam is conducted by the Indian Institutes of Management.

Q3. Is the CAT exam necessary for an MBA?

While most top B-Schools require a valid CAT score for admission into various courses, candidates can also seek admission through other national, state or university entrance tests.

Q4. How many CAT attempts are allowed?

A candidate can appear in the CAT exam a maximum of 8 times in a lifetime and once every year.

Q5. How many seats are there in CAT?

Every year, more than 2 lakh students appear for the CAT exam with over 5,000 seats being offered by the 20 IIMs.

Q6. Does the CAT exam have a negative marking?

Yes, one mark will be deducted for each wrong answer.

Q7. How many CAT exams happen in a year?

CAT occurs once every year.

Q8. Is the CAT exam online or offline?

CAT is an online computer-based test.

Q9. Is a calculator allowed in the CAT exam?

No, calculators are not allowed in the CAT exam. However, an on-screen calculator is provided to students by the conducting authority for intensive calculations.

Q10. Is the CAT exam only for the MBA?

CAT is the most popular MBA entrance exam. The exam is also used for offering admission into other management courses such as PGDM, PGDBA, etc.

Q11. Is the CAT exam MCQ-based?

Most of the questions in the CAT exam are MCQ-based.


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