The Common Admission Test (CAT) is one of India's most widely recognized and highly competitive management entrance exams. The exam is held annually by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and serves as a gateway for admission to the top-tier B-schools across the country. The CAT examination is a computer-based test that evaluates a candidate's aptitude, problem-solving abilities, and decision-making skills.
The CAT exam is conducted in two sessions, typically on the last Sunday of November or the first Sunday of December. The exam is divided into three sections: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR), and Quantitative Ability (QA). Each section is allotted a time duration of 60 minutes, and candidates have to answer 100 questions in total. The exam has a negative marking scheme; one-third of a mark is deducted for every incorrect answer.
The CAT exam is not just about academic knowledge; it also assesses a candidate's analytical and decision-making abilities. Therefore, candidates should focus on developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills. They should also work on improving their reading speed and comprehension abilities.
CAT Exam Pattern and Syllabus
The Common Admission Test (CAT) is a computer-based exam held annually by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs). The CAT examination is among the most competitive management entrance exams in India, and it serves as a gateway for admission to the top-tier B-schools across the country.
The Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR), and Quantitative Ability (QA) parts make up the CAT test. Each section lasts 60 minutes, and candidates have to answer 100 questions in total. The CAT exam has a negative marking scheme; one-third of a mark is deducted for every incorrect answer.
Here's a table that summarizes the CAT exam pattern and syllabus:
Number of Questions
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)
-1/3 for each wrong answer
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR)
-1/3 for each wrong answer
Quantitative Ability (QA)
-1/3 for each wrong answer
The CAT exam syllabus includes topics from various fields, including Mathematics, English, and Reasoning. Here's a brief overview of the CAT exam syllabus:
- Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC): This section tests a candidate's reading comprehension abilities and English language proficiency. The syllabus includes topics like vocabulary, grammar, sentence correction, para-jumbles, and reading comprehension passages.
- Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR): This section tests a candidate's problem-solving abilities and data interpretation skills. The syllabus includes topics like data analysis, logical reasoning, puzzles, and graphs.
- Quantitative Ability (QA): This section tests a candidate's mathematical abilities and problem-solving skills. The syllabus includes topics like algebra, arithmetic, geometry, trigonometry, and statistics.
Preparation Tips for the CAT Exam
Designing a study plan
Designing a study plan is crucial for CAT exam preparation as it provides a structured approach to cover all the issues in the syllabus. A well-developed study plan can help you to stay organized and focused, avoid procrastination, and make the most of the available time. To design an effective study plan, you should first understand the syllabus, exam pattern, and your strengths and weaknesses.
Reviewing and revising regularly
Reviewing and revising regularly is essential to consolidate your learning and retain the information for a long time. Revision helps you reinforce the concepts, identify gaps in your understanding, and prepare yourself for the exam. Revising the topics at regular intervals and practising them through mock tests and quizzes is recommended. This helps you retain the information better and assess your preparedness level.
Taking mock tests and analyzing performance
Taking mock tests is a perfect way to evaluate your preparation level and identify your weakness and strengths. Mock tests trigger the actual exam environment and help you initiate yourself into with the exam pattern and types of questions. Analyzing your performance in mock tests allows you to recognize the areas that need improvement and focus on them accordingly. It's recommended to take mock tests regularly and analyze the results to track your progress and identify areas of improvement.
Choosing the suitable study materials and resources
Choosing suitable study materials and resources is crucial for CAT exam preparation. It's recommended to use standard textbooks, reference books, and online resources that cover all the topics comprehensively and provide practice questions and mock tests. You should also choose study materials that suit your learning style and preference.
Enhancing logical reasoning and analytical ability
Logical reasoning and analytical ability are essential skills required for CAT exam preparation. These skills can be enhanced by practising reasoning and analytical questions regularly to improve your problem-solving and critical-thinking abilities. You can use online resources, books, and practice questions to improve your logical reasoning and analytical ability. By following these tips, you can design an effective study plan and enhance your preparation for the CAT exam.
Improving reading comprehension and vocabulary
Improving reading comprehension and vocabulary skills is essential for CAT exam preparation. Reading various reading materials like newspapers, magazines, novels, and other materials is recommended to improve your reading speed, comprehension, and vocabulary. This can help you to understand and analyze the comprehension passages in the exam effectively. You can also take vocabulary quizzes, learn new words, and practice using them in sentences to enhance your vocabulary.
Maintaining a positive attitude and managing stress
Maintaining a positive attitude and managing stress is crucial for CAT exam preparation. A positive attitude can help you to stay motivated, focused, and confident throughout your practice. Preparing for an examination can be stressful, and taking breaks, exercising, and engaging in recreational activities to reduce stress and maintain a positive mindset is essential.
Seeking guidance from CAT coaching institutes or mentors
Seeking guidance from CAT coaching institutes or mentors can provide you with valuable tips and strategies to crack the exam. They can help you to understand the exam pattern and syllabus and provide personalized feedback on your performance. You can also get your doubts clarified, access study materials and practice tests, and get support from a community of aspirants.
Practising previous year's question papers and sample papers
Practising previous year's questions and sample papers can familiarize you with the exam pattern, types of questions, and difficulty level. Practising solving these papers within the given time frame is recommended to improve your time management skills and build confidence. You can also analyze your performance, identify your strengths and weaknesses, and improve your weaker areas.
Strengthening quantitative aptitude and data interpretation skills
Strengthening quantitative aptitude and data interpretation skills is essential for CAT exam preparation. Practising mathematical problems, data interpretation and reasoning questions regularly are recommended to enhance problem-solving abilities. You can also use online resources, books, and practice questions to improve your mathematical skills and enhance your speed and accuracy in solving these questions.
What is the CAT Exam?
For admission to various MBA and PGDM programs in India, the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) administer the CAT Exam, also known as the Common Admission Test.
Who is eligible to appear for the CAT Exam?
Candidates with a bachelor's degree in any discipline from a recognized university/institute with at least 50% marks or equivalent CGPA are eligible to apply for the CAT Exam. There is no maximum age to take the CAT Exam.
What is the marking scheme of the CAT Exam?
Each correct answer in the CAT Exam is awarded three marks, while one spot is deducted for every wrong answer in MCQs. Negative marking, however, does not apply to non-MCQs.
How many times can one appear for the CAT Exam?
There is no limit to the number of attempts for the CAT Exam. Candidates can appear for the CAT Exam as often as they want.
What is the registration fee for the CAT Exam?
The registration fee for the CAT Exam varies for different categories. For General and NC-OBC candidates, the registration fee is INR 2300, while for SC, ST, and PWD candidates, the registration fee is INR 1000.
What is the cutoff for the CAT Exam?
The CAT Exam cutoff varies from university to university. It depends on a variety of variables, including the number of applicants taking the exam, its level of difficulty, and the number of seats available. Candidates are recommended to look up the cutoff scores on the official websites of the relevant institutes.