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Latest Update: Common Admission Test (CAT) 2021 is the largest national level entrance test for MBA admission 2022 in IIMs and other top MBA colleges in India. The expected CAT 2021 exam date is November 28, 2021. One of the six older IIMs will conduct CAT Exam 2021 on the basis of rotation. This year, IIM Ahmedabad is expected to conduct the CAT exam in 2021 after a gap of five years. IIM Ahmedabad conducted the last CAT exam in 2015. It was the first CAT exam on present pattern which had changed the complete CAT entrance exam pattern from 2 to 3 sections and introduced non MCQ type questions for the benefit of test takers.

Last year CAT was conducted in a different structure, with a reduced number of 76 questions, reduced time limit of two hours and three testing sessions instead of two, due to Covid-19 pandemic. This year it is expected that CAT entrance exam will have three hours duration, with 100 questions and will be conducted in two sessions as was conducted before last year.

As you prepare for IIMs Shortlist announcements, check following important links:
CAT Score Vs Percentile | Top MBA Colleges Accepting CAT 2020 | MBA Admission 2021: Last Date to apply for top B-schools

What is IIM CAT?

CAT is the Common Admission Test for admission to MBA/PGDM programmes in 20 Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and other top MBA colleges like FMS Delhi, MDI Gurgaon, SPJIMR Mumbai, IMI New Delhi, IMT Ghaziabad and hundreds of other top MBA colleges in India. More than two lakh candidates appear in CAT every year and this number is rising consistently, to explore admission opportunity in MBA programmes offered by IIMs and other top B-schools.

IIMs will offer admission 2022 on the basis of CAT 2021 only and will not accept any other test score. There are more than 150 cities and more than 400 venues where CAT 2021 will be conducted in India.

Apart from being the most important entrance test for the 2 years full time post graduate management program (MBA/PGDM), CAT 2021 is the gateway for one year MBA programmes in IIMs and other prominent management institutes.

With effect from 2012, Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Indian institute of Science (IISC) have also started accepting CAT for admission to their Management programmes instead of JMET.

CAT 2021 Exam: Highlights & Key Features
Following are the salient features of IIM CAT 2021 exam details like CAT Full Form, CAT Notification 2021, CAT exam date,  CAT Eligibility, CAT Exam Structure among other key CAT exam details

CAT Full Form

Common Admission Test, conducted on yearly basis for MBA admission by one of the 6 older IIMs

CAT Exam date 2021

November 28, 2021

CAT Entrance exam sessions

Conducted in 2 sessions – Morning & Afternoon on same day

CAT Entrance Exam 2021 Convening IIM

IIM Indore

CAT Entrance Exam Mode

Computer based exam but not an online exam

When to Check for CAT 2021 Notification

On July 24-25, 2021 on MBAUniverse.com and in News papers

Details in CAT Notification 2021

CAT Exam details, Application fee, Registration dates, IIMs & their management programmes through CAT

Maximum Age Limit to appear in IIM CAT

No Age Limit, Graduates with 50% marks can apply

Number of Questions in CAT 2021

100 questions divided in 3 sections

Time duration of CAT 2021

3 hours

Sectional Time limit

1 hour for 1 section

Name of sections and number of questions

VARC-34 Questions; DILR-32 questions; Quant-34 questions

Expected CAT 2021 Difficulty level

Moderate to Difficult

Order of Sections

Pre-fixed, no change allowed

Colleges Accepting CAT 2021 for MBA admission 2022

20 IIMs, FMS, MDI, SPJIMR, IITs, IMI, JBIMS & 500 other MBA colleges in India

CAT 2021 Application Fee


How to Apply for CAT

Application process is online only

IIMs’ Application Fee

No Separate Application Fee to apply for IIM. CAT  Registration Fee covers application fee of all 20 IIMs

IIM CAT 2021 Eligibility Criteria
A candidate with minimum 50% marks in graduation can appear in CAT 2021. A final year student in graduation can also appear in CAT conducted by IIMs. However, there is no age limit to apply and appear in CAT 2021.

CAT 2021 Important Dates
Following are the CAT 2021 important dates like CAT Notification date, CAT exam date, and for other different activities related to the CAT exam 2021:


CAT Important Dates

CAT Notification Date 2021

July 24-25, 2021

CAT Registration Start Date

August 2-3, 2021

Last Date to Apply for CAT exam 2021

September 15, 2021

CAT 2021 Registration & Application Fee


CAT 2021 Admit card Download Start date

October 24, 2021

Last Date for CAT 2021 Admit Card Download

November 28, 2021

CAT 2021 Exam date

November 28, 2021

CAT 2021 Result date

January 4, 2022

(All dates Tentative)

CAT Exam Details 2021: Test Pattern
CAT exam details and exam structure since 2015 have remained on similar pattern, except for last year, with time duration, number of questions and sections as under:

  • 180 Minutes Exam: CAT is a computer delivered test of 3 hours duration but it is not an Online Exam
  • 100 Questions: CAT will have 100 questions divided in 3 sections of VARC, DILR and Quantitative Ability. Earlier CAT used to have 60 questions divided in two sections and had only MCQ type questions with negative marking.
  • 25% No Penalty Questions: Out of 100 questions in CAT 2021, more than 25 questions will not have negative marking. CAT 2021 is divided into MCQ and Non-MCQ type of questions and the Non-MCQs do not carry negative marking. In case any non-MCQ has negative marking, a few MCQs are changed to no negative marking questions.
  • 70-75% CAT Questions with Negative Marking: More than 70% questions in CAT 2021 are of MCQ type and will carry penalty of 1/3 negative marking
  • Minimum CAT Score Requirement by IIMs: A Minimum qualifying score between 70 and 90 percentile in CAT 2021 is required by IIMs in each of the 3 sections to shortlist candidates for final admission round
  • Other Criteria with CAT score: Apart from High score in each of the 3 sections in CAT 2021 exam, if you have good academic profile with diversity, work experience, you are a preferred candidate to get admission into IIMs.

CAT 2021 Exam Syllabus
During the last 5 years, CAT exam syllabus has substantially changed. Major changes in CAT Syllabus 2021 are:

  • CAT Syllabus is changed and contains different type of questions now.
  • 25-30% Questions in CAT syllabus are no penalty questions now
  • Most of the changes in CAT syllabus have taken place in the Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension Section as the topics and number of questions in VARC section have changed.
  • A few changes in CAT syllabus have been introduced in Quantitative Ability section with more focus on Arithmetic questions

Although CAT exam Syllabus is not pre-defined by IIMs, it overall tests the candidate on Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension; Quantitative Aptitude; Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning. Read More about CAT Syllabus

When CAT is Conducted?

  • CAT is conducted annually.
  • Now conducted preferably on the last Sunday of November or the first Sunday of December every year
  • With effect from 2015, CAT is conducted on a single day in two sessions – morning and evening. Prior to 2015, CAT was conducted in multiple sessions on multiple days.
  • In 2020, due to Covid-19 pandemic CAT was conducted in three sessions of 2 hours each with 40 minutes sectional time limit and 76 total questions in test paper

Which IIM Conducts CAT?
CAT is conducted by one of older IIMs by policy of rotation each year. There are six IIMs who conduct CAT one by one, they are IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, IIM Calcutta, IIM Indore, IIM Kozhikode and IIM Lucknow. Since other 14 IIMs were established later, the responsibility to conduct CAT has not yet been assigned to any of them. CAT exam 2021 is proposed to be conducted by IIM Ahmedabad.

Mode of CAT
CAT is a computer based entrance test of three hours duration with 100 questions divided in three sections and has a time limit of one hour for each section.

When to look for CAT Notification?
IIMs release all the details about CAT in leading news papers on the last Sunday of July every year. A day before this publication, the CAT convener sends the press release with important details about CAT on the designated web portals. The process to register and apply for CAT starts in the 1st week of August.

How difficult is CAT?
CAT is a highly competitive and most important MBA entrance exam in India. The difficulty level of CAT is considered moderate to high.

Scoring Pattern in CAT
Each correct answer in CAT is awarded with 3 marks. The raw score obtained in CAT is converted to scaled score and then converted to percentile score after allowing for equating and normalizing the scores for both the sessions in CAT.

IIMs and other top MBA colleges consider percentile awarded in CAT to shortlist the candidates for final selection round.

MBA Programmes Offered by IIMs through CAT
Following are the various management programmes at IIMs in which admission is available through Common Admission Test 2021:


Post Graduate Programmes (PGP)/MBA

IIM Ahmedabad


IIM Amritsar


IIM Bangalore


IIM Bodh Gaya


IIM Calcutta


IIM Indore


IIM Jammu


IIM Kashipur


IIM Kozhikode

PGP, PGP-BL, PGP-F, EPGP (Kochi Campus & IL)

IIM Lucknow


IIM Nagpur


IIM Raipur


IIM Ranchi


IIM Rohtak


IIM Sambalpur


RGIIM Shillong


IIM Sirmaur


IIM Tiruchirappalli


IIM Udaipur


IIM Visakhapatnam


When & How to Register & Apply for CAT 2021?
The very first thing to remember about CAT is that there is nothing offline now in CAT. You can apply online only on the official CAT website. The application fee for CAT has also increased to Rs.2000/- for General candidates; and to Rs.1000/- for SC/ST candidates. The fee should be paid online only.

The application process for CAT 2021 opens in first week of August and closes in the third week of September. During this period you can submit your application online for CAT.

CAT Registration Trends
More than 2.27 lakh candidates had registered last year for CAT exam despite Covid-19 pandemic. In 2019, more than 2.44 lakh candidates had applied for CAT and registered an upward trend by 3000 more candidates than in 2018.  It signified that candidates had to compete with more candidates in CAT exam and needed to score high to get shortlisted by top three IIMs and other top MBA colleges.

Although the trends in CAT registrations since 2010 show a downward journey initially, but from 2013 it has been showing a rising registration count reflecting the regaining trust of CAT aspirants and anticipation of better career opportunities after completing MBA/PGP from an IIM or other top B-school

CAT Registration Data

CAT 2021: Important Points

  • Low Cost Exam: CAT Registration and CAT exam application fee taken together comes to Rs.100 per IIM for General category and Rs.50/- per IIM for Reserved category. No fee to be paid to apply for any individual IIM
  • One Day Exam: CAT exam will be held in single day in Morning and Afternoon sessions. CAT is a Computer Based Test. Earlier it was held in 15 to 20 days testing window till 2013 by IIMs. Since 2015, CAT exam testing window has been shortened to one day only.
  • 45+ Days CAT 2021 Registration Window: The CAT Application process opens in August first week and will close in September 2021 third week
  • Dual Degree Accepted: A candidate with dual bachelor’s degree should mention the academic scores of both the bachelor’s degree programme in CAT application form
  • Single Fee for MBA Admission: CAT 2021 provides admission opportunity in 20 IIMs with the single point payment of CAT registration fee of Rs.2000/- for General candidates and Rs.1000/- for reserved category.
  • Choice of 50 MBA Programmes in IIMs: CAT 2021 offers a choice of more than 50 management programmes in 20 IIMs without any additional application fee for admission.

CAT 2021 Admit Card

CAT 2021 Admit Card download will start immediately with the release of the CAT hall ticket by IIMs. IIMs will upload the CAT 2021 Admit card on official CAT exam website 2021. The CAT admit card release date may be extended by a few days in case the last date of registration for CAT 2021 exam is extended. The last date to download the CAT Admit Card is CAT 2021 exam date.

MBA/PGDM Admissions Open 2021 | Apply Now!

BITS Pilani MBA in Business Analytics WeSchool (Welingkar) Mumbai Admissions
BIMTECH Greater Noida, PGDM Admissions IFMR GSB-KREA University, MBA Admissions
Lexicon MILE Pune, PGDM Admissions 2021 Great Lakes PGPM & PGDM 2021
LIBA Chennai, PGDM Admissions 2021 NIA Pune, PGDM Admissions 2021
UPES University MBA Admission Open 2021 IM-Nirma University MBA Admissions 2021
MDI Murshidabad, PGDM Admission Open SOIL Gurgaon 1 Year PGPM & 2 Year PGDM
IBA Bangalore, PGDM Admissions Open JAIPURIA Group, PGDM Admissions open
NDIM New Delhi, PGDM Admissions 2021-23 IMT NAGPUR PGDM ADMISSIONS 2021-2023

5 Steps to Download CAT 2021 Admit Card

  1. Logon to CAT official Website
  2. Enter CAT Login ID & Password
  3. Click on ‘Admit Card’
  4. At Assessment drop down menu select Common Admission Test 2021
  5. Click on Action-Download & Take Print of CAT Admit card

CAT 2021 Result & IIMs’ Admission Process
CAT 2021 exam result will be declared on January 5, 2022 in morning hours. Immediately after the CAT result declaration, IIMs will start announcing their shortlist on the basis of CAT scores and other parameters in their shortlisting criteria for final selection round. The final admission offer will be made to the candidates in the months of April/May 2022 by IIMs

Important Changes in CAT over the Years
Journey of IIM-CAT has witnessed substantial changes. In recent years, number of sections and type of questions in CAT have changed substantially. Important changes in pattern and conduct of CAT are shared below:

  • CAT has changed from Paper Based to Computer based test
  • CAT now has 3 sections instead of 2
  • CAT has introduced 25 to 30 percent questions with No Negative marking

CAT Exam pattern over the past 10 years since it was computerised in 2009 has gone for perceptible changes. CAT paper pattern prior to 2009 was paper-pen based. CAT exam format was changed from paper based exam to CAT online computer based test in 2009. Even after that CAT paper pattern continued changing from 3 sections to 2 and then CAT pattern was changed to 3 sections in 2015. Since then CAT is following similar pattern. CAT 2021 pattern also remains the same as that of CAT exam 2021 pattern with 3 sections and 3 hours time although the number of MCQs and Non-MCQs may change.

CAT Year &  Number of Questions




Question break up

CAT 2020

VARC 26. RC -18 (All MCQs), Verbal-8 (Non MCQs)

DILR 24. DI-14, LR-10, MCQs-18, Non-MCQs-6

Total 26. MCQs-18; Non-MCQs-8

Moderate difficulty CAT in changed pattern with changes in number of MCQs & non-MCQs in each section

CAT 2019

VARC-34. RC-24, (All MCQs), Verbal-10 (non MCQs)

DILR-32, DI-16, LR-16, MCQs-24, Non-MCQs-8

Total-34. MCQs 23, Non-MCQs-11

Moderate difficulty CAT on last year pattern with changes in number of MCQs & non-MCQs in each section

CAT 2018-100

VARC-34. RC-24, (All MCQs), Verbal-10 (2 MCQs, 7 non MCQs)

DILR-32, DI-16, LR-16, MCQs-24, Non-MCQs-8

Total-34. MCQs 22, Non-MCQs-12

CAT on last year pattern with changes in number of MCQs & non-MCQs in each section

CAT 2017-100

VARC-34. RC-24, (All MCQs), Verbal-10 (3 MCQs, 7 non MCQs)

DILR-32, DI-16, LR-16, MCQs-24, Non-MCQs-8

Total-34. MCQs 23, Non-MCQs-11

CAT Pattern in the lines of last year with changes in non-MCQs in each section

CAT 2016-100

VARC-34, RC-24, (All MCQs), Verbal-10 (All non MCQs)

DILR-32, DI-16, LR-16, MCQs-24, Non-MCQs-8

Quant-34, MCQ-27, Non-MCQs-7

CAT exam pattern on the same lines as of CAT exam pattern 2015 Non-MCQs in Quant reduced.

CAT 2015-100

VARC -34, RC-24 (MCQs), Verbal-10 (Non MCQs)

DILR-32, DI-16, LR-16, MCQs-24, Non-MCQs-8

Quant-34, MCQs-24, Non-MCQs-10

Time limit increased to 180 minutes; Sectional time constration of 1 hour re-introduced; Non-MCQs without negative marking penalty for wrong answer No questions on error correction and vocabulary.

CAT 2014-100

50 VARC-34 LR-16

50 Quant-34 DI-16

Test time increased to 170 minutes; Sectional time constrain removed; More questions on error correction; RC questions based on reasoning Overall moderate exam.

CAT 2013-60

30 10 verbal 10 RC 10 LR

30 DI-10

On the same pattern as last year. No new surprise element.

CAT 2012 -60

30 (LR 10) 10 verbal 10 RC 10 LR

30 (DI 10)

Error correction-1 to 2, parajumbles-2, Completion of last sentence of paragraph-2, Out of context Sentence in jumbled paragraph -1 to 2, Fill in the blanks vocabulary words- 1 to 2, Words used in different ways-2, Reading comprehension – three passages with 3 to 4 questions each (Common question in almost all the sessions from 11th Oct.2012 to 6th Nov.2012 – Tone of the author-at least two questions in every session) New or surprise element – Two questions on ‘Out of context sentences in jumbled paragraph’ – Paragraph had to be placed in order and the out of context sentence had to be picked out. Permutations & Combinations, Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Mensuration, Number Systems, Modern Maths.

CAT 2011-60

30(LR 10)


Jumbled sentences, error correction, Vocabulary, RC, grammar Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Mensuration, Number Systems, Modern Maths

CAT 2010-60




RC, Grammar, Parajumbles, sentence correction & completion,

Quant was tougher compared to CAT 2009. The areas were more calculation intensive and needed conceptual understanding.

CAT 2009-60




Sentence rearrangement, Grammar, comprehension, correction of errors, sentence completion, Usage Vocabulary
Number System, Algebra, Mensuration, and Commercial Math.

Before 2009, CAT was a paper based test. On May 1, 2009, it was announced that with effect from 2009, CAT would be a Computer based test. American firm Prometric was entrusted with the responsibility of conducting CAT for 5 years from 2009 to 2013.

However, the first computer based CAT confronted many technical glitches like server slow down, blurred system display among others. At many test centres CAT had to be conducted again.

In 2014, the responsibility of testing agency to conduct CAT was assigned to Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). Since then, TCS has remained the partner testing agency for IIM-CAT.

CAT 2021 is the mandatory entrance exam for admission to MBA 2022 in 20 IIMs and other top MBA colleges in India. The exam is therefore referred to as IIM CAT and is conducted by IIMs on annual basis.

CAT Registration Data

MBA/PGDM Admissions Open 2021 | Apply Now!

BITS Pilani MBA in Business Analytics IFMR GSB-KREA University, MBA Admissions
LIBA Chennai, PGDM Admissions 2021 LBSIM Delhi, PGDM Admissions 2021 Open
BIMTECH Greater Noida, PGDM Admissions XISS Ranchi,PGDM Admission 2021
BIM Trichy MBA Admissions 2021 Sri Balaji University, Pune MBA Admissions
JAGSOM (Formerly IFIM) Bangalore Admission IPE Hyderabad PGDM​ Admissions 2021
SDA Bocconi Asia Center, IMB Batch 2021-23 SDMIMD Mysore, PGDM Admissions 2021
DSB-VIPS Technical Campus, PGDM 2021-23 NBS Ahmedabad, PGDM Admissions Open
JIMS Rohini, Sec-5, PGDM Admissions 2021-23 NDIM New Delhi, PGDM Admissions 2021-23


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