CAT exam (full form is Common Admission Test) is the most important MBA Entrance Exam in India. Approximately 2 Lakh CAT aspirants attempt the CAT exam every year to secure an admission into top Business Schools in the country like the IIMs. Other than the IIMs, Management Schools at various IITs, FMS, NITIE, MDI, SP Jain, etc. also accept CAT scores. It is a computer based test in which an on-screen calculator is provided to students.
CAT 2018 will be held on Sunday, November 25th.
To appear for the CAT exam, a candidate should have at least 50% marks or equivalent GPA in graduation.
SC/ST/PWD candidates should have at least 45% marks.
You can also apply if you have completed a professional degree (CA / CS / ICWA) with 50% marks or equivalent
Final year students are also eligible to apply for CAT Exam.
If you are going to finish your graduation studies in 2019 – you can apply for CAT 2018.
If you are going to finish your graduation studies in 2020 – you can apply for CAT 2019.
CAT Exam is divided into three sections.
The sections are locked meaning you cannot jump from one section to other. Only after the allocated time is over for a particular section, you can go to the next section. Under no circumstances, you can go to a previous section.
There are a total of 100 questions.
Rs. 1800 for General Category and Other Backward Classes.
Rs. 900 for SC/ST/PWD candidates.
The fees is non-refundable.
No extra fees is required to apply to the Indian Institute of Management (IIMs)
No other process is required to apply to IIMs either.
You will need to apply to other Business Schools separately. Filling their forms could cost anywhere from Rs. 750 to Rs. 2500 each.
While the date of the exam has been declared on the official CAT website, the other dates are tentative. The announcement of the exact dates would be probably done in the last week of July via an advertisement in the leading newspapers.
As and when the official announcement for CAT 2018 is made, we will update the details on this page.
As you know, CAT exam syllabus is divided into three sections
The syllabus for these sections is not defined officially. However, based on previous year papers we have analyzed and figured out the areas on which questions are asked. You can find the complete syllabus for CAT exam by clicking on the link.
In the VA-RC section, most of the questions are based on Reading Comprehension whereas questions on other topics like Parajumbles (Jumbled Paragraphs), Sentence Exclusion, and Summary are also asked. Questions on Word Usage, Sentence Correction, and Fact Inference Judgement have been asked in the past as well.
There is no well defined syllabus for the LRDI section, however there are some topics and type of questions that have been repeatedly asked in the exam over the years. We have compiled a list of them. Also, we have added a few more topics on which questions have been asked in the past or they are important for other MBA entrance exams like SNAP, NMAT, XAT.
Quantitative Aptitude is the part of the syllabus that you need to pay most attention to. There are areas like Number System (or Remainders specifically) on which not many questions are asked. On the other hand, you get a lot of questions on topics like Algebra and Geometry.
To understand the scoring in CAT exam, you need to understand three basic concepts
Raw score is calculated based upon the questions that a CAT aspirant answers correctly or incorrectly.
For every question, irrespective of type, that a CAT aspirant answers correctly, he would get +3 marks
For every objective type question that a CAT aspirant answers incorrectly, he would get -1 marks
For every non-objective / Fill in the Blank / Type in the Answer (TITA) that a CAT aspirant answers incorrectly, he would get 0 marks.
Based upon the above a score would be calculated for each section and for the overall CAT exam. This would be the candidate's raw score.
CAT is typically conducted across two slots. All questions in the two slots are not same. There would be some common questions. This would mean that the difficulty level of the two slots, although close to each other – would be slightly different. Roughly an equal number of CAT aspirants would attempt the paper in each slot so if one of the slots is marginally tougher than the other, it would be unfair to roughly 50% of the aspirants. To take care of this issue, raw scores are converted into scaled scores.
Percentiles in the CAT exam are a representation of how many people are behind you in that test.
Suppose you get the 3rd rank in an exam that was taken by 50 people, then 47 people scored less than you. Your percentile would be 47/50 * 100 = 94 Percentile.
Suppose you got 98 %ile in CAT which was attempted by 2.2 Lakh people. This would mean that 98% of the CAT takers were behind you or 2% of the CAT takers were ahead of you. Your rank would be 2% of 2.2 Lakh = 4400.
There are three main publishers for books related to CAT Exam
Arun Sharma and Meenakshi Upadhyay are probably the most popular authors when it comes to books that help you prepare for the CAT. These books have been around for close to two decades and are really good. The one problem that exists in my personal opinion is that some of the questions tend to be too tough. You can ignore the Level of Difficulty III that is given in these books.
Nishit Sinha is another quite popular author in the CAT preparation space. Personally, I like the books by Nishit the best. The main reason being that it covers a large number of solved examples, which I believe is helpful for students. Once again, you can ignore the “Advanced” level exercises in these books. Those are too tough and not of much use for CAT.
Quantum CAT is probably the most popular book from Arihant publications in the CAT preparation space. And it is quite deserving of that spot. It covers nearly all concepts in great amount of detail. The only flaw is that it is a bit too voluminuous that makes it hard to finish if you are short of time. For example, if you are starting your prep 5-6 months before the exam and are a working candidate, you might find it hard to go through this. Another good book from Arihant publications is Face to Face. It covers previous year CAT papers. A lot of it is guess work because the papers are not available in public domain but it does help students prepare in a realistic way for the CAT exam.
If you are planning to prepare for an MBA, a reading habit can take you a long way. If you develop a reading habit it will help you score more in the Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension section of CAT but it will also help you perform better in the ‘Written Ability Test’, ‘Group Discussion’, and ‘Personal Interview’ stage of selection process.
However, not all CAT aspirants fall in the category of voracious readers. Given below is a list of recommended novels and books for MBA aspirants. This list could be a starting point if you do not know what to read.
We have compiled a list of some basic CAT preparation Tips for people who have just started thinking about the CAT exam. The details about these can be found in two blogposts.
A short summary of the CAT Prep Tips is given here: