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A Comprehensive Guide to the CAT Exam 2024

The upcoming CAT Exam 2024 is a crucial stepping stone for all aspiring business leaders in India. It’s an annual computer based test conducted by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) to offer admissions into their MBA programs and various other postgraduate management courses.

As a national-level management aptitude exam, CAT is conducted by the esteemed IIMs for admission to MBA programs across its 21 campuses and over 1,200 other business schools in India. NITIE Mumbai has recently joined the ranks as IIM Mumbai. Each year, more than two lakh candidates apply for the CAT exam, with CAT 2023 setting a new record with 3.30 lakh applications.

The CAT Exam is held on a single day, divided into three sessions, at approximately 400 test centers in 155 cities throughout India. Those intending to pursue an MBA in the 2024 academic session must take the CAT Exam 2024, as its scores are accepted by the majority of government and private MBA colleges in the country.

The CAT Exam is a gateway to some of the most prestigious management institutes in India. With rigorous preparation and a strategic approach, you can excel in this exam and take a significant step towards a successful management career. 

All about the CAT Exam 2024

In the following columns you will find everything you need to know about the CAT examination:

Key Highlights of the CAT Examination

Name of the Examination
Common Admission Test (CAT)
Conducting Body
IIM Calcutta (yet to be confirmed)
Duration of the Examination
Common Admission Test (CAT)
Examination Fees
For Reserved categories - INR 1200
For General category - INR 2400
CAT 2024 Exam Date
November 24, 2024 (Tentative)
Mode of the examination
Computer Based Test (CBT)
Exam Pattern
MCQ and Non-MCQ questions
Exam Syllabus
Quantitative Ability
Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension
Eligibility
Bachelor’s Degree with 50% aggregate score for general category
45% aggregate score or equivalent for reserved categories
Official website details
https://iimcat.ac.in/

Eligibility Criteria

Following are the required conditions that a candidate need to satisfy if he/her has to appear in the examinations:

  • Candidates have a bachelor’s degree with a minimum aggregate of 50 percent or equivalent CGPA (a relaxation to 45 per cent aggregate for SC, ST and PWD/DA category) from a recognised university to appear in CAT Exam 2024.
  • The mode of  education for their bachelor’s degree can be regular or distance learning(or SOL).
  • The candidate should have completed a 3-year programme.
  • Candidates who have attained a professional degree such as CA/CS/ICWA/FCAI with the required percentage can also appear for CAT Exam 2024.
  • Final Year Students are also eligible for the CAT Exam are also eligible to apply, provided they complete their degree with the required percentage by the specified date.

Exam Pattern for CAT 2024

As of now no change has been made in the pattern of CAT Exam 2024. The total duration of the exam will be 3 hours, 1 hour for each section. The question paper will broadly be divided into three sections as mentioned earlier:

  1. Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)
  2. Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR)
  3. Quantitative Ability (QA)

The questions will either be MCQs or Non-MCQ types. The Marking Scheme of the CAT Exam will be as follows

  • +3 for each correct answer
  • -1 for each wrong answer (no negative marking for non-MCQs)

The following table will provide you all the necessary information regarding the exam pattern in a concise manner.

Mode of the Examination
Computer Based Test
Duration of the Examination
120 minutes (40 minutes for each section)
Total Marks
198
No. of Questions
66
Type of the questions
Both MCQs and Non - MCQs
Number of Choice questions
4
Language of the question Paper
English
Timing slots of the Examination
Morning slot: 8:30 AM to 10:30 AM
Afternoon slot: 12:30 PM to 2:30 PM
Evening slot: 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM

Syllabus Overview

The syllabus of the CAT exam has been more or less the same for more the past ten years. The question paper is mainly divided into three sections – VARC, DILR and Quantitative Aptitude. For the content and topics included under these broad categories, refer to the table given below:

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)
Reading Comprehension

Sentence Correction

Grammar

Para Jumbles

Summary Questions
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR)
Data Caselets

Bar Graphs, Line Graphs, and Pie Charts

Tables

Logical Puzzles

Seating Arrangement
Quantitative Ability (QA)
Arithmetic

Algebra

Geometry

Number Systems

Modern Mathematics

Preparation Tips

Here’s for you some tips that you can keep in mind while preparing for this examination:

  1. Understand the Syllabus: Thoroughly go through the syllabus and understand the topics covered in each section.
  2. Time Management: Practice managing your time effectively. Use mock tests to improve your speed and accuracy.
  3. Regular Practice: Daily practice of quantitative problems, reading comprehension, and logical reasoning exercises.
  4. Mock Tests: Take regular mock tests to familiarize yourself with the exam pattern and identify your strengths and weaknesses.
  5. Reading Habit: Develop a habit of reading newspapers, magazines, and journals to enhance your vocabulary and comprehension skills.
  6. Study Materials: Use high quality study materials and reference books recommended by experts.
  7. Join Coaching Classes: If necessary, join coaching classes for structured learning and guidance from experienced faculty.

Application Process

  1. Registration: Register on the official CAT website.
  2. Fill Application Form: Fill in the necessary details, upload required documents, and pay the application fee.
  3. Admit Card: Download the admit card from the official website once released.
  4. Exam Day: Follow the instructions on the admit card and ensure you carry necessary documents like ID proof.

Important Dates

These are some important events in your CAT Exam 2024 journey that you need to keep in mind :

  •  Registration Start Date: Typically in August
  •  Registration End Date: September
  •  Admit Card Release: October
  •  Exam Date: Last Sunday of November
  •  Result Declaration: January

Post-Exam Process

Following are the processes required post your exam to successfully secure admission into institutes that accept CAT scores :

  • Result Declaration: Results are usually declared in January.
  • Selection Process: Based on the CAT score, candidates are shortlisted for further rounds like Written Ability Test (WAT), Group Discussion (GD), and Personal Interview (PI).
  • Final Selection: The final selection is based on the candidate’s performance in CAT, WAT, GD, PI, academic records, and work experience.

 

CAT Exam 2024 Registration

The CAT Exam 2024 registration process will commence from the first week of August and last till the third week of September 2024. The registration process will be conducted online. It will be done through the official portal of IIMCAT by filling out the application form.  The registration fees are non-refundable. All the candidates are thus advised to check their eligibility and then apply for the examination. 

To gain an in-depth knowledge regarding the registration process, read the below mentioned points:

  • Visit the official website of IIM CAT – iimcat.ac.in
  • Tap on the  ‘new registration’ icon
  • Enter your details such as name, date of birth, nationality, phone number and email ID 
  • Then Log in on the portal after you receive your ID on email to fill the CAT application form
  • Fill-in your personal and academic details
  • Upload a recent passport size photo and scanned signature
  • Select preferred courses and colleges
  • Choose your test city preference from the drop down
  • Pay the CAT Exam 2024 application fee via prescribed transaction methods such as credit/debit card or net banking.

CAT 2024 Admit Card

The CAT Exam 2024 admit card issued some weeks before your exam is a mandatory document to be carried in order to get the access to the exam centers, in its absence you will not be allowed to enter the exam hall and attempt the exam.

Therefore it is advised for the candidates to download their admit cards beforehand to avoid any mishap on  the exam day. The admit cards are generally released a month prior to the exam date. 

The CAT Exam 2024 admit card will consist of the details, such as test center location, exam slot, reporting time and other exam related information printed on it. 

Here’s how you can download the CAT admit card 2024:

  • Log on to the official website of IIM CAT website: iimcat.ac.in
  • Tap on the ‘’login’ tab
  • Enter your CAT Exam 2024 application number and password
  • Visit the ‘admit card’ section
  • Click on ‘download’ to get the pdf of the admit card
  • Do not forget to get a printout of the admit card as it has to be carried to the venue of the exam.

CAT Exam 2024 Day Instructions

The CAT Exam 2024 will be carried out at the allotted exam centers across the whole country . The candidates appearing for the exams must adhere to the instructions laid out by the authorities. 

The exam day instructions will be mentioned on your CAT admit card 2024. All the candidates are advised to read the instructions thoroughly and follow them at the test center to avoid any problems. 

To know more regarding the do’s and don’ts on the day of examination, peruse through the below column.

Do’s

Candidates appearing for the CAT Exam 2024 should carry the below-mentioned documents to the exam center in order to get entry:

  1. CAT admit card 2024: Candidates appearing for the CAT Exam 2024 must carry two printouts of their admit card with their passport size photo affixed on it . Entry without the CAT admit card and photo ID will not be permitted.

Note: It is advised that you carry the same photo that you uploaded in your application form.

  1. Photo identity proof: Along with the admit card, candidates are asked to carry a photo ID proof such as College ID, employer ID, driving license, passport, PAN card, Voter ID or Aadhaar card.
  2. Name change document: In case a candidate has changed their name before the exam, he or she will be required to furnish a name change certificate/document.
  3. PwD/Scribe Certificate: PwD candidates will have to carry a certificate indicating the same and the scribe certificate attested by the competent authority, if they wish to avail scribe services.

Don’ts

  • Do not carry a calculator, watch, phone, iPad or any other electronic device.
  • Do not carry your personal bags and purses
  • Eatables and beverages are strictly prohibited
  • Avoid wearing jewelry and accessories that contain metal.
  • Do not wear jackets and clothes that contain pockets.
  • Wearing closed footwear can also create a problem while getting entry into the exam hall.
  • Books, notebooks, loose paper are not allowed to be carried inside the exam hall.
  • Candidates with any kind of metal implant, pacemaker, etc. in their body will be required to carry a medical certificate of the same to the test center.

CAT Answer Key 2024

The CAT answer key 2024 generally gets released within the subsequent week of the exam. 

Read the following steps to know how to download the CAT Exam 2024 answer key from the official website:

  • Visit the official website of CAT 2024 (iimcat.ac.in)
  • Click on the ‘login’ tab
  • Enter CAT login ID and password
  • Click on ‘CAT 2024 answer key’ will appear on the screen
  • Click on ‘download’ icon to save it as PDF

In case any candidate feels that there’s any error in the released answer key, the CAT answer key objection window gives the provision to raise an objection. The window will open for 3-4 days. If the candidate wants to file a complaint, he/she will have to fill an online form, upload a supporting document to prove the objection is valid and pay the requisite fee.

CAT 2024 Result and Scorecard

The CAT Exam 2024 scorecard will be made accessible for download at the official website once the result is announced. Candidates will be able to download their result by using login credentials. The CAT Result 2024 will contain the candidate’s raw scores (sectional and overall) and percentiles (section and overall). The link to download the CAT scorecard will remain active for the subsequent year. 

Here’s how you can download the CAT Result 2024:

  • Log on to CAT website iimcat.ac.in
  • Tap on ‘login’ tab
  • Enter your CAT application number and password
  • Go the scorecard section
  • Tap on download option to download the PDF of CAT Exam 2024 scorecard

MBA Admission Through CAT Exam Score

The IIM selection process involves shortlisting candidates based on their CAT scores, followed by assessments through a Written Ability Test (WAT), Group Discussion (GD), and Personal Interview (PI). Each IIM establishes a minimum CAT percentile cut-off to determine eligibility for the subsequent rounds. 

Below is an overview of the selection procedures for both IIMs and non-IIM institutions.

IIM Admission Process

The IIMs publish their admission criteria and selection processes for PGP/MBA programs before the CAT results are announced. These documents outline cut-offs, parameters, and the overall process for MBA admissions. The selection procedure through CAT for all IIMs typically involves:

  1. Screening candidates based on their CAT scores
  2. Conducting a Written Ability Test (WAT), Group Discussion (GD), and Personal Interview (PI)
  3. Calculating a Composite Score, which is used for the final selection of candidates

Non-IIM Admission Process Through CAT

Many institutes that accept CAT scores, apart from IIMs, also conduct Group Discussions (GD) and Personal Interviews (PI) for admission to their MBA/PGDM programs. However, some colleges bypass the personality assessment rounds and admit students based solely on their CAT scores.

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Top MBA colleges which accept CAT scores and their fees structure

In the following table you will find the top colleges which offer MBA courses and their fees structure for post graduate programs in management / MBA.

College Name MBA/PGP Fees
IIM Ahmedabad
INR 24.61 lakh
IIM Bangalore
INR 24.50 lakh
IIM Calcutta
INR 27.00 Lakh
IIM Lucknow
INR 20.70 lakh
IIM Kozhikode
INR 20.50 lakh
IIM Raipur
INR 16.10 lakh (excluding boarding fees)
IIM Udaipur
INR 19.00 lakh
IIM Rohtak
INR 17.60 lakh
IIM Visakhapatnam
INR 17.58 lakh
IIM Trichy
INR 21.00 lakh

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the application fee for the CAT exam?

The application fee for the CAT exam is INR 2,400 for General and other reserved category candidates and INR 1,200 for SC, ST, and PWD candidates.

Can final year undergraduate students apply for the CAT exam?

Yes, final year undergraduate students can apply for the CAT exam provided they complete their degree with the required percentage by the specified date.

How many times is the CAT exam conducted in a year?

The CAT exam is conducted once a year, typically in November.

Is there any age limit for appearing in the CAT exam?

No, there is no age limit for appearing in the CAT exam.

Can I choose my preferred test center for the CAT exam?

Yes, candidates can select their preferred test city during the application process. However, the final allocation of the test center is subject to availability.

What is the duration of the CAT exam?

The total duration of the CAT exam is 180 minutes (3 hours), with 60 minutes allocated to each of the three sections.

Is there any negative marking in the CAT exam?

Yes, there is negative marking. For each incorrect answer in the MCQ section, 1 mark is deducted. There is no negative marking for non-MCQ questions.



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