All About CAT Exam
The Common Admission Test (CAT) is a highly competitive entrance exam conducted annually in India for admission to various postgraduate management programs offered by prestigious Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and other leading business schools. Here’s all you need to know about the CAT exam in 700 words:
- Exam Pattern and Sections: The CAT exam is computer-based and consists of three sections: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR), and Quantitative Ability (QA). Each section has a time limit of 60 minutes, resulting in a total exam duration of 180 minutes (3 hours). The number of questions and difficulty level can vary from year to year.
- Eligibility Criteria: To be eligible for the CAT exam, candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree with a minimum percentage of marks (usually 50% or equivalent CGPA) from a recognized university or have an equivalent qualification recognized by the Ministry of HRD, Government of India.
- Registration and Application Process: CAT registrations usually open in August and close in September. Interested candidates can apply online through the official CAT website. The application process involves creating an account, filling in personal and educational details, uploading necessary documents, and paying the application fee.
- Admit Card and Exam Centers: After successful registration, candidates can download their admit cards from the official website during the specified period. The admit card contains important details such as the candidate’s name, roll number, exam center, and exam date. CAT exam centers are located in various cities across India.
- Syllabus and Preparation: The CAT syllabus includes topics from Quantitative Ability, Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, and Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning. Candidates are advised to thoroughly understand the syllabus and exam pattern. They should practice previous years’ question papers and mock tests to enhance their speed, accuracy, and problem-solving skills.
- Scoring and Percentile: CAT uses a normalization process to calculate the scaled scores and percentiles. The raw scores obtained by the candidates are converted into scaled scores to ensure fairness and equity. The CAT percentile indicates a candidate’s performance relative to others who appeared for the exam. Higher percentiles provide better chances of securing admission into top management institutes.
- Selection Process and Admission Criteria: The selection process varies across different management institutes. Generally, it involves multiple stages such as the CAT score, Written Ability Test (WAT), Group Discussion (GD), Personal Interview (PI), and sometimes even work experience and academic performance. Each institute has its own selection criteria and weightage assigned to these components.
- Top Institutes Accepting CAT Scores: CAT scores are accepted by numerous reputed institutes, including the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) schools of management, Xavier Institute of Management (XLRI), and many more prestigious business schools across the country.
- CAT Exam Strategies: To excel in the CAT exam, candidates should develop effective strategies such as time management, attempting easier questions first, focusing on accuracy, and practicing regularly. They should also work on improving their English language skills, reading speed, and analytical abilities.
- Importance of CAT Scores: CAT scores play a crucial role in securing admission to top-notch management programs. They are considered by many business schools as the primary criteria for shortlisting candidates. However, other factors like academic record, work experience, and performance in subsequent selection rounds are also taken into account.