CAT exam is the gateway to some of the premium B-Schools in the country. This includes all the IIMs and other 1200+ management schools. Most of the colleges consider CAT score as the primary eligibility before applying. CAT is conducted by IIMs in the month of November every year.
- The CAT exam consists of 3 sections namely Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning, and Quantitative Aptitude (QA).
- The total marks are 300 comprising 100 questions. CAT exam takes place in two slots, morning and afternoon, for 3 hours each.
Indian management education admission is a game of CAT and mouse. In this article, we will tell you how to crack the CAT exam to win this game.
- Exam Name: Common Aptitude Test (CAT)
- Official website: iimcat.ac.in
- Level of exam: National (across 376 centres in 156 cities)
- Mode of exam: Computer-based test (English medium)
- Organizing body: IIMs (Conducted by TCS across the nation)
- Application fee: General- Rs 1900 and SC/ST/PwD- Rs 950
- Annual applicants: 2 lakhs+
- Exam duration: 180 minutes (Sections: Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning, Quantitative Aptitude)
- Score Range: -100 to 300 ( +3: correct answer and -1: incorrect answer)
- Score Validity: 1 year across all B-schools
Here are some reasons why you should take the CAT exam:
- Gateway to IIMs: CAT exam is conducted by IIMs for admissions into various post-graduate and diploma courses. Students graduating from these top MBA institutes get hefty salary placements which can go up to 20 Lakhs per annum or even more.
- Admission in top B-Schools: There are a lot of other prestigious B-Schools which offer admissions based on CAT score.
- Practice will sail you through: Though it is considered as one of the difficult exams in the country for management admissions, it is not that difficult if a proper strategy is followed. Continuous dedication and hard work along with solving mocks will sail you through.
- Learning of a lifetime: Practising the sections of the CAT exam, will help you in the long run since it improves overall management and problem-solving skills.
- Candidates with at least 50 per cent in graduate degree (any discipline) from any recognized university are eligible. 45 per cent is the criteria for SC/ST/other reserved categories.
- Students who are in final year are also eligible to apply for CAT.
- Candidates with a CS/CA/ICWA degree can also apply.
- There is no upper or lower age limit to apply for the CAT exam.
- There is no restriction on the number of attempts for the CAT exam.
The table below mentions the tentative dates for the CAT 2020 Exam:
- CAT CAT 2020 Official Notification: 29th July 2020
- CAT 2020 Application Form: 8th August 2020
- The window for CAT 2020 Form Correction: 27th September 2020 – 30th September 2020
- CAT Admit Card 2020 release: 24th October 2020 – 25h November 2020
- CAT 2020 Exam Date: 25th November 2020
- CAT 2020 Result: Second week- January 2021
The table below shows the basic concepts that are tested in CAT exam:
- VARC (34 Questions): Verbal Reasoning, Syllogisms, Contextual Usage, Analogies, Sentence Completion, Idioms, Sentence Correction
- DILR (32 Questions): Graphs, Critical Reasoning, Visual Reasoning, Assumption-Premise-Conclusion, Statements & Assumptions, Area Matrix, Venn Diagram
- QA (34 Questions): Geometry, Arithmetic Progression, Instalment Payments, Ratios & Proportions, Arithmetic Mean, Logarithm, Work & Time
The major question comes to – How to prepare for CAT? Here are some of the tips and pointers which will help you to crack the exam.
- Focus on basics: One of the most critical things while preparing is to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the topics covered in CAT. Working on weakness will lift you up the ladder. Having a strong command over the basics and conceptual clarity will be helpful while solving numerous CAT questions.
- Working on personality development and graduation marks: In case you are still in your final year, it is important that you focus on your grades. Also, the overall personality should be built starting from day one and not before interviews. Communication skills and other soft skills should be improved to clear the GD and PI of the top B-Schools where you will be competing with the best candidates.
- Keeping track of dates: Aspirants must have a track of the dates so that no deadline is missed and last-minute chaos is avoided.
- Study Material organization: There are a lot of sources from where the preparation can be done. With a lot of study material online, reference books and coaching books, students should not get confused and burden themselves with these. Students are advised to select a handful of study books and stick to them instead of studying from everywhere.
- Join Coaching or Facebook Groups: If some candidates are not comfortable in self-preparation, it is advisable to join a coaching institute or some online groups. Popular social media groups are trending nowadays for CAT preparation. Coaching and these groups will help you solve the questions in different ways, will give to tips and tricks and most importantly, will keep you motivated.
- Additional Reading: For the candidates who are not very comfortable with VARC section, it is advisable to improve the reading comprehension skills by taking up additional reading material. Students can take up newspapers, novels or journals to enhance the skills which will help them in the VARC section. Also, reading newspaper will help you to gain knowledge of the current affairs and happenings in the world which will ultimately help during GD and PIs.
- Time Management Skills and Accuracy is the key: Time management and accuracy are the two pillars of getting top percentile in CAT exam. Candidates need to constantly work on the time and accuracy to get the best results. In order to do so, practising mock tests, solving previous year papers and analysing them will help you reach the goal.