CAT 2023: Notification, Eligibility, Registration, Pattern, Syllabus, Preparation

CAT 2023 was conducted on 27 November 2023. It is the most popular entrance exam for MBA/PGDM courses across India.
It is rightly said, "Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can". So, if you are aiming for the CAT exam, don't let your lack of motivation interfere with your preparation. You can do anything you desire, and this article will help you stay focused on your CAT journey by providing all the important details of the CAT exam.
The Common Admission Test (CAT) is a highly competitive and popular entrance exam conducted by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) for admission into their management programs. It is a computer-based test that evaluates a candidate's aptitude and skills in various areas such as Quantitative Ability (QA), Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), and Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR). Apart from the IIMs, many other prestigious management institutes and business schools in India also accept CAT scores for admission into their programs. The competition for CAT is very high, and candidates need to prepare thoroughly to excel in the exam. The CAT syllabus is vast, and it requires consistent and focused preparation for several months.
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CAT 2023: Introduction
Common Admission Test or CAT is a national test conducted in India for admissions to different IIMs and other top management colleges. The examination is conducted by one of the IIMs every year.
The test is conducted across the country in almost 156 cities and used by 20 IIMs and several other reputed colleges like S.P. Jain, FMS, MDI, etc., for admission to their MBA programs. The suitability of prospective admission seekers for MBA education is assessed through this examination.
CAT 2023: Notification
The notification for CAT 2023 registration will be released in August. Stay updated about exam notifications, dates, and other essential information by visiting the official website.
Here are some of the tentative dates of CAT 2023.
Exam Dates
Notification Release Date of CAT Exam 2023
4th week of July 2023
Registration of CAT 2023
1st week of August 2023
Last date to fill out the Online Application form
2nd week of September 2023
Last date to submit the fees for the Application Form
2nd week of September 2023
Beginning of Application Correction for CAT 2023
3rd week of September 2023
Admit Card availability for CAT 2023
4th week of October 2023
Date Of Examination of CAT 2023
4th week of November 2023
Answer Key Release Date
1st week of December 2023
Last date to submit an objection
2nd week of December 2023
CAT 2023 Announcement of Results
1st week of January 2024

CAT 2023: Overview
Below is the important highlights of CAT 2023:
Name of the Exam
CAT 2023
Official Website
Exam Conducting Authority
Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs)
Mode of the exam
Computer-Based Mode (CBT)
Duration of the CAT Exam
2 Hours (120 Minutes)
Duration (Section-wise)
40 Minutes for (VARC, DILR, QA).

Each section -53 Minutes 20 Seconds for PwD candidates.
Session (Slot-wise)
  • Morning Session - 8:30 am - 10:30 pm
  • Afternoon Session - 12:30 pm - 2:30 pm
  • Evening Session - 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
No. of Questions
66 Questions
Total marks
198 marks
MBA Masterclass
CAT 2023: Eligibility Criteria
The complex criteria for appearing in CAT have become less rigorous than before due to the recent changes caused by the pandemic. The aspirants must go through CAT eligibility criteria to avoid any last-minute hustle. Eligibility Criteria of CAT 2023 in different aspects are given below:
  • Candidates with a bachelor's degree from a recognised institution in any field are eligible for the CAT exam.
  • The final year students of graduation are also eligible for CAT 2023.
  • The minimum percentage criteria (45% and 50% for Gen. and reserved categories, respectively) were removed from CAT eligibility.
Age Limit
There are no age limits for CAT Exam.
There are no specifications about work experience in the CAT eligibility criteria. There are no limitations in the case of experience. Therefore both the freshers and experienced candidates can take the exam. However, some of the B-schools do consider work experience during admission.
No. of Attempts
There is no limit on attempting the CAT exam. You can appear as many times as you want.
Reserved Seats
Schedule Cast (SC)
Schedule Tribe (ST)
Other Backward Classes (NC-OBC)
PWD(Persons with Disability)
CAT 2023: Registration
Students must visit the official website to register and fill out the application form. Aspirants need to know the steps to follow while filling out the application form. The stepwise process for CAT registration is mentioned below:
Registration Process
Candidates must generate a User ID and Password on the official website. It is done in the following way:
  • Click on the “Register” link and register as a new candidate.
  • Then, you need to enter your details, including Name, Contact Number, Email, DOB etc. and then click on the “Submit” to generate a User ID and Password.
  • The newly generated User ID and Password will be sent to the contact details provided at the time of registration.
Eligible Degrees
Approval Authority
Engineering Degree – B. Tech/ B.E.
Bachelor’s Degree from any University
UGC Approved
Bachelor’s Degree from any University
UGC Approved
Students pursuing the final year of their Bachelor’s degree can also take the examination.
CA/CS/ICWA/Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries of India (FIAI)
Filling the Application Form
Students must log in using the User ID and Password received at the time of registration. After that, students need to fill in the below-mentioned details in the CAT 2023 application form.
  • The aspirants need to fill in the personal details in the application form. It includes DOB, Gender, category, nationality, address, contact details, etc.
  • After this, academic details are to be provided by the students. The academic details include class 10th marks, class 12th marks, qualifying degree scores, etc.
  • Candidates need to fill in the work experience details (optional).
  • Candidates also need to choose the course preferences, the institute they wish to apply for and the city for the interview.
  • Then, the candidate must choose six exam cities per their preference and convenience.
  • Make online payment after filling in all the details in the application form.
Students must upload the documents mentioned below after filling out the application form:
  • Class 10th, 12th Marksheets
  • Bachelor’s degree/diploma and higher education.
  • Work experience certificate, if applicable.
  • Scanned images of passport size photo and signature are required. (The photo should have a white background and should not be 6 months old).
  • Applicable Certificates are required to be uploaded.
  • Fee payment instruments to pay CAT exam fee – Debit/Credit cards, Net banking, etc.
  • Scanned image of passport size photo and the scanned image of the signature. Both the files should be in .jpg or .jpeg format, and the file size should not be more than 80 K.B. each. The image needs to be clear with a minimum resolution of 150px.
Document Specifications
Dimension: 30 mm X 45 mm
.jpg or .jpeg
<= 80 Kb
Dimension: 80 mm X 35 mm
.jpg or .jpeg
<= 80 Kb
NC-OBC/SC/ST Certificate
Self-attested Scanned Copy
<=200 Kb
PwD/DA Certificate
Self-attested Scanned Copy
<=200 Kb
Registration Fees
The CAT Registration fee is Rs. 2200/- (for the general category) and Rs. 1100 (for SC, ST and PwD candidates), including the CAT Registration Fees and the IIM application fees. After this payment, you do not have to pay any additional amount for applying to the other 20 IIMs.Aspirants can make payments via online mode only.
CAT 2023: Admit Card
Normally, the admit card is released in the fourth week of October. CAT admit card is available on the official website and can be downloaded from there. Information regarding your exam centre’s address, reporting time, exam timing, google map link to locate the centre, and other requisite exam day instructions are displayed. A print of the admit card is needed to present at the exam centre. Follow the steps below to download the CAT admit card:
  • Log in with your CAT User ID and Password at the official website.
  • Click on the ‘Download CAT Admit Card’ link. The link will display your hall; you can download and take a printout. Save its soft copy for reference.
  • The admit card is mandatory to be carried to the test centre on exam day.
CAT 2023: Answer Key
Almost a week after CAT 2023 exam, its answer key and the candidate's response sheet will be revealed on the official website. Follow the steps to access the CAT answer key from the official website:
  • Log in with your user ID and password at, the official CAT website.
  • Look at the ‘Announcements’ with the ‘Important Dates’ section on the home page.
  • Then select CAT Response Key 2023 from the menu.
  • Go to the PDF link provided and open it.
  • You will get the answer key here.
  • Click on the 'CAT 2023 answer key' and choose to 'download'.
The objection window for the CAT answer key is open until four days after the release. An online form must be filled out to report discrepancies or errors. The form is present on the official site. Upload the required document/s to support your objection and pay the stated fee.
CAT 2023: Result
Generally, the CAT result is announced in the first week of January. The scorecard can be downloaded from the official CAT site. Check out the below steps to download your CAT 2023 result:
  • On the official website, you will see a 'CAT scorecard/result' tab.
  • Provide your related CAT application number and password.
  • Choose the 'scorecard' section and download your CAT score report.
CAT 2023: Exam pattern
CAT Pattern is divided into 3 slots - VARC (Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension), DILR (Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning), and QA (Quantitative Ability). For IIM shortlisting, the candidate must score high in each section to clear the sectional score cut-offs.
There are no tutorials provided before the start of the test, so candidates are advised to go through the tutorials carefully from the official website. Apart from a high score in each of the 3 sections, a good academic profile with diversity and work experience will have a higher chance of admission to IIMs.
Below is the tabular form of the details of the CAT 2023 Exam Pattern, as per the changes made in 2021:
Exam Window
Three Sessions
Mode of Conduct
  1. Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
  2. Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
  3. Quantitative Ability
Test Duration
120 Minutes
Total No. of Questions
Duration of each section of CAT
40 Minutes
Type of Questions
MCQs & Non-MCQs
Expected Marking Scheme
-1 for each wrong answer
+3 for every correct answer
No. of Questions
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension

40 minutes
Quantitative Ability (QA)
40 minutes
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)
40 minutes
Marks Calculation
  • Each University or Institute follows its pattern of assigning marks. Therefore, the percentage calculation is based on that.
  • If the university has no method to convert marks/ CGPA to percentages, it is done through direct conversion. The achieved CGPA should be divided by the highest CGPA possible and multiplied by 100.
  • If grades or CGPA are allotted instead of marks, the conversion method provided by the university should be used to convert the marks to percentages.

CAT 2023: Marking Scheme
TITA Questions
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
+3, -1
+3, no negative
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning
+3, -1
+3, no negative
Quantitative Ability
+3, -1
+3, no negative
CAT 2023: Syllabus
To perform well in the CAT exam, candidates should have a sound knowledge of the syllabus and should be well-prepared for the test. The CAT syllabus covers various topics, including mathematics, reading comprehension, data interpretation, and verbal ability. It is important for candidates to prepare for the CAT exam systematically and thoroughly to increase their chances of getting admission to their desired business school.
Each of the three sections of the CAT exam has a different weightage. CAT syllabus is based on the exam pattern introduced by IIM Ahmedabad. Prioritise your sections based on your strengths and weaknesses.
VARC includes reading comprehension, verbal reasoning, and grammar.
Quant section includes class 9 - 10 level maths topics such as Number System, Geometry, Mensuration, Algebra, and Arithmetic. DILR section contains sets based on Number series, Graphs, Data Sufficiency, and common reasoning concepts.
The following topics should be considered as they are frequently asked in the CAT exam:
  Verbal Ability
Questions like Para jumbles, Summary Based, Sentence exclusion.
Questions - 8 to 10
Reading Comprehension
RC passages
Almost 16 questions in the VARC section are based on RCs.
Quantitative Ability
Number System, Algebra, Geometry, Arithmetic, Mensuration.
Arithmetic and Algebra dominate the section, with nearly 8 questions from each area.
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning
Seating Arrangement, DI-based reasoning, Grid-Based DI, Graphs. Tables, Data Caselets
An almost equal number of sets are from DI and LR.
Detailed Section-wise Syllabus
A detailed view of the CAT 2023 syllabus is illustrated below:
VARC Section
VARC is the first section to be solved in the exam. It has two subparts: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension. Take a look at the key topics of this section:
                                                VARC Syllabus
Fill in the blanks
Para Completion and inference
Verbal Logic
Verbal Reasoning
Subject-verb agreement
Para Jumbles
Sentence completion
Foreign language words used in English
Different usage of the same word
Reading Comprehension
Jumbled paragraphs
Sentence correction
One word substitution
Parts of speech
Types of Clauses
Phrases Modifiers
Errors in tenses
Articles usage
DILR Section
The second section is DILR and is to be attempted after the VARC section. It is further subdivided into two parts: Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning.
Below are some of the important topics of DILR:
                                                        DILR Syllabus
Blood Relations
Clocks and Calendars
Venn Diagram
Data Arrangement
Data Structures
Direction Sense
Family Tree
Binary Logic
Pie Charts
Seating Arrangement
Data Sufficiency
Sets & Caselets
Bars & Line Graphs
QA Section
Quantitative Aptitude is the last section to be attempted in the CAT exam. The aptitude syllabus is the largest among all the sections. Candidates spend most of the time preparing for the QA section. 
Check out these important topics of QA:
                                                          QA Syllabus
Ratios and Proportion
In-equations Quadratic and linear equations
Work and Time
Surds and Indices
Partnership (Accounts)
Number System
Square Root and Cube Root
Profit & Loss
Geometric Progression
Mean, mode, median
Binomial theorem
Simple interest and compound interest
Study Material / Books For CAT 2023
There are several sources available for CAT preparation. As per our experts, the best books for CAT are as follows:
Books for VARC
  1. How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT'- by Arun Sharma & Meenakshi Upadhyay
  2. Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT by Nishit K Sinha
  3. Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension by Ajay Singh
  4. Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis
Books for DILR
  1. 'How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CAT' - by Arun Sharma (Published by McGraw Hill)
  2. Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for CAT by Nishit K Sinha.
  3. 'How to Prepare for Logical Reasoning for CAT' - by Arun Sharma
  4. Data Interpretation & Data Sufficiency - Ananta Ashisha
Books for QA
  1. 'How to prepare for Quantitative for the CAT' - by Arun Sharma, published by MGH Education
  2. Quant study modules by Arun Sharma
  3. How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CAT - Sharma and Upadhyay
  4. PSC for VA for CAT - Nishit Sinha
CAT Online Coaching
CAT online coaching is often more cost effective than traditional coaching methods. The absence of physical infrastructure and overhead expenses allows coaching institutes to offer online courses at competitive prices. This makes CAT preparation more accessible to a broader range of students, irrespective of their geographical location or financial constraints.
However, it is essential to note that online coaching does require self-discipline and self-motivation. Without the structured environment of a physical classroom, students must be proactive in following their study schedules and staying committed to their preparation. Regular self-assessment and timely doubt resolution are also crucial to make the most of online coaching.
Online coaching for the CAT exam has emerged as a popular choice among aspirants due to its flexibility, access to quality study materials, self-paced learning, mock tests, performance analysis, peer learning, and cost-effectiveness. With its numerous advantages, online CAT preparation provides a viable and efficient method for aspirants to prepare for the challenging CAT exam and increase their chances of securing admission to esteemed management programs offered by the IIMs and other prestigious institutes.
CAT Exam: Slot Timings
Each section in the CAT examination pattern is time-limited. The screen automatically moves to the next segment once the time is over, and the candidate can’t make any changes in the sections already attempted. Therefore, you must keep track of time duration and practice accordingly.
The following are the three sessions for the exam:
  • Morning session (8:30 am - 10:30 pm)
  • Afternoon session (12:30 pm - 2:30 pm)
  • Evening session (4:30 pm - 6:30 pm)
CAT Cut-Off 2023
The cut-off is the minimum mark applicant should score to become eligible for seeking admission into the IIMs. CAT is the primary criterion to shortlist candidates for further admission rounds. Some institutes place more weightage on CAT scores, while others consider the overall academic profile and work experience. Listed below are the main factors behind the CAT cut-off:
  • Total number of students who appear for CAT 2023
  • The difficulty level of the CAT exam
  • Total number of admission seats available at the B-school
  • Ranking/reputation of the B-school
CAT Cut-off
90+ (profile-based)
80+ (profile-based)
CAT 2023: Sample Papers
Practice Papers play a major role in preparing for any entrance test. Anyone who has performed well in any competitive exam has hailed sample papers as the ultimate prep tool.
To succeed in tests like CAT, you need a well-thought plan involving focused study. The concepts are applicable once you start solving the CAT Sample Papers.
Practice papers help candidates in understanding the exam pattern and frequently asked questions. 
Benefits of CAT Sample Paper
Consistent practice of sample papers and CAT mock tests help conceptual clarity and prepare frequently asked questions. Sample papers help you build a base for basic conceptual preparation. Availing these CAT exam sample papers is all that a student needs to do.
These CAT model papers will help you effectively shape your preparation.
  1. Time Management
Managing time is crucial for any exam. Solving sample papers increases your speed of solving questions and helps in better time management. Students can prepare a structured schedule to get used to solving questions in the exam.
  1. Exam-like Environment
Solving CAT mock tests and practise papers with a running timer helps the candidate get in, increasing their pace and making them used to the exam-like environment. A familiar environment helps reduce the anxiety and pressure of sitting in an exam unprepared.
  1. Provides New Questions
Creating new questions is harder; therefore, these new questions are not included in the CAT preparation books. Instead, these questions are used in CAT exam sample papers and mock tests. Practising these new questions helps to strengthen the core concepts of a candidate.
  1. Great Skills in all the topics
Sample Papers concentrate on all the exam topics rather than the text questions of each chapter. These papers provide questions on all the topics providing all-inclusive preparation.
  1. Reference of exam papers
These papers are designed to reference your exams, enhancing your skills in solving papers. Candidates can remain updated regarding the paper pattern and thus prepare them to answer the questions generally asked in the exams.
  1. Self Assessment
The best part about solving previous year or sample papers is that one can analyse their weaker sections and mistakes. Knowing the possible mistakes and weak areas before the examination help prepare an effective strategy to tackle tricky questions.
  1. Increased Accuracy and Speed
The candidates’ speed and accuracy can be increased by solving the actual CAT question paper, as it familiarises them with new questions with different complexities and logic.
  1. Helps in Devising a Strategy
After knowing your strengths and weaknesses, you can decide which questions to attempt first and which to take up later. Such minor alterations can have a huge impact on your performance and help you in scoring good marks.
Preparation Plan For CAT Exam
To crack the CAT exam, a proper plan is required. The key elements for preparing CAT exam are consistency, scheduling and hard work. Candidates must start with simple steps instead of rushing and sitting for hours to study without proper focus. Once you feel comfortable with your schedule and build consistency, you can increase the level by increasing your study hours. 
As CAT 2023 is on the way, students have enough time to start their preparation. An early start is always beneficial as there will be a lot of cover-ups and work on. These tips will help you with your CAT preparation:
  • Start your day by reading the newspaper, latest news and headlines.
  • Prepare any topic of your choice from the sections and try to complete it within a day or two.
  • Practice at least 30 questions on the topic.
  • Take video references for your weak topics.
  • Seek guidance from seniors or mentors who have given CAT.
  • Make strategies according to the recommendations of your mentors.
  • Candidates must solve the previous year's question papers daily as it will give you an exact idea of the questions asked in the exam.
  • Mock tests will help you manage time and identify weak and strong areas.
  • Make short notes of the important formulas of quant and revise them daily as it will be beneficial.
  • Keep track of time while learning and even during practice.
  • Frequent breaks are needed to maintain the concentration level.
  • Make separate notes in a notebook for the video lectures.
  • Work more on your weaker areas and practice your stronger topics.
  • Always remember, "Practice makes a man perfect". 
  • Revise all the topics you have learnt, as revision is very important.
  • Switch off your phone, and avoid using social media platforms while studying.
  • Please don't start with random topics. Work on the scheduled topics in a proper manner.
  • Solve comprehension passages daily to enhance your reading skills.
  • Try to be consistent and avoid any days off.
Tips For VARC:
A different strategy is required for this section as it includes four different topics. Below are some tips to prepare for the VARC section.
  1. Mock Tests are the key to grammar and Verbal Ability preparation.

  2. Enhance your vocabulary by learning new words from dictionaries, articles, newspapers etc.
  3. Develop the habit of reading at least 1 passage daily.
  4. Keep track of time to evaluate your time consumption while reading the passage.
Tips For DILR:
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning requires conceptual clarity for all the fundamental ideas. The questions in this section require keen observational skills to focus on details.
  1. Students can solve problems fast and accurately with the help of Vedic Maths.
  2. Making assumptions can lead to mistakes; therefore, keep an eye on the details.
  3. Seating Arrangements, Coding-Decoding, Team Formation, Clocks and Calendars, Venn Diagrams, and Bar Graphs are important topics of DI.
  4. Lengthy questions should be answered using Venn diagrams.
Tips For QA:
The most challenging section of the CAT exam is the Quantitative Aptitude. It includes Modern Maths, Number System, Geometry, Mensuration, Algebra, and Arithmetic. Follow these tips to prepare for the quant section.
  1. Make notes of all the important formulae and concepts of mathematics.
  2. Learning squares up to 30, cubes up to 20 and tables up to 40 will help you save time.
  3. Try answering more quant questions in as much time as possible.
These were the best CAT Preparation Tips for undergraduate students to study efficiently. Hope these tips help in your preparation and scheduling of your topics.
Solving  CAT model papers and mock tests will help you overcome your weaker sections and fill the remaining gap. Candidates should know everything about the exam before starting their CAT journey. This article will help you do so.
For more resources, practice papers, coaching etc, explore our CAT study material. Our experts will help you with the best guidance. Be consistent and practice as much as you can. All the best!
FAQs about CAT 2023
1. When should I apply for CAT 2023?
The official notification for CAT '23 is expected by July '23, and the registration will begin from August '23. You can apply from the first week of August till mid-September '23.
2. Is 3 months enough for CAT?
Yes, you can prepare well for CAT, in just about three months. However, you must stay disciplined and follow a proper study plan, covering concept-building and rigorous practice.
3. How long is the CAT score valid?
CAT score is valid for one year only.
4. How should I start preparing for CAT?
To begin with, you must understand the pattern and syllabus of CAT, go through the previous year papers, and finally, come up with a preparation plan for each section.
5. How many attempts are there for CAT?
There is no restriction on the number of attempts for CAT.
6. Can a weak student crack CAT?
Yes, even a weak student can crack CAT, as it doesn't require knowledge of any particular subject. Nevertheless, the aspirant must prepare with utmost dedication and focus.
7. Can I get 99 percentile in CAT?
Yes, you can nail a percentile of 99 and above in CAT. Of the lakhs of candidates that appear for CAT, almost 20,000 achieve a percentile of 99+.
8. Is it easy to crack CAT in first attempt?
Yes, CAT can be aced in the first attempt! There is no dearth of toppers that bell the CAT in their first attempt.
9. Can I crack CAT without coaching?
Yes, several students rely on self-study to crack CAT with high scores. Since there are a variety of resources available online for free, so you can well utilise them for preparation. Alongside, the popular standard books are available in the market too.
10. Which is tougher CAT or GMAT?
CAT and GMAT are quite comparable in difficulty level. However, both of them require different preparation strategies, with verbal section being tougher in GMAT than in CAT, and quant being trickier in CAT than GMAT.
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