CAT Exam 2022: A to Z of the Common Admission Test (CAT)

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CAT exam 2022 is likely to be conducted on November 27, 2022. It will be held in computer-based mode across 400+ test centres in India. Similar to last year, CAT exam will be conducted in three sessions. The onus of administering CAT 2022 is on IIM Bangalore. The registrations for CAT 2022 will begin in the first week of August and continue till September. CAT is a two-hour test, composed of MCQs and Non-MCQs. Its total number of questions is expected to be 66, as per the latest pattern. In the last few years, there have been frequent changes in CAT exam pattern but, it will most probably be the same this time. CAT 2022 result will be out in January 2023. In this article, you will learn about all aspects of CAT 2022.
Managing an organization requires expertise coupled with in-depth knowledge of various management principles. The lure of earning a handsome salary along with other perks draws many individuals to prepare for MBA entrances. The Common Admission Test (CAT) is one such MBA entrance that paves the way for acquiring higher education in management. The premier Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) use CAT scores to enrol students for the MBA/ PGDM programs. There are 20 IIMs offering undergraduate, postgraduate, doctoral, and executive management education programmes.
What is CAT?
CAT Exam is the national-level management entrance test conducted by the Indian Institute of Management for admission into 20 IIMs and 100+ B-schools across India. Every year, one of the older IIMs is tasked with administering the exam. More than 2 lakh aspirants appear for the CAT exam annually but only a few thousand make it to their desired top B-schools. Apart from IIMs, other reputed B-schools that accept CAT scores include MDI (Gurgaon), IITs, SP Jain (Mumbai), IMT(Ghaziabad), FMS(Delhi), KJ Somaiya Institute of Management Studies (Mumbai), Great Lakes Institute of Management(Chennai), Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneshwar, to name a few.
CAT Exam Pattern 2022: Key Features
In view of limited admission seats and a large number of test-takers, CAT is rightly considered one of the most difficult entrance tests. It is designed to evaluate the candidate’s decision-making, time management, and dexterity in tackling complexity. All these traits determine the candidate’s suitability for management education as well as acumen for managerial occupations. Go through the main features of CAT exam structure:
  • The CAT exam is divided into three sections:-
    • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)
    • Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR)
    • Quantitative Aptitude (QA)
  • The duration of CAT 2022 exam is 120 minutes.
  • Since the inclusion of TITA (Type in The Answer) questions in 2015, there has been a slight change in the test pattern of exam. The number of TITA questions varies, but there is no negative marking for their incorrect answers.
  • In the last few years, almost 25-33% of the questions have been non-MCQ (TITA) type.
  • There is a penalty of 1 mark for each incorrectly answered MCQ, and 3 marks are awarded for each correct response.
  • The order of the sections in the CAT exam is fixed, and students get 40 minutes for each section. Due to sectional time limits, the students cannot switch sections.
Note: In case of changes in the CAT exam pattern, IIMs notify the candidates on their official website ( Students should visit the site for mock tests/ tutorials and the latest exam pattern. These mock tutorials will be uploaded in the month of October.
The stated scores of CAT are a result of scaling and normalization based on the performance of candidates appearing in multiple sessions. Most of the institutes set their cut-offs based on CAT percentiles.
CAT Scholarship test
CAT Syllabus 2022
There is no standard syllabus prescribed for CAT, but the type and difficulty level of exam questions have remained nearly the same over time. For instance, the Quantitative part mainly focuses on the basic mathematical concepts and topics of arithmetic, algebra, and geometry. Similarly, Reading Comprehensions have always dominated the VARC section, while DI-LR sets primarily delve into caselets, tables, charts, and the common reasoning topics like arrangements, syllogism, blood relations, etc.
Besides, the non-MCQs feature in all the three sections of CAT syllabus and are based on similar topics as MCQs.
CAT Notification & Registration 2022
CAT is conducted in November every year. The detailed notification is released around July/August on the official website, where you will be required to register online. You will get to know about the important dates, application fee, MBA/PGP programmes and other essential information from the notification.
CAT 2022: Things to Know
  • CAT application form has to be submitted online.
  • CAT 2022 exam will be held in 150+ cities across the country.
  • CAT registration stays open for nearly 45 days from its start date.
  • Most important, CAT aspirants should maintain a valid and unique email account and a mobile number for the selection process to be carried out smoothly.
  • CAT result is released after a month of the exam.
CAT 2022: Important Dates
Here is an overview of the tentative dates of CAT 2022:
August 2022
CAT 2022 Registration Starts
August 2022
CAT 2022 Registration Ends
September 2022
CAT 2022 Admit Card Release
October 2022
CAT 2022 Exam Date
November 2022
CAT 2022 Answer Key Release
December 2022
CAT 2022 Result Declaration
January 2023
CAT 2022: Registration Process
Follow the given steps while applying for CAT 2022 online:
  • At the official website, click ‘Register Now’ and generate your login credentials. Input the required details (Name, Date of Birth, Email Address, etc.).
You will also get an email and SMS regarding your login credentials.
  • In the next step, you need to login with your user ID and Password. Thereafter, complete your CAT application form and upload the scanned copies of the stated documents.
Remember to click on ‘Save & Continue’ before moving on to every next step. CAT application form can also be completed in several sessions, simply by logging in again.
  • Apart from your personal and academic information, you need to provide details about your work experience, if applicable. Further, you also have to indicate your preferred programmes/institutes (IIMs) and select the interview cities from the given options.
  • Finally, you need to pay CAT application fee via Net Banking/Credit/Debit Card/ or other such modes. Once you have paid the fee, you will not be able to make any changes in the form. So, double-check the form before the submission and payment.
CAT Admit Card 2022
The admit card for CAT 2022 needs to be downloaded from the official website. It is usually released in the fourth week of October. CAT admit card displays information regarding your exam center ’saddress, reporting time, exam timing, google map link to locate the center, and other requisite exam day instructions. You need to have a printout of the admit card to present at the exam center. The given steps will help you download CAT 2022 admit card:
  • At the official website, login with your CAT user ID and password
  • Click on the ‘Download CATAdmit Card’ link. Your hall will be displayed; you can download and take a printout of it. You can also save its soft copy for reference.
CAT Exam Day – Do’s and Don’ts
Before going to the exam, you need to have certain documents. Here is the list of things you are expected to have at the exam center:
  • Admit card: Make sure that you have two print-outs of youradmit cards, with your photo pasted on it.
  • Identity Proof: You are required to carry a photo ID (employer ID/ PAN card/ Aadhaar card/ driving license/ passport/ Voter ID)
In case, you have changed your name recently, then you must have a name change document or certificate.
Things forbidden at the CAT center:
  • Calculator, watch, phone, tablet, or any other electronic item
  • Metallic jewellery/ accessories
  • Bags/ Jackets/ clothes with pockets/ Closed footwear
  • Eatables/ beverages
Exception: People with any sort of metal implant in their body need to have a medical certificate for the same.
CAT Answer Key 2022
Almost a week after CAT 2022 exam, its answer key and the candidate’s response sheet will be revealed on the official website. Follow the given steps to access CAT answer key 2022 from the official website:
  • Login with your CAT user ID and password at the official website
  • Click on 'CAT 2022 answer key' and choose to ‘download’ it as PDF.
Note that the objection window for CAT answer key is open until four days of the release. If you want to report any such discrepancy or error, you need to fill an online form present on the official site, upload the required document/s to support your objection and pay the stated fee.
CAT Result 2022
Generally, CAT result is announced in the first week of January. Its scorecard can be downloaded from the official site in PDF format. Here are the steps to check and download your CAT 2022 result:
  • At 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.
Your CAT 2022 scorecard willconsist of individual sectional scores, sectional percentiles, overall score, and overall percentile.
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CAT Eligibility Criteria 2022
Candidates need to fulfil certain criteria to become eligible for the CAT exam. Make sure you meet the following educational requirements:
  • CAT candidates should have completed Bachelor’s/ equivalent degree from a recognized university/board. Students in their final year of graduation can also appear for the CAT exam.
  • For the previous session, the minimum percentage criterion was removed due to covid-related changes for graduating students. This provision may follow for CAT 2022 as well. For more details, refer to New Eligibility Criteria for CAT 2022.
Note that the accurate eligibility criteria for MBA admission vary from one B-school to another as well as course to course in some institutes. Further, almost all B-schools provide reservations for various categories of candidates. For detailed information regarding eligibility, checkout the official websites of the respective colleges.
Did you Know:  After the foundation of IIM-Calcutta and IIM-Ahmedabad in 1961, the B-schools started conducting the admission on the basis of their own entrance examinations. But after the establishment of IIM-Bangalore in 1973 and IIM-Lucknow in 1983, these institutes decided to hold a common entrance test on the lines of GMAT. This led to the introduction of CAT in 1984.
Top Colleges Accepting CAT Score 2022
In 2020, 115 reputed B-schools accepted CAT scores, out of which 114 are in India, and one is in Singapore. More than 100 B-schools in India and abroad are expected to register as CAT participating Institutes in the coming years. Apart from 20 IIMs, CAT participating Institutes include other public and private institutes. Some of the top B-schools accepting CAT scores are:
  • Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad
  • Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Bangalore
  • Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Calcutta
  • Indian Institute Of Management(IIM), Lucknow
  • S. P. Jain Institute of Management & Research (SPJIMR), Mumbai
  • Management Development Institute (MDI), Gurgaon
  • Indian Institute Of Management (IIM), Kozhikode
  • Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Indore
  • International Management Institute (IMI), New Delhi
  • Faculty of management studies (FMS), New Delhi
  • Institute Of Management Technology (IMT), Ghaziabad
  • National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE), Mumbai
  • Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Trichy
  • Rajiv Gandhi Indian Institute of Management (IIM),Shillong
  • Xavier Institute of Management (XIM), Bhubaneswar
  • Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Kashipur
  • Department of management studies (IIT Delhi), New Delhi
  • Sydenham Institute of management studies and research and entrepreneurship education (SIMSREE), Mumbai
  • Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of management studies (JBIMS), Mumbai
  • Shailesh J Mehta School of Management (IIT Bombay), Mumbai
  • Vinod Gupta school of management (VGSOM), IIT Kharagpur

CAT Cut-off 2022
For most B-schools in India, CAT serves as a primary criterion for shortlisting candidates for further admission rounds. As CAT results are declared in January, the test-takers start getting calls from B-schools as per their profile and score. Some institutes place more weightage on CAT scores, while some others equally consider the overall academic profile and work experience. Listed below are the main factors behind CAT cut-off:
  • Total number of students who appear for CAT 2022
  • Difficulty level of CAT exam
  • Total number of admission seats available at the B-school
  • Ranking/reputation of the B-school
The following shows the approximate cut-off figures for reputed B-schools of India:
CAT Cut-off
90+ (profile-based)
80+ (profile-based)
MBA Admission Process
After the declaration of CAT result, IIMs and other B-schools shortlist the candidates for the selection rounds – WAT (Written ability test/Essay writing), GD/CD (Group/case discussion) /Group Exercise and PI (Personal Interview). While IIMs and some other top B-schools declare their admission criteria and cut-off prior to the result, a majority of the B-schools announce their cut-offs only after the declaration of CAT result. Many students face a lot of hardships before getting admission into their dream B-school. Nevertheless, Energy and Persistence conquer all things.
The final merit list at the B-schools is based on candidates’ performance in the CAT exam, selection rounds, and profile. Different B-schools allocate different weightages to CAT score, academic profile/diversity, work experience, and marks in the selection process. Accordingly, the candidates are granted admission to the management courses.
MBA Courses Offered by IIMs
The following table gives a glimpse of the popular and unique MBA/PGDM courses offered by IIMs:
PGP - Post Graduate Program in Management
The flagship programme of IIMs, PGP is equivalent to an MBA degree.It is a two-year full-time programme spanning six trimesters.
PGP covers all the core subjects of management,and in the second year, students canselect their preferred subject from the choice of electives. After completing the programme, students are awarded with PGDM (Post Graduate Diploma in Management).
PGDHRM - PGP in Human Resource Management
This is the flagship programme of IIM Ranchi. It is offered by IIM Indore,and similar courses are extended by other IIMs.
PGP- FABM (Food and Agribusiness Management), previously PGP-ABM
Offered by IIM-A, PGP-FABM maintains a common syllabus with PGP in the first year. In the second year of FABM, the focus is specifically on agro-based subjects.  
PGPPM - PGP in Public Policy and Management
Facilitated by IIM-B, PGPPM is a one-year programme developed to train students inpublic policy and leadership. It also covers an international immersion programme of 2 weeks.
PGPBM - PGP in Business Management
PGPBM is offered by IIM Tiruchirappalli. It is a two-year programme devised to mentor working executives for higher leadership.
PGPEM - PGP in Enterprise Management
Preferred by senior and mid-level executives, PGPEM is a two-year weekend programme provided by IIM Bangalore. It is meant for people with a minimum 4 years of work experience.
PGP-ABM - PGP in Agri-Business Management
PGP-ABM is a two-year full-time programme extended by IIM Lucknow. It is particularly designed to develop leaders in the field of agribusiness.
PGP-SM - PGP in Sustainable Management
PGP-SM is a two-year full-time programme offered by IIM Lucknow. It aims to nurture professionals with good knowledge ofsocial, economic, and environmental issues.
ROI of Top MBA programmes
No doubt, MBA counts among the most expensive courses in India and abroad. Yet, considering the course’s ROI in terms of career prospects and hefty placement packages, it makes the cost worth it. IIMs and other top-ranked B-schools are known for their high ROI. Glance through some great facts about the ROI of the best MBA programmes in India:
  • In the year 2021, 131 firms participated in the placement process held at IIM- Ahmedabad.
  • For executive MBAs from IIM-A, the median salary is Rs 30 Lakh per annum.
  • For PGP/MBA graduates of IIM-A, the mean salary is over Rs 27 Lakh per annum.
  • Top MNCs such as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, McKinsey & Co., Blackstone Group, and Strategy recruit management graduates from IIM Ahmedabad.
  • At IIM Bangalore, there are 500+ offers from top Multinational Companies and a constant increase in the total number of jobs offered compared to previous years.
  • The mean salary of MBA graduates from IIM Lucknow is Rs 26 Lakh per annum, and the median salary is Rs 23.5 Lakh.
  • At IIM Kolkata, the average salary of MBA graduates is Rs 28 Lakh, and the median salary is Rs 27 Lakh. The top 10% of MBA graduates at IIM Kolkata receive astounding packages of average Rs 54 Lakh per annum.
  • In the majority of the IIMs, the average placement salary is between Rs. 20-26 lpa. Other B-schools with the same statistics include FMS, MDI, SPJIMR, etc.
The above data indicates that students of these premier IIMs will benefit innumerable ways. Getting recruited by top multinational companies for varied managerial roles will enhance their learning and raise their career graphs.
Preparation Tips for CAT 2022
Usually, aspirants start preparing at least six months before the exam. Ideally, it should begin with going through the syllabus and building conceptual clarity of essential topics to practising CAT mock tests and previous year papers. Listed below are some expert tips and tricks to include in your CAT preparation plan:
  • Make quick notes of important formulae and shortcuts for last-minute revisions.
  • Develop a regular habit of reading newspapers, books, magazines, etc.
  • Jot down notes/ use flashcards for new words you learn every day. If you make it a point to utilize them while communicating, you will be able to build a strong vocabulary.
  • Practice topic-wise and sectional tests on a periodic basis. Alongside, monitor your improvements in speed and accuracy over time.
  • Identify your weak and strong areas and strategize to work on the former.
  • Once you are thorough with all the requisite topics, start practicing the full-length mock tests and analyze your performance.
  • You may need to modify your test-taking strategy after testing it during mocks. Keep in mind that different strategies work for different candidates.
  • Remember to take regular breaks in between your study routine. It will help you stay motivated and focused.
Lastly, you must have a well-planned daily schedule as well as a month-wise plan for CAT preparation. Consistency, coupled with a smart exam strategy, will help you crack CAT 2022 with an excellent score.
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Best Books for CAT 2022
There are many CAT books available both in online and offline formats. After thorough scrutiny, our experts have shortlisted the most reliable and best books for CAT preparation. Here is the list of CAT books for your reference:
  • Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT by Arun Sharma
  • Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT by Nishit K. Sinha
  • Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension by Ajay Singh
  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT by Arun Sharma and Meenakshi Upadhyay
  • Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for the CAT by Nishit K. Sinha
  • How to prepare for Data Interpretation for CAT by Arun Sharma
  • How to Prepare for Logical Reasoning for CAT by Arun Sharma
Apart from the above-listed, it is recommended that you begin with the books like:
  • Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis
  • Barron’s Pocket Guide to Vocabulary
  • Puzzles to Puzzle you by Shakuntala Devi
  • Quantitative Aptitude by R.S. Aggarwal
NOTE: Make sure to buy only the latest edition of these books.
CAT Coaching
Considering the high competition and difficulty level of CAT, students usually opt for coaching so as to crack the exam with a good score. With lakhs of MBA aspirants competing for the limited seats of IIMs, it is not easy to attain a top percentile in CAT. To guide you the right way, we at Hitbullseye, provide you with the most comprehensive study resources, including eBooks, recorded and live lectures, mock tests, and more in our CAT prep courses.
Previous Year CAT Papers
The actual CAT papers prove highly useful in understanding the exam pattern and difficulty level. It will also help you know about the important topics of different sections. Solve the given papers and check your progress for the exam:
CAT 2021
CAT 2021 Question Paper Slot I
CAT 2021 Question Paper Slot II
CAT 2021 Question Paper Slot III
CAT 2020
CAT 2020 Question Paper Slot I
CAT 2020 Question Paper Slot II
CAT 2020 Question Paper Slot III
CAT 2019
CAT 2019 Question Paper Slot I
CAT 2019 Question Paper Slot II
Previous Year CAT Analysis
CAT exam has undergone several changes since its inception. These changes have been seen in its exam pattern, type of questions, number of questions, and time limits. Nevertheless, the difficulty level of the exam has always remained on the higher side. Here is a brief section-wise analysis of the actual CAT papers of the last few years:
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)
There are four RC passages in this section, accompanied by questions that make up nearly 70% of the total weightage. Other questions include Parajumbles, Para Summary, odd-one-out, and other grammar-based topics.
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR)
This section is considered the lengthiest of all, due to the calculation-intensive of its questions. There are 4-5 sets based on data interpretation and reasoning, followed by 4-6 questions each. In DI sets, the information is represented in bar graphs, charts, tables, or other such graphical formats. LR questions are themed around arrangements, blood relations, syllogism, and related topics.
Quantitative Aptitude
Quant section in CAT is dominated by arithmetic, algebra, and geometry. Around 8-10 questions are from arithmetic alone, followed by 4-6 questions of algebra, and 3-4 questions of geometry. A few questions of modern mathematics also feature in this section.
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FAQs Regarding CAT 2022
  1. What is the registration fee for CAT 2022?
  2. CAT 2022 fee is Rs. 2200 for general category and Rs. 1100 for reserved category students.
  3. What is fee for raising objection on CAT 2022 answer key?
  4. You need to pay Rs. 1200 per question, while challenging the answer key.
  5. How long are the CAT scores valid?
  6. Generally, the CAT score is valid for one year except for the institutes which offer deferred admission, taking into account the work experience of the candidate.
  7. Are there any age restrictions for appearing in CAT?
  8. There is no age bar to appear for CAT.
  9. How many times can I take the CAT exam?
  10. There is no limit on the number of attempts for CAT.
  11. Can I appear for more than one slot for CAT?
  12. No, you are not allowed to appear for more than one slot for a CAT session.
  13. Can I opt for the exam shift of my choice?
  14. CAT is held in 2-3 shifts on a single day. However, the slot/shift is assigned by the authorities only.
  15. What is a good score/percentile in CAT?
  16. Initially, most of the IIMs shortlisted candidates with 95-99 percentile. But in the last few years, the top ones like IIM-A have started profile-based shortlisting and have set their CAT cut-offs at 80 percentile. Yet, it is still better to target a percentile of 95 and above, if you want to stay open for a more number of B-schools.
  17. How many questions should I attempt to get 99+ percentile in CAT?
  18. CAT is more a test of tactical skills than time management. Experts recommend that you will need to attempt atleast 75% questions with high accuracy so as to get 99+ percentile.
  19. Is there any sectional qualifying score in CAT?
  20. Most B-schools differ in their overall CAT cut off as well as sectional cut offs. However, the top institutes like IIMs usually set their sectional cut off criteria somewhere between 70 to 90 percentile.
CAT 2023
Observing the trends of the previous years, CAT 2023 is expected to be held on the last Sunday of November 2023. As for the registrations, they will be notified by July 2023, and most likely begin in August and end in 2023.
More updates will be posted soon!
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