CAT Exam 2024: A to Z of the Common Admission Test (CAT)

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CAT 2024 stands for the Common Admission Test, likely to take place on November 24, 2024, the last Sunday of November 2024. This prestigious exam, conducted in computer-based mode, spans 400+ test centers in India, accommodating aspiring candidates from all corners of the country.
The official notification for CAT 2024 will be released in the last week of July 2024, keeping thousands of eager test-takers in anticipation. Like all previous years, the 2024 exam will be conducted in three sessions, allowing the students to showcase their abilities and pursue their dream careers.
It is worth noting that the responsibility of administering CAT 2024 lies in the hands of one of the old Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs). IIM Calcutta will (potentially) assume this responsibility for the year 2024. This will ensure the same level of excellence, reliability, and fairness that has always been associated with this esteemed examination.
The registrations for CAT 2024 will begin in the first week of August and be closed by the first week of September. CAT is a two-hour test that comprises MCQs and non-MCQs. Its total number of questions is expected to be 66, as per the latest pattern and last year’s examination. In the last few years, there have been frequent changes in the CAT exam pattern, but it will most probably be the same this time. In this article, you will learn about all aspects of CAT 2024.
Why prepare for an MBA?
Planning to pursue an MBA degree is a critical move for those inclined towards leadership roles or entrepreneurial success, offering an all-encompassing education in business management and providing the skills to solve complex challenges, make strategic decisions, and lead effectively. The aspiration to attain an MBA propels individuals to embark on a journey of meticulous preparation for one of the nation's most esteemed and demanding entrance examinations. 
Ambitious individuals are drawn to this path, often aiming for the prestigious Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), where admission hinges on excelling in the CAT exam—a rigorous test that sharpens analytical, quantitative, and verbal skills. Success in the CAT and subsequent entry into the IIMs not only promises advanced education but also entry into an esteemed network of professionals, which enhances global career opportunities and lends additional allure to the strenuous academic journey. An MBA degree promises a substantial return on investment, offers a significant earning potential, and adaptable skills relevant for the future of work. 
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What is CAT?
The Common Admission Test (CAT) is an essential gateway for students and professionals seeking to advance their careers through management education. It is a nationally recognized entrance examination in India, pivotal for admission into the prestigious Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and other top business schools across the country. This competitive test evaluates a candidate's aptitude and readiness for the rigors of postgraduate management programs, laying the groundwork for their transition into leaders and innovators in the business world. Understanding the CAT's structure, its examination pattern, and the opportunities it unlocks, such as placements in IIMs, is crucial for aspiring MBA students.
With more than 2 lakh aspirants appearing for the CAT exam annually and numbers increasing with each passing year, the competition is fierce, as only a select few thousand are able to secure the spots in top B-schools for the 2100 seats available throughout India. While the IIMs remain the epitome of excellence, other renowned B-schools such as 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 (Bhubaneswar), and many more prestigious institutions also accept CAT scores, further expanding the opportunities for aspiring management professionals.
The hike in the CAT Exam’s candidate registration numbers is evident from this graph. 
Preparing for the CAT exam necessitates extensive dedication, comprehensive knowledge, and adept problem-solving skills. Success in this highly competitive exam opens doors to a world of endless possibilities within the realm of business and management studies.
CAT Exam Pattern: 2024
The intense rivalry among hundreds of thousands of aspirants each year, all vying for a place in their ideal management institution, underscores the formidable challenge that the CAT Exam represents. The design of the CAT Exam demands that only those with substantial practice through mock tests and familiarity with past papers can adeptly tackle the questions and secure a high percentile. The CAT Exam has 66 questions split into three parts. You have 120 minutes to finish them, giving you about 100 seconds for each question. The exam is also tough because each section has a time limit. You must finish each part within this time, as the test will automatically go to the next one when time runs out.
The CAT Exam Question Pattern consists of the following sections:
  • Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)
  • Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)
  • Quantitative Ability (QA)
Section
Marks
Time Limit
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)
24 questions x 3 Marks for right answer
40 minutes (fixed)
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)
20 questions x 3 Marks for right answer
40 minutes (fixed)
Quantitative Ability (QA)
22 questions x 3 Marks for right answer
40 minutes (fixed)
Some additional Facts about CAT 2024
  • Since the inclusion of TITA (Type in The Answer) questions in 2015, there has been a slight change in the test pattern of the 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 any changes in the CAT exam pattern, IIMs issue an official notification for candidates on their official website (iimcat.ac.in). Students should visit the site for mock tests/ tutorials and the latest exam pattern. These mock tutorials will be uploaded by 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 2024 Syllabus
The CAT exam consists of three sections, each with its own weightage. The official CAT syllabus page is designed according to the format established by IIM Ahmedabad. 
  • Prioritize the sections based on your individual strengths and weaknesses.
  • Reading comprehension, verbal reasoning, and grammar are components of VARC.
  • In the Quant section, topics such as Number System, Geometry, Mensuration, Algebra, and Arithmetic are covered.
  • The DILR section consists of sets based on Graphs, Number series, Data Sufficiency, and common reasoning concepts.
Detailed Section-wise Syllabus
The syllabus for CAT 2024 is illustrated in detail below:
VARC Section
VARC is the first section of the exam to be completed. It comprises two subsections: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension. Examine the key topics covered in this section:
DILR Section
The DILR section should be attempted following the VARC section. It is subdivided further into two sections: Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning.
Below are some of the most important DILR topics:
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QA Section
The last section of the CAT exam to be attempted is Quantitative Aptitude. The aptitude curriculum is the most extensive of all the sections. The majority of time is spent preparing for the QA section.
Check out these essential QA topics:
Important Dates: CAT 2024
CAT 2024 Important Dates & Timeline
Important dates (Tentative)
CAT 2024 Notification Date
Last week of July 2024
CAT Registration Start Date 2024
First week of August, 2024
CAT 2024 Last Date of Registration
First week of September 2024
CAT 2024 Registration Fees
Rs.2500
CAT 2024 Exam Date
November 24, 2024
CAT 2024 Result Date
First week of January 2025

CAT Exam Centres 2024
CAT is held across various cities of India. So, the candidates can conveniently choose a set of preferred cities from the given list. As per the last year, we are presenting here the complete table of CAT exam centers:
State
Exam Centres
Andaman & Nicobar Islands
Port Blair
Andhra Pradesh
Guntur; Kakinada; Kurnool; Nellore; Rajahmundry; Tirupathi; Vijayawada; Visakhapatnam
Arunachal Pradesh
Itanagar
Assam
Dibrugarh; Guwahati; Silchar
Bihar
Aurangabad; Muzaffarpur; Patna; Purnea
Chandigarh
Chandigarh
Chhattisgarh
Bhilai; Raipur
Delhi-NCR
Delhi, New Delhi, Faridabad, Gurugram, Noida, Panipat, Ghaziabad, Greater Noida, 
Goa
Madgaon; Panaji
Gujarat
Ahmedabad; Anand; Gandhinagar; Rajkot; Surat; Vadodara
Haryana
Ambala; Bahadurgarh; Hisar; Palwal; Rohtak; Sonipat
Himachal Pradesh
Shimla; Waknaghat
Jammu & Kashmir
Jammu; Samba, Kashmir
Jharkhand
Bokaro; Dhanbad; Jamshedpur; Ranchi
Karnataka
Banglore; Belagavi (Belgaum); Dharwad; Gulbarga; Hubli; Mangalore; Mysore; Udupi
Kerala
Ernakulam; Kasaragod; Kollam; Kozhikode; Malappuram; Thrissur; Trivandrum
Madhya Pradesh
Bhopal; Gwalior; Indore; Jabalpur; Sagar
Maharashtra
Ahmednagar; Amravati; Aurangabad; Jalgaon; Kolhapur; Mumbai, Navi Mumbai; Nagpur; Nanded; Nashik; Pune; Raigad; Satara; Solapur; Thane; Ulhasnagar
Meghalaya
Shillong
Odisha
Balasore; Berhampur; Bhubaneswar; Cuttack; Dhenkanal; Sambalpur; Rourkela
Puducherry
Puducherry
Punjab
Bhatinda; Chandigarh; Fatehgarh Sahib; Jalandhar; Ludhiana; Mohali; Pathankot; Patiala; Ropar; Sangrur
Rajasthan
Ajmer; Alwar; Jaipur; Jodhpur; Kota; Sikar; Udaipur
Tamil Nadu
Chennai; Coimbatore; Madurai; Namakkal; Thanjavur; Tiruchirappalli; Tirunelveli
Telangana
Hyderabad; Karim Nagar; Warangal
Uttar Pradesh
Agra; Allahabad; Barabanki; Bareilly; Ghaziabad; Gorakhpur; Greater Noida; Kanpur; Lucknow; Mathura; Meerut; Muzaffarnagar; Noida; Varanasi
Uttarakhand
Dehradun; Roorkee
West Bengal
Asansol; Bankura; Burdwan; Durgapur; Hooghly; Howrah; Kalyani; Kolkata; Siliguri
Top Colleges Accepting CAT Score 2024
A total of 115+ reputed B-schools in India accept CAT scores, and a few foreign institutes also consider CAT. Apart from 21 IIMs, CAT participating Institutes include other public and private institutes. Some of the top B-schools accepting CAT scores are:
  • BITSoM, BITS School of Management, Mumbai
  • 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
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CAT Sample Papers
Sample papers and mock tests play a crucial role in CAT preparation. They are meticulously designed to reflect the expected pattern and questions of the actual exam. By undertaking these practice tests, you not only gain familiarity with the exam environment but also sharpen your abilities to handle time constraints and navigate various difficulty levels. This comprehensive preparation reduces the chances of encountering surprise elements or experiencing nerve-racking moments on the exam day, allowing you to approach the CAT with confidence and composure. This is because with every next CAT sample paper or mock test that you practice, you will have bettered your exam-taking strategy. Here, we have provided a list of sample papers for CAT 2024:
CAT Sample Papers Download Link
CAT Sample Paper 1
 
CAT Sample Paper 2
 
CAT Sample Paper 3
 
CAT Sample Paper 4
 
CAT Sample Paper 5
 
CAT Sample Paper 6
 
CAT Sample Paper 7
 
CAT Sample Paper 8
 
CAT Sample Paper 9
 
CAT Sample Paper 10
 
CAT Sample Paper 11
 
CAT Sample Paper 12
 
Previous Year CAT Papers
The actual CAT papers prove to be highly useful resources for candidates looking to understand the exam pattern and difficulty level in depth. By solving these papers, you not only gain insight into the structure and format of the exam but also get a chance to identify the important topics covered in different sections. It's a valuable opportunity to gauge your progress and readiness for the upcoming CAT exam. So don't miss out on solving these papers and taking your preparation to the next level!
Paper
Description
Link
CAT 2023
CAT 2023 Question Paper Slot I
CAT 2023 Question Paper Slot II
CAT 2023 Question Paper Slot III
CAT 2022
CAT 2022 Question Paper Slot I
CAT 2022 Question Paper Slot II
CAT 2022 Question Paper Slot III
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)
In this section, you will come across four RC passages. These passages are accompanied by a series of questions, which collectively contribute to nearly 70% of the total weightage of this section. Apart from the RC questions, you will also encounter other question types like Para jumbles, Para Summary, odd-one-out, and various grammar-based topics. These additional question types provide a comprehensive assessment of your reading and language skills, ensuring a well-rounded evaluation.
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR)
This particular section is commonly acknowledged as the lengthiest among all, mainly due to the calculation-intensive nature of its questions. It comprises of about four to five sets that are primarily based on data interpretation and reasoning. Each set is accompanied by a set of four to six questions, providing ample opportunities for in-depth analysis. In the data interpretation sets, you will encounter information presented in various graphical formats, such as bar graphs, charts, tables, and more. On the other hand, the logical reasoning questions encompass a wide range of intriguing themes, including arrangements, blood relations, syllogism, and related topics.
Quantitative Aptitude
The quantitative section in the CAT (Common Admission Test) is primarily focused on arithmetic, algebra, and geometry. It comprises around 8-10 questions related to arithmetic, testing various concepts and problem-solving techniques. Following that, there are typically 4-6 questions pertaining to algebra, covering topics such as equations, inequalities, and functions. Additionally, the section includes 3-4 questions exploring geometry, with an emphasis on angles, triangles, and circles. Apart from these core topics, there may also be a few questions that touch upon modern mathematics, encompassing areas like probability, permutations, and combinations.
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FAQs Regarding CAT 2024
  1. Who is eligible for CAT exam?
  2. Candidates with a bachelor's degree/equivalent from a recognised institute can appear for CAT. Also, they need to have attained at least 50% marks/equivalent CGPA in their bachelor's degree. Even the candidates in the final year of their graduation can take CAT, but they must be able to fulfil the remaining conditions before admission.
  3. What is CAT exam used for?
  4. CAT is the entrance test for admissions to MBA/PGDM/equivalent programmes offered by B-schools and management institutes.
  5. Is CAT exam only for MBA?
  6. Yes, it is a compulsory test for people seeking admission to MBA programmes for most of the B-schools in India. However, several B-schools accept other similar entrance test scores also.
  7. Is the CAT exam tough?
  8. Yes, CAT is not just a competitive exam but also complex in terms of questions. However, if you stay focused and follow a disciplined preparation strategy, you will be able to crack it well.
  9. What is the registration fee for CAT 2024?
  10. CAT 2024 fee is Rs. 2400 for general category and Rs. 1200 for reserved category students.
  11. What is fee for raising objection on CAT 2024 answer key?
  12. You need to pay Rs. 1200 per question, while challenging the answer key.
  13. How long are the CAT scores valid?
  14. 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. For CAT 2024 the score is valid only till December 31, 2025.
  15. Are there any age restrictions for appearing in CAT?
  16. There is no age bar to appear for CAT.
  17. How many times can I take the CAT exam?
  18. There is no limit on the number of attempts for CAT.
  19. Can I appear for more than one slot for CAT?
  20. No, you are not allowed to appear for more than one slot for a CAT session.
  21. Can I opt for the exam shift of my choice?
  22. CAT is held in 2-3 shifts on a single day. However, the slot/shift is assigned by the authorities only.
  23. What is a good score/percentile in CAT?
  24. 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.
  25. How many questions should I attempt to get 99+ percentile in CAT?
  26. 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.
  27. Is there any sectional qualifying score in CAT?
  28. 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.
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