CAT 2021 Eligibility Criteria

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For admissions to the top B-schools in India, candidates must register themselves for the CAT exam. Common Admission Test (CAT) is a computer-based test conducted by the Indian Institutes of Management. CAT 2021 will be held in November 2021. Due to COVID, CAT 2020 saw a few major changes in its pattern. The same for CAT 2021 will be notified upon the release of CAT notification. Registrations for CAT 2021 will commence in August 2021 and the exam will be held in November 2021. Students can expect CAT 2021 results by January 2022. However, firstly the candidates must fulfill all the CAT 2021 eligibility requirements to appear for the exam. Glimpse through the detailed eligibility conditions of CAT 2021:
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CAT 2021 Eligibility Criteria
Every year, students from different educational backgrounds apply for CAT. However, before applying for CAT 2021, you must know about the following Eligibility Criteria:
1. A candidate is eligible to appear in CAT 2021 if he/she holds a Bachelor's Degree with at least 50% marks or equivalent CGPA.
The candidates belonging to Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST), and Differently Abled (DA) categories, need at least 45% marks.
2. A candidate's bachelor degree must have been awarded by any of the Universities incorporated by an act of the central or state legislature in India or other educational institutions established by an Act of Parliament or declared to be deemed as a University under Section 3 of the UGC Act, 1956, or possess an equivalent qualification recognized by the Ministry of HRD, Government of India.
3. Candidates appearing for the final year of Bachelor's degree or equivalent examination and those who have already completed degree examinations but are awaiting results are also eligible. Such candidates, if qualified, will be allowed to join the course conditionally, only if they produce a certificate from the Principal / Registrar of their University/institution.
The candidate needs to submit the certificate by June 30, 2022 (issued on or before June 30, 2022) stating that the candidate has fulfilled all the requirements for obtaining the bachelor's degree/equivalent qualification on the date of the issue of the certificate.
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4. The percentage of marks secured in bachelor degree will be calculated based on the standard pattern followed by the concerned University/Institution.
In the case of CGPA or grades, the conversion is based on the process defined by the concerned university or institution. If any University/institution confirms that there is no scheme for converting grades/CGPA into equivalent marks, the equivalence would be established by dividing the candidate's CGPA by the maximum possible CGPA and multiplying the result with 100.
Note: IIMs do not shortlist the applicants who are incapable of fulfilling the above-stated criteria.
The institutes verify eligibility at various stages of the selection process. (The details of verification process are provided on the official IIM website.)

What is the difference between CAT and IIM eligibility criteria?
CAT eligibility criteria have not seen many changes over the years. However, a few changes were introduced in 2014, which led to clashes between CAT exam eligibility criteria and IIMs Admission criteria.
Applicants are allowed to appear in CAT 2021 exam with two years of graduation in the old system, but they are not allowed to pursue the management course at IIM unless they have completed a graduation degree with a minimum three years duration. Besides, factors like work experience, extracurriculars, academic profile, and your performance in selection process do impact your admission in IIMs. While work experience is a mandatory requirement for some MBA programs in IIMs as well as some other institutes, it is not needed for taking the CAT exam. Except for this, the eligibility for CAT & IIM admissions remains the same. There is no age bar to appear for the CAT exam or to pursue MBA from IIMs.
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Who is not eligible for CAT 2021?
As defined by IIMs, the following conditions can make you ineligible for CAT 2021:
  • If you have neither completed any bachelor’s degree nor pursuing one.
  • If you have completed any professional degree, but not bachelors.
  • If you score below 50% as General Category and below 45% as SC/ST/PwD candidates.
  • if your Bachelor’s degree is not recognized by AICTE/UGC/MHRD-Govt. of India.
What is the Reservation Criteria in IIMs?
IIMs follow the given reservation format:
Category Reserved Seats (In Percentage)
Schedule Cast (SC) 15%
Schedule Tribe (ST) 7.5%
Other Backward Classes (NC-OBC) 27%
PWD(Persons with Disability) 3%
Over the years, the eligibility for CAT has more or less remained the same since 2014. For more information, check the official CAT website.
Lastly, you must remember that eligibility in CAT is not a guarantee of admission in any of the prestigious B-schools. Your final admission is based on a wide range of parameters such as your profile, CAT score, performance in admission rounds (GD/WAT/PI), etc. However, you need to be familiar with the above information in order to provide the relevant details in your CAT 2021 application form. In case of any deviations, your application is liable to be canceled by the authorities without notice.
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