CAT 2021 Eligibility Criteria

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Common Admission Test (CAT) is a computer-based test conducted by the Indian Institutes of Management. To seek admissions in the top B-schools of India, candidates must register themselves for the CAT exam. Registrations for CAT 2021 commence from 4 August, 2021 and the exam will be held on 28 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. It is important to note that the CAT committee has introduced certain exceptions for 2021 session due to pandemic scenario. Glimpse through the details of CAT 2021 eligibility criteria:
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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. Candidates who have secured “promotion/pass” and not “award of marks” certificates in the last two years of their bachelor’s program, can fill “Promotion or Pass” in the CAT application. This applies irrespective of the minimum percentage criteria (50% for Gen. and 45% for reserved categories [or equivalent CGPA] ).
This relaxation in eligibility also applies to the final year students with “award” of marks.
The above-stated exceptions are only for the candidates who complete their bachelor’s degree in year 2021 and 2022.
2. Owing to the implementation of above condition, and considering the different evaluation systems followed by different institutes, the CAT Committee has removed the minimum percentage criteria (45% and 50% [or equivalent CGPA] for Gen. and reserved categories respectively) for candidates appearing in CAT 2021.
3. A candidate's bachelor degree must have validation from 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.
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Note: IIMs do not shortlist the applicants who are incapable of fulfilling the above-stated criteria.
The participating 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 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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