Common Admission Test for Admission to IIMs & Top B-schools

Common Admission Test (CAT), a national level management entrance exam. CAT is conducted once in a year by Indian Institute of Management (IIMs) on a rotational basis in online mode. CAT scores are accepted by IIMs and other top MBA colleges like FMS Delhi, MDI Gurgaon, SPJIMR Mumbai, IMI New Delhi, IMT Ghaziabad and hundreds of other top MBA colleges in India. Candidates who qualify the entrance exam with good marks on the basis of cut-off for CAT, are called upon for further rounds as a part of IIM admission process.

There are more than 150 cities and more than 400 venues where CAT 2020 will be conducted in India. Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian institute of Science (IISC) also use CAT for admission to their Management programmes. The exam is held in two slots and the question paper comprises 100 MCQs & non-MCQs from Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR) and Quantitative Ability (QA).

The CAT exam 2020 registration started from 5th August 2020 and the registration ends on 16th September 2020. The admit card for CAT 2020 will be available from 28th October 2020. The exam is on 29th November 2020. To make candidates aware of the CAT exam pattern, the mock test will be released tentatively in the third week of October as per the CAT 2020 exam date.

CAT 2020 exam date is on November 29. The result of CAT 2020 will be declared in the first week of January 2021 post which the IIMs and the CAT 2020 participating institutes will undertake their selection process. On the basis of the CAT 2020 cutoff, shortlisted candidates will be called for further rounds of Group Discussion (GD), Written Ability Test (WAT) and Personal Interview (PI). Note that a Common Admission Process (CAP) will be conducted by the newly formed IIMs in order to shortlist the candidates for WAT/GD and PI rounds. IIMs also consider previous academic records of the candidates, relevant work experience, extra-curricular activities and other similar inputs while shortlisting and ranking the candidates at various stages during the admission process. The processes, academic cut-offs and the weights allocated to the evaluation parameters may vary across IIMs. For more information, one may refer to the admissions policies on respective IIM’s website.

Eligibility: IIM Indore will define the CAT exam eligibility criteria. Before doing the CAT exam 2020 registration, all candidates must carefully check the eligibility criteria. Below mentioned CAT exam eligibility can be checked by candidates and should be considered before registration-

  • Educational Qualification: The candidate must possess a bachelor's degree with minimum 50 per cent aggregate or equivalent CGPA (45 per cent aggregate for SC, ST and PWD/DA category) from a recognised board or university.

  • Appearing Candidates: The final year candidates who will be appearing in Bachelor’s degree/equivalent qualification exam at the time of commencement of registration and those who have completed degree course but are awaiting results will be able to apply for CAT 2020.

  • Age Limit: To fill the CAT exam registration, authorities will not put any age limit/ age restriction.

Syllabus: CAT exam will be a three-hour computer-based test. Candidates will be required to answer 100 multiple-choice questions (MCQs) divided into three major sections i.e. Quantitative Ability (QA), Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR), Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC). CAT syllabus is very generalized and vast. The IIMs does not have a fixed syllabus for CAT but the questions are mostly based on the middle school Maths and English topics. In this article, CAT students are provided with the latest CAT 2020 syllabus. t should be noted that the syllabus given here is generalized. Although, IIMs – who conduct the CAT exam do not release the syllabus for the CAT exam, it is deduced through previous year’s CAT exam pattern and questions.

Quantitative Ability Syllabus For CAT 2020: In the quantitative aptitude section, there are a few topics which are extremely crucial and repeated every year in the CAT exam. In this section, 34 questions are asked of which 8-9 questions are TITA based.

Arithmetic Algebra Number Systems
1. Time, Speed & Distance 1. Inequalities & Modulus 1. LCM and HCF
2. Time & Work, Pipes & Cisterns 2. Functions & Graphs 2. Divisibility Rules
3. Simple Interest & Compound Interest 3. Linear & Quadratic Equations 3. Base Change
4. Ratios, Proportions & Variations 4. Polynomials 4. Finding Unit's Place, Ten's Place of a number
5. Percentages, Profit & Loss, Discount 5. Logarithms 5. Cyclicity, Number of trailing zeroes
6. Averages, Mixtures & Alligations 6. Algebraic Identities 6. Remainders
  7. Maxima Minima 7. Prime Factorisation
    8. Factorials
    9. Indices & Surds

Geometry & Mensuration Modern Mathematics
1. Circles 1. Permutations & Combinations
2. Triangles 2. Probability
3. Polygons 3. Set Theory (Including Venn Diagrams)
4. Co-ordinate Geometry 4. Binomial Theorem
5. Lines and Angles 5. Arithmetic, Geometric and Harmonic Progressions (Sequence & Series)
6. Trigonometry  

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning Syllabus For CAT Exam 2020: In the CAT logical reasoning and data interpretation section, 32 questions are included with 8-9 TITA based questions. All the 32 questions are equally divided among both the questions and thus, each section comprises of 16 questions. In the logical section, questions from seating arrangement, blood relations, syllogisms, direction sense test, and other puzzles are included. In data interpretation section, tables, graphs and charts, and caselets are included. In DI section, questions come in 3-4 sets and candidates should understand the data sets properly to be able to attempt the complete set accurately. CAT syllabus does not predefine any specific topic or chapter on which the questions will be asked. One has to have a good fundamental knowledge of all the broad topics given above to be able to swiftly and accurately work out the problems related to respective section topics.

Data Interpretation Logical Reasoning
1. Tables 1. Number, Symbol, Letter Series
2. Pie Charts 2. Coding Decoding
3. Bar Graphs 3. Blood Relations & Family Tree
  4. Directions
  5. Binary Logic
  6. Games & Tournaments
  7. Linear & Circular Arrangements
  8. Team Formations
  9. Order & Ranking

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension Syllabus For CAT 2020: In verbal ability and reading comprehension section, 34 questions are included among which 7-8 questions are TITA based. Among these, the reading comprehension questions are the majority. Some of the important syllabus topics for CAT VARC section are given below.

Verbal Ability Reading Comprehension
1. Parajumbles 1. Tone Of Writing
2. Para Completion 2. Passages
3. Statements & Assumptions 3. Logical Inferences Tree
4. Fill In The Blanks  
5. Sentence Completion  

Section Name No. of Questions Total Marks Duration
Verbal Ability(VA) 34 102 60 mins
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning(DILR) 32 96 60 mins
Quantative Ability(QA) 34 102 60 mins
Total 100 300 180 mins (3 hrs)

There are both MCQ type questions and TITA based questions. For every correct MCQ and TITA based question +3 is awarded. For every wrong MCQ answer there is a penalty of -1. There is no penalty for TITA bases questions. Approximately 33 questions were of TITA type in CAT 2019.

Leading colleges accepting CAT Score: The CAT 2020 Cut Off will be announced post the CAT 2020 Result. The CAT 2020 Result is expected to be released in the start of January 2021. Following the results, the IIMs are usually the first institutes to announce their initial shortlist for interview calls.

IIM Ahmedabad and IIM Bangalore are usually the first institutes to release their first shortlist of interview calls which gives the cut off. Following this procedure, the other IIMs along with other Tier 1 Colleges release their shortlist. With the shortlist, the CAT Cut Off can also be deduced using the percentile of the candidate with the lowest percentile who got a call for the college.

The CAT Cut Offs for the IIMs for candidates from the general category are extremely high. According to the trends over the past few years, the CAT Cut Offs for top IIMs are:

College Name Cut Offs
IIM Ahmedabad 99%ile
IIM Bangalore 99%ile
IIM Calcutta 99%ile
IIM Lucknow 97-98%ile
IIM Kozhikode 97-98%ile
IIM Indore 97-98%ile

There are several other colleges which have almost the same level of repute as the IIMs. Some of these colleges include SP Jain, FMS, MDI Gurgaon, IIT Delhi, JBIMS, NITIE, etc. The CAT Cut Offs for these colleges are often times as high and occasionally even higher than that of the IIMs.

College Name Cut Offs
FMS Delhi 99%ile +
JBIMS 99%ile +
SJSOM (IIT Bombay) 99%ile +
IIT Delhi 98%ile +
MDI Gurgaon 95%ile +
NITIE 95%ile +
IIT Madras 95%ile +
SPJIMR 85%ile (More Profile Based)