CAT 2021 - Common Admission Test


CAT (Common Admission Test) is a highly competitive exam which is a gateway to all the IIMs and over 1000 business schools in India. It is conducted by the 6 primary IIMs on a rotational basis. The exam is now taken online over a period of two hours, with 40 minutes per section. The total time was reduced from 3 hours to 2 hours in 2020, due to the COVID precautions. CAT is conducted on the last Sunday of November, every year.The exam will be held online in 3 slots across the same day. Over 2 lakh candidates register for CAT every year. CAT results are expected around the 2nd week of January. This exam is important as it is mandatory for all 20 IIMs as well as many other business schools. Details of the top b-schools accepting the CAT score are provided in the Colleges and Cut-offs section.


Bachelor's degree with 50% CGPA or above (45% for Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Persons with Disability (PWD)/Differently Abled (DA) classification).

Your degree should be granted by any of the universities which fall under Section 3 of the UGC Act, 1956, or possess an equivalent qualification recognized by the Ministry of HRD, Government of India.

You should have graduated or be appearing for the final year of your bachelor's degree examination in the next year, to be eligible for CAT in this year.

You need to be shortlisted by the b-school and then successfully complete the selection process (Personal Interview, Written Ability Test, etc.) in order to gain admission to an IIM or other b-school.


The CAT exam will continue to be a 2-hour exam in 2021, and will be held across 3 slots. This change was brought in last year due to the pandemic situation. The timing of the exam slots was 8:30am to 10:30am, 12:30pm to 2:30pm & 4:30pm to 6:30pm. It is likely that CAT 2021 will follow the same pattern.

The section wise details are given below, based on CAT 2020. IIM Ahmedabad, which is convening the exam in 2021, has confirmed that the sections and timing will remain the same, but the number of questions will be reduced.

Number of Sections: 3 Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension - reduced from 34 to 26 questions in 2020
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning - reduced from 32 to 24 questions in 2020 (5 cases instead of 8 cases)
Quantitative Aptitude - reduced from 34 to 26 Questions in 2020
Time Reduced to 40 min for each section (total 120 min) for general candidates (PWD candidates get 33.33% additional time)
Total Number of Questions Reduced from 100 to 76 in 2020
Total Marks 228 marks (based on CAT 2020)
MCQs: Correct Answer +3, Incorrect Answer -1
TITA or Non-MCQs: Correct Answer +3, Incorrect Answer 0
Normalisation occurs based on overall responses and slot

This was the format for CAT 2020, and we will update this table as additional information is available.


The authorities do not come out with a specific syllabus, but we can prepare based on the previous years' question papers. The questions asked in CAT are mostly based on high school Maths and English topics. DILR is a bit different, using critical reasoning as well as numerical calculations. Here are the section wise topics for CAT 2021:

VARC Reading Comprehension, Para Summary, Jumbled Paragraphs and Odd one out.
In 2020, we had 2 RCs with 5 questions each and 2 RCs with 4 questions each.
However, CAT has added/removed topics in the past, so we recommend that you brush up on vocabulary, grammar and other VA topics.
DILR DI: Pie Chart, Bar Graph, Lines & X-Y & Spider, Data Tables, Interpretative Tables, Caselets, Venn Diagrams.

LR: Arrangements, Matching, Selections, Numerical Reasoning, Teams & Events, Ranking.

In 2020, we had 2 cases with 6 questions each and 3 cases with 4 questions each,
QA Numbers: Number theory, Factors and Remainders, Divisibility, Number system, Surds and indices.
Arithmetic: Percentages, Interest & Growth, Ratio & Partnership, Proportion & Variation, Profit & Loss, Averages, Mixtures & Alligations, Time & Speed, Time & Work.
Algebra: Linear Equations, Quadratic Equations, Logarithm, Inequalities and Functions.
Geometry: Lines and Triangles, Quadrilaterals, Circles, Coordinate geometry, Trigonometry and Menstruation.
Modern Maths: Permutation and Combination, Probability, Set theory and Sequence and Series.

Important Dates

The CAT 2021 application is available on CAT 2021. Application for the IIMs is part of the same form.

CAT Registration Date
CAT 2021 Registration 4th August 2021
CAT Registration Charges Gen & NC-OBC - INR 2200/-
SC, ST & PwD - INR 1100/-
CAT 2021 Registration ends 22nd September 2021, 5:00 pm
CAT 2021 Exam Date 28th November 2021

Colleges & Cut-offs

IIMs and expected CAT percentile required for General category

1. IIM Ahmedabad: 99+
2. IIM Bangalore: 99+
3. IIM Calcutta: 99+
4. IIM Lucknow 97+
5. IIM Indore: 97+
6. IIM Kozhikode: 97+
7. IIM Shillong: 90+
8. IIM Raipur: 94+
9. IIM Ranchi: 94+
10. IIM Rohtak: 95+
11. IIM Trichy: 94+
12. IIM Udaipur : 93+
13. IIM Kashipur: 94+
14. IIM Nagpur: 95+
15. IIM Amritsar: 95+
16. IIM Sambalpur: 94+
17. IIM Bodhgaya: 92+
18. IIM Jammu: 93+
19. IIM Visakhapatnam: 92+
20. IIM Sirmaur: 90+

These are based on student experiences in the general category. In addition to the CAT percentile, IIMs consider a combination of other criteria such as your academic scores, work-experience, academic diversity, gender diversity

Top Colleges (Non IIMs) that Accept CAT Scores

90-100th Percentile 1. Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), New Delhi
2. SJMSOM, IIT Bombay, Mumbai
3. Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies (JBIMS), Mumbai
4. Department of Management Studies, IIT Delhi, New Delhi
5. SP Jain Institute of Management & Research (SPJIMR), Mumbai
6. Management Development Institute (MDI), Gurgaon
7. Institute of Management Technology (IMT), Ghaziabad
8. National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE), Mumbai
9. Department of Management Studies, IIT Madras, Chennai
10. Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur, Kharagpur
80-90th Percentile 1. International Management Institute (IMI), New Delhi
2. TA Pai Management Institute (TAPMI), Manipal
3. Mudra Institute of Communications Ahmedabad (MICA), Ahmedabad (+MICAT)
4. Xavier Institute of Management Bhubaneswar (XIMB)
5. KJ Somaiya Institute of Management, Mumbai
6. Great Lakes Institute of Management (GLIM), Chennai
7. Goa Institute of Management (GIM), Goa
8. Sydenham Institute of Management Studies & Research & Entrepreneurship Education, Mumbai
9. Institute of Rural Management (IRMA), Anand
10. Nirma University Institute of Management (NIRMA), Ahmedabad
70-80th Percentile 1. Institute for Financial Management and Research (IFMR), Chennai
2. SDA Bocconi Asia Centre, Mumbai
3. Loyola Institute of Business Administration (LIBA), Chennai
4. Birla Institute of Technology & Science (BITS), Pilani
5. Welingkar Institute of Management Development & Research (WE School), Mumbai
6. Xavier Institute of Management and Entrepreneurship (XIME), Bangalore
7. FORE School of Management, Delhi
8. Bharathidasan Institute of Management (BIM), Trichy
9. National Institute of Banking and Management (NIBM), Pune
10. Christ University, Bengaluru