All about Common Admission Test (CAT) 2016

The 2016 edition of the Common Admission Test (CAT), conducted by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) for their management programs will be held on December 4th. Registration window is open during Aug 8th - Sept 22nd 2016. Read about CAT 2016.

Common Admission Test (CAT) is an all India Entrance test conducted by IIMs. The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) started this exam and is a pre-requisite for selecting students for their business administration programs. This computer-based test is conducted by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) for admission to their 2-year full-time postgraduate programs in management. Other Indian business schools such as Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR), Management Development Institute (MDI), and National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE) also accept CAT scores as part of their selection process.


From 2009 onwards, CAT became a computer based test wherein subjects are subdivided into different areas i.e.: Quantitative Ability, Data Interpretation, Data Sufficiency, Logical Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, Verbal Reasoning and Verbal Ability.  Until CAT 2013, the CAT was held over a window of a couple of weeks in October / November. In CAT 2014, when TCS started conducting the test, the structure of the test was changed, and the test window was reduced to two days. From 2015, CAT has become a one-day test and it was conducted by IIM Ahmedabad.


In 2016, CAT 2016 pattern remains unchanged and it is to be held on 4th December 2016. IIM Bangalore is the conducting body and the notification is out on 31st July 2016.


Click here for details.


Who can apply


To appear for the CAT, the candidate must hold a Bachelor's degree, with at least 50%  marks or equivalent CGPA (45%  in case of the candidates belonging to Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Differently Abled (DA)), 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 recognised by the Ministry of HRD, Government of India.

Candidates appearing for the final year of bachelor’s degree/equivalent qualification examination and those who have completed degree requirements and are awaiting results can also apply. If selected, such candidates will be allowed to join the programme provisionally, only if he/she submits a certificate latest by June 30 (of the admission year) from the Principal/Registrar of his/her College/Institute stating that the candidate has completed all the requirements for obtaining the bachelor’s degree/equivalent qualification on the date of the issue of the certificate.


How to apply


If you meet the eligibility criteria, you need to register for the test and make an online payment. In order to register you will have to visit the official CAT website and take the following steps:


  • Fill the CAT application form
  • Make the payment via a valid credit, debit card or online net banking facility


Structure and Pattern of CAT


From 2009 onwards, CAT became a computer based test.


For CAT 2016, the IIMs have not changed the structure. The test will consist of three sections:


Section Section Name Total Number of questions (as per CAT 2015) Time
Section-I Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension 34 60 min
Section-II Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning 32 60 min
Section-III Quantitative Ability 34 60 min
  Total 100 180 min


The Scoring pattern of CAT 2016 was +3 and -1. CAT gives scaled scores for balancing the scores of various slots. The students are also scaled on percentiles which are the criteria for short listing students for the next round.


Apart from the CAT, an MBA aspirant may need to take a few more entrance tests based on the list of B-Schools one is planning to apply to. Some of the important B-School entrance tests are XAT, IIFT, NMAT, SNAP, TISS-NET, MH-CET, CMAT, MAT and ATMA.


Read more about these entrance tests here.


These tests are generally unpredictable in their structure and composition. Whilst the objective of the test to assess the students’ aptitude in the broad areas of Quantitative, Verbal, Logical and Analytical Reasoning remains unchanged, the same cannot be said about the weightage given to each area. Increasingly, many institutes are also testing the students’ awareness of current affairs and general knowledge. The two prime requirements to beat these tests are -


(a) a really thorough knowledge of each basic area, and

(b) a consciously cultivated ability to think on one’s feet.


Here are some of the other important management admission test names and the institutes accepting their scores: 


Test Name Test Mode Test Date(s) Institutes Accepting Tests
XAT (Xavier Aptitude Test) Paper-based 1st Sunday of January XLRI, S.P. Jain (SPJIMR), MICA, XIM-B, GIM, K.J. Somaiya, LIBA, TAPMI, WeSchool XAT
IIFT (own test) Paper-based 27th November 2016 IIFT (Delhi/Kolkata) IIFT
SNAP (Symbisosis National Aptitude Test) Paper-based 2nd/3rd Sunday of December SIBM Pune, SCMHRD, SIBM Bangalore, SIIB, SIMC, SIMS, SITM, SIOM, SCIT, SIHS, SICSR, SSBF SNAP
NMAT (Narsee Monjee Aptitude Test) Online 7th October 2016 to 20th December 2016 NMIMS Mumbai; NMMS Bangalore NMAT