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CAT 2020: Common Admission Test for Admission to IIMs & Top B-schools

Common Admission Test, popularly known as CAT, is the largest MBA Entrance Exam for Admission to 20 IIMs, FMS Delhi, IIT DoMs, SPJIMR, MDI and 500+ MBA Colleges in India. Every year more than 2,40,000 students from all disciplines including Engineering, Commerce, Humanities and even Law take CAT exam to get into of the 6,500 MBA seats in IIMs. Over the years, CAT has become easier paper but to get a high percentile (90+) requires 4-5 months of serious preparation.


Based on past trends, CAT 2020 will be held on November 29, 2020. CAT is conducted by one of the top IIMs. IIM Indore is expected to conduct CAT 2020. IIM Indore will release CAT Notification on the last Saturday of July. Then, CAT Registration will start in the first week of August 2020. In this article, you will read all key points to plan your CAT 2020 journey, including important dates, syllabus & pattern, how to prepare, past CAT toppers interviews and much more. You fill also find important links to Free CAT Mock Tests and genuine Past CAT Test Papers released by IIMs. So, read it the end.


What is CAT Exam?


CAT is the Common Admission Test for admission to MBA/PGDM programmes in 20 Indian Institutes of Management (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. IIMs will offer admission on the basis of CAT 2020 only and will not accept any other test score. 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.


CAT Full Form
Common Admission Test, conducted on yearly basis for MBA admission by one of the 6 older IIMs
CAT Exam date 2020
November 29, 2020
CAT Entrance exam sessions
Conducted in 2 sessions – Morning & Afternoon on same day
CAT Entrance Exam 2020 Convening IIM
IIM Indore
CAT Entrance Exam Mode
Computer based exam but not an online exam
When to Check for CAT Notification 2020
On July 27-28, 2020 on and in News papers
Details in CAT Notification 2020
CAT Exam details, Application fee, Registration dates, IIMs & their programmes
Maximum Age Limit to appear in IIM CAT
No Age Limit, Graduates with 50% marks can apply
Number of Questions in CAT 2020
100 questions divided in 3 sections
Time duration of CAT 2020
3 hours
Sectional Time limit
1 hour for 1 section
Name of sections and number of questions
VARC-34 Questions; DILR-32 questions; Quant-34 questions
Difficulty level of CAT 2020
Moderate to Difficult
Order of Sections
Pre-fixed, no change allowed
Colleges Accepting CAT 2020 for MBA admission
20 IIMs, FMS, MDI, SPJIMR, IITs, IMI, JBIMS & 500 other MBA colleges in India
CAT 2020 Application Fee
How to Apply for CAT
Application process is online only
IIMs’ Application Fee
No Separate Application Fee to apply for IIM. CAT Registration Fee covers application fee of all 20 IIMs

Eligibility to Appear in CAT 2020

A candidate with minimum 50% marks in graduation can appear in CAT 2020. A final year student in graduation can also appear in CAT conducted by IIMs. However, there is no age limit to apply and appear in CAT 2020.

CAT 2020 Important Dates

Following are the CAT 2020 important dates for different activities related to the CAT exam 2020:

CAT Important Dates
CAT 2020 Notification Date
July 27, 2020
CAT 2020 Registration Start Date
August 4, 2020
Last Date to Apply for CAT 2020
September 18, 2020
CAT 2020 Registration & Application Fee
CAT 2020 Admit card Download Start date
October 24, 2020
Last Date for CAT 2020 Admit Card Download
November 29, 2020
CAT 2020 Exam date
November 29, 2020
CAT 2020 Result date
January 5, 2021


CAT Exam Details 2020: Pattern

CAT exam details and exam structure since 2015 have remained on similar pattern with time duration, number of questions and sections as under:

  • 180 Minutes Exam:

    CAT is a computer delivered test of 3 hours duration but it is not an Online Exam.

  • 100 Questions:

    CAT will have 100 questions divided in 3 sections of VARC, DILR and Quantitative Ability. Earlier CAT used to have 60 questions divided in two sections and had only MCQ type questions with negative marking.

  • 25% No Penalty Questions:

    Out of 100 questions in CAT 2020, more than 25 questions will not have negative marking. CAT 2020 is divided into MCQ and Non-MCQ type of questions and the Non-MCQs do not carry negative marking. In case any non-MCQ has negative marking, a few MCQs are changed to no negative marking questions.

  • 70-75% CAT Questions with Negative Marking:

    More than 70% questions in CAT 2020 are of MCQ type and will carry penalty of 1/3 negative marking

  • Minimum CAT Score Requirement by IIMs:

    A Minimum qualifying score between 70 and 90 percentile in CAT 2020 is required by IIMs in each of the 3 sections to shortlist candidates for final admission round.

  • Other Criteria with CAT score:

    Apart from High score in each of the 3 sections in CAT 2020 exam, you need to have good academic profile, diversity, to get into IIMs.



Although CAT exam Syllabus is not pre-defined by IIMs, it overall tests the candidate on Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension; Quantitative Aptitude; Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning.



Which IIM Conducts CAT?

CAT is conducted by one of older IIMs by policy of rotation each year. There are six IIMs who conduct CAT one by one, they are IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, IIM Calcutta, IIM Indore, IIM Kozhikode and IIM Lucknow. Since other 14 IIMs were established later, the responsibility to conduct CAT has not yet been assigned to any of them.



Mode of CAT

CAT is a computer based entrance test of three hours duration with 100 questions divided in three sections and has a time limit of one hour for each section.



When to look for CAT Notification?

IIMs release all the details about CAT in leading news papers on the last Sunday of July every year. A day before this publication, the CAT convener sends the press release with important details about CAT on the designated web portals. The process to register and apply for CAT starts in the 1st week of August.



How difficult is CAT?

CAT is a highly competitive and most important MBA entrance exam in India. The difficulty level of CAT is considered moderate to high.



Scoring Pattern in CAT

Each correct answer in CAT is awarded with 3 marks. The raw score obtained in CAT is converted to scaled score and then converted to percentile score after allowing for equating and normalizing the scores for both the sessions in CAT.


IIMs and other top MBA colleges consider percentile awarded in CAT to shortlist the candidates for final selection round.



When & How to Register & Apply for CAT 2020?

The very first thing to remember about CAT is that there is nothing offline now in CAT. You can apply online only on the official CAT website. The application fee for CAT has also increased to Rs.2000/- for General candidates and to Rs.1000/- for SC/ST candidates. It should also be paid online only.


The application process for CAT 2020 opens in first week of August and closes in the third week of September. During this period you can submit your application online for CAT.


CAT Registration Trends

More than 2.44 lakh candidates had registered last year for CAT exam. The registration number was up by 3000 more candidates registered for CAT. It signified that candidates had to compete with more candidates in CAT exam and needed to score high to get shortlisted by top three IIMs and other top MBA colleges.


CAT 2020: Important Points

  • Low Cost Exam:

    CAT Registration and CAT exam application fee taken together comes to Rs.100 per IIM for General category and Rs.50/- per IIM for Reserved category. No fee to be paid to apply for any individual IIM.

  • One Day Exam:

    CAT exam will be held in single day on Sunday November 29, 2020 in Morning and Afternoon sessions. CAT is a Computer Based Test. Earlier it was held in 15 to 20 days testing window till 2013 by IIMs. Since 2015, CAT exam testing window has been shortened to one day only.

  • 45 Days CAT 2020 Registration Window:

    The CAT Application process opens on August 5 and will close on September 18, 2020.

  • Dual Degree Accepted:

    A candidate with dual bachelor's degree should mention the academic scores of both the bachelor's degree programme in CAT application form

  • Single Fee for MBA Admission:

    CAT 2020 provides admission opportunity in 20 IIMs with the single point payment of CAT registration fee of Rs.2000/- for General candidates and Rs.1000/- for reserved category.

  • Choice of 50 MBA Programmes in IIMs:

    CAT 2020 offers a choice of more than 50 management programmes in 20 IIMs without any additional application fee for admission.


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