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The Common Admission Test (CAT) is a computer based test for admission in graduate management programs. The test consists of three sections: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning and Quantitative Ability. The exam is taken online over a period of three hours, with one hour per section. In 2020, due to the COVID precautions, The Indian Institutes of Management Indore decided to conduct the CAT Exam in 2 hours with 40 minutes devoted to each section. The Indian Institutes of Management started this exam and use the test for selecting students for their business administration programs (MBA or PGDM). The test is conducted every year by one of the Indian Institutes of Managements based on a policy of rotation.
|Type||Computer-based standardized test|
|Developer / administrator||Indian Institutes of Management|
|Knowledge / skills tested||Quantitative Aptitude, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning, Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension|
|Purpose||Admission to post-graduate management programs|
|Score / grade range||varies annually|
|Score / grade validity||1 year|
|Offered||Once a year (usually in November/December).|
|Countries / regions||100+ cities and towns all over India.|
|Annual number of test takers||222,184 (CAT 2022)|
|Prerequisites / eligibility criteria||Bachelor's degree (or equivalent) with at least 50 % marks or equivalent GPA (45 % in case of SC, ST, PWD candidates). Final year undergraduate students also eligible|
|Fee||₹2,300 (US$29) for all other candidates.|
₹1,150 (US$14) for SC/ST/PWD category candidates
|Scores / grades used by||Various business schools in India|
In August 2011, it was announced that Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institute of Science (IISc) would also use the CAT scores, instead of the Joint Management Entrance Test (JMET), to select students for their management programmes starting with the 2012-15 batch.
Before 2009, CAT was a paper based test conducted on a single day for all candidates. The pattern, number of questions and duration have seen considerable variations over the years.
On 1 May 2009, it was announced that CAT would be a Computer Based Test starting from 2009. The American firm Prometric was entrusted with the responsibility of conducting the test from 2009 to 2013. The first computer based CAT was marred with technical snags. The issue was so serious that it prompted the Government of India to seek a report from the convenor. The trouble was diagnosed as 'Conficker' and 'W32 Nimda', the two viruses that attacked the system display of the test, causing server slow down. Since 2014 onward, CAT has been conducted by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). CAT 2015 and CAT 2016 were 180-minute tests consisting of 100 questions (34 from Quantitative Ability, 34 from Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension , and 32 from Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning. CAT 2020 onwards, the exam duration has been reduced to two hours, with 40 minutes allotted per section.