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Common Admission Test (CAT)

The Common Admission Test (CAT) is an all-India test conducted by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) as an entrance exam for the management programmes of its seven business schools.

This is a test held annually for the admission to the Post-graduate and Fellow Programs in management courses of several management institutes in India. This is a written examination organized by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) and it is on the basis of CAT result that the eligible candidates are short listed and called for a Group Discussion and Personal Interview.

CAT is considered to be a major requirement for a candidate seeking admission to the prestigious management institutes of India. The percentile secured in CAT is assessed by the B-Schools in India for short-listing candidates for admissions to their various MBA Programs.

CAT has become one of the most competitive exams to judge the potential of the candidates willing to pursue their career in business administration.

The test is multiple-choice based with roughly one-fourth negative-mark penalties for wrong answers, and traditionally comprises three sections that span the domains of arithmetical problem solving, geometry, statistics, data interpretation, logical reasoning, puzzles, and English language skills. It is held on the third Sunday of November each year.

The total number of questions has varied from 180 (prior to year 2000) to 150 (from 2001 to 2003) and has gradually decreased to 75 (in 2006 and 2007). However, in 2009 the number of questions increased once again and became 90 (40 in Verbal Ability and 25 each in Quantitative Aptitude and Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation). This trend has seen the CAT evolve from a speed-based test to an exam that evaluates fundamental abilities of candidates in the aforementioned areas.

The CAT is the first step for admission to the IIMs. After the test, by the second week of January next year, the IIMs declare exam scores and put up a list of candidates who are eligible for the next stage of a group discussion and an individual interview. The scores are relative and are calculated on a percentile basis for individual sections as well as for the total. Candidates invited for the next stage usually possess total scores that are in excess of 99 percentile and, more importantly, also possess balanced high scores across all the individual sections.

On 1 May 2009, it was announced that from CAT 2009 would be a Computer Based Test. 

The duration of the test is of 120 minutes. This literally translates to answering a CAT question in 48 seconds. Most successful aspirants do not attempt anything more than 120 plus questions. And quite a lot of them attempt between 70 and 90 marks worth of questions. The key to success, therefore, lies in two important parameters.

Many other business schools in India, other than the IIMs, also accept the CAT scores for admission. This has contributed to the CAT gaining an extremely high level of popularity. As of 2008, CAT scores are accepted by approximately 120 MBA institutes in India.

IIMs In India

Some of the more prominent colleges which accept CAT scores for admission are:

1. S. P. Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR), Mumbai More Details..

2. Management Development Institute (MDI), Gurgaon More Details..

3. Mudra Institute of Communications Ahmedabad (MICA), Ahmedabad

4. National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE), Mumbai More Details..

5. University Business School (UBS), Chandigarh

6. Institute of Management, Nirma University, Ahmedabad.

7. Institute of Management Technology, [IMT], Ghaziabad. More Details...

8. TA Pai Management Institute [TAPMI],Manipal.

9. Birla Institute of Technology (BIT),Ranchi

How to prepare for CAT 2009?



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