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CAT exam 2021 eligibility criteria, syllabus, exam pattern, study plan, vacancies, salary, and more


Candidates are advised to scroll down for further details about the CAT 2021 exam, such as CAT books, CAT question paper, CAT syllabus, CAT result, CAT exam date, and more.

CAT stands for Common Admission Test. It is a computer-based MBA entrance test for admission into the IIMs and several other prestigious B-Schools in the country. Every year it is conducted by the IIMs on a rotational basis. CAT attracts graduates from all streams and is one of the most sought-after competitive exams. Around 2 lakh people appear for this exam every year. CAT 2021 will be organized by IIM Ahmedabad. IIM Ahmedabad will be conducting CAT 2021 after a gap of 5 years.

CAT Exam 2021 Highlights

Organization NameIndian Institute of Management (IIM)
Test NameCommon Admission Test (CAT)
Selection processGroup Discussion, Written Ability Test, Personal Interview
Exam LevelNational
Official Website

CAT 2021 Notification:

The notification for CAT 2021 was released on 31 July 2021. Candidates can find the official notification here.

Important Dates for CAT 2021

Release date for CAT notification31 July 2021
Registration start date4 August 2021
Last date for online registration22 September 2021
Admit card release date27 October 2021
Exam date for CAT 202128 November 2021
CAT answer key release dateDecember 2021, first week
CAT 2021 result announcementJanuary 2022, second week

Eligibility Criteria for CAT 2021

To be eligible for CAT 2021, here is what a candidate needs:

  • A bachelor's degree with a minimum of 50 % aggregate or its equivalent CGPA (45 % aggregate for ST, SC and PWD/DA category) from a renowned board or university
  • A similar professional degree (CA/ CS/ ICWA)
  • Final year candidates can also apply for CAT 2021

Note: Age is no bar for candidates applying for CAT.

Application Fee

General/NC-OBCRs. 2,200/-
ST/ST/PwDRs. 1,100/-

Steps to Apply for CAT 2021

Here is how to apply for the CAT 2021 exam:

  • Go to the official site.
  • Click on 'CAT 2021' application form.
  • Select 'Apply now'.
  • Fill the form with all the requisite biodata and personal details.
  • Upload photographs, signatures, and official documents, as required.
  • Pay the application fees.
  • Take a printout of the application form for future reference.

CAT 2021 Admit Card

It has been announced that the admit cards for CAT 2021 will be announced on 27 October 2021. Candidates are advised to check the official website on the mentioned date to access the admit cards.

CAT 2021 Vacancy and Reservation List

The ranks assigned to candidates will decide their chances of getting admission at one of the IIMs or similar top-ranked B-schools in the country. There is no official vacancy list for CAT 2021, but here is a look at the reservation policy announced by the management:

SC15% of total seats
ST7.5% of total seats
NC-OBC27% of total seats
PwD5% of total seats
EWS10% of total seats

Selection Process for CAT 2021

CAT 2021 will be conducted on 28 November 2021. Candidates will be shortlisted by IIMs and other B-schools on the basis of their scores in CAT 2021. The selection process consists of three rounds:

  • Group Discussion (GD)
  • Written Ability Test (WAT)
  • Personal Interview (PI)

CAT 2021 Exam Pattern

Here is a look at the exam pattern for CAT 2021:

SectionNumber of MCQsNumber of TITA
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension215
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning186
Quantitative Ability826

Note: MCQs stand for Multiple-Choice Questions and TITA stands for Type In The Answer. The total time duration is 120 minutes and the sectional time limit is 40 minutes. For MCQs, each correct answer will fetch 3 marks and each incorrect response will cost 1 mark. For TITA, each correct answer will fetch 3 marks and there will be no negative marking.

Syllabus for CAT 2021

The syllabus for CAT 2021 consists of the following:

Verbal Ability and Reading ComprehensionEnglish Grammar, Synonyms and Antonyms, fill in the Blanks, Sentence Correction, Cloze Passage, Jumbled Paragraph, Meaning-Usage Match, Analogies/Reverse Analogies, Summary Questions, Reading Comprehension, Facts-Inferences-Judgements
Data Interpretation and Logical ReasoningBlood Relations, Logical Connectives, Syllogism, Logical Sequence, Logical Matching, Binary Logic, Seating Arrangement, Cubes, Venn Diagrams, Clocks, Numbers and Letter series, Calendars, Pie Charts, Column Graphs, Caselets, Line charts, Bar Graphs, Tables
Quantitative AbilityWhole numbers, decimals and fractions, Relationships between numbers, Discount, Profit and Loss, Partnership Business, Time and distance, Percentage, Time & Work, Ratio and Proportion Averages, Interest, Square roots, Basic Algebraic, Surds, Triangles, Graphs of Linear Equations, Congruence and similarity of triangles, tangents, Circle and its chords, Quadrilaterals, Circle, Right Prism, Regular Polygons, Right Circular Cone, Sphere, Right Circular Cylinder, Heights and Distances, Frequency polygon, Histogram, Bar diagram, Pie chart, Rectangular Parallelepiped, Hemispheres, Regular Right Pyramid, Trigonometric ratio, Standard Identities, Degree and Radian Measures, Complementary angles

CAT 2021 Results

The results for CAT 2021 will be released on the official website on the first week of January 2022 (tentatively).

CAT 2021 Cut Offs

CAT is a highly competitive exam that witnesses lakhs of aspiring candidates each year, so the cut offs are highly challenging. Here is a look:

CategoriesCut Offs
General99 to 100%
Reserved categories97 to 98%
  • To enroll in the top MBA colleges such as SPJIMR , MDI, FMS, and more, 95 to 99 percentile is the expected cut off
  • The cut offs for IIM will be released in two formats: CAT qualifying cut off and CAT final cut off

IIM Cut Offs:

Here is a look at the general trend of specific cut offs for IIMs:

IIMCut Off
IIM Ahmedabad99-100
IIM Bangalore99-100
IIM Calcutta99
IIM Lucknow97-98
IIM Indore97-98
IIM Kozhikode97-98
IIM Amritsar95-96
IIM Nagpur95-96
IIM Sambalpur95-96
IIM Trichy94-95
IIM Raipur94-95
IIM Ranchi94-95
IIM Kashipur94-95
IIM Vizag92-94
IIM Udaipur92-94
IIM Bodhgaya92-94
IIM Shillong90
IIM Sirmaur90

Non-IIMs Cut Offs:

Here is a look at the expected cut offs for non-IIM colleges:

CollegesCut Off
FMS, Delhi98-99
SPJIMR, Mumbai95-99
IMT, Ghaziabad90
JBIMS, Mumbai96
MDI, Gurgaon94
IMI, New Delhi90
XIM, Bhubaneshwar91
GIM Goa85
K J Somaiya, Mumbai86
TAPMI, Manipal80
FORE, New Delhi85
IFMR, Chennai80
IRMA, Anand80
MICA, Ahmedabad80
LIBA, Chennai70
XIME, Bangalore70

CAT 2021 Salary Details

There is no salary or stipend structure for acing CAT 2021, however, following graduation from the top IIMs or similar top-ranked B-schools, candidates will find opportunities lining up for them. The average salary package offered in top IIM-placements range from INR 20 to 25 lakh per annum, while salary packages of newer IIMs fall between INR 10 to 20 lakh per annum.

Preparation Tips for CAT 2021

Here are some preparation tips that candidates can consider doing:

  • Begin preparing for the CAT exam 8 or 9 months prior to the examination
  • Going through the section-wise syllabus and noting down the topics that seem difficult
  • Making notes of the difficult topics and allotting extra time and effort on them until they become easy
  • Finding the best books and study materials to facilitate your preparation
  • Making a study routine and following it dutifully
  • Choosing one hobby and practicing it everyday to reduce exam stress
  • Sleeping well and eating healthy

CAT Previous Years' Question Papers

Here are some previous years' papers and sample papers for CAT 2021:

Previous Years' Papers:

Sample Papers:

Exam Analysis for CAT

Here is the number of good attempts for CAT 2021:

Overall Good AttemptsVA & RCDI & LRQA

The overall difficulty level for CAT 2021 was moderate to difficult. 3 marks will be awarded for each correct answer in both MCQs and TITAs. There is a negative marking of 1 mark for MCQs, if answered incorrectly. There is no negative marking for TITA.

Books Recommendation for CAT 2021

Here are some helpful books for CAT 2021:

Verbal Reasoning and Reading Comprehension:

Word Power Made EasyNorman Lewis
Mastering the Verbal Ability for CATAjay Singh
How to Prepare For Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CATArun Sharma and Meenakshi Upadhyay
A Modern Approach to Verbal and Non-Verbal ReasoningR. S. Agarwal
Verbal ReasoningBhupendra Kumar Singh

Verbal Reasoning and Reading Comprehension:

A Modern Approach to Logical ReasoningRS Aggarwal
Logical ReasoningArihant
Logical and Analytical ReasoningAshok Gupta
How To Prepare Logical Reasoning for CATArun Sharma
Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for CATNishit K Sinha

Quantitative Ability:

Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive ExaminationsR. S. Aggarwal
The Pearson Guide to Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive ExaminationDinesh Khattar
Mathematics for CDS ExaminationR. S. Aggarwal
Quantitative Aptitude Quantum CATSarvesh K. Verma
Wiley’s Quantitative Aptitude BookP. A. Anand

Study Plan for CAT 2021

Here is a study plan candidates can consider:

  • Revise Wisely: The intense syllabus of the exam can make you anxious. Plan your study method in such a way that you get to revise all that you have learnt the whole day or week.
  • Make notes: Making quick notes while studying helps you the next time you flip through the books for revision.
  • Practice questions: Another important task is practicing previous years' question papers. At least, the past five years' questions need to be solved by the CAT aspirants.
  • Be strategic: You need to find out the plan that works the best for you. Critical evaluation of your performance will help you identify the best strategy. Keeping a positive mental attitude will add zest to your daily routine, which will eventually subside the exam pressure.
  • Time Management: Managing time in a well-structured manner is an essential job, both before and after you crack any competitive examination.

Candidates must begin preparations as early as possible to avoid unnecessary last-minute stress. After all, the mind is at its strongest when it's relaxed. With that said, aspirants must have faith in their preparations and the hard work they've put in.

All the best!