CAT Exam

Latest Update: 

  • The CAT 2021 results will be available on January 3, 2022.
  • 92 lakh candidates appeared in CAT 2021 on Nov. 28, out of 2.30 lakh registered eligible candidates. The overall attendance in CAT 2021 was 83%.
  • Out of total CAT test-takers, 35% were females, 65% were males, and 2 candidates were transgender.
  • Before CAT result declaration, IIM Ahmedabad will confirm the change of “No Change” in CAT final answer keys.
  • The CAT 2021 Exam was held on November 28, 2021, in three slots across 438 centers in 156 cities in India.

After successfully conducting the CAT 2021 exam on November 28, 2021, in 156 test cities at 438 centers in 3 slots, IIM Ahmedabad is likely to release the CAT exam result on January 5, 2022. Earlier, IIM Ahmedabad released the CAT question paper with answer keys on Dec 8 and offered the opportunity to CAT test-takers to challenge the answer key if they found it incorrect.

Although IIM Ahmedabad has announced that it will release the CAT 2021 exam result in the second week of January 2022, as per the past trends, the result is declared much ahead of schedule every year. Accordingly, it is expected that the CAT 2021 results will be released by January 5, 2021, and the scorecard will be available for download at on the same date.

1.92 lakh people took the CAT 2021 exam.

  • Around 1.92 lakh candidates appeared for the exam out of a total of 2.30 lakh registered and eligible candidates. The overall attendance was approximately 83%.
  • Out of the 1.92 lakh candidates who took the exam, 35% were females, 65% were males, and 2 candidates represented transgenders.
  • The duration of the test was 120 minutes (160 minutes for PwD candidates). The time allotted for each section is 40 minutes (53 minutes and 20 seconds for PwD candidates).

Candidates who took the Exam based on their slot

CAT 2021 Exam Slots Scheduled Test Takers Actual Number of Candidates who took the exam Percentage of candidates present in the exam Absentees: Candidates who did not take the Exam
CAT 2021 Slot 1

(8.30 AM to 10.30 AM)

76826 64185 83.55% 12641
CAT 2021 slot 2 (12.30PM to 2.30PM) 76037 63380 83.35% 12657
CAT 2021 slot 3

(4.30PM to 6.30PM)

77106 64095 83.13% 13011
Total 229969 191660 83.34% 38309


According to IIM Ahmedabad, “The CAT center and its delivery partner Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) Limited have taken measures to ensure implementation of the COVID-19 advisory of the Government of India and State Governments on social distancing and other preventive and protective measures at the examination centres.”

IIM Ahmedabad released the CAT question paper answer keys on December 8, 2021, for the test takers who appeared in CAT 2021 in any of the three slots. CAT 2021 consisted of fewer questions than last year and was considered an easier exam. Experts expect a 99 percentile in CAT 2021 with a score of between 97 and 100 marks.

CAT 2021 Exam Analysis: Key Highlights

  • The CAT 2021 Exam was held on November 28, 2021, in 3 slots in the morning, afternoon, and evening.
  • The exam duration was 2 hours for each slot.
  • Total questions in CAT 2021 were 66, as compared to 76 last year.
  • The quantitative and DILR sections were slightly easier than last year.
  • Total MCQs with negative marking was 48.
  • Total Non-MCQs without Negative Marking were 18.
  • VARC was the highest weighted section with 24 questions out of 66 total questions.
  • Overall, CAT 2021 was slightly easier than last year’s Slot 1 paper.
  • At a 97-100 score, a 99 percentile is expected.

Paper Pattern CAT 2021

Across the 3 slots, the CAT 2021 exam remained in the following pattern:

CAT 2021 exam components Total MCQs (With negative marking) Total Non-MCQs  (TITA Qs Without negative marking) Total Questions
Section-1: Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC) (Time limit: 40 Minutes) 19 5 24
Section-2: Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)

(Time Limit: 40 Minutes)

15 5 20
Section-3: Quantitative Ability (QA)

(Time Limit: 40 Minutes)

14 8 22
Total (Overall) (Time limit: 120 Minutes) 48 18 66

Percentile Cut-Offs for CAT 2021

Below, we have shared the CAT percentile score predictions by experts.

Percentile Score VA-RC Score DI-LR Score QA Overall Score
99.5 %ile 40 33 38 111
99 %ile 34 26 36 96
98 %ile 32 28 30 90
95%ile 32 20 29 81
90%ile 29 17 26 72
85%ile 24 15 20 59
80%ile 20 12 15 47

Out of 2.31 lakh registered candidates, 1.95 lakh are expected to have taken the CAT exam on Nov 28. Read below in detail all about the CAT 2021 Exam, the next milestones after the exam, important dates, Exam pattern and syllabus revisions, top colleges accepting CAT, and more

1. Highlights and Key Features of the CAT 2021 Exam

Following are the salient features of the IIM CAT 2021 exam, with details like CAT Full Form, CAT Notification 2021, CAT exam date, CAT Eligibility, CAT Exam Structure, among other key CAT exam details.

CAT Full Form Common Admission Test, conducted on yearly basis for MBA admission by one of the 6 older IIMs
CAT Exam date 2021 November 28, 2021
CAT Entrance exam sessions Conducted in 3 sessions – morning, afternoon, and evening on same day
CAT 2021 Convening IIM IIM Ahmedabad
CAT Entrance Exam Mode Computer-based exam but not an online exam
CAT 2021 Notification Release July 31, 2021, onwards, on and in Newspapers
Details in CAT Notification 2021 CAT Exam details, Application fee, Registration dates, IIMs & their management programmes through CAT
Maximum Age Limit to appear in IIM CAT No Age Limit, Graduates with 50% marks can apply
Number of Questions in CAT 2021 66 questions divided into 3 sections
Time duration of CAT 2021 2 hours for each Session
Sectional Time limit 40 minutes for 1 section
Name of sections and number of questions VARC-24 Questions; DILR-20 questions; Quant-22 questions
CAT 2021 Difficulty level Moderate to Difficult
Order of Sections Pre-fixed, no change allowed
Colleges Accepting CAT 2021 for MBA admission 2022 20 IIMs, FMS, MDI, SPJIMR, IITs, IMI, JBIMS & 500 other MBA colleges in India
CAT 2021 Application Fee Rs.2200/-
How to Apply for CAT The application process was online only
IIMs’ Application Fee No Separate Application Fee to apply for IIM. CAT Registration Fee covers the application fee of all 20 IIMs

2. Release of the CAT 2021 Answer Key: Important Dates and Highlights

After the CAT exam, IIM Ahmedabad will release the CAT exam 2021 answer keys for the benefit of candidates so that they can confirm the accuracy level of their attempts in the CAT 2021 exam. The key highlights of the CAT answer keys are:

  • CAT 2021 answer keys will be released by IIM Ahmedabad in December 2021.
  • CAT answer keys 2021 will be available only for those candidates who have appeared in the CAT 2021 exam. They can access the CAT answer key for the question paper that they have attempted.
  • The CAT answer key will allow test takers to check and verify their CAT answers, allowing them to calculate their expected CAT score and explore opportunities for MBA admission 2022 in IIMs, FMS, MDI, SPJIMR, IITs, and other preferred colleges.
  • CAT 2021 answer keys can be accessed by logging in to the CAT official website with the CAT 2021 login ID and password.
  • CAT answer keys Pdf are released along with a Query-cum-objection form, and candidates who are dissatisfied with the CAT 2021 answer keys can challenge any answer by submitting an objection to the CAT center 2021 to have the issue resolved after paying the required fee of Rs.1200/-.If an objection raised by a candidate is found to be valid, the remedial measures taken by the IIMs will apply to all the candidates.
  • The objections received for CAT answer keys 2021 by the CAT center will be reviewed. If there is no change perceived by experts in the CAT answer key, the objection will not be entertained.
  • CAT solutions Pdf 2021 will be released for all type of questions MCQs & Non-MCQs that appeared in the CAT exam

3. CAT 2021 Result & Score Card: What to Expect and How to Download?

The CAT 2021 exam result date is the second week of January 2022, as announced by IIM Ahmedabad. However, as per the past trends, the result is declared much ahead of schedule every year. It is expected that the CAT 2021 results will be released by January 5, 2021, and the scorecard will be available for download at on the same date.

3.1 CAT 2021 Result & Score Card: Important Information

  • The date and time of the CAT 2021 result will be announced on the official CAT website.
  • Following the announcement of the CAT results, IIMs notify students that the CAT Score Card is now available.
  • You can download your CAT 2021 scorecard immediately after the CAT result declaration.
  • IIMs send CAT scores through SMS to all candidates who appear in the CAT exam.
  • The CAT 2021 score Card will contain your scaled score and percentile.
  • You can download your CAT scorecard from the official CAT website.
  • The CAT 2021 score is valid only till December 31, 2022, and will accordingly be accessible on the website.

4. Top Colleges Accepting CAT 2021 with Cut-Off Percentage

CAT 2021 score for MBA admission in 2022.20 other top CAT MBA colleges in the non-IIM category, including FMS Delhi, MDI Gurgaon, SPJIMR Mumbai, SJMSoM IIT Mumbai, DoMS IIT Delhi, among others, are CAT score accepting colleges. Some of the top colleges accepting CAT 2021 with their expected cut-offs are as below:

Top IIMs CAT Cut off percentile (Minimum criteria)
IIM Ahmedabad 80
IIM Bangalore 85
IIM Calcutta 85
IIM Lucknow 90
IIM Indore 90
IIM Kozhikode 90
IIM Tiruchirappalli 95
IIM Shillong 90
IIM Udaipur 95
IIM Rohtak 95
4.2 Best MBA Colleges Outside of IIMs

The following is the CAT cut-off for top MBA colleges in India.

Top B Schools





Expected CAT 2021 Cut Off Percentile

Faculty of Management Studies (FMS) New Delhi 97
Management Development Institute (MDI) Gurgaon 94
SPJIMR Mumbai 85
International Management Institute (IMI) New Delhi 90
Institute of Management Technology (IMT) Ghaziabad 90
K J Somaiya Institute of Management Mumbai 85
T. A. Pai Management Institute (TAPMI), Manipal 85
FORE School of Management (FSM) New Delhi 85+
Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management (LBSIM) New Delhi 85
Great Lakes Institute of Management (GLIM) Chennai 80

5. Admission Procedures for IIMs in 2022

IIMs have released their admission processes for the MBA 2022-24 batch. Admission to IIMs is based on three major factors: your CAT 2021 exam score, your academic record, and your performance in the personal interview round.


All the IIMs release their key components and weightage for admission. There are three stages through which the IIM Admission Process is completed; they are:

  • Stage 1-: Performance in the CAT Exam
  • Stage 2: IIMs shortlist for PI Round
  • Stage 3: IIMs Final Selection Process 2022, which includes the WAT and PI Rounds

Your final admission offer depends upon your performance in all the above three stages of the IIM selection process. While the older IIMs conduct their selection processes, the nine new and baby IIMs conduct a common admission process (CAP) for admission. The remaining IIMs conduct their selection processes.

5.1 Individual Admission Process at Top IIMs

IIM Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Lucknow, Indore, Kozhikode, Shillong individually shortlist the candidates and conduct their admission process that awards high weightage to academics, diversity, and work experience apart from the CAT exam score.

5.2 The Common Admission Process (CAP) for IIMs 9-11

The final selection process for the 9 to 11 new IIMs is conducted as a common process. One of the six new IIMs coordinates this selection process, which is referred to as the Common Admission Process (CAP). The CAP 2022 will consist of common WAT and PI rounds for 9 to 11 new IIMs, namely IIM Kashipur, Raipur, Ranchi, Trichy, Udaipur, and some of the newest IIMs like IIM Bodhgaya, Sambalpur, Sirmaur, Jammu and Kashmir, etc.

5.3 Individual admissions will be conducted at IIM Nagpur, IIM Rohtak, and IIM Visakhapatnam.

IIM Nagpur, IIM Rohtak, and IIM Visakhapatnam do not participate in the CAP round and conduct their final selection process to make admission offers to the students. The final admission offers will be generated as per the merit lists prepared based on CAT scores, academic profile, work experience, and gender diversity following the weightage awarded to each of these factors.

5.4 Other factors, in addition to the CAT score, are important for MBA admission.

Performance in the CAT 2021 examination is an important component in all the 20 IIMs’ selection processes for MBA admission 2022. However, IIMs will use other factors also, such as

  • CAT 2021 Score (Required for all admissions to IIMs, FMS, MDI, SPJIMR, and other institutions)
  • Previous academic performance:
  • Relevant work experience:
  • Gender and academic diversity
  • Other comparable inputs include extracurricular achievements, community service, and so on.

All or some of these factors will be used in the shortlisting and ranking of candidates at various stages of the admission process. The academic cut-offs and the weights allocated to the evaluation parameters may vary for each IIM.

5.5 MBA Programs Provided by IIMs

The following are the various management programmes at IIMs to which admission in 2022 is available through the Common Admission Test 2021:

Indian Institute of Management (IIM) MBA Programmes Open for Admission 2022 through CAT 2021
IIM Amritsar MBA, EMBA, MBA-Business Analytics, MBA-HRM
IIM Bodh Gaya PGP
IIM Calcutta MBA
IIM Kashipur MBA, MBA (Analytics), EMBA
IIM Kozhikode PGP, PGP-BL, PGP-F, PGP-LSM, EPGP (At Kochi campus)
IIM Nagpur PGP
IIM Raipur PGP
IIM Ranchi PGP, PGP-HRM, PGP (Business Analytics)
IIM Sambalpur MBA, Executive MBA
IIM Sirmaur MBA, MBA (T&HM)
IIM Tiruchirappalli PGP, PGPM-HR, PGPBM
IIM Visakhapatnam PGP, PGPEX, PGPDGM

6. Important Dates for CAT 2021

The following are the CAT 2021 important dates like the CAT notification date, CAT exam date, and dates for other different activities related to the CAT exam 2021:

CAT Events 2021 CAT Important Dates
CAT Notification Date 2021 August 1, 2021
CAT Registration Start Date August 4, 2021
Last Date to Apply for CAT exam 2021 September 22, 2021
CAT 2021 Registration & Application Fee Rs.2200/-
CAT 2021 Admit card Download Start date October 27, 2021 5 PM onwards
Last Date for CAT 2021 Admit Card Download November 28, 2021
CAT 2021 Exam date November 28, 2021 (In three slots)
CAT 2021 Answer key Release Date December 1, 2021
CAT 2021 Result date January 5, 2022  (Tentative)

7. CAT ‘2021 Exam Pattern: Key Changes

The CAT 2021 pattern was changed by IIM Ahmedabad. Key changes are

  • 120 Minutes Exam: CAT 2021 is a computer-delivered test of 2 hours duration, but it is not an online exam.
  • 66 Questions: The CAT exam in 2021 had 66 questions, compared to 76 questions last year.
  • CAT 2021 was divided into 3 sections: VARC, DILR, and Quantitative Ability. This pattern has been followed since 2015.
  • fewer no-penalty questions: out of a total of 66 questions in CAT 2021, there were 18 questions without negative marking. CAT 2021 was divided into MCQ and Non-MCQ types of questions, and the Non-MCQs did not carry negative marking.
  • IIMs: Minimum CAT Score Requirement IIMs require a minimum qualifying score of 70-90 percentile in CAT 2021 in each of the three sections to shortlist candidates for the final admission round.
  • Apart from having a high score in each of the 3 sections of the CAT 2021 exam, if you have a good academic profile with diversity and work experience, you are a preferred candidate to get admission into IIMs.

7.1 CAT Eligibility Criteria Changed: On account of the COVID pandemic, IIM Ahmedabad has changed the CAT eligibility criteria. The candidates who graduated in 2021 or are in their final year could enter “promotion/pass” instead of “marks” in theapplication form. This is only applicable to the eligibility criteria for CAT 2021.

7.2 CAT Registration Fee Increased: The CAT 2021 Registration Fee was increased to Rs. 2200/-from Rs. 2000/-last year.

7.3 CAT Exam in More Cities Than Last Year: The CAT 2021 exam was held in over 400 test centers across 159 cities in India.

Syllabus for the CAT 2021 Exam

Although the CAT exam syllabus is not pre-defined by IIMs, it overall tests the candidate on verbal ability and reading comprehension, quantitative aptitude, data interpretation, and logical reasoning. During the last 5 years, the CAT exam syllabus has substantially changed. The following are the major changes to the CAT Syllabus 2021:

  • The CAT Syllabus has been changed and now contains different types of questions with a combination of MCQs and non-MCQs.
  • 25-30% of the CAT syllabus questions are no longer penalty questions.
  • Most of the changes in the CAT syllabus have taken place in the Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension sections, as the topics and number of questions in the VARC section have changed.
  • A few changes in the CAT syllabus have been introduced in the Quantitative Ability section, with more focus on Arithmetic questions.

8.1 CAT Syllabus Section-Wise

Sectional Division Overview of Topics in the CAT Syllabus 2021 Weightage in CAT exam
Quantitative Ability (QA)


Arithmetic, Modern Math, Number System Algebra, Mensuration, Trigonometry, Geometry 34%
Data Interpretation& Logical Reasoning (DILR) Data Charts, Data Tables, Bar Graphs, Venn Diagrams, Seating arrangement, Team formation, Clocks & Calendars 32%
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC) Long & Short Passages Jumbled Paragraphs; Para-summary Picking the Out of context sentence from a jumbled paragraph 34%

9. More about the CAT exam: How to Prepare, Best Books, Toppers’ Tips

A few months of devoted preparation can enable you to crack the CAT exam as it requires “Smart Preparation.” You can self-study for the CAT exam using the best books, enroll in an offline or online coaching program, or use a combination of CAT self-study and coaching guidance.According to the CAT, the following are the most important aspects of CAT preparation:

  • You should have strong basics with clarity on concepts.
  • Improve your weak areas and strengthen your strong areas.
  • Consistent revision is required with mocks, practice tests, and quizzes.
  • Prepare a list of topics as per the syllabus and improve on each of them.
  • Form a peer group on social media for CAT preparation.
  • Focus more on RC in the VARC section; focus equally on DI & LR and practice more arithmetic questions to clear the section-wise cut-offs.
  • Time management with accuracy and speed is required. Consistently improve on them.
  • Consult the best CAT preparation books and attempt their practice questions.
  • Read interviews and tips from CAT Toppers studying at IIMs, FMS, SPJIMR, and MDI on their CAT preparation strategy, which have been published on and other channels.

9.1 VARC, DILR, and Quant CAT Preparation

The section-wise CAT preparation strategy is very important. Key tips to prepare for each section are as below:

9.1.1 VARC CAT Preparation

  • Go through the Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension Syllabus
  • Choose the best books.
  • Read the strategy for CAT Verbal Ability. Preparation of past CAT toppers How to Ace CAT Verbal Ability
  • Questions on RC passages in CAT constitute 70% of the test, and verbal questions are 30%. So focus and practice more RC-based questions to crack CAT.

Composition of VARC Section

Section Total questions Total MCQs (With negative marking) Total Non-MCQs (Without negative marking) Highlights
Section-1: Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC) 24 19 5 4 RC Passages with 18 MCQs; VA 8 Non-MCQs divided into Para jumbles, Para Summary, and Out of Context Sentences

9.1.2 DILR CAT Preparation

DILR is the 2nd section of the CAT exam. It plays a very important role in clearing the cut-off percentile. The section has an equal number of data interpretation and logical reasoning questions. You need to practice more to score high in this section. Experts advise the following tips to prepare for DILR:

  • Data Interpretation questions for CAT test your analytical skills in interpreting the data given to you in the form of a table, chart, graph, or other forms.
  • Logical Reasoning for CAT constitutes a 50% share in the newly created Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation Comprehension (DILR) Section in CAT.
  • The goal of scoring high in CAT 2021 can be achieved with small but consistent efforts and time devoted to the DILR section.
  • DILR preparation for CAT requires you to first get as many DILR practice questions for CAT as possible.
  • To move in a direct DILR preparation direction, it will be better to refer to DILR questions for CAT with solutions.
  • Composition of DILR Section
Section Total Questions MCQs Non-MCQs Highlights
Section-2: Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR) 20 15 5 LR – 12 Ques

DI – 8 Ques

All in Sets of 6 & 4 Qs

9.1.3 CAT Quant Preparation

Quantitative Ability (QA) is the last section of the CAT exam. It can improve or reduce your CAT score substantially. To score high in this section, experts advise the following tips:

  • A three-dimensional approach is recommended for the CAT Preparation for Quant section.
  • Strengthen your basics and formulae in Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Modern Math, and allied topics.
  • Practice on a variety of questions of different difficulty levels.
  • Finally, solve previous CAT papers and mocks for each topic. The more you do it, the more expertise in the Quant section for CAT you will get.
  • QA Sectional Composition
Section Total Questions MCQs Non-MCQs Highlights
Quantitative Ability (QA) 22 14 8 High on Arithmetic. Other on Log, Geometry, Roots, Algebra

9.2 Best CAT Preparation Books

IIMs’ CAT has been changing its pattern, and every year different types of questions appear in the exam. During the last few years, the CAT has been modified completely. Most of the CAT preparation books on the market are based on the previous CAT exam pattern, but the best CAT books shared here have updated changes with the anticipated question type in the CAT exam. When choosing the best books for CAT, it should be kept in mind that the books are conversant with the changed exam pattern and difficulty level. A few things to look for in the books are:

  • should provide conceptual clarity on the relevant CAT topic.
  • Rich on the exercises, practice questions and mocks given after each topic,
  • Caters your need to focus more on the weak areas with a variety of practice questions.
  • The latest edition of the CAT preparation book offers the updated exam pattern and syllabus.

9.2.1: 10 Best books on CAT Preparation

  • How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT– by Arun Sharma & Meenakshi Upadhyay
  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CAT by Nishit K Sinha
  • Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension by Ajay Singh
  • Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis
  • How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CAT by Arun Sharma (Published by McGraw Hill)
  • How to Prepare for Logical Reasoning for by Arun Sharma (Published by McGraw Hill)
  • Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for the CAT by Nishit K. Sinha
  • CAT Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning by Gautam Puri,Publisher Career Launcher
  • How to prepare for Quantitative for the CAT by Arun Sharma, published by MGH Education
  • Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT by Nishit K Sinha
  • Quantitative Aptitude Quantum CAT by  Sarvesh K Verma

9.3 CAT Preparation Tips from Toppers

Previous CAT Toppers from IIM Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Kozhikode, Lucknow, Udaipur, FMS, SPJIMR, and MDI have discussed their CAT preparation method and how they overcame their weak areas to achieve high scores with These CAT toppers’ last-minute CAT preparation suggestions are beneficial in raising your exam score.Check Below:

CAT Topper Studying At CAT %ile Profile
Shubham Bajaj IIM Calcutta 99.98 B-Tech in CSE from IEM Kolkata worked with  Nomura
Nancy Jain
Watch Video
IIM Calcutta 99.72 B.Tech from IGDTUW, worked at Tata Motors
Ekansh Gupta IIM Calcutta 99.91 B.Tech, from NIT Jamshedpur. Worked at EXL Services as Risk Analyst for a US bank
Nandan Goel
Watch Video
IIM Calcutta 99.95 BMS from Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies, DU, worked at DE Shaw
Yashvi Bansal IIM Udaipur 94.72 BBA Marketing from Auro University Surat
Venkata Satya SrikarMedisetti IIM Udaipur 98.44 B.Tech from NITK Suratkhal, Worked in a pharmaceutical company

Trends in CAT 2021 Registration

IIMs will offer admission in 2022 based on CAT 2021 only and will not accept any other test score. For a total intake of 6000+ seats for the 2022-24 batch in IIMs, more than 2 lakh candidates have applied.

11.Important Changes in CAT over the Years

The journey of IIM-CAT has witnessed substantial changes. The number of sections and types of questions in the CAT has changed dramatically in recent years.Important changes in the pattern and conduct of CAT are shared below.

  • CAT has changed from a paper-based to a computer-based test.
  • CAT now has 3 sections instead of 2.
  • The CAT has implemented 25-30% questions with no negative marking.

The CAT Exam pattern over the past 10 years since it was computerized in 2009 has undergone perceptible changes. The CAT paper pattern before 2009 was paper-pen-based. The CAT exam format was changed from a paper-based exam to an online computer-based test in 2009. Even after that, the CAT paper pattern continued changing from 3 sections to 2, and then the CAT pattern was changed to 3 sections in 2015. Since then, CAT has been following a similar pattern. The CAT 2021 pattern also remains the same as that of the CAT exam 2021 pattern with 3 sections and 3 hours, although the number of MCQs and non-MCQs may change.

12. FAQs on CAT: Answers by Experts

Q. How many Questions are expected in CAT 2021?
A. IIM Ahmedabad has announced to reduce the number of questions below 76 in CAT 2021


Q. How difficult is the CAT exam
A. While some of the questions are of moderate difficulty level, some are more difficult


Q. Do IIMs provide any document and guide on how to attempt CAT 2021 Exam?
IIM Ahmedabad has released a CAT 2021 practice test with a complete navigation guide on the official website You can familiarize yourself with the functionality and navigation of the actual exam. You can also attempt CAT Mock Tests and CAT previous years question papers with answers at


Q. Quant and DI questions in CAT require too many calculations. Can I take a calculator to the testing center?
No, but the onscreen calculator is available throughout the exam. You can use that


Q. What is the Scoring Pattern in CAT 2021? Do the wrong answers carry any penalty of negative marking?
The CAT question paper is divided into MCQs and Non-MCQs. Each correct answer in CAT 2021 is awarded +3 marks for all the questions but the MCQs carry a penalty of -1 mark for each wrong answer. For the Non-MCQs (Known as TITA Questions), there is no penalty of negative marking. Besides, there is no penalty for any unattempted questions whether MCQ or Non-MCQ.


Q. How a Non-MCQ is different from an MCQ type question?
For a non-MCQ type question, you must type the answer in the given space while for the MCQ you only need to click on the most appropriate answer option


Q. What is the number of Non-MCQs overall and section-wise in the CAT question paper?
Out of the total overall questions in the CAT exam, there are about 25% to 28% Non-MCQs. The same principle applies to each section. The exact number of Non-MCQs in CAT 2021 depends upon the total questions in the Exam.


Q. Can I choose the order of sections while attempting the CAT question paper?
No, you should answer the sections in a pre-specified order. This order is the same for all the candidates. Besides, each section has an individual time limit of 40 minutes, so after the individual section time is over, you will be taken to the next section automatically.


Q. Can I submit the paper early and leave the test center before the exam time is over?
No, the CAT paper cannot be submitted before the test duration of 2 hours is over. You can neither leave your seat nor can leave the test center early.

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