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Common Admission Test (CAT) FAQ's

What does the CAT judge?

The CAT is not a test of intelligence; it only indicates whether you have the necessary aptitude to do well in the course you wish to study. This test also identifies your general scholastic ability.

CAT Scores:
For years the CAT scores were kept secret and were available only to the management institutes affiliated in the form of percentiles. From 2002 however the CAT gives the students a scorecard allowing them to understand their section-wise and overall performance. The scorecards are sent to students in the month of February.
CAT Scorecard
The CAT scorecard does not give any absolute or actual scores. The CAT being an aptitude test grades students on the relative scale. The scores are presented in two formats Percentage score (%score) and Percentile for each section and the overall test. A sample representation of the scores is given below.
Percentage (%) score
The % score represents normalized percentage of scores secured by the candidate. It is a relative method of representing the score. This is not the actual %
Percentile indicates student's relative performance position among the total students who took the CAT. For example 98 percentile means that the student is among the top 2 percent of the population who took the CAT.?
Is there any fixed structure for CAT?
No there is no fixed structure of CAT. The test can be in various combinations like 4 sections (each timed for 30 mins or non-timed), 2 or 3 sections again timed or non-timed etc. But the questions are based largely on the four areas, Problem solving, Data Interpretation, Reading Comprehension and Verbal ability.
What is the minimum score required to clear the CAT?
There is nothing like a minimum score to clear the CAT, the score cut-off varies every year, as it is relative scoring.
Do we have to clear every section separately?
Yes, you have to clear each section and do well in all the areas that are being tested.
What is the minimum cut-off for each section?
Again the cutoff for each section varies for every year and the minimum cut-off is not known. But from our years of experience we believe that as a thumb rule an attempt of 70% of the questions with an 80% accuracy rate is required to clear the cut-off score.
Is the cut-off same for each section?
The cutoff for each section also varies within a test and is not fixed.
I am an average student can I clear CAT?
We believe that discipline, determination and purposeful practice will lead you towards success in the CAT. CAT is neither a test of intelligence nor is a measure
of your intellectual capability. You can achieve a good score by extensive, preparation and purposeful practice.
What are the other institutes, which accept CAT scores I don't get into IIMs?
There are various institutes, which accept the CAT score as a pre requisite for admission. Some of the institutes are good and well recognized. Please click here for the list of other institutes.
How many hours do I need to study everyday?
IMS believes that six months are enough for the preparation of CAT. During these six months students should show discipline and determination by studying regularly for at least 2 hrs a day.
What is an interview?
An interview is a personality test. In an interview, the panel looks for a sound grasp of your discipline, self-awareness, clarity of goals, and a well-rounded personality.
Why do management institutes conduct interviews?
The institutes call you for an interview because they don't know you, and they want to get to know you in order to assess if you have the qualities that would make a good manager. In a GD these qualities are revealed by your participation in the group. In an interview, the panel deduces these qualities from your answers.
What is a GD?
A GD is a methodology used by the institute to gauge the candidate’s capability to function as a part of a team. In this methodology, the group of candidates are given a topic or a situation, given a few minutes to think about the same, and then asked to discuss the topic among themselves for 15-20 minutes.
Why GDs?
The reason why institutes put you through a Group discussion and an interview, after testing your technical and conceptual skills in an exam, is to get to know you as a person and gauge how well you will fit in their institute. The Group discussion tests how you function as a part of a team. As a manager, you will always be working in teams, as a member or as a leader. Therefore how you interact in a team becomes an important criterion for your selection. Managers have to work in a team and get best results out of teamwork. That is the reason why management institutes include GD as a component of the selection procedure.
When should I start preparing for CAT 2010?
The earlier the better. I would say start now
How much time should I invest for CAT 2010?
This depends on the level of preparedness you have. Have you done your self-evaluation yet? Do a self evaluation, and then you will be able to understand for
yourself how much time you need. In any case one doesn’t need more than10-12 months of serious preparation.
How many hours per day are required for preparing for CAT?
This depends on a lot of factors. If you are a well prepared student, with clear fundamentals in all subjects, you might be able to crack the CAT in 6-8 weeks
with just 1-2 hour of study per day. And if you are a first timer, and starting from the basics, you might require about 35-40 hours a week for 15-18 weeks.
Which coaching institute should I join for CAT??
No coaching institute can guarantee you a IIM call. Only hard work is the key. But sometimes it’s necessary to get proper guidance and good study materials. If
you do not need any of these, you need not join any coaching institute.
What is the eligibility for admission to IIMs and other B-Schools?
For admission to IIMs, a bachelor degree is required (In any field). Students in final year may also apply for CAT, provided they submit the proof of the degree
during admissions. For most IIMs and a lot of other B-Schools, 50 percent marks in degree level is a must.
What types of questions are asked in CAT?
Surprisingly, the questions asked in CAT are very easy, and a 10th standard student also will be able to solve them. But solving them in the given time is important. Also a matter is the accuracy with which you solve them, while trying to solve maximum in the given time.
What if I donot get selected in CAT this year ?
Do not lose heart. Might be that you did not do well on the day it mattered. You can use your preparation and take other tests as well. There are a lot of other good institutes, and you should consider them as well before starting all over again for next year.
How important is my reading speed for Reading Comprehension (RC)?
Everyone has a different opinion when it comes to reading speed. On an average you need to have a minimum reading speed of around 350 words per minute  (wpm) to be able to score a good score in RC. If your speed is less than this, do not lose heart, with regular reading and practice, you could improve your reading  speed.
Should I study all three sections daily or just one?
You should study all three sections. Don’t forget, you need to clear the cut off in all these sections to get a call. Most of us have a tendency to spend more time in subjects we are already good at. This should be avoided.
What  is a CAT affiliated b-school?
If you take the CAT, and get a valid score, you could use this score for admission to other B-schools across India. These are called CAT affiliated schools as they  accept CAT score as the initial screening criteria. You will have to apply to these schools separately. Depending on the school, you may have to go through the GD/PI process as well .For a list of b-schools that take CAT score, visit TODO.
Which books should I consult for CAT preparations?
There are a lot of books available in the market for CAT preparations. Apart from books, you should focus more on test papers, both sectional and full length. Also you should consult a good grammar book for English usage and grammar section. Also keep a dictionary handy for quick reference. Also subscribe to and read as many newspapers,.
Where can I find tips and tricks to crack CAT?
Remember working hard is the only key to success. So work hard, Also you need to prepare smartly. A few tips are shared in this site.

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