Common Admission Test (CAT) is a highly competitive entrance exam for admissions in Master of Business Administration (MBA) / Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) programs in India. CAT score is also accepted by some of the international universities for admissions in their post-graduate business administration programs. Primarily CAT qualified candidates seek admission in top business schools (B-schools) in India like Indian Institutes of Management (IIM). Apart from IIMs, other top-notch B-schools in India like S.P Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR), Management Development Institute (Gurgaon), Faculty of Management Studies (FMS) consider CAT as a prerequisite for their admission process in post-graduate business administration programs. More than two lakh candidates seat for CAT exam every year to explore better career opportunities in post graduate business administration programs offered by top B-schools in India and this number is rapidly increasing every year.

CAT is a computer based test and it is organized every year by one of the IIMs based on a policy of rotation. CAT exam consists of four segments, Quantitative Ability (QA), Verbal Ability (VA) & Reading Comprehension (RC), Data Interpretation (DI) and Logical Reasoning (LR). Generally CAT is a 300 marks exam, but due to pandemic situation, CAT 2020 was conducted in a shorter format.

CAT Eligibility Criteria

Candidates, who are aiming to appear in the CAT exam, should check with the eligibility criteria of CAT 2021. For this purpose candidates should refer to the official notification of CAT 2021. In this blog we will put some light on the different aspects of the CAT eligibility criteria.

  • The candidate should secure at least 50% marks (for General Category and Non Creamy Layer OBC candidates (NC-OBC) caste) in his/her bachelor degree. The SC/ST and Differently-abled candidate require 45% marks in his/her Bachelor’s degree.
  • The University which has granted the Bachelor’s degree should be recognized by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD).
  • In case of CGPA awarded by the University, the conversion factor given by that University has to be used. If University doesn’t provide the conversion factor, the candidate should use direct conversion method i.e., calculate the fraction of CGPA received and highest CGPA possible and multiply the result by 100.
  • Candidates who have successfully achieved their professional degrees with over 50% (45% for SC/ST/PwD) marks are also allowed to appear in CAT exam.
  • There is no upper limit of age for the CAT Exam.
  • According to the present eligibility criteria, three years Bachelor's Degree holders from any UGC approved universities and UGC approved two years Bachelor's Degree (Old format) holders are allowed to appear in CAT exam.
Eligibility criteria for Final Year Students

There is a confusion regarding the eligibility criteria of CAT amongst the final year Bachelor’s degree students. All final year Bachelor's degrees students are eligible to sit for CAT exam with an admonition that they have to complete their Bachelor's degree with the required percentage (45% or 50%). In case a candidate is not able to obtain the required percentage in the Bachelor’s degree, he/she will not be able to get admission in the B-school irrespective of his/her CAT score.

Difference in eligibility criteria of CAT exam and admission in IIM

Although IIMs convene CAT exam, there is a contradiction in eligibility criteria of CAT exam and admission criteria of IIM. The two years Bachelor’s degree is included in the CAT exam criteria, but IIMs don’t recognize it. Apart from this, there is no other difference in the eligibility criteria of CAT Exam and the IIM admission requirements.

Reservation of Seats

After procuring a good CAT score, the dream of every candidate is to get admission in the top IIMs, the best MBA Colleges in India. Since IIMs are government-funded institutions, they have to abide by the government regulations regarding the reservations for under-privileged categories and differently-abled individuals.

In order to avail of the Caste Based Reservation, the candidates need to provide valid proof of the SC/ST/OBC Certificate along with the application form in a proper format mentioned in the official CAT website.

These reservations are as follows:



Other Backward Classes of NC-OBC


Scheduled Caste


Scheduled Tribe


Person with Disability


The total numbers of available seats in all IIMs are around 4000. With the reservation of 54.5%, the total numbers of seats available to general category candidates are around 1800.