CAT 2021: What and How to Prepare?

The Common Admission Test (CAT) examination is usually held on a Sunday of the last week of November. A national-level MBA entrance examination, CAT, is conducted by the IIM to 20 institutes and 1200 Indian B-schools. It is undertaken as a Computer-based online mode at 400 test centres. The courses offered for candidates clearing the CAT are MBA, PGP, Executive MBA, and PGDM.

Exam Pattern. Candidates should attempt 100 questions in the paper, which will comprise MCQs and non-MCQs. The paper will test the Verbal Ability and Ready Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR), and Quantitative Aptitude (QR). The total mark is 300, where 3 marks are awarded for every correct answer and a negative mark of 1/3 for the wrong response. No negative marking will be added for an incorrect non-MCQs response.

CAT 2020 examination duration was reduced to 120 minutes as compared to the usual 180 minutes. According to the examination authority, CAT 2021 is expected to go to the usual period.


1) Application will commence from August 2021.

2) Registration forms will be online from August to September.

3) Admit Card will be released online in the fourth week of October.

4) Candidates can take the CAT 2021 examination in the last week of November.

5) Results of the CAT 2021 will be released in the second week of January 2022.

Who can attempt CAT? Aspiring candidates must clear their Bachelor's program with a minimum of 50% from a recognised university or board. Candidates appearing for their final year and awaiting their results can apply. They must have completed a professional degree with the required marks.

There is no age limit for attempting the CAT.

How to Prepare? CAT is said to be one of the most competitive examinations for admissions to MBA institutes. Here are the preparation tips to help you get ahead.

  • With a clear knowledge of the CAT 2021 Syllabus and Pattern, it will become easier to prepare accordingly. Study the CAT exam patterns by attempting previous years' papers.

  • Candidates attempting the paper must start their preparation at least 10 months prior to the examination. Whether self-study or coaching, a habit of 8-10 hours of practice is required.

  • Start from the basics. Basic knowledge of each topic's fundamentals will help get good clarity on concepts.

  • Regularly attempt the CAT mock test online. This will help in understanding the candidate's weak and strong subject areas.

  • Prepare a study plan and stick to it. Clearing out and organising a study plan can help you focus on each subject and section.

  • Understand the paper pattern through previous' years papers.

  • Read newspapers and news articles to broaden your general knowledge.

CAT Preparation Books

  1. How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for CAT, Arun Sharma

  2. Data Interpretation for CAT, Arun Sharma

  3. Quantitative Aptitude for CAT, Nishit Sinha

  4. How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT, Meenakshi Upadhyay and Arun Sharma

  5. The Pearson Guide to Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT, Nishit Sinha

Happy Learning!

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