CAT 2021: Exam Date, Syllabus, Registration, Coaching

CAT 2021 – IIM Ahmedabad is expected to conduct CAT 2021 exam. The most likely date for CAT this year is 28 November 2021. Common Admission test (CAT) 2021 is the national level MBA entrance exam. Every year, one of the Indian Institutes of Management organizes the exam. Over 2 lakh candidates appear in the exam for admission to IIMs and other top MBA colleges in India. Get all details of CAT 2021 including exam date, registration, how to prepare, coaching, syllabus, latest news here.

CAT 2021

An Overview of Common Admission Test (CAT) 2021

Name of ExamCommon Admission Test (CAT)
Organizing BodyIndian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad (expected)
Official Websiteiimcat.ac.in
FrequencyOnce a year
Programs OfferedMBA, PGP in Management, Doctoral Program in Management
CAT 2021 Exam DateNovember 28, 2021 (expected)
Exam ModeOnline Computer Based Test
DurationEither 2 hours or 3 hours*
Number of questionsEither 76 or 100*
Eligibility QualificationBachelor’s degree
Application FeeRs 2000 (Rs 1000 for SC/ST & PWD) (expected)
Last Year Information BrochureClick Here

* Last year the exam pattern of CAT was changed to have 76 questions to be solved in 2 hours. However there are chances that this year the exam can be reverted to older format of 100 questions to be solved in 3 hours.

Recommended Books for CAT 2021 Preparation


CAT 2021 : 31 Years’ Topic-Wise & Year-Wise Solved Papers 1990-2020

Study Package for CAT, XAT & other MBA Entrance Exams with 10 Mock Tests

Quantitative Aptitude for CAT by Nishit K Sinha

How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT by Arun Sharma

How to Prepare for DATA INTERPRETATION for CAT by Arun Sharma

How to Prepare for Logical Reasoning for CAT by Arun Sharma

Get the Best Books For CAT 2021 Preparation Check here

CAT 2021 Exam Date

The expected exam date for Common Admission Test (CAT) is 28 November 2021.

Reason – The Indian Institutes of Managements have been consistently conducting the Common Admission Test (CAT) in the month of November. The following table tells you the exam dates of CAT exam in the past years.

YearCAT Exam Date
202029 Nov 2020 (Sunday)
201924 Nov 2019 (Sunday)
201825 Nov 2018 (Sunday)

As is evident from it, the exam date falls on the last Sunday in the month of November always. Hence, the most expected date of CAT 2021 is 28 November 2021.

The complete schedule will be available in July. An expected timeline is as follows.

Events of CAT 2021Dates
Release of official notificationLast week of Jul 2021
Start of registrations1st week of Aug 2021
Last date to register4th week of Sep 2021
Application Form CorrectionLast week of Sep 2021
Admit Card releaseLast week of Oct 2021
CAT 2021 Exam DateLast week of Nov 2021
Release of Answer Key1st week of Dec 2021
CAT 2021 Result2nd/3rd week of Jan 2021

Last year IIM Indore released CAT notification on 29 July. Registration was started on 5th August. Then the last date to apply was 23rd September. Candidates could do form correction from 27th to 29th September. Admit card was released on 28th October. IIM launched official mock test on 6th November. The exam was held on 29th November, on single day in two shifts. Then official answer key and response sheet were released on 8th December and last date to challenge them was 11th December. Result was announced on 9th January.

Which IIM will conduct CAT 2021?

It is most likely that IIT Ahmedabad will organize CAT 2021 exam.

Reason – A consistent pattern has been observed in the organizing body of CAT exam. The IIMs take up the responsibility on a rotational basis. Year wise organizers of CAT were as follows.

  • 2014 – IIM Indore
  • 2015 – IIM Ahmedabad
  • 2016 – IIM Bangalore
  • 2017 – IIM Lucknow
  • 2018 – IIM Calcutta
  • 2019 – IIM Kozhikode
  • 2020 – IIM Indore (repeat of 2014)
  • 2021 – Therefore IIM Ahmedabad is expected to organize CAT 2021 as it is next in line to IIM I.

CAT 2021 Syllabus

One of the most important features of the CAT exam is that, a predefined syllabus is not specified by the IIM. Nevertheless, it is possible to identify some important subjects/topics to study from based on the CAT question paper in the previous years. Candidates can check out CAT 2021 Syllabus as per previous year exams below.

Quantitative Ability – Algebra, Averages, Binomial Theorem, Co-ordinate Geometry, Complex Numbers, Geometry/Mensuration, Inequalities, Interest (Simple and Compound), LCM and HCF, Linear Equations, Logarithm, Mixtures and Alligations, Number System, Percentages, Permutation and Combination Probability Functions, Profit and Loss, Progressions, Pure Math, Quadratic Equations, Ratio & Proportion, Set Theory, , Speed, Time and Distance Time and Work, Surds and Indices, Trigonometry, Venn diagrams.

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning – Assumption, Bar charts (Simple, Stacked, Composite Bar charts), Binary logic, Blood Relation, Calendars, Caselets, Clocks, Conclusion, Cubes, Data Analysis, Data comparison from Table, Direction sense, Graphs, Input-Output, Linear and matrix arrangement, Logical Sequence, Network Diagrams, Pie charts, Premise, Puzzles, Quantitative Reasoning, Rows, Seating Arrangement, Series, Set Theory, Syllogism, Team formation, Venn Diagrams.

Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC) – Analogies, Assumption, Completion of Paragraph, Critical Reasoning, Error Corrections, Fill in the blanks, Inferences, Statements, Arguments, Jumbled paragraphs, Main idea in the passage, Odd sentence out of Jumbled paragraph, Para Summary, Phrasal meaning & Usage, Sentence Completion, Sequence of sentences, Synonyms-antonyms, Vocabulary usage.

Coaching for CAT Exam 2021

The first question that comes to an MBA aspirant’s mind is whether coaching is essential to crack the CAT or not. The answer to this lies in a gray area – To some extent, coaching is important. However it does not mean that all who get coaching successfully bell the CAT i.e. score in the top percentiles.

Significance of coaching for CAT Exam 2021 are as follows

  • You are taught the topics in a concise, time-bound manner. CAT syllabus is not text-book bound. Hence coaches can help you study the syllabus correctly.
  • You also learn shortcuts and tricks to tackle questions that come in the exam.
  • Continuous evaluations by coaching centers can help you understand your progress in preparation.

Which is the best coaching for CAT 2021?

Some of the top names in CAT coaching are Career Launcher, IMS, Triumphant Institute of Management (TIME). These are the ones that have been around for a long time and offer offline classes. However in recent times a number of online classes for CAT coaching have also come up. This includes 2iim, iQuanta to name a few.

You can compare the offerings of different online / offline coaching by the following

  • Number of live and interactive classes for each section
  • Number of mock tests
  • Revision classes
  • Hard copy study material
  • Teachers popularity – Know which teacher is taking which class and look up their reviews from past students.

How to prepare for CAT 2021?

It may go without saying that the Common Admission Test (CAT) is by no means an easy exam. It is the gateway to admission to the top B-Schools in India including the IIMs. There is no shortcut to crack the exam especially when the IIMs do not specify any predefined syllabus for the entrance test. We have compiled some important study tips for aspirants to follow and ace the exam in the first attempt.

Identify Important Topics From Previous Year Papers – Referring to previous year papers of the exam, make a list of the most important & commonly repeated topics in CAT exam. This is important as there is no predefined syllabus.

Study From Multiple Learning Resources – Various textbooks, guidebooks, sample papers, mock tests etc. are published for CAT preparations. These learning resources consist of a wide variety of question answers which can greatly enhance preparations by covering various topics.

Solve Mock Tests for CAT – While third party mock tests can always be obtained, the IIMs also release CAT mock tests at the website iimcat.ac.in. Solving mock tests can help get acquainted with the exam pattern and develop strategies for time management.

Clear Out Understanding of Fundamental Concepts – Referring to the CAT exam analysis of previous year exam, some unexpected and tricky questions were asked. One must be well versed with fundamental concepts to solve such tricky or unexpected questions.

CAT 2021 Exam Pattern

The CAT question paper essentially consist of three major sections. It may be noted that tutorials to get acquainted with the question paper releases at the website iimcat.ac.in before the exam.

Key Aspects of The Exam

Exam ModeComputer Based Test
Duration120 minutes
Sectional Timing40 minutes for each section
Number of SectionsThere are 03 sections:

Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)
Quantitative Ability (QA)
Type of QuestionsMCQs & TITA
Marking Scheme+3 For Correct Answers (MCQs & TITA)
-1 For Incorrect Answers (MCQs only)

Distribution of Questions – Note that IIMs do not reveal the questions distribution before exam. We have provided last year’s question distribution below.

SectionNo. of Qs – TotalNo. of MCQsNo. of TITAs
VARC241905
DILR241806
QA261808
Total745519

Last year the CAT exam pattern varied significantly compared to the year before that. In 2021, the exam pattern may remain the same. If any change is introduced, updated exam pattern will be available by July / August.

CAT 2021 Eligibility Criteria

The organizing institute notifies minimum conditions of eligibility to appear in the exam. For 2021, the anticipated eligibility criteria for CAT is as follows.

  • Applicants must have a Bachelor’s degree from a recognized University with at least 50% marks (or equivalent CGPA).
  • For SC/ST and PWD candidates, the minimum percentage of marks required is 45%.
  • Those who have CA/CS/ICWA qualification (and required percentage of marks) are also eligible to apply.
  • Candidates who are appearing in the final year of Bachelor’s degree exam or are awaiting results can also apply for CAT 2021.

CAT 2021 Registration

The CAT registration 2021 will be available in July or August.

Candidates who wish to appear in the Common Admission Test (CAT) must register for the exam.

In order to apply, candidates have to fill the form online at the official website iimcat.ac.in.

Register online for CAT 2021

  • Visit the official website iimcat.ac.in.
  • Under New Candidate Registration, click on Register.
  • Enter Name, Email ID, Mobile Number etc. & click on Generate OTP.
  • Enter the OTP received on the mobile number and click on Validate the OTP.
  • Submit the Registration Form to get the User ID & Password on email ID & mobile number.

Fill Up CAT 2021 Application Form

  • Go to the website iimcat.ac.in.
  • Under Registered Candidate Login, click on Login .
  • Enter the User ID & Password and click on Login.
  • Fill up the application form with Personal Details, Academic Qualifications, Experience, Programs, Test Cities etc.
  • Upload scanned copies of recent passport-sized photograph, signature & category certificate (as applicable).
  • Click on Save & Continue to proceed to the Payment option.
  • Select the payment mode & make the payment of application fee online.
  • A confirmation mail regarding successful submission of application form is received.

Application Fee

To appear in the CAT examination, one has to pay application fee using credit/debit card, internet banking, wallet, PayTM or UPI. Expected fee amount as per previous year exam is as follows.

CategoryFee Amount
GeneralRs 2000
EWSRs 2000
OBC-NCRs 2000
SC/STRs 1000
PWDRs 1000

CAT 2021 Admit Card

The CAT admit card 2021 will be available in October.

  • The conducting IIM release the CAT admit card at the official website i.e. iimcat.ac.in as per schedule.
  • Admit card releases online through candidate login only.
  • As such, candidates have to download the admit card by logging in with the User ID & Password.

Steps to download admit card – Open the website iimcat.ac.in. Then look for the Login link to download the CAT 2021 Admit Card and click on Login. Now enter the User ID & Password and click on Login. The admit card displays on the screen. Download the admit card & generate a print out of it. Paste a recent passport-sized photograph on the admit card as per instruction.

CAT 2021 Answer Key

The CAT answer key 2021 will be available immediately after exam.

The conducting IIM releases CAT Answer Key at the official website i.e. iimcat.ac.in after the exam. It indicates the correct answers to all the questions asked in the exam. Candidates can download the answer key & utilise it in various ways. For instance, using the answer key and knowledge of the marking scheme, candidates can estimate final score even before the release of the result/scorecard.

CAT 2021 Answer Key is expected to release after the exam at the aforementioned website. Based on previous year trends, it is expected that at first, the provisional answer keys releases. Candidates are invited to submit objections through the Objection Management System. Candidates are allowed to submit objections only up to a specific end date. After this, the IIM reviews the objections and publishes the final answer key.

Some important points to remember about CAT 2021 Answer Key

  • CAT 2021 answer key releases in two stages, provisional & final answer key.
  • Objections can be raised through the Objection Management System.
  • Candidates have to raise objections within the specified schedule.
  • No objection can be raised against the final answer key.
  • Candidates have to pay a fee per objection raised. In the previous year, the fee amount was Rs 1200.

CAT 2021 Result

The CAT result 2021 will be declared in 2nd or 3rd week of January 2022.

The conducting IIM releases the result of CAT exam at the website iimcat.ac.in. The result releases in the form of merit list of qualifiers. In addition, individual scorecards also releases through candidate login. Based on the CAT 2021 score, candidates can get admission to graduate management courses in IIMs as well as in other institutes accepting CAT score.

It may be noted that IIM implements score normalisation in order to ensure fairness in the exam. Since the exam is conducted in multiple sessions, After adjusting for location & scale differences, the score is further normalized across different sections.

About IIMs

The Indian Institutes of Management are premier Business Schools in India. At present, IIMs are located in the cities of Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Amritsar, Bodh Gaya, Calcutta, Kozhikode, Jammu, Kashipur, Indore, Lucknow, Nagpur, Sambalpur, Shillong, Raipur, Sirmaur, Tiruchirapalli, Ranchi, Rohtak, Udaipur and Vishakapatnam. Common Admission Test is an entrance exam for admission to Management Programs offered by the IIMs as well as other listed non-IIM member institutions. CAT score forms the basis of admission to Post Graduate Programs in Management (including MBA) and Fellow Programs in Management (Doctoral). Candidates can check out the official website i.e. iimcat.ac.in for further details of the exam.

FAQs on CAT 2021

Q1. What is the official website of CAT 2021?

Ans. The official website is iimcat.ac.in.

Q2. When does CAT 2021 official notification release?

Ans. The notification releases in July.

Q3. What is CAT 2021 exam date?

Ans. CAT 2021 is expected to be held in November 2021.

Q4. How much is the application fee for CAT 2021?

Ans. The application fee as per previous year is Rs 2000 for UR candidates and Rs 1000 for Reserved Category candidates.

Q5. What type of questions are asked in CAT exam?

Ans. There are two types of questions i.e. MCQs & TITA.

Q6. Are objections allowed in CAT Answer Key?

Ans. Yes, objections are allowed.

Note that this page is about CAT 2021 for IIM and other B-School admissions 2022-23.

If you have any queries, please ask in comments below!

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