CAT 2021- Important Dates, Eligibility, Syllabus, Exam Pattern, Etc

  • BY Saurav Anand

  • Jul 27, 2021


.The IIMs conduct the CAT every year to select management aspirants for admission to the best B-Schools in the country.  Admission to around 1000 institutes of the country is based on CAT scores. It is designed to assess a candidate's verbal aptitude as well as their comprehension of reading material, their understanding of data, and their analytical thinking skills. To ensure candidates' safety, the CAT exam pattern was revised in 2020. CAT 2021 information, including the application process, eligibility criteria, and more, can be found in this article.
The CAT exam opens doors to over 1200 business schools and 20 IIMs in India. In the CAT paper, there are MCQs and non-MCQs from the Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR), and Quantitative Ability (QA) subjects. The exam's difficulty level ranges from moderate to high. CAT is taken by over 2 lakh candidates every year. Approximately 2.30 lakh applicants applied for the CAT 2020 and a total of 1.90 lakh candidates appeared for the test. 

CAT Exam Highlights

Exam Name

 Common Admission Test (CAT) 
Conducting Institute IIM Ahmedabad
Exam Level   National
Exam Frequency  Once a year
Exam schedule  November 28, 2021
Exam Fees  Rs 2,000 (General category) and Rs 1,000 (Reserved category)
Eligibility Graduation with 50 % aggregate (45 % for SC/ST students)
Number of Applications  2.30 lakh (In 2020)
Exam Purpose Admission into IIMs, SPJIMR, FMS, MDI, IMT, and over 1,200 B-Schools in India
Course Offered MBA/PGDM
CAT syllabus 
  • Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC) 
  • Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)
  • Quantitative Ability (QA)
CAT pattern    Online exam with MCQs and non-MCQs
No. of Test Cities 156
Exam Helpdesk No.  1-800-209-0830 (Toll-Free)
Exam Website


CAT Registration 2021

To qualify for registration, the candidate must have a scanned copy of his personal information certificates and caste certificate and legal attestation, and provisional licenses, if needed. Make sure your photograph has a white background and isn't more than six months old. An online processing fee may be charged to the candidate when registering for the exam.
The CAT 2021 registrations will be starting from the first week of August 2021 and will continue till September 2021. The candidates have to register online via the official website. CAT 2021 registration includes the CAT Registration Fee, IIM Application Fee, and CAT Exam Fee. The application or registration fee for CAT 2021 for general category students is Rs. 2000 and Rs. 1000 for Reserved Categories. IIMCAT's official website will provide complete details on CAT registration process 2021 on July 25, 2021.

CAT 2021 Registration highlights


CAT 2021 Online Registration Activity 

 Important Dates
CAT 2021 Registration Start date    August 2, 2020
CAT Registration Last Date     September 15, 2021 
Closing time on the last date to fill CAT form 2021  5.00 PM
CAT Registration 2021 Fee  Rs.2000/-


CAT Eligibility Criteria

 A candidate must meet some mandatory requirements for bachelor's degree qualifications, such as a minimum aggregate mark of 50% or a minimum CGPA score. In the case of a reserved category, the aggregate score has been reduced to around 45% and, in addition, candidates who are appearing in the last year of graduation and are awaiting their results are also eligible to register.

Eligibility Criteria Highlights

Criteria    Description
Number of Attempts  No Limit
Minimum Qualification  
  • Graduation with 50% - General/ OBC -NC/EWS 
  • Graduation with 45% - SC/ST/ PWD
Equivalent  CA/CS/ICWA Degree with 50% - General/ OBC-NCCA/CS/ICWA Degree with 45% - SC/ST/ PWD
CAT Eligibility for Final Year Students Will be admitted on a provisional basis if qualified.
CAT Age Limit No Limit


CAT Admit Card 

It is expected that the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA) will release CAT 2021 admit cards in online mode by the last week of October 2021. By logging into their CAT account, from the official website, candidates can download their CAT admit cards 2021 until the exam day. , applicants who have successfully submitted their CAT application can download their admit cards. CAT admit cards are mandatory documents that must be carried to the exam center, so candidates must download them and take color prints of them. It is recommended that you download two copies since one copy is to be submitted at the exam site. In addition to the location of the test center and the slot, other information will be included on the CAT admit card.
  • An admit card can only be obtained through the online application process. The applicants will get their admit cards from the official website.
  • You can only access the CAT admit card on the official CAT website via the online mode.
  • Along with the admit card, candidates are required to carry a photo ID proof such as College ID (must be supported with a valid debit/credit card), employer ID, driving license, passport, PAN card, Voter ID, or Aadhaar card.
  • CAT admit cards should not be signed beforehand. A student must sign his or her admit card only in front of the invigilator in the exam hall.

CAT Exam Pattern 

CAT examination is held online as a computer-based test. It will be a 2-hour exam including both subjective and objective questions. The paper will be divided into 3 sections - Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning, and Quantitative Ability with 40 minutes allotted for each section.
The candidates will be rewarded with 3 points for every correct answer and a negative point for every incorrect answer. Not attempting a question will also lead to the deduction of marks. Besides MCQ-type questions, there also may be questions where the candidates will have to type in their answers.

CAT Exam Pattern Highlights

Section   Total Number of Questions  Duration for all Category     Duration for PwD Category
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC) 26 Questions 40 Minutes 53 Minutes and 20 Seconds
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)  24 Questions 40 Minutes 53 Minutes and 20 Seconds
Quantitative Ability (QA)   26 Questions 40 Minutes   53 Minutes and 20 Seconds
Total 76 Questions 120 Minutes  
159 Minutes and 60 Seconds 


CAT Syllabus 2021

There are three sections in CAT syllabus 2021: Quantitative Ability (QA), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR), and Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC). The CAT syllabus is vast, so those preparing for CAT 2021 must work for it assiduously. VARC consists of English grammar topics, reasoning topics, and reading comprehension topics covered by the CAT syllabus. The QA section of the CAT syllabus includes topics that every student from Class 9 to 10 needs to know, such as Arithmetic, Geometry, Trigonometry, and Mensuration. In the DILR curriculum of the CAT exam, there are topics that require analytic interpretation of data, such as puzzles, tables , and bar graphs.

Break up the 3 Sections into Subtopics

Quantitative Ability (QA)

 Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)  Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)

Averages Data

Data comparison from Table  

Ratio & Proportion



Bar charts - Simple, Stacked, Composite Bar charts  


Pie charts  

Profit and Loss


Interest (Simple and Compound)

Data Analysis The main idea in the passage

Speed, Time and Distance Time and Work

Direction sense Assumption

Number System

Team formation Inferences, Statements, Arguments


Seating Arrangement Synonyms-antonyms


Blood Relation Phrasal meaning & Usage

Pure Math

ClocksAssumptionAssumptionAssumption Para Summary

Venn diagrams

Calendars Jumbled paragraphs

Linear Equations

Binary logic Odd sentence out of Jumbled paragraph

Quadratic Equations

Logical Sequence Error Corrections

Complex Numbers

Assumption Sequence of sentences


Vocabulary usage


Conclusion Fill in the blanks

Binomial Theorem

Linear and matrix arrangement Completion of Paragraph

Surds and Indices



Series Critical Reasoning

Permutation and Combination Probability Functions

Syllogism Sentence Completion

Set Theory


Mixtures and Alligations


Coordinate Geometry

Set Theory  


  Network Diagrams  
  Quantitative Reasoning  

CAT Study Material 

Candidates' CAT preparation is solely determined by the books they study. CAT 2021 preparation is time-sensitive, so get started now. The most recommended books for CAT preparation should be used as a starting point. It is essential to understand each topic of the CAT syllabus theoretically and conceptually by studying these CAT books.
To prepare for the CAT, you must choose the right books; however, there are a plethora of CAT books on the market, and each claims to be the best. To help you choose the right books among the many, we have compiled a list of those recommended by toppers and experts for each subject.

Recommended books for Quantitative Ability:

  • The complete CAT digest by Arun Sharma 
  • NCERT Mathematics books (Class 6-10)
  • How to prepare for the Quantitative ability for CAT by Arun Sharma 
  • How to prepare for the Common Admissions Test by Muhammad Muneer 
  • Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Examination by Abhijit Guha 
  • Quantitative Aptitude Quantum CAT by Sarvesh Verma
  • Quantitative Aptitude by RS Aggarwal

Recommended books for Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR):

  • A Modern Approach to Logical Reasoning by RS Aggarwal
  • How to Prepare for Logical Reasoning for CAT book by Arun Sharma
  • How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CAT book  by Arun Sharma
  • Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for the CAT by Nishit Sinha
  • Data Interpretation by Nishit Sinha
  • CAT Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning by Gautam Puri

Recommended books for Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC):

  • How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CAT by Arun Sharma and Meenakshi Upadhyay
  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension For The CAT by Nishit Sinha
  • Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis
  • High School Grammar and Composition by Wren and Martin
  • 30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary Mass Market Paperback Wilfred Funk & Norman Lewis/ Simon & Schuster

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. When will the exam be held?

Ans. CAT 2021 will be held around the last week of November 2021

Q. Who is the exam conducting authority for Common Admission Test 2021?

Ans. IIM Bangalore is the exam conducting

Q. Do colleges or institutions, other than IIMs, accept the CAT score?

Ans.  Besides IIMs, the CAT test is accepted for admission to various management programs at  IITs, and IISc as well as top-ranking business schools.

Q. Which CAT books contain solved sample questions?

Ans. CAT Books by Arun Sharma, Sarvesh Verma, Nishit Sinha, and RS Aggarwal contain a large number of solved  questions

Q. When should I start preparing for CAT 2021?

Ans. It is common for students to begin class early. CAT 2021 is expected to be held in the fourth week of November, so starting preparation for the CAT in March or April is a good idea if you plan to sit for the exam.

Q. Will Cat Pattern Change 2021?

Ans. The CAT 2021 exam pattern has not yet changed as of now. In CAT 2020, the exam pattern has been changed, with 90 minutes of testing time reduced to 120 minutes, or 40 minutes for each section.

Q. How can I prepare for CAT 2021 without coaching?

Ans. Success Guide to CAT Preparation Without Coaching.

  1. You can take a mock test.
  2. Exam pattern knowledge is essential.
  3. It is important to manage your time well.
  4. Study groups should be formed.
  5. Study the right material.
  6. Make use of technology.
  7. Maintain self-belief & motivation.

Q. How can I prepare for CAT 2021 while working?

Ans. Tips for Preparing for CAT 2021 While Working:

  1. Make the most of your free time.
  2. Seek guidance from professionals.
  3. Be confident in yourself.
  4. Make sure you follow the schedule for fixing issues.
  5. Preparation material that works.

Q. What score is 99 percentile in CAT?

Ans. The target score for entering the 99 percentile bracket is 135 (CAT raw score).

Q. What is the syllabus of CAT 2021?

Ans. you can Check details on Formsadda

Q. Is 4 Months enough for CAT preparation?

Ans. For the CAT preparation, four months seems a short timeframe. A high percentile can still be achieved in CAT 2021 with the right exam strategy and practice.

Q. What is the best time to start CAT preparation?

Ans. The ideal time to start preparing for the CAT is in the second year of the third-year graduation course (or the third year of the three-year course).

Q. Which is the best study material for CAT?

Ans. Quantitative Ability CAT Books:

  • NCERT mathematics books (6-10)
  • How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT by Arun Sharma.
  • Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Examinations by Abhijit Guha.
  • Quantitative Aptitude Quantum CAT by Sarvesh Verma.
  • Quantitative Aptitude for CAT by Nishit Sinha.

CAT's revised exam pattern has 16 questions in both DI and LR in this section. For Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning, some of the best books for CAT preparation include the Arihant Reasoning Book and Logic and Data Interpretation by Arun Sharma.

Q. Which is the best book for CAT preparation?

Ans. A list of the top CAT 2021 books is provided below

Book Name Author/Publisher Name
For Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning Gautam Puri
For Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for the CAT Nishit K. Sinha
For Data Interpretation & Data Sufficiency Ananta Ashisha
How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CAT Arun Sharma

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