Cat Paper or more formally Common Admission Test is a national level post graduate degree test conducted by the Indian Institute of Management in India. More than 2 lakh students from plethora of disciplines take the test every year.

Starting from 2009, CAT Paper underwent a huge change in letter and spirit. What used to be a paper pencil based test evolved into a Computer Based Test and probably the only of its kind where so many student take a paper in such a short span.

The CAT PAPER is conducted in a window lasting about 2 weeks to about 1 month across 20+ centers. Experts believe that the cat paper may evolve into a computer adaptive test in years ahead on the same lines as GMAT or GRE.

As of now, the CAT paper has 3 sections, namely Quant, DI/LR and VA. Quant stands for quantitative aptitude, DI for Data Interpretation, LR for Logical Reasoning and VA for Verbal Ability. The number of questions kept varying every year.


During the early days when CAT was conducted, CAT used to be a speed oriented test. But slowly with time, the paper changed into a logical based paper in which the decision making ability of a candidate is tested under pressure circumstances. Not only that, previously, the cat exam had various surprises like variable marking scheme and the likes but come 2010, for the first time in history of CAT, the marking scheme and the paper format both were revealed to the candidates before attempting the paper.

This was expected since the window of paper spanned to almost a month. CAT is regarded as one of the most difficult exam in the world. The selection ratio for the IIMs is higher than the selection ratio of the famous Ivy League of the US. Not only this, the actual post graduate programs which student undergo in these IIMs regarded much more rigorous than any other Global B-school.

The marks obtained by students in the CAT exam paper pave the way for the next stage in entrance to the IIMs. The marks thus obtained after the paper are then listed down in a relative format known as percentile. For example, suppose a student getting 135 out of 180 in the CAT paper is the topper of the exam.


Now this student is given 100 percentile, then relative to this the next student marks percentile is calculated. Another way to look at the percentile is to visualize that among all the students who gave the cat exam, the one who topped the paper had the entire population i.e. 100% of people under him. Similarly if someone gets 95%ile that means that he did better than 95% of the students who gave the exam and 5% of the total students were above him in the exam.

It is a matter of pride for any student who cracks the CAT paper and succeeds in his endeavor. It takes lot of hard work and character to do well in an exam of this stature.

The best part of CAT is that since it opens the way for an MBA degree, people from every discipline i.e. PT instructors, engineers, veterinary doctors. Anyone can give the exam and age is not a hindrance either. This makes a very competitive recipe with the ultimate prize being the seat in one of the best management colleges in the nation.

If you have any questions with respect to the cat paper or would like to ask any question, please leave a comment below and we will get back to you.