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CAT 2023 exam date and pattern

Blog Date
August 22,

The CAT (Common Admission Test) stands as the preeminent crucible for discerning minds seeking ingress into India’s upper echelons of management education. It is a nationally recognized entrance examination that holds the key to enrolling in premier business schools, including the prestigious IIMs (Indian Institutes of Management) and other esteemed management institutions. Renowned for its exacting rigor, the examination gauges candidates’ potential across quantitative, verbal, and logical domains. 

The CAT exam holds immense significance as it enables aspirants to showcase their analytical and problem-solving skills, essential attributes for successful managers and leaders. It attracts a diverse pool of applicants from various academic backgrounds and work experiences, making it a valuable benchmark for selecting the finest talents in the field of management. If you are aspiring to pursue a management career and aim to join premier business schools, the CAT exam is a crucial step toward realizing your aspirations. 

Also read: How to prepare for the CAT exam?

CAT exam 2023: An overview 

The importance of CAT cannot be overstated, as it acts as a crucial determinant in shaping a candidate’s academic and professional trajectory. 

CAT Full FormCommon Admission Test (CAT)
Conducting BodyIndian Institute of Management (IIM) Lucknow
Official CAT 2023 websitehttps://iimcat.ac.in
Eligibility Criteria50% overall graduation requirement (45% for SC/ST students)
Mode of filling CAT 2023 application formOnline
CAT 2023 exam marking scheme-1 mark for each incorrect response (negative marking)
Application form fees 
INR 2,400 (General category)INR 1,200 (SC/ST/PwD)
CAT 2023 exam syllabus
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)Quantitative Ability (QA)

Also read: MBA without CAT: Top CAT exam alternatives in 2023

CAT 2023 exam registration

The registration process for the CAT 2023 exam is scheduled to initiate on 2nd August 2023 and is set to conclude on 13th September 2023. Prospective candidates are advised to adhere to the following comprehensive CAT 2023 registration procedure to participate in the exam:

  • Online portal visit: Begin by accessing the official CAT exam website. Make sure you are using a suitable web browser to avoid any technical issues.
  • New account creation: On the website’s homepage, locate and click on the “Register” button. This action will prompt you to set up a new account within the CAT online portal.
  • Enter the personal details: The subsequent step involves inputting your personal details, academic background, and professional work history (if applicable). Ensure that the information you provide is accurate and up-to-date.
  • Upload documents: As per the guidelines provided, upload the requisite documents. This typically includes a passport-sized photograph and a scanned image of your signature. Adhering to the specified dimensions and formats is crucial to prevent any discrepancies.
  • Select preferred exam center and time slot: Indicate your preferred exam city from the available options. Additionally, choose a convenient time slot that aligns with your schedule. Be prompt in this selection, as time slots are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Payment of registration fee: The registration process necessitates payment of the applicable fee. This fee can usually be paid online through secure payment gateways. Ensure that you complete this step within the designated time frame to validate your registration.
  • Application verification: Before final submission, meticulously review all the entered details to confirm their accuracy. Mistakes or inaccuracies could potentially impact your exam eligibility.
  • Submission and confirmation: Submit your application once you’re certain that all of the information is correct and complete. Following submission, you will receive an email confirming your successful registration for the CAT 2023 exam.

Check out: How an MBA impacts your career

CAT exam syllabus

Candidates should have an in-depth grasp of the syllabus and be well-prepared for the test to perform well on the CAT exam and gain admission to their preferred business school. The CAT 2023 syllabus primarily covers three major sections:

1. Quantitative ability (QA):

  • Arithmetic: This involves topics such as percentages, profit and loss, time and work, time-speed-distance, ratio and proportion, averages, etc.
  • Algebra: Including concepts of equations, inequalities, quadratic equations, functions, and sequences.
  • Geometry: Covering properties and problems related to lines, angles, triangles, circles, polygons, and coordinate geometry.
  • Number Theory: Topics like divisibility, factors, multiples, prime numbers, remainders, and number properties.
  • Modern Mathematics: Probability, permutation and combination, set theory, and basic statistics.

2. Verbal ability and reading comprehension (VARC):

  • Reading comprehension: Passages on various topics with questions testing understanding, inference, vocabulary, and critical reasoning.
  • Vocabulary: Antonyms, synonyms, analogies, word meanings, idioms, and phrases.
  • Grammar: Correct usage, sentence correction, subject-verb agreement, tenses, and parts of speech.
  • Verbal reasoning: Para jumbles, paragraph completion, and summary-based questions.

3. Data interpretation and logical reasoning (DILR):

  • Data interpretation: Analyzing and interpreting data presented in the form of tables, charts, graphs, and diagrams. Calculations and comparisons are required.
  • Logical reasoning: Assessing the ability to analyze patterns, sequences, and relationships logically. This section may include puzzles, arrangements, and logical deductions.

It’s important to note that the CAT exam does not specify a fixed syllabus, but the topics mentioned above are the core areas from which questions are typically drawn. Candidates are recommended to use official CAT training resources, previous year’s test questions, and reliable study materials to fully comprehend the syllabus and exam format. Additionally, staying updated with any changes or updates on the official CAT website is crucial.

CAT exam: Eligibility criteria

Candidates who earned a 3-year bachelor’s degree from a UGC-recognized institution in any stream are qualified for enrollment for the CAT 2023. Look over the detailed eligibility requirements below:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited university with a minimum GPA of 50% (45% for the SC, ST, and PWD/DA categories).
  • Candidates who completed CA, CS, or ICWA and received the necessary percentage can also register for CAT 2023.
  • Candidates may apply for the CAT exam 2023 while they are in their final year of undergraduate study.

Also read: Why do employers prefer MBA grads over others

CAT 2023 exam pattern

The VARC, DILR, and QA sections will make up the three portions of the CAT exam in 2023, which will follow the same format as the previous year. Furthermore, each section will last 40 minutes. The paper will have both MCQs and SAQs (also known as TITAs). The majority of the questions will be MCQs. TITAs, on the other hand, are short-response questions.

Sections in CAT 2023VARC DILRQA
Time Duration of CAT section-wise40 minutes per section (Total 120 minutes)
Type of questionsMCQs and Non-MCQs
Total number of questions66
Total marks in CAT Exam198
Language of question paperEnglish
Marking Scheme
Each question will carry 3 marks-1 for every wrong answerNo negative marking for Non-MCQs

CAT exam: Sectional timing

The CAT exam has a time limit for each section. The applicant cannot make any modifications to the portions they have previously attempted once the allotted time has expired and the screen immediately advances to the following section. So, you must keep track of the time and practice accordingly. Let’s have a look at CAT 2023 sectional timing.

Name of sectionsTotal questionsTime durationMarks
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension(VARC)2440 minutes72
Quantitative Ability (QA)2240 minutes66
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)2040 minutes60

Check out: Get an MBA while working a full-time job

CAT exam: Marking scheme

The CAT exam employs a marking scheme that involves rewarding positive and negative marks. For correct answers, candidates receive a designated number of positive marks, while incorrect answers lead to a deduction of negative marks. This approach aims to assess both accuracy and precision in responses, thereby encouraging thoughtful consideration of each question. Candidates need to be well-versed in the marking scheme to optimize their performance on the CAT exam. CAT 2023 marking scheme is as follows:

Name of sectionMCQsTITA questionsMCQ marksTITA marks
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension20-214-53, -13, no negative
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning20-212-33, -13, no negative
Quantitative Ability20-214-53, -13, no negative

CAT exam result

CAT results will be released around the second week of January. You can download your CAT 2023 result from the official CAT website by following the steps listed below:

  • Go to the ‘CAT scorecard/result’ tab on the official website.
  • Give your password and linked CAT application number.
  • Get your CAT score report by selecting the “scorecard” section.

Check out: Got a low CAT score? You can still pursue an MBA from a reputed college

MBA admission without CAT

Online MBA programs usually do not require CAT percentile and one can still get admission to top universities without appearing for the CAT exam. Top universities offering online MBAs usually take into account various factors such as professional experience, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, and in some cases, GMAT or GRE scores. The emphasis is on assessing candidates’ practical skills, leadership qualities, and potential for contributing effectively to the program’s collaborative environment. Admissions committees recognize that a diverse cohort with a wide range of experiences can enrich the learning experience for all participants.

Therefore, candidates interested in pursuing an online MBA should highlight their career achievements and leadership roles and demonstrate their commitment to further education. While CAT scores might be a prerequisite for traditional MBA programs, the online MBA programs open doors to accomplished individuals to secure admission to esteemed institutions without being constrained by CAT percentiles.

Why the online MBA from Manipal University Jaipur is the best option

The online MBA program offered by Manipal University Jaipur through Online Manipal stands out as an exceptional choice due to its comprehensive features and highlights. Boasting a meticulously designed curriculum, it integrates contemporary business theories with real-world applications, fostering holistic skill development. The excellent faculty comprises industry experts and accomplished academicians, ensures top-notch education. 

The program’s flexibility allows professionals to balance learning with their other commitments. Cutting-edge virtual classrooms and interactive sessions facilitate immersive learning experiences. For those seeking an academically rigorous, flexible, and industry-relevant MBA journey, Manipal University Jaipur’s online MBA program emerges as an unrivaled option.

Program duration: 2 years (24 months)

Program fee: INR 1, 66,000 (INR 41,500 per semester)

Program eligibility:

  • Candidates must have completed 10+2+3 years of bachelor’s degree or an equivalent degree from an authorized institution recognized by AIU (Association of Indian Universities).
  • Candidates need to have at least 50% overall aggregate in their undergraduate degree program (45% for reserved categories).
  • Candidates must clear the online aptitude test administered by MUJ as per the application procedure.
  • Candidates who have passed any aptitude exam (CAT/MAT/CMAT/XAT/GMAT) with a valid score (40 percentile) need not take the aforementioned exam.

Also read: MBA or Business Certificate: What should you prefer?


In conclusion, the Common Admission Test (CAT) is a pivotal examination that plays a transformative role in the lives of individuals aspiring to excel in the realm of business management. By assessing candidates on multiple dimensions of aptitude and potential, CAT identifies those with the acumen and determination to thrive in the demanding landscape of management education. Aspiring candidates, whether recent graduates or seasoned professionals, should approach CAT with diligence, perseverance, and a commitment to self-improvement.


Information related to companies and external organizations is based on secondary research or the opinion of individual authors and must not be interpreted as the official information shared by the concerned organization.

Additionally, information like fee, eligibility, scholarships, finance options etc. on offerings and programs listed on Online Manipal may change as per the discretion of respective universities so please refer to the respective program page for latest information. Any information provided in blogs is not binding and cannot be taken as final.

  • TAGS
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Online MBA

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