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Why CAT is a top MBA entrance exam?


CAT stands for Common Admission Test, which is the sought-after entrance examination for students seeking admission to the postgraduate management courses in the most prestigious management colleges across the country.

Every year, one of thesixolder Indian Institute of Management (IIMs)conducts the CAT examinationandIIM Indore is convening the CAT 2020. The sixoldest IIMs are IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, IIM Calcutta, IIM Indore, IIM Kozhikode, and IIM Lucknow.

What sets apartCAT from all other MBA entrance examination is that based on CAT scores students can apply to all the 20 Indian Institute of Management (IIMs), 7 Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Indian Institute of Science (IISC), Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), Management Development Institute (MDI) and various other top b-schools whooffer admissions to their flagship MBA/PGDM programme across the country.

Students graduating from the top b-schools are typically offered roles in the senior-middle management. The probability of receiving a Series A funding for start-ups owned by these MBA graduates increases exponentially which is also a reason why there has been a spike in the number of candidates applying for CAT exam in the recent years.

Flexible Exam Pattern and Marking Scheme

The duration of CAT exam is three hours andconsists of threesections, namely Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR) and Quantitative Aptitude (Quant). Each section is to be attempted individually within a time limit of onehour.

CAT focuses on testing the aptitude of the candidate and hence the paper consists of threedifferent sections. It allows the candidate to make up for their low score in a particular topic/subject by scoring high in the subsequent sections.

There aretotal 100 questions, with VARC consisting of 34 questions, DILR consisting of 32 questions and Quant consisting of 34 questions.

The paper pattern for CAT involves negative markingand approximately 70-75% of the questions (MCQs) have negative marking, with three marks awarded for correct response and deduction of one mark for incorrect responses.

Most of the time, the remaining 20-25% of the questions are non-MCQ questions thatdo not include a provision of negative marking.

Lenient Eligibility Criteria

The eligibility criteria is also the reason why many MBA aspirants choose CAT exam over other MBA entrance examinations.

CAT is considered as one of the most lenient MBA entrance examinations as far as the eligibility criteria is concerned. There are no restrictions on the age of the candidate, and the candidate should score a minimum aggregate of 50% in graduation. Students in the final year of their graduation are also eligible to apply for CAT exam.

Common Admission Test has its doors open for students from all the streams and there are no pre-requisites involved in terms of past academic background.

Normalization of CAT Scores and Percentile Calculation

For a candidate to be eligible for the GD-PI rounds conducted by all the IIM or other top b-schools, the candidate must score more than the cut-off marks, which vary each year for all the three sections.

Unlike other entrance examinations that take into consideration only the total score, CAT considers the total scores of only those students who have scored above the cut-off marks individually in all the threesections. The cut-off score for each section varies every year; however, in recent years it has been ranging between 70-90 percentiles.

Apart from the CAT score, past academics and gender diversity also play a critical role in receiving a call for interviews from the topb-schools.

The scoring pattern of CAT is also different than most of the other MBA entrance examinations, which is also a reason why many MBA aspirants look forward to CATin which the total score is converted to a scaled score, which is further converted into a percentile.

Converting raw scores into percentile helps in equalising, normalising and maintaining uniformity in the difficulty level of questions since the examination is conducted in two shifts, morning and evening.

Candidates with a high percentile score in CAT are shortlisted for the GD-PI round to secure admission tothe top b-schools across the country.

To summarise, the eligibility criteria, paper pattern (opportunity to attempt each section individually),difficulty level of questions, scoring pattern, large pool of colleges accepting CAT score for admission to their MBA programmes, and last but not the least, the Return on Investment (ROI) and the Risk to Reward Ratio (RRR) after graduating from areputedb-school is what makes CAT the top MBA entrance examination.

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