MBA Admissions 2021-22

MBA Admissions 2021-22

How IIMs started CAT to select MBA aspirants

PUBLISH DATE 25th November 2019

CAT 2019: After 25 years, since the Common Admission Test (CAT 2019) started in 1984, the B-school entrance examination moved to computer-based test (CBT) mode in 2009.


CAT 2019: There are 20 management entrance examinations held in India of which the Common Admission Test (CAT) is considered the most sought after. After cracking CAT, one is eligible to secure admission in top B-schools including the 13 IIMs (Indian Institute of Management).


With the introduction of the Common Admission Test in 1984, over the years, the management entrance examination underwent multiple changes. Earlier, the test was conducted in pen and paper mode, which switched to computer-based or online mode from 2009.

The IIM-Ahmedabad conducted the first computer-based CAT in 2009, but since the entrance examination faced several technical glitches, a re-test was held in January 2010.

A brief history

After the establishment of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM-Calcutta, IIM-Ahmadabad) in 1961, the business schools started conducting the admission process on the basis of their own entrance examinations. But after IIM-Bangalore came up in 1973 and IIM-Lucknow in 1983, the management institutes decided to conduct a common entrance test on the lines of the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) in 1984.

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How CAT evolved through the years

Paper pattern

2009: Pen-paper to computer-based test

After 25 years, the Common Admission Test (CAT) changed to computer-based (CBT) mode in 2009. A total of 2.41 lakh candidates appeared in the management entrance examination conducted by IIM-Ahmedabad.

Prometric India Private Limited, the online testing partner, designed the software for the first CBT examination. The examination witnessed lots of technical glitches, which finally resulted in re-examination.

The IIM-Ahmadabad conducted the examination again in January 2010.

2011: Sections reduced from 3 to 2

For the first time in 2011, CAT conducted by IIM Calcutta witnessed major changes in the paper pattern. The paper was reduced to two sections from three, namely Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning and Verbal Ability. The total number of questions remained the same as 60 (30 in each section).

2014: 100 questions from 60

The paper pattern was changed again in 2014. IIM-Indore conducted CAT 2014 in a completely new pattern.

The new paper consisted of two sections with 50 questions each, whereas CAT 2013 comprised 60 questions, with 30 in each section.

2015: MCQ questions withdrawn

The exam pattern was again changed in 2015. The IIM-Ahmadabad conducted Common Admission Test (CAT) in 2015 of 100 questions (34 in two sections, and 32 in other).

The CAT examination was held over a period of 180 minutes. For the first time, the paper was of objective type, without multiple choice questions (MCQs), and the IIM allowed on-screen calculators in the entrance examinations.

Changes in slots

From 2009 to 2013, the CAT was held in a period of 20 days and in 40 different slots.

In 2014, the CAT was conducted over a period of two days in four different slots. But, 2015 onwards, the B-school entrance examination was held in a single day in two different slots.

Application number:

This year, over 2.44 lakh (2,44,169) candidates applied for the Common Admission Test (CAT 2019) examinations conducted by the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Kozhikode, a steep rise in number of candidates from 2018, which was 2,40,338.

Year-wise number of applicants

2019- 2,44,169

2018- 2,40,338

2017- 2,31,000

2016- 2,32,434

2015- 2,18,664

2014- 1,96,988

2013- 1,94,516

2012- 2,14,000

2011- 2,05,000

2010- 2,04,000

2009- 2,41,000

2008- 2,90,000

2007- 2,50,000.

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