Dear Mentor:

How do I take the CAT for my MBA at an IIM?

If I could get details regarding the CAT [Common Admission Test] for MBA admission at the IIMs [Indian Institutes of Management], it would be very helpful. Thank you.

Appearing for CAT, India

Dear Appearing for CAT:

The Common Admission Test (CAT) is a common entrance exam for admission to the Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) at Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Lucknow, Indore, and Kozhikode. Many other management institutes also use the CAT as a part of the admissions requirements.

The CAT consists of four parts: Verbal Ability, Reading Comprehension, Problem Solving, and Data Interpretation. All the questions are multiple choice. The test penalizes for wrong answers; every correct answer is awarded one point and every incorrect answer results in a point deduction.

The CAT is held only once a year in December. One must be a graduate with no less than 50% marks or studying in the final year to appear for the test. Ads for the CAT begin appearing in national newspapers in late August - early September. The test is held at about 20 centers around the country. Examinations centers are assigned to the candidates based on their preference.

While the CAT is an important element of the decision making for admission at IIMs, it is not the only criterion. Other elements of the criteria include past academic background and achievements, and post-degree work experience.

The forms for the exam can be bought from the State Bank of India and from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). Completed forms can be submitted to the In-charge of Admissions at IIM Ahmedabad, Calcutta, Bangalore, and Lucknow.

You would be well advised to walk down to a neighborhood bookstore and purchase a preparation guide for the CAT.

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