CAT Eligibility Criteria
Every year, lakhs of students register for and write the Common Admission Test (CAT) to get admission into the prestigious Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) or other non-IIM member institutions. CAT is conducted by the IIMs to evaluate management aptitude skills and shortlisting candidates for admission into postgraduate programs in management.
Candidates write the CAT exam as part of a rigorous four-stage selection procedure which includes Group Discussion (GD), Writing Ability Test (WAT) and Personal Interviews (PI).
In order to appear for the CAT exam, students need to fulfil the requisite eligibility criteria.
CAT Age Limit
The Common Admission Test (CAT) is a computer-based exam conducted in India for admission to various management programs offered by Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and other top B-schools in India.
The age limit for appearing in CAT exam is not specified by the conducting authority. As per the eligibility criteria, the candidate must have a Bachelor’s degree with at least 50% marks or equivalent CGPA (45% for SC/ST/PwD categories) from a recognized university or educational institution.
There is no upper age limit for appearing in the CAT exam. Candidates of any age can appear in the exam provided they fulfill the eligibility criteria mentioned above.
Here are the details regarding the eligibility criteria for CAT:
- The candidate must have a Bachelor’s Degree with at least 50% marks or equivalent CGPA [45% in case of candidates from the Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST), and Persons with Disabilities (PwD) categories], awarded by any University or educational institution formed by an Act of Parliament or State legislature in India or proclaimed as a University under Section 3 of the UGC Act, 1956, or hold an equivalent qualification recognised by the Ministry of HRD, Government of India.
- Candidates in their final year of Bachelor’s degree/equivalent qualification examination, as well as those who have completed the requirements of their degree and are awaiting results, are eligible to apply. However, if selected, such candidates will be allowed to join the program on a provisional basis only if they submit a certificate from the principal/registrar of their Institution/University (issued on or before the date specified by the respective IIM) declaring that they have completed all requirements for obtaining a Bachelor’s degree/equivalent qualification on the date of issue of the certificate.
- To sum up, applicants for CAT must meet one of the following requirements:
- Obtained Bachelor’s Degree with the required marks
- Completed a professional degree with requisite percentage (CA/CS/ICWA/Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries of India (FIAI)
- Applicants should be in their final year of Bachelor’s degree program and should obtain the required marks.
- A minimum of 45 percent is required for SC/ST/PWD candidates. The minimum requirement for General, EWS, and NC-OBC applicants is 50%
- The percentage of marks secured by the candidate will be calculated as per the respective University/Institution’s practice. In the event of grades/CGPA, the procedure approved by the respective University/Institution would be used to convert grades to percentages of marks. If a university or institution states there is no system for converting CGPA to equivalent percentage of marks, equivalence would be determined by dividing the candidate’s CGPA by the maximum possible CGPA, and multiplying the result with 100.
- At various phases of the selection process, IIMs may verify eligibility; the information is provided on the official website. Applicants should bear in mind that merely meeting the minimum eligibility requirements will not guarantee being considered for shortlisting by IIMs. Throughout the screening process, applicants must declare and possess a functional and unique email account and mobile phone number.
- In accordance with the law, 15% of the seats are reserved for Scheduled Caste (SC) candidates and 7.5 percent for Scheduled Tribe (ST) candidates. 27% of the seats are reserved for candidates from Other Backward Classes from the “non-creamy” layer (NC-OBC). 10% of the seats are reserved for candidates from the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS).
- For being considered for reservation, the applicable Central Government list on the last date of CAT registration shall be binding. No subsequent changes will be applicable for CAT 2021 or for the subsequent selection process conducted by IIMs. For an updated central list of state-wise OBCs eligible for availing reservation or information regarding the creamy layer, visit http://www.ncbc.nic.in
Additional Information for SC, ST, NC-OBC, EWS and PwD:
- The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act of 2016 (RPwD Act 2016) specifies that 5% of seats are reserved for people with benchmark disabilities (PwD). “Person with Benchmark Disability” is somebody who has not less than forty percent (40%) of a specified disability that has not been defined in quantifiable terms, and includes a person who has a disability that has been described in measurable terms – both, as certified by the certifying authority. The disabilities listed in the Schedule of the RPwD Act 2016 are referred to as “specified disabilities.” The various categories of disabilities are as follows:
- Blindness and low vision
- Autism, intellectual disability, specific learning disability, and mental illness
- Locomotor disabilities including cerebral palsy, leprosy cured, dwarfism, acid attack victims and muscular dystrophy
- Deaf and hard of hearing
- Multiple disabilities from amongst persons under the above-mentioned clauses
- Other ‘specified disabilities’ mentioned in ‘The Schedule’ of the RPwD Act 2016
- Before applying, candidates from the reserved categories should carefully review the eligibility conditions. While IIMs make every effort to ensure that applicants from the SC/ST/NC-OBC/EWS/PwD categories enroll in the programs in proportions required by law, they must meet the basic eligibility criteria and achieve a particular level of performance to be considered for admission
- Candidates must carefully go through the updated description of the selection process decided by each IIM, mentioned on their respective website. No change in category will be considered after CAT registration. Applicants are advised to pay close attention at the time of registration
- If a candidate falls under the SC or ST categories, his or her caste or tribe must be mentioned in the Government of India schedule. The caste certificate the applicant provides to the IIM should be in the Government of India-approved template and clearly mention the following:
- Name of the caste/tribe
- Whether the applicant belongs to Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe
- District and State or Union Territory of the candidate’s residence
- the appropriate Government of India schedule under which the candidate’s caste/tribe is recognized and approved by it
- A copy of the SC/ST/NC-OBC/EWS/PwD certificate(s) must be uploaded at the time of CAT application registration. Failure to upload a copy of the caste/class certificate will result in rejection of a candidate’s CAT registration.
- The SC/ST/NC-OBC/EWS/PwD certificate(s) must be shown and a photocopy submitted at the time of interviews as well. The certificate(s) must also be furnished at the time of joining any of the programs at the IIMs. Failure to do so in the post-CAT selection process may result in disregarding the person’s candidature under the reserved category.