CAT 2018

CAT 2018 is the largest MBA entrance exam in India for admission in 2019 to 20 IIMs, FMS, SPJIMR, MDI, JBIMS, IMI, IMT, NITIE, MBA at IITs and hundreds of other top MBA colleges in India. Going by the past trends, it is expected that more than 2 lakh candidates will register and apply for Common Admission Test (CAT) 2018.


CAT 2018 will be conducted by one of the top 6 IIMs namely – IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, IIM Calcutta, IIM Lucknow, IIM Indore, IIM Kozhikode. The 14 new or newest IIMs are not yet assigned with the responsibility to conduct CAT exam. TCS will be the testing partner for CAT 2018.  


CAT 2018 will a computer based exam of 3 hours duration with 100 questions divided in 3 sections and will be conducted in more than 140 test cities in India on a Sunday in two sessions – morning and afternoon, in the last week of November or first week of December 2018.


Last 5 years of CAT exam

Following top IIMs have convened CAT exams in last 5 years:

CAT exam year
CAT convening IIM
Ye to be announced
IIM Lucknow
IIM Bangalore
IIM Ahmedabad
IIM Indore
IIM Indore

CAT Exam used to be held in 15 to 20 days testing window till 2013 by IIMs. However, since 2014, CAT exam testing window has been shortened to one day only. Accordingly, CAT 2018 MBA entrance exam will also be held in single day two sessions.


CAT 2018 Important dates

CAT 2018 Notification date: July 28, 2018 (Tentative)

CAT 2018 Registration start date: August 4, 2018 (Tentative)

CAT 2018 Registration ends: September 20, 2018 (Tentative)

CAT 2018 Admit card release date: October 25, 2018 (Tentative)

CAT 2018 Exam date: November 25, 2018 (Tentative)

CAT 2018 Result date: January 2019 second week (Tentative)


CAT MBA entrance exam attracts the cream of talent in India. The best talent of country aspires for IIMs which are highly ranked in imparting management education. The admission to IIMs is possible only through high scores in CAT MBA exam. Return on investment at IIMs is very high. 2 years fee and other expenses at IIMs come to around Rs.15 to 21 lakhs. Top recruiters from India and the world eye these institutes for their placement season. The offered salary packages go as high as Rs.50 to 70 lakhs per annum to the students of IIMs, FMS. SPJIMR, MDI, among others who offer admission on the basis of CAT scores.


Key facts about CAT 2018

  • CAT 2017 exam is a computer based exam of 180 minutes duration with 100 questions
  • One of the top 6 IIMs will convene CAT 2018 exam
  • TCS – Tata Consultancy Services is the test taking agency for CAT exam 2018
  • High score in each of the 3 sections in CAT exam 2018 may lead to 1st stage admission shortlist for the 2019-21 batch in IIMs, FMS Delhi, SPJIMR Mumbai, MDI Gurgaon, IMI New Delhi, JBIMS Mumbai, IMT Ghaziabad, TAPMI Manipal, BIMTECH Greater Noida, GIM Goa, Great Lakes Chennai, LIBA Chennai, IFMR Chennai, XIM Bhubaneswar among other top MBA colleges
  • CAT 2018 MBA entrance exam is the low cost MBA entrance test as it provides admission opportunity in 20 IIMs with the CAT 2018 registration fee of Rs.1900/- for General candidates; Rs.1000/- for reserved category. CAT 2018 Registration and CAT exam application fee taken together comes to less than Rs.100 per IIM.
  • CAT 2018 exam will offer a choice of more than 50 management programmes in 20 IIMs without any additional application fee for admission to academic session 2019-21.
  •  CAT exam 2018 will lead to admission in top MBA colleges in India.


CAT 2018 Notification
CAT 2018 notification will be released by the IIMs in the last week of July 2018. The CAT notification 2018 will be simultaneously released in all the leading newspapers. CAT 2018 notification is released by IIMs to online websites a day before it is published in news papers.


With the release of CAT 2018 notification by IIMs, will publish it immediately. The CAT 2018 notification will contain following details:

  • CAT 2018 Exam date
  • CAT 2018 exam registration and application fee
  • CAT 2018 registration start and close date
  • CAT 2018 registration and application process
  • CAT 2018 eligibility criteria
  • CAT 2018 exam pattern
  • MBA/PGP programmes in 20 IIMs
  • CAT 2018 scoring pattern
  • CAT 2018 result date


CAT 2018 Registration and Application
CAT 2018 registration and application process will begin about a week after the CAT 2018 notification is out in news papers. CAT 2018 registration fee is expected to be Rs.1900/- as there is an increase of Rs.100/- in CAT registration fee every year. For 2017 CAT registration fee was Rs.1800/- and for 2016, the CAT registration fee was Rs.1700/-


CAT 2018 registration process is online only.  Since 2014, there is no offline application voucher is made available by IIMs to register and apply for CAT exam.


CAT 2018 registration will begin in the first week of August 2018 and will close in the last week of September 2018 as per the past CAT registration process.


More than 2 lakhs candidates are expected to register and appear in CAT 2018 exam. CAT 2018 will therefore offer a stiff competition for admission to top B-schools. Over the years the candidates applying for CAT aptitude test leading to IIM admission have been increasing year after year as the data for past CAT exam released by CAT convening IIM Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Indore, Lucknow and other IIMs reveal this fact. 


CAT exam year
Total Candidates registered for CAT exam (In lakhs)
2.31 (231, 067)
2.32 (232,434)
2.19 (218,664)

Source: CAT data from IIMs and analysis


CAT 2018 Eligibility

  • Completed Bachelor’s degree with the required percentage of marks, or
  • Completed professional degree (CA/CS/ICWA) with required percentage, or
  • Should be in the final year of Bachelor’s degree with required percentage
  • No Age bar to register and appear in CAT 2018 exam

CAT 2018 Admit Card

  • CAT 2018 Admit Card is the mandatory document to appear in the IIMs Common Admission Test (CAT) 2018 exam on the CAT exam date.
  • There are two slots of CAT 2018 exam. A candidate will be allowed to appear in one slot only.
  • Separate CAT 2018 Admit card will be issued for the designated slot-1 or slot-2 for CAT exam.
  • IIMs will issue CAT 2018 Admit card on the CAT website and no hard copy of the CAT Admit card 2018 will be sent to any candidate.
  • CAT 2018 aspirant will need to login on CAT website and have to download the CAT admit card from there
  • Print of the CAT 2018 admit card should be taken
  • CAT 2018 Admit Card will remain available for download till CAT 2018 exam day.

CAT 2018 Exam pattern
CAT Exam pattern over the past 7 years since it was computerised in 2009 has gone for perceptible changes. CAT paper pattern prior to 2009 was paper-pen based. CAT exam format was changed from paper based exam to CAT online computer based test in 2009. Even after that CAT paper pattern continued changing from 3 sections to 2 and then in CAT 2015 pattern changed to 3 sections. CAT 2017 format remains the same as that of CAT exam 2016 pattern with 3 sections and 3 hours time although the number of MCQs and Non-MCQs have changed.  Read more (Link to CAT 2018 exam pattern page)


CAT 2018 Paper to remain on last year pattern 
Is the CAT online test? Responding to this query IIMs, although accept that CAT paper pattern is computer based but whether CAT is online test, they say ‘No.’ Regarding the CAT exam pattern, IIMs say “CAT is not an online exam. It is a digital or Computer Based Test (CBT); not an Internet-Based Test (IBT); that is, a candidate will not take the exam on an internet site. Instead of reading the questions in a paper booklet and darkening the ovals on the answer-sheet, a candidate will read the questions on a computer terminal and choose an answer by clicking on the correct option.”

So the CAT exam pattern 2018, despite being a computer based exam, CAT exam 2018 pattern will not be an online exam. Sharing the key difference and USPs of CAT exam pattern, IIMs further elaborate “In the computer-based format, the candidate reads a question on a computer terminal and clicks on the correct answer. Additionally, the timer on the computer screen tells you the remaining time to complete the current section.”


CAT exam pattern 2018

  • CAT 2018 exam is Computer based Test (CBT) of 3 hours duration.
  • CAT exam is divided into 3 main sections of 60 minutes each
  • The 3 sections in CAT exam 2018 pattern are – Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC); Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR); Quantitative Aptitute (QA)
  • There will also be sub sections within the 3 sections in revised CAT exam 2018 pattern. For example, the revamped CAT exam pattern for VARC consists of Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension sub sections; DILR contains questions on Data Interpretation and Logical reasoning.
  • Candidates are not allowed to move between one section to other during the 1 hour assigned to the particular section.
  • CAT 2018 Test takers cannot leave their seats during the exam.
  • The questions in CAT 2018 exam pattern will be divided into Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) where you need to pick out 1 correct answer choice out of 4; then there are Non-MCQs where you have to type-in the correct answer on the computer screen.
  • It is not necessary that you will find the answer choices for Non-MCQs in revised pattern of CAT 2018.
  • Each correct answer in CAT exam pattern will be awarded 3 marks whether it is MCQ or Non-MCQ
  • Each wrong answer for MCQ in CAT exam 2017 will be imposed penalty of 1/3 negative mark (-1 mark)
  • There will be no penalty of negative marking on wrong answers to Non-MCQs in CAT 2017 exam pattern

CAT paper pattern since computerization

CAT year
Total questions
Difficulty level
Q break up
CAT 2017
34 (RC-24 all MCQs; Verbal 10 with 7 Non-MCQs and 3 MCQs)
32 (DI-16, LR-16; MCQs 24; Non-MCQs 8)
34 (23 MCQs, 11 Non MCQs)
Moderate to difficult
Moderate difficulty exam. Non MCQs -26. Exam on similar pattern as of last year
CAT 2016
VARC-34, RC-24, (All MCQs), Verbal-10 (All non MCQs)
DILR-32, DI-16, LR-16, MCQs-24, Non-MCQs-8
Quant-34, MCQ-27, Non-MCQs-7
Moderate to difficult
CAT exam pattern on the same lines as of CAT exam pattern 2015 Non-MCQs in Quant reduced.
CAT 2015
VARC -34, RC-24 (MCQs), Verbal-10 (Non MCQs)
DILR-32, DI-16, LR-16, MCQs-24, Non-MCQs-8
Quant-34, MCQs-24, Non-MCQs-10
Moderate to difficult
Time limit increased to 180 minutes; Sectional time constration of 1 hour re-introduced; Non-MCQs without negative marking penalty for wrong answer No questions on error correction and vocabulary.
CAT 2014
50 VARC-34 LR-16
50 Quant-34 DI-16
Moderate to difficult
Test time increased to 170 minutes; Sectional time constrain removed; More questions on error correction; RC questions based on reasoning Overall moderate exam.
CAT 2013
30 10 verbal 10 RC 10 LR
30 DI-10
Moderate to difficult
On the same pattern as last year. No new surprise element.
CAT 2012 
30 (LR 10) 10 verbal 10 RC 10 LR
30 (DI 10)
Moderate to difficult (Difficulty level was more or less maintained to the same level.
Error correction-1 to 2, parajumbles-2, Completion of last sentence of paragraph-2, Out of context Sentence in jumbled paragraph -1 to 2, Fill in the blanks vocabulary words- 1 to 2, Words used in different ways-2, Reading comprehension – three passages with 3 to 4 questions each (Common question in almost all the sessions from 11th Oct.2012 to 6th Nov.2012 – Tone of the author-at least two questions in every session) New or surprise element – Two questions on ‘Out of context sentences in jumbled paragraph’ – Paragraph had to be placed in order and the out of context sentence had to be picked out. Permutations & Combinations, Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Mensuration, Number Systems, Modern Maths.
CAT 2011
30(LR 10)
Moderate to difficult-LOD>2
Jumbled sentences, error correction, Vocabulary, RC, grammar Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Mensuration, Number Systems, Modern Maths 
CAT 2010
Moderate to difficult-LOD>2
RC, Grammar, Parajumbles, sentence correction & completion,
Quant was tougher compared to CAT 2009. The areas were more calculation intensive and needed conceptual understanding.
CAT 2009
LOD=2 overall
Sentence rearrangement, Grammar, comprehension, correction of errors, sentence completion, Usage Vocabulary
Number System, Algebra, Mensuration, and Commercial Math.

CAT 2018 Preparation
From January 2018 you have 11 months to prepare for CAT 2018. According to experts, this is sufficient time if you can utilise it judiciously with right study material and devoting dedicated hours of study to prepare for each section.


Major tools that would help you in CAT preparation 2018

  • Best Books for CAT preparation – Arun Sharma, Nishit Sinha, Study and practice material from TIME, CL, IMS – good preparation tool
  • Read how CAT toppers studying in IIMs, FMS, SPJIMR, MDI, IMI, IMT prepared, take tips out of their preparation strategy now
  • Attempt and analyse CAT Mocks prepared as per CAT 2018 exam pattern and the official CAT Mocks released by IIMs
  • CAT exam papers - Previous year papers comprising CAT questions give you the idea and type of CAT questions that you may face in the real CAT exam paper 20178
  • CAT 2018 test series

Best books for CAT preparation
Books for CAT preparation play a major role in helping you score high in the CAT exam. A few of the best books to prepare for CAT 2018 are:


Books for section-1: VARC

  • How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT’- by Arun Sharma & Meenakshi Upadhyay
  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CAT’ - by Nishit K Sinha
  • Latest RC Passages and practice questions provided by Study centres like TIME, CL among others
  • Editorial and short articles published in English news papers
  • ‘Word Power Made Easy’ – by Norman Lewis
  • ‘High School English Grammar & Composition’ – by Wren & Martin
  • Regularly solve the Verbal Ability questions from your study material especially on Para summary, Jumbled Paragraphs

Books for Section-2: DILR

  • ‘How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CAT’ - by Arun Sharma (Published by McGraw Hill)
  • ‘Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for the CAT’ - by Nishit K Sinha (Published by Pearson)
  • ‘How to Prepare for Logical Reasoning for the CAT’ - by Arun Sharma (Published by McGraw Hill)
  • ‘Logical Reasoning and data Interpretation for the CAT’ - by Nishit K Sinha (Published by Pearson)

Books for Section-3: Quantitative Ability (QA)
Following books and study material have remained a good CAT preparation tool for Quant for past many years:

  • ‘How to prepare for Quantitative for the CAT’ - by Arun Sharma, published by MGH Education
  • ‘Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT’ – by Nishit K.Sinha, Published by Pearson
  • ‘The Pearson Guide to Quantitative Aptitude for competitive exams’
  • Quant study modules by TIME, CL, IMS

CAT exam Preparation tips by CAT toppers
All the CAT toppers had adopted different preparation strategy during the last few days to CAT exam. Reading the success mantra shared by the students of IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, IIM Indore, FMS Delhi among others would be a good help to boost your preparation for CAT 2018


Mock tests for CAT

The Practice test papers for CAT prepared by top experts and CAT toppers are good tool to prepare for CAT and crack CAT exam. CAT sample papers are available as CAT online tests also. There are number of CAT online mock tests comprising replica CAT exam questions to help in your CAT preparation. Don’t miss them.

Take official CAT Mock, Previous CAT papers and CAT quizzes prepared by experts


CAT 2018 Test series
You may enrol for CAT test series at some good CAT coaching like TIME, VISTAMIND, CL, IMS among others. They will help you overcome many weak areas. Choose for the best coaching for CAT preparation. CAT coaching online is a good answer to the working professionals who find it difficult to attend regular offline class room coaching for CAT. During the past few years preference for CAT online coaching has gone up many times. In fact CAT online preparation through online coaching for CAT is more cost effective, less time consuming and offers you more time to practice CAT question papers and CAT exercises.  


CAT 2018: Sectional preparation
CAT 2017 exam will have 3 sections with a total of 100 questions. Each section is timed with the individual time limit of 1 hour. You need to ensure high score in each of the 3 sections as there is also a sectional score cut off in IIMs.

This is the right time that you should move fast and be smart on your CAT 2017 preparation journey. The best way to prepare for CAT 2017 exam is to know your strengths and weakness and start working on them now. Since there is time to get over with your weakness and further strengthen your strong areas, you must devote around 4-5 hours a day from now on to crack CAT 2017 with a high score.

CAT Preparation for VARC 
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension in CAT 2017 exam would be the 1st section. VARC is considered as the most tricky section as this section can get any composition of topics and different type of questions.

You need to prepare for VARC by devoting much more time in practicing on variety of RC passages and Verbal Ability questions. During the last few years,VARC has gone for substantial changes in CAT exams. Your preparation therefore, has to be focused on the current trends. But another important feature of CAT exam is that it suddenly asks questions of such type which have not been asked during last many years. Your preparation therefore, has to combine the current as well as the past trends in CAT.

Sometimes you may find more questions on Grammar and Vocabulary and at other times the entire part on Grammar based and vocabulary based questions may be missing in CAT exam. The difficulty level of questions in VARC section is from moderate to highly difficult...Read more

CAT DILR Preparation
Data Interpretation for CAT and Logical Reasoning for CAT are now clubbed together and form a new DILR section. DI questions for CAT with solutions are available online also. The data interpretation for CAT syllabus is also a little more defined than other CAT sections. The Data Interpretation Study material like Data Interpretation for CAT by Arun Sharma; The Pearson Guide for logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation are the few of the best books for CAT 2018 prepration. Data interpretation and Logical Reasoning study material for CAT 2018 is available online also which can help you in CAT 2018 DILR preparation and will also save your time also.

Candidates who appear in IIMs Common Admission Text (CAT) find DILR as the most difficult and time consuming section. Candidates can hardly solve only a few DILR questions in CAT exam. Now, with creation of new section in CAT comprising only DILR questions, CAT has detached the DI questions and LR questions from their respective parent sections of Quant and Verbal. Now DILR is the 2nd section in CAT exam which requires higher focus on DILR preparation...Read more


CAT Preparation for Quant
Quantitative Aptitude in CAT 2018 carries a weightage of 34% in overall CAT 2018 exam. As per the trend in CAT exam during the past 3 years, Quant in CAT exam 2018 will occupy the 3rd and last section. Quant in CAT is considered as the very tricky section as this section can get any composition of topics and different type of questions in MCQ or Non-MCQ format.

You need to concentrate more to prepare on Quant in CAT 2018 and therefore require a well devised preparation plan to score high in CAT 2018 exam. Your own devised shortcuts to quickly solve the questions with accuracy will help more. The increase in sections has made it more crucial for aspirants to score high in Quantitative Aptitude section in CAT 2018 without any support of questions from DI part which could be attempted by not so proficient candidates in mathematics.

Since CAT 2018 test takers will reach this section after spending 120 minutes on other 2 sections, CAT preparation experts and toppers share key CAT quant preparation tip to practice more on this section right from the beginning and prepare themselves to keep their cool till the end of the exam as this section is more calculation based...Read more


Take Sectional Quiz for CAT 2018
Despite number of changes brought about during last 3 years in CAT, the basics of the exam have not changed. Accordingly the past CAT exam papers and CAT Mocks are the great tools to prepare for CAT 2018. To make sure to bell the CAT 2018 with high score you need to focus more on your CAT exam preparation 2018 now.

Not only the 20 IIMs, other top B-schools like FMS Delhi, SPJIMR Mumbai, JBIMS Mumbai, MDI Gurgaon, IMI New Delhi, IMT Ghaziabad, BIMTECH Greater Noida, TAPMI Manipal, IITs, NITIE among others will offer admission to their MBA/PGDM programmes on the basis of CAT 2018 exam scores.

CAT is Common Admission Test and does not require a specialist or professor in English, Maths or reasoning. CAT exam is to assess how you approach the question and how intelligently solve it in the shortest time. CAT does not require you to attempt all the questions but the need is to maximise your correct attempts and minimise the wrong attempts.


It may be noted that even half of the total questions, if attempted right can fetch you a percentile of 98-99. So prepare accordingly. CAT Preparation does not require you to study round the clock, instead you need to study smartly and with intelligent approach to crack the questions correctly in minimum time to achieve high score.