How CAT 2022 registrations grew by 11%? Exam Convenor & IIM Bangalore Faculty Dr Ashis Mishra shares exclusive insights with

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Updated on January 5, 2023
CAT 2022 was a landmark exam. The number of CAT 2022 registrations grew by 11%, while the average growth has been less than even 1% per annum in last 10 years. This growth was a result of a well thought out plan adopted by IIM Bangalore and CAT Convenor. In an exclusive interaction with in late December, CAT Convenor Dr Ashis Mishra revealed the success mantras.
How CAT 2022 Registrations grew by 11%?

CAT 2022 was a landmark exam. The number of CAT 2022 registrations grew by 11%, while the average growth has been less than even 1% per annum in last 10 years. This growth was a result of a well thought out plan adopted by IIM Bangalore and CAT Convenor Dr Ashis Mishra. In an exclusive face-to-face interview with, conducted at IIM Bangalore campus, CAT Convenor shared many insights.

In the first article in this series, we highlighted why Engineers continue to dominate CAT exam. This second article focusses on how IIM Bangalore actually grew CAT 2022 registrations this year.

Content with the successful conduct of CAT exam, Prof Ashis Mishra smilingly told, “We are indeed happy with the growth in CAT registrations. But, honestly speaking, increasing the number wasn’t my top priority. Our goals were different. Of course, we are happy that we have met our goals and numbers too have increased!”

So, before we move forward and read about how IIM B actually grew CAT numbers, let’s first review some key facts on CAT Registrations.

About 2.55 lakh candidates had registered for CAT 2022, which was successfully conducted on November 27, 2022. By comparison, about 2.30 lakh candidates had registered for CAT 2021. This translates into a growth of 11 per cent.

CAT Registrations: No growth for 10 years
CAT is accepted as the mandatory test by all IIMs. Many prominent B-schools including FMS Delhi, SPJIMR Mumbai and MDI Gurgaon also accept CAT scores as the only entrance exam, barring GMAT/GRE for international students. While the number of IIMs almost doubled in last 10 years, and IIM Seats grew by 110%, the number of candidates who took CAT grew very marginally in last 10 years. Refer table 1 below.  

Table 1: CAT Registrations trends since 2011

CAT Year
Candidate Registrations
% Increase/Decrease

Source: Analysis

As you can see from above table, except for CAT 2015, there has been very little growth in exam registrations.

Less than 1% CAGR in last 10 years
Going by the above data, it is clear that from 2011 to 2021 CAT registrations have grown by less than 1 percent – 0.72% to be precise. See calculations of compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) in table 2 below.

Table 2: CAT Registration growth rate for 10 years

CAT Registrations in 2011
CAT Registrations in 2021
Total Years of CAT Exams
Annual Growth in CAT Registrations

Source: Analysis

Hence, a growth of 11% in CAT 2022 was a great news. Question is how did IIM Bangalore managed to grow the numbers? In his interaction with laid bare the approach that led to this growth.

So, what were they key goals set out by CAT 2022 Convenor, which led to growth in registrations too? “We obviously wanted that CAT exam was a good experience for candidates. This meant months of preparation and planning…In addition, we wanted to increase the Visibility and Accessibility of the CAT exam. These were our key goals,” said Prof Ashis Mishra. “Increase in number of registrations happed automatically as we focussed on increasing the visibility and accessibility of the CAT exam,” he added.

When further enquired, Dr Mishra shared key initiatives undertaken to increase the visibility and accessibility of CAT exam.

Change in Media strategy
To meet the goal of increasing the awareness of CAT exam, IIM Bangalore and CAT Convenor consciously adopted a more contemporary media strategy. “We consciously used social media and digital media to spread more awareness about the exam amongst those who are relevant audiences but are fence sitters,” said Dr Mishra.

In a first, to target digital savvy candidates, particularly young working executives, IIM Bangalore initiated Digital Advertising Campaigns. These campaigns were used to create awareness about the opening and closing of applications for CAT 2022, and the extension of the deadline. “We ran three social media campaigns around the important dates. This increased the awareness, and registrations,” Dr Mishra told 

As part of this drive to increase awareness, IIM Bangalore also took steps to increase the visibility in many untouched areas. For instance, it released announcements of CAT 2022 in newspaper reaching Northeast region.

Focus on Untapped Geographies
To meet the second goal of improving the accessibility of CAT exam, IIM Bangalore and CAT Convenor made concerted efforts to expand the geographical footprint of CAT candidates. Passionately sharing his belief in this goal, Dr Mishra said, “We wanted to take CAT exam as closer to Test Takers as possible.”

CAT 2022 was conducted in 154 cities at 293 test venues in India. However, the test centres were set up in new locations like Manipur, Tripura, and Union Territories like Lakshadweep, Dadra, Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Ladakh and Leh. “We reached out to a place like Akhnoor in Jammu, where I am told there were only a dozen computer systems available. But we conducted CAT 2022 exam there,” Dr Misra proudly told  

This geographical expansion strategy seems to have worked. In addition to increasing awareness and expanding geographic footprint, IIM Bangalore also took many other simple but effective strategies.  

Improving ease of Registration
In past students had during the peak rush hours like the last date to register, CAT website will crash or be very slow. To provide hassle-free registration experience, two payment gateways were also given for CAT 2022. Due to this and other initiatives, this year, the registration process was student-centric and easy.

Highlighting the importance, Prof Ashis Mishra, said, “Student-centric changes enhanced the registration and other processes of CAT, thereby making it possible for candidates to focus on preparing for the examination itself.”

Non-IIM B-school Visibility
As is well known, about 100 B-schools including SPJIMR, MDI and all IITs officially register with IIMs as ‘non-CAT’ B-schools to accept CAT scores. While IIMs admit only 4-5% of CAT exam takers in their various course, these Non-IIM B-schools absorb the rest. However, in past, they were not given due importance in the CAT exam process. This year, logos of non-institutions have also been placed on the CAT website to enhance their visibility.

CAT Convenor was always bullish
As soon as these changes were implemented, the CAT registration growth was seen almost from the start. As early as September 14, Prof Mishra had told that CAT 2022 registration trends were better than the previous years. Prof Mishra told us, “So far, CAT 2022 registration trends have been better than the previous years.”

Then, after registrations were closed on September 21, he again reconfirmed the trend. Responding to on September 26, Prof Mishra shared, “CAT registration this year is better than the last few years.” The last date for CAT 2022 registration was extended by 7 days from September 14, 2022. The process was finally closed on September 21 without any further extension.

Another interesting trend was that in addition to increase in total number of candidates, the percentage of candidates who took the exam was also high.

CAT Registrations Vs Actual CAT Exam takers: Comparative Analysis
Around 2.22 lakh candidates appeared for the exam out of 2.55 lakhs registered eligible candidates. The overall attendance was approximately 87% which was highest in last many CAT years. Except for CAT 2018, the percentage of actual CAT exam takers has been going down from 86 to 83 percent. CAT 2022 witnessed not only the highest percentage of CAT takers but also the highest number of exam takers as well.

Table 3: Percentage of CAT Test Takers in 5 Years

CAT exam year
Total applicants
Total Actual test Takers
Percentage of CAT Test Takers

Source: Analysis

The increase in CAT 2022 registrations by 11% has provided some relief to B-school leadership, admission chairpersons and all those associated with management education as this elusive growth has come after many years.

Congratulations, IIM Bangalore Leadership and CAT 2022 Convenor Prof Ashis Mishra!

Coming back to the interview, will publish another article on how is CAT exam is actually conducted? So, stay tuned!

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