CAT 2021: Notification to release soon; What to expect?

Official CAT notification 2021 will be releasing soon. Here are some of the things MBA aspirants can expect in the CAT exam notification.

CAT 2021: Notification to release soon; What to expect? Representational Image (Source: Shutterstock)
Sundararajan | Jul 26, 2021 - 4:53 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad will be releasing the official CAT notification 2021 soon. Assistant Professor at IIMA, MP Ram Mohan, has been appointed as the CAT 2021 convener. As per the last year’s trends, the official CAT notification 2021 is expected to be released in the last week of July. Along with it, the CAT 2021 exam dates will also be announced. The CAT registration process will start in the first week of August 2021.

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IIM Ahmedabad hosted the first online CAT examination in 2009 and then in 2015. The institute will be conducting the CAT 2021 after a gap of five years. It has been observed in the past that certain changes are introduced in the CAT as and when IIM Ahmedabad is delegated with the responsibility of conducting the CAT. This year also, due to the spread of COVID-19 and IIM Ahmedabad conducting CAT 2021, changes are expected to be made either in the exam pattern or in the conduct of the exam.

CAT notification: Expected changes in CAT 2021

  • This year, due to the third wave of the COVID-19 epidemic, some changes can be seen in the duration of the CAT 2021, the exam pattern, or the number of questions.

  • Since 2015, when IIM Ahmedabad conducted the CAT, several changes were made to the CAT exam pattern, the number of CAT sections was increased from two to three and more descriptive questions were introduced.

  • IIM Ahmedabad has not yet announced any changes for CAT 2021 this year.

Expected CAT 2021 dates


CAT 2021 expected dates (Tentative)

Issue of CAT notification

July 28, 2021

CAT registration begins on

August 4, 2021

Last date for CAT registration

September 22, 2021

Issue of CAT admit card

October 27, 2021

CAT 2021 exam date

November 28, 2021

CAT exam timing

  • Slot 1: 8:30 am - 10:30 pm (Morning Session)

  • Slot 2: 12:30 pm - 2:30 pm (Afternoon Session)

  • Slot 3: 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm (Evening Session)

NOTE: The CAT 2021 exam will be held amid the COVID-19 pandemic, in fact, India is likely to face a third wave of the epidemic during the CAT 2021 exam.

The CAT exam is held on the last Sunday of November, and despite the COVID-19, last year’s exam was not postponed. So, the first thing to expect this year is that CAT 2021 is not likely to be deferred.

Changes made in the last year's CAT exam

  • The number of CAT test slots increased by 3 compared to previous years when the CAT was held at 2 slots.

  • For the general category, the CAT application fee has been increased from Rs 1,900 to Rs 2,000 and for SC/ ST category, from Rs 950 to Rs 1,000.

  • The duration of the CAT exam was reduced to 120 minutes from 180 minutes, so the section-time limit for students was given as 40 minutes.


Changes happened in the last year CAT exam

Duration of the CAT exam

3 hours (180 minutes)
2 hours (120 minutes)

Section-wise duration

60 minutes per section (Total 180 minutes)

  • 40 min for each section (DILR, VARC, QA).

  • 53 min 20 sec for PwD students for each section.

Number of questions

100 questions
76 questions (54 MCQs and 22 Non-MCQs)

Total marks in CAT exam

300 marks
228 marks

Expected eligibility criteria for CAT 2021

It is important to read the CAT eligibility criteria prior to filling up the CAT application form.

  • Students who successfully completed a bachelor’s degree in any discipline from a recognized university/institute with a minimum of 50% aggregated marks (45% for ST/ SC/ PwD) are eligible to apply for CAT 2021.

  • There is no age limit to apply.

  • Work experience is not mandatory to register for the CAT exam 2021.

Slot wise attendance in the last year CAT exam

CAT slot

Students scheduled

Students present

Students absent

Present %

Slot 1





Slot 2





Slot 3










Number of applicants in CAT exam last year

Last year, the total number of applications received was lower than in previous years. A total of 2,27,835 students registered for the CAT exam and 1,90,143 appeared.


About CAT 2021

The Common Admission Test is a computer-based test conducted annually by one of the Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) for admission to two-year business administration programs (PGDM/ MBA) at 20 IIMs. Other top MBA colleges in India are also considering CAT scores for admission to various postgraduate programs they offer.

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