CAT 2015: New test Pattern, more IIM seats, growing economy boosted CAT numbers, say experts
Sreetama Datta, 01 Oct 2015, #CAT
Applications Open Now
IBS Business School - IBSAT 2019
Great Lakes Institute of Management

Breaking the five-year stagnancy in application numbers, CAT surprised all MBA stakeholders this year with more than 10 per cent (about 20,000) increase in final registrations for the coveted MBA entrance exam. This also brought a much needed relief to the IIM system which had been troubled over falling numbers in last 3-4 years.

With just about 1,38,000 registrations till a couple of days prior to the closure of original deadline for registrations did not only force IIMs to look for alternatives and extend registration window by 5 days, but also fuelled speculation about worst-ever turnout for CAT 2015. The final outcome, however, was  pleasantly surprising for CAT conducting institute, IIM-Ahmedabad, with a total of 2,18,664 applications, the highest number in last 5 years and 11% more than CAT 2014 application number.

[Click here to Enroll Complete CAT 2015 Online Test Pack to get admission in Top IIM B-schools or call 011-40360360 to talk expert counsellors]

With the factors like lowering applications and vacant seats at B-schools indicated an impending MBA slowdown over last 3-4 years, the increased number of CAT application for 2016 academic year has allayed any such possibilities.


But what are the factors which led to this sudden increase in application numbers? Careers360 spoke to MBA experts on the possible reasons behind the surge in CAT 2015 application numbers.

Positive sentiments in economy instilling hope amongst candidates:

The experts believe that the improving economy is the main reason behind the increased number of CAT 2015 applicants. The better placement reports from top B-school campuses are also an indicating factor. “In last couple of years, Indian economy has improved a lot. The placement data of the top B-schools are also an indicative factor on the increase in numbers,” says Gautam Puri, Vice Chairman, Career Launcher. Sharing similar views, Sandeep Manudhane, Chairman, PT Education says, “There is optimism about the economy. The growth reflected in major sectors has resulted in the increased number of jobs. I believe this factor has definitely prompted students to go for MBA or PGDM.”

The table below brings to you the average salary comparison of the past 3 years and the percentage increase of the top B-schools.


Average Salary 2013 (in Rs. LPA)

Average Salary 2014 (Rs. LPA)

Average Salary 2015 (Rs. LPA)


Increase (2014-2015)

IIM Indore






IIM Kozhikode





IIM Rohtak

Not mentioned


(source: IIM Rohtak official placement report)




IIM Ranchi






IIM Raipur





IIM Trichy





FMS Delhi

16 (Median Salary)










XLRI Jamshedpur





MDI Gurgaon





JBIMS Mumbai











TISS Mumbai





DMS, IIT Delhi






VGSOM, IIT Kharagpur





NMIMS Mumbai





 More chance to secure admission in IIMs

The increase in the number of IIMs and subsequently the number of seats in the IIM system is believed to be another reason for the rise in number of applications. Vinayak Kudva, Product Head, IMS mentions, “With the increase in the number of IIMs, there is more chance for the aspirants to qualify for a coveted seat in the system.” The six new IIMs have started functioning with an average of 60 seats each. This year, the number of seats might increase to 120 in all the new IIMs, hence even better chances are there for MBA aspirants to enter IIMs. Moreover, with the closing down of low rung B-schools, MBA education space is going through a phase of consolidation. “Last year, as many as 147 B-schools were closed down by AICTE as they failed to deliver what they had committed. This also means that the serious students can choose from the higher strata of B-schools,” states Ark Srinivas, CEO, VistaMind Education and Director, Vanguard Business School, Bangalore.

The following infograph will bring to you the number of IIM seats which has increased over the years.


There is a possiblity of increase in the number of IIM seats for the batch of 2016-18 owing to the increased intakes at the new IIMs and hopefully IIM Jammu & Kashmir will also start functioning from 2016-18. 

New CAT pattern conducive for students from all background:

Since CAT 2015 comes with a new test pattern with a rational approach towards candidates from all academic disciplines, experts believe that this test strategy has brought comfort for students from non-engineering background also.

While stating the reason behind the pattern change, the CAT Convenor had indicated the reason to bring more diversity in the classroom. “This year IIMs have introduced massive changes in the pattern in order to make it more convenient for the students from non-engineering backgrounds. This includes the introduction of calculator. Non-MCQs, which do not carry negative marking to name a few. Such changes might have encouraged many students to apply for the test,” shares Kudva.   


CAT 2015

CAT 2014


3 – Quantitative Ability, Verbal and Reading Comprehension and Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning

2 – Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation, Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning

Number of Questions


Quantitative Ability – 34

Verbal and Reading Comprehension – 34

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning - 32


Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation – 50 (34 + 16)

Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning – 50 (34 + 16)


180 minutes

170 minutes

Sectional Duration

1 hour for each section

No sectional time limit. Candidates free to switch between sections

Question Types

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs), Non-MCQs


Calculator Usage

On Screen basic calculator will be provided

Calculator usage not allowed

Marking Scheme

+3 -1

No negative marking for non-MCQs

+3 -1

Test Window

1 day, 2 slots

2 days, 4 slots

Single day testing brings more time to prepare for CAT:

Till last year, CAT was held in multiple-days window, starting from mid-October to mid-November. CAT 2015, however, is scheduled in two-shift single-day window on November 29. This gives a breather to the aspirants in terms of preparation and planning the strategy. “This year, with the delayed test date in November end, aspirants have got an extra month for preparation. Moreover, with the engineering college placements concluding in September, aspirants are getting around 2 months for preparation. Unlike past years, when the aspirants thought about waiting for a whole year to take the test,” Arks says.

The following table brings to you the CAT 2015 exam dates of the past 3 years.


Exam Dates


October 11 to November 6, 2012


October 16 to November 11, 2013


November 16 and November 22, 2014


November 29, 2015

Extension in application deadline:

Last but not the least, the 5-day extension in the application window of CAT 2015 has definitely played an important role in increasing the CAT application numbers. As per the data shared by IIM Ahmedabad, the conducting body for CAT 2015, the total number of applications received till September 20, the original deadline was 1,83,032. Within 5 days, the number reached to 2,18,664, which means a total of 35,632 candidates have registered for CAT during the extended window. “The extension of the application deadline did play an important role. Those who were apprehensive about registering took this as an opportunity and applied,” shares Srinivas.

Note the registration numbers before and after the extension window.


Also Check:

CAT 2016

CAT 2015 surprises with 2.18 lakh applications; Allays fears of MBA slowdown


Stay tuned to for more news and analysis on CAT and other MBA entrance exams.

Applications Open Now

UPES - School of Business
UPES - School of Business
Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management PGDM Programme
Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute...
IBS Business School - IBSAT 2019
IBS Business School - IBSAT 2019
ITM Business School
ITM Business School
Great Lakes Institute of Management 2020
Great Lakes Institute of Mana...
FORE School of Management
FORE School of Management
BIMTECH-Birla Institute of Management Technology
BIMTECH-Birla Institute of Ma...
View All Application Forms

More like CAT

Questions related to CAT

Showing 7536 out of 7537 Questions

I want to know about CAT entrance exam syllabus

Prashant Singh 15th Dec, 2019

CAT is a 3-hour computer-based test consisting of 100 Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) and Non-MCQ type questions. There were three sections, namely Quantitative Ability (QA), Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) and Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR).

CAT has a vast syllabus, you can check all the detailed syllabus and important topics from the link given below -


I want to know about CAT entrance exam

Burhan Khan 15th Dec, 2019


CAT Exam (Common Admission Test) is a computer-based selection test conducted by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) as a prerequisite for admissions to their business administration programs. Apart from the IIMs, the CAT is also a prerequisite for admissions into numerous other prestigious management colleges across India which includes institutes like S.P Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR), Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), Management Development Institute (Gurgaon), Institute of Management Technology (IMT), Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies (JBIMS), International Management Institute (IMI), National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE) and several others.

To be able to get eligible for CAT, candidates to fulfil the following criterion:

  • Should Hold a Bachelor’s Degree and have secured a minimum of 50% marks or equivalent CGPA from a recognized university.

All the best!

Hope this helps!


How I prepare for CAT Exam How many marks?

Priyaanka Sarkar Student Expert 15th Dec, 2019
CAT is an online examination of 3 hours duration.The questions in the exam will be of MCQ and TITA type totaling 100 questions. MCQ are multiple choice questions, for which candidates get multiple answer choices. Each Question has 3 marks and a wrong answer takes away 1 mark. However Type in the Answer questions are exempted from Negative Marking.

CAT exam paper can be Categorised into 3 parts:

Quantitative Ability
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

The Verbal Ability section and Reading Comprehension has 34 Questions, Data interpretation-Logical Reasoning section has 32 MCQ questions and Quantitative Ability has 34 MCQ questions totalling up to 100 questions. Each Question has 3 marks and a wrong answer takes away 1 mark.

First things first, know the syllabus. And go through the previous papers to analyse and prepare a comprehensive plan and set priorities according to the importance of different topics across sections.Customise your own study plan based on your strengths and weaknesses. Gauge your preparation from time to time by taking mock tests. Solve questions to check your levels of preparation but not to set any targets. Remember, its ok to have cheat days and relax. But make sure you have a plan and stick to it for the next few months because even Rome wasnt built in a day.

NCERT books will sharpen your basics and you need strong basics for preparing for any entrance examination. Once your basics are in place, because the time period for preparation is quite less, your preparation should be extensive and thorough.

Quantitative Aptitude covers almost 30% of the CAT question paper. QA can be categorised into Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry and Advanced Mathematics. Practise chapter by chapter and develop mental calculations. Like practise more of basic summation, subtraction, fractions and tables. Numbers, Percentage, Profit and Loss, Simple and Compound Interest, Ratio, Proportionality, Time-Distance, Time-Work, Mixtures, Averages, Partnership, Permutation and Combinations, Probability, Set Theory, Progression and Series, Line, Angles, Triangles, Quadrilaterals, Polygon, Circles, Ares, Volume, Height and Distance, Coordinate Geometry, Basic Trigonometry are few important topics.

Preparation tips:

Because this section involves mathematics and takes most of your time, your focus should be on solving the problems efficiently in the beginning. Even if it takes time, practise upto perfection. Practise as many questions as you can in the conventional way. As and when you get a grip on the subject, you can go for short cuts. Memorise tables, square roots, cube roots, conversion from percent to fraction, etc. Solve sample papers on Mathematics. In the beginning, do not worry about the time it takes. As you practise, you will get the hang of the subject and it will be easier for you.

In Verbal Ability session, command on your English, Grammar, Vocabulary, Understanding of the given paragraph are of more importance. Reading English NewsPaper will also help you in your preparation.

Preparation tips:

Read articles from time to time. Follow newspapers, magazines, and watch the news channels and browse the internet to keep yourself updated. You will need a lot of reading to help you in the comprehension section. You will need speed to help you in this section and you can achieve that only by thorough practise and reading. Take time to understand the question because most answers are interlinked.

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning needs to be practised as much as possible. Comparison of data, Data Analysis, taking clues, interpreting missing data, coming to conclusions and making future projections will be covered under this Category. The questions here are interlinked and so if you get one formula correct, cracking the next few questions will be easy. So it's important to memorise and practise formulae. You should cover topics like Data tables, Data Charts, Bar Diagrams, Pie Charts, Graphs, Data Comparison and Analysis.

Preparation tips:

As this is the most tricky section, this needs a lot of practise. Solve as many sample papers as possible to get the hang of the section. Make notes when required. Regular practise can help you understand and solve the questions easily as time goes on.

Overall,once you know the syllabus, it's easier from there on.Go through the previous papers to analyse and prepare a comprehensive plan and set priorities according to the importance of different topics across sections. Customise your own study plan based on your strengths and weaknesses. Gauge your preparation from time to time by taking mock tests. Solve questions to check your levels of preparation but not to set any targets. Remember, its ok to have cheat days and relax. But make sure you have a plan and stick to it for the next few months

We can recommend a few books for you:

NCERT books to cover the basics from 6th to 10th Class

Quantitative Aptitude for CAT by Nishit Saxena

Quantitative Aptitude Quantum for CAT by Sarvesh Sharma

How to prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for CAT by Arun Sharma

Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Exams by Abhijit Guha

You can also download free downloadable e books at:


About CAT exam How to prepare? All and all

prem meghani 15th Dec, 2019
DEAR Aspirant,

The common admission testis a computer based testfor admission in a graduate management program. The test scores a candidate on the bases of Quantitative Ability (QA) , Verbal Ability (VA) and Reading Comprehension (RC), Data Interpretation (DI) and Logical Reasoning (LR) . The Indian institute of Managements(IIMs) started this exam and use the test for selecting students for their business administration programs.

There preparation strategy should be as mentioned below-
As we know that cat Is a difficult exams as many aspirant give exam to take admission in you have to first know about exam pattern and Syllabus so you can work on the topic which are comfortable for you .Then you have to collect genuine study material Like sample paper ,Right books for preparation .You should also give online mock test so you can keep command on what you have studied .and the last thing is Stay motivated and Be confident during your preparation.

If you want to know how to prepare for Cat and want to score good marks without coaching then you can go through the link mentioned below.


All the very best


Pankhuri Kumari 14th Dec, 2019

Dear student!

CAT stand for common admission test.

XAT stands for Xaviers aptitude test

MAT stands for management aptitude test

ATMA stands for AIMS test for management admission.

TANCET stands for Tamilnadu commin entrance test.

All these are management related entrance examinations. For more details refer the link below -

Hope this helps.

Good luck!

The question have been saved in answer later, you can access it from your profile anytime. Access now

Download the Careers360 App on your Android phone

Regular exam updates, QnA, Predictors, College Applications & E-books now on your Mobile

Careers360 App
150M+ Students
24,000+ Colleges
500+ Exams
1500+ E-books