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CAT Exam Eligibility 2023 – Check Age Limit, Educational Qualification, Total Marks & Reservation

29 August, 2023

The CAT Exam Eligibility 2023 criteria are a list of requirements that one should meet to take and pass the test. This refers to academic qualification, past academic performance, age limits, and other related factors. Each year, the official CAT conducting authorities release the eligibility criteria for the upcoming exam.
CAT or Common Admission Test is a computer-based test for admission to graduate management programs. The test is conducted for admissions to MBA/PGDBM programs at IIMs and more than 1,200 other B-schools in India. CAT consists of three sections including, reading comprehension and verbal ability, data interpretation, logical reasoning, and quantitative ability.

CAT Exam Eligibility Criteria 2023: Overview

The aspirant candidate should hold 3 years of Bachelor’s degree in any discipline from a recognized university. The IIM CAT exam eligibility criteria for general category candidates is 50% marks in graduation and 45% for the reserved category.  According to the official CAT Exam Eligibility, to appear in the CAT, graduation is a must. However, the final year students can also apply for this exam.

Below are the key points related to CAT exam eligibility criteria 2023:

  1. Candidate should hold a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in any stream with a minimum of 50% marks or equivalent CGPA (45% in case of SC/ST/PwD candidates).
  2. The candidate’s bachelor’s degree must be valid from any university established by an act of the central or state legislature in India or any educational institution established by an Act of Parliament or declared to be deemed as a university under Section 3 of the UGC Act, 1956, or possess an equivalent qualification recognized by the Ministry of HRD, Government of India.
  3. Based on the standard pattern followed by the concerned university/institution, the percentage of marks in the bachelor’s degree will be calculated.
  4. The candidates appearing for the final year of a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent examination, as well as those who have already completed their degree examinations but have yet to receive their results, are also eligible to apply.  However, such candidates may join the course on a conditional basis if they are qualified. Upon presentation of a certificate from their university/institution’s principal/registrar.
  5. There is no specific age limit for CAT. So, the aspirant can take the exam at any age.
  6. CAT eligibility criteria do not require work experience.  But the exam is open to both freshers and experienced candidates. Meanwhile, some B-schools consider work experience during admission.
  7. The candidate can appear for CAT any number of times in a lifetime.

Key Highlights 

Candidates who intend to take the CAT exam should meet the eligibility requirements. Each year, the exam authority announces the eligibility criteria on its official website.

The below table shows the important highlights of CAT 2023: 

Name of the Exam CAT 2023

Official Website

Exam Conducting Authority  Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs)
Mode of the exam  Computer-Based Mode (CBT)
Duration of the CAT Exam  2 Hours (120 Minutes)
Duration (Section-wise)  40 Minutes for (VARC, DILR, QA).

 Each section -53 Minutes 20 Seconds for PwD candidates.

Session (Slot-wise)
  • Morning Session – 8:30 am – 10:30 pm
  • Afternoon Session – 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm
  • Evening Session – 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm
No. of Questions   66 Questions
Total Marks    198 marks

CAT Age limit:
According to CAT exam eligibility 2023, there is no upper age limit. However, the candidates who intend to apply for the upcoming exam should check the other CAT eligibility details since there are no limitations on age.

CAT Exam Eligibility- Age Limit  Details 
Lower Age Limit  Not Applicable 
Upper Age Limit  Not Applicable 

 Academic Qualification
According to the official CAT eligibility requirements, the candidate should hold a bachelor’s degree from a recognized university.  The CAT will be offered to students who have received promotion/pass certificates in any of the last two years of their bachelor’s degree program. Meanwhile, the final-year students with an ‘award of grades’ are also eligible to take the CAT exam.

Below is the minimum educational qualification according to the CAT Exam Eligibility 2023: 

  1. As per the CAT eligibility, candidates should have a degree from a recognized university or have an equivalent qualification recognized by the Ministry of HRD in India.
  2. For the general and NC – OBC category aspirants, the minimum percentage requirement is 50%.
  3. Grades or CGPA awarded to candidates will be converted in accordance with the CAT Exam Eligibility standards of the university/institute.
CAT Eligibility: Marks Calculation 

The calculation of marks for the CAT exam eligibility is as follows: 

  • Graduation marks are assigned according to the university’s or institute’s own criteria. This process will be used to calculate CAT marks. 
  • CGPAs and grades may be assigned by universities instead of marks, in which case the university will provide a conversion method for converting marks to percentages.
  • It may be possible to directly convert marks/CGPA to percentages if the university does not have a methodology for doing so. Thus, the candidate should divide the achieved CGPA by the highest CGPA possible and multiply the result by 100.

CAT Exam Eligibility Criteria – Registration with Backlogs
The CAT exam is open to candidates with backlogs in their Bachelor’s degree or equivalent qualification. However, it is important for them to clear all of their backlogs before they begin the admission process for their respective management institutes.

Key points regarding CAT registration 2023 for candidates with backlogs:
Below are some key points that CAT applicants with backlogs should read to clear their doubts:
1. Candidates who have completed their Bachelor’s degree and have a backlog are eligible to apply for the CAT 2023.
2. Candidates who are taking supplementary re-examinations are also eligible to apply for the CAT.

3. Candidates who have obtained at least 50% in their graduation along with supplementary re-exams may apply for the CAT 2023.
4. In the registration form for CAT 2023,  answer yes to “Are you in the final year of your Bachelor’s degree? ”
5. Candidates should present a certificate from the principal/registrar of their university (or college) showing that they have taken a supplementary re-examination.
6. Candidates from the reserved categories should ensure that they are eligible before submitting a caste certificate during the registration process. After completing the registration process, IIMs do not allow the students to change their category. 

CAT Exam Eligibility 2023: Work Experience
The CAT entrance exam does not require prior work experience from candidates.
The CAT application form includes a section for work experience, but it is not a requirement.
IIMs consider work experience in the later stages of the admission process. Within the CAT exam, however, any experience will not affect the scores or eligibility

The documents needed to prove work experience:
In order to prove work experience in the IIMs, one will need the following documents:
1. Work experience certificate issued by the company
2. Joining letter
3. First month and last three month’s salary slips 

CAT Eligibility 2023: Reservation Details
IIMs have reserved some seats for students applying to business administration programs based on their category.
The reservation details of the IIMs are summarized below.

Category  Reserved Percentage 
SC (Scheduled Caste)  15%
ST (Scheduled Tribe)  7.5%
NC-OBC (Non-creamy other backward classes)  27%
Economically Weaker Sections (EWS)  Up to 10% 
PWD ( Person with Disability)  5%

Differently, abled individuals or persons with disabilities are classified in a separate category within reservations.  The candidates who wish to take advantage of the caste-based reservation must provide proof of their eligibility in the form of a SC/ST/OBC certificate with their application form. In the final admission process, the original document is required. There is a standard format for caste certificates available on the official CAT website so that some uniformity can be achieved and the certificate can easily be verified. 

Person with Benchmark Disability (PWD) in CAT 

People with benchmark disabilities have not less than 40% of a specified disability as defined in the RPwD Act 2016. CAT’s PwD category includes the following disabilities: 

  • Deaf and hard of hearing 
  • Blindness and low vision 
  • Locomotor disabilities include, leprosy cured, cerebral palsy, dwarfism, acid attack victims, and muscular dystrophy. 
  • Intellectual disability, autism, mental illness, and specific learning disability. 
  • Multiple disabilities from amongst people under clauses a to d. 
  • Other specified disabilities are mentioned in The Schedule of the RPWD Act 2016. 

FAQs for CAT Exam Eligibility
1. Who decides the CAT eligibility criteria?
Every year, the IIM CAT determines the CAT eligibility criteria for the national-level MBA exam.

2. Are backlog candidates eligible for CAT 2023?
CAT applicants with backlogs are eligible to apply. For graduation, they must achieve a minimum grade of 50%, and for those in the reserved category, a minimum grade of 45%

3. Is it possible to take the CAT again if one is already enrolled in a lower-ranked IIM?
It is permissible for a student who is pursuing an MBA degree at a B-school to apply for the CAT exam. Meanwhile, it is not necessary for a student to have completed their graduation with a minimum percentage to qualify for the CAT. As long as the requirements are met, a candidate may take the CAT exam while enrolled in an MBA program.

4. Are the MBA and CAT eligibility criteria different?
MBA and CAT eligibility criteria are the same, i.e. graduation. The minimum marks criteria will vary from institute to institute. Besides, the  requirement for stream-specific MBAs, such as MBAs in Pharma or MBAs in Agri-Business, is graduation in the relevant field

5. Is there a specific age limit to apply for CAT 2023? What is the importance of HSC marks for CAT?
It is not necessary to meet any age criteria in order to apply for CAT 2023 at IIM. IIM places a great deal of emphasis on academic performance when considering candidates for admission

6. Can a candidate apply for CAT more than once?
There is no limit on the number of CAT entrance attempts set by the CAT exam authority. An aspirant can attempt the CAT exam multiple times in order to pass it. 

7. If I had a backlog in the past semesters, am I eligible to take the CAT?
You are eligible if you had a backlog in the past semester and there is no backlog this semester. the However, for the CAT 2023,  you should clear all backlogs.

8. What is the score required for IIM in CAT?
Candidates must score a minimum of 90% to be considered for top IIMs. A minimum of 70% is required in each section of the business schools.

9. Are female aspirants offered any reservations for CAT application?
There is no separate seat or mark reservation for female candidates applying for the CAT. The majority of IIMs, however, provide bonus marks to female candidates during the shortlisting process. Besides, the final selection of the application is based on the results of the entrance examination and the personal interview

10. Is CAT eligible for schools overseas?
While not all schools accept CAT scores, some institutions such as Emylon Business School, HEC Paris, and Skema do.

CAT eligibility criteria are determined every year by the IIM CAT to conduct the national-level MBAT exam CAT. The aspirants should prepare well in advance for the CAT entrance exam to excel. CAT eligibility criteria, CAT age limit, work experience, and registration with backlogs are covered in this guide on CAT exam eligibility. Aspirants can enroll in comprehensive programs like  like CATapult Extensive Live 2024 and CATapult SLP 2024  to to prepare for highly competitive exams like CAT.