CAT Exam

Knowing the key dates and timeline for the CAT exam is crucial for effective preparation and timely application. This blog provides a comprehensive guide on all important dates, from the release of the notification to the declaration of results. By understanding the timeline, candidates can stay on track, plan their preparation efficiently, and ensure they don’t miss any critical deadlines.

Key Dates and Timeline for the CAT Exam: Everything You Need to Know

Candidates can enhance their preparation by joining a CAT Crash Course or a CAT Coaching Classroom Programme to receive study notes and a comprehensive guide for the CAT 2024 exam. Here’s a detailed look at the key dates and timeline for the CAT exam, along with tips on how to prepare effectively.

Notification Release

CAT Exam

The journey to the CAT exam begins with the official notification, which marks the start of the application process. This notification is a crucial document that provides detailed information about the exam, including important dates, eligibility criteria, and application procedures.

When is the Notification Released?

  • Typical Release Date:
    • The CAT notification is usually released in the last week of July or the first week of August every year. This allows candidates ample time to understand the requirements and prepare their application materials.
  • Where to Find the Notification:
    • The official notification is published on the official CAT website (
    • It is also widely covered by major newspapers and educational websites, ensuring that all potential candidates are informed.

What Information Does the Notification Contain?

The CAT notification includes a comprehensive set of details that candidates need to know. Here are the key components:

  1. Exam Dates:
    • The date of the CAT exam and important deadlines for registration, admit card download, and result declaration.
  2. Eligibility Criteria:
    • Detailed eligibility requirements, including academic qualifications, percentage criteria, and reservation policies.
  3. Registration Process:
    • Step-by-step instructions on how to register for the exam, including the list of required documents and the registration fee.
  4. Exam Pattern and Syllabus:
    • Information on the exam pattern, including the number of sections, types of questions, marking scheme, and syllabus topics.
  5. Test Centers:
    • List of cities and centers where the exam will be conducted, allowing candidates to choose their preferred location.
  6. Important Instructions:
    • Guidelines and instructions for candidates regarding the application process, exam day protocols, and result checking procedures.

Importance of the Notification

  1. Preparation Planning:
    • Knowing the key dates helps candidates plan their study schedule and ensure they complete their preparation in time for the exam.
  2. Application Accuracy:
    • Understanding the registration process and requirements ensures that candidates can submit accurate and complete applications, avoiding any last-minute issues.
  3. Staying Informed:
    • The notification serves as an official source of information, helping candidates stay informed about any changes or updates related to the exam.

Registration Period

CAT Exam

The registration period for the CAT exam is a crucial phase where candidates need to complete their application process. Missing the registration deadline can result in the inability to appear for the exam, making it essential for aspirants to be well-informed and prompt in their actions.

Start and End Dates for CAT Registration

  • Typical Registration Window:
    • The registration period generally starts in the first week of August and continues until the third week of September. Candidates have approximately six weeks to complete and submit their applications.
  • Extended Registration Period:
    • Occasionally, the authorities may extend the registration deadline by a few days to accommodate late applicants. However, it is advisable not to rely on this extension and to complete the registration within the initial window.

Steps Involved in the Registration Process

  1. Create a User Profile:
    • Visit the official CAT website ( and click on the “Register” link.
    • Enter your email ID, phone number, and other basic details to create a user profile. You will receive a User ID and password via email and SMS.
  2. Fill in the Application Form:
    • Log in using your User ID and password to access the application form.
    • Fill in your personal details, academic qualifications, work experience (if any), and other required information.
    • Choose your preferred test cities from the list provided.
  3. Upload Required Documents:
    • Upload scanned copies of your passport-sized photograph, signature, and other necessary documents (caste certificate, PwD certificate, etc.).
    • Ensure that the documents meet the specified size and format requirements.
  4. Pay the Registration Fee:
    • Pay the registration fee online through net banking, credit card, debit card, or UPI.
    • The fee for General and NC-OBC candidates is typically INR 2,000, while SC, ST, and PwD candidates need to pay INR 1,000.
    • After successful payment, you will receive a confirmation email and SMS.
  5. Submit the Application:
    • Review your application form carefully before submission to ensure all details are correct.
    • Submit the form and take a printout of the application confirmation page for future reference.

Documents Required for Registration

  1. Passport-sized Photograph:
    • Recent color photograph (within the last six months) with a white background.
    • The file should be in .jpg or .jpeg format and not exceed 80 KB.
  2. Signature:
    • Scanned copy of your signature on a white background.
    • The file should be in .jpg or .jpeg format and not exceed 80 KB.
  3. Category Certificate (if applicable):
    • SC/ST/OBC-NC candidates need to upload a valid caste certificate.
    • PwD candidates need to upload a disability certificate.
  4. Academic Certificates:
    • Marksheets of Class 10, Class 12, and Bachelor’s degree.
    • Professional degree certificates, if applicable.

Tips for a Smooth Registration Process

  1. Early Registration:
    • Start the registration process early to avoid last-minute issues such as technical glitches or server downtime.
  2. Document Preparation:
    • Ensure all required documents are scanned and ready before starting the application process. Verify the size and format specifications.
  3. Accurate Information:
    • Double-check all information entered in the application form for accuracy. Incorrect details can lead to disqualification.
  4. Save Confirmation:
    • Save and print the confirmation page after submitting your application. This serves as proof of registration and contains important details.

By adhering to the registration timeline and following the steps meticulously, candidates can ensure a hassle-free application process and focus on their preparation for the CAT exam.

Admit Card Release

CAT Exam

Once the registration process is complete, the next important milestone is the release of the admit card. The admit card is a crucial document that candidates must carry to the examination center. It serves as an entry ticket and contains essential details about the exam.

Date When the Admit Card is Available for Download

  • Typical Release Date:
    • The admit card is usually released in the last week of October. Candidates can download it from the official CAT website (

How to Download the Admit Card

  1. Visit the Official CAT Website:
    • Go to the official CAT website and log in using your User ID and password.
  2. Access the Admit Card Link:
    • After logging in, click on the “Download Admit Card” link available on the dashboard.
  3. Download and Print:
    • Download the admit card and take a clear printout. It is advisable to print multiple copies and keep them safe until the exam day and further admission processes.

Important Details on the Admit Card

The admit card contains several important details that candidates must verify and understand:

  1. Personal Information:
    • Candidate’s name, photograph, and signature.
    • User ID and registration number.
  2. Exam Details:
    • Date and time of the exam.
    • Exam session (morning or afternoon).
  3. Exam Center Information:
    • Address of the exam center and reporting time.
    • Google Maps link to locate the center.
  4. Instructions:
    • Exam day guidelines, including permissible items, prohibited items, and dress code.
    • Instructions on what to do in case of discrepancies in the admit card.

What to Do if There is a Discrepancy in the Admit Card

  • Check Details Carefully:
    • Verify all details on the admit card as soon as you download it. Ensure that your name, photograph, and other information are correct.
  • Contact CAT Helpdesk:
    • In case of any discrepancies or issues, immediately contact the CAT helpdesk for assistance. Provide them with your registration details and explain the issue clearly.
    • The helpdesk can be contacted via email or phone. The contact details are usually provided on the official CAT website.

Importance of the Admit Card

  1. Mandatory for Exam Entry:
    • The admit card is essential for entry into the exam hall. Without it, candidates will not be allowed to take the exam.
  2. Identification Verification:
    • Along with the admit card, candidates must carry a valid photo ID proof (such as Aadhaar card, PAN card, passport, or driving license) to verify their identity at the exam center.
  3. Exam Guidelines:
    • The admit card contains crucial instructions and guidelines that candidates must follow on the exam day to avoid any issues.
  1. Multiple Copies:
    • Carry at least two printouts of the admit card to the exam center. Keep one copy safe as a backup.
  2. Photo ID Proof:
    • Ensure you carry a valid photo ID proof along with the admit card. Check the list of acceptable IDs mentioned in the admit card instructions.
  3. Check Location in Advance:
    • Visit the exam center location a day before the exam, if possible, to avoid any last-minute confusion or delays.

By understanding the importance of the admit card and ensuring that all details are correct, candidates can avoid unnecessary stress and focus on performing well in the CAT exam.

CAT Exam Day

CAT Exam

The day of the CAT exam is crucial for every aspirant. Proper preparation and understanding of the exam day procedures can help alleviate stress and ensure a smooth experience. Here’s everything you need to know about what to expect and how to prepare for the CAT exam day.

Date and Time of the CAT Exam

  • Typical Exam Date:
    • The CAT exam is usually held on the last Sunday of November every year.
  • Exam Sessions:
    • The exam is conducted in two sessions: morning and afternoon.
    • Morning session: 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
    • Afternoon session: 2:30 PM to 5:30 PM

Exam Day Instructions and Guidelines

To ensure a smooth and hassle-free exam day, candidates must adhere to the following instructions and guidelines:

  1. Reporting Time:
    • Candidates should report to the exam center at least one and a half hours before the exam start time. This allows ample time for verification and other pre-exam formalities.
  2. Verification Process:
    • Upon arrival, candidates must undergo a verification process where their admit card and photo ID proof will be checked.
    • Biometric data (such as fingerprints and photographs) may also be collected.
  3. Permissible Items:
    • Admit card (printed copy)
    • Valid photo ID proof (Aadhaar card, PAN card, passport, or driving license)
    • Required medical certificates (if applicable)
  4. Prohibited Items:
    • Mobile phones, electronic gadgets, calculators, and watches
    • Study materials, notes, and books
    • Food items and beverages (unless medically necessary)
  5. Dress Code:
    • Candidates should dress comfortably and avoid wearing any clothing with metallic items as this can delay the security screening process.
  6. Exam Hall Instructions:
    • Follow the instructions provided by the invigilators.
    • Ensure you sit in the assigned seat and do not engage in any form of malpractice.

What to Carry to the Exam Center

  1. Admit Card:
    • A printed copy of the CAT admit card.
  2. Photo ID Proof:
    • A valid photo ID proof (Aadhaar card, PAN card, passport, or driving license).
  3. Required Medical Certificates:
    • If applicable, carry any medical certificates or documents that permit you to carry necessary items like medications or food.

During the Exam

  1. Exam Structure:
    • The CAT exam consists of three sections: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR), and Quantitative Ability (QA).
    • The total duration of the exam is three hours, with each section allocated one hour.
  2. Time Management:
    • Since the sections are time-bound, manage your time efficiently and ensure you attempt all sections within the allotted time.
  3. Answering Questions:
    • Read each question carefully before answering.
    • Use the on-screen calculator provided for calculations.
  4. Reviewing Answers:
    • If time permits, review your answers before submitting each section.

Post-Exam Process

  1. Leaving the Exam Center:
    • Wait for the invigilator’s instructions before leaving the exam hall.
    • Ensure that you have submitted all necessary materials and biometric data as required.
  2. Provisional Answer Key:
    • The provisional answer key is usually released a few days after the exam. Candidates can check it and raise objections if they find any discrepancies.

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Common Challenges on Exam Day

  1. Anxiety and Stress:
    • Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing to stay calm and focused.
  2. Technical Issues:
    • In case of any technical issues during the exam, immediately inform the invigilators for assistance.
  3. Time Management:
    • Keep track of the time and avoid spending too long on any single question.

By following these guidelines and being well-prepared, candidates can ensure a smooth and successful CAT exam day experience, allowing them to focus entirely on showcasing their abilities and achieving a high score.

What are the next steps after the CAT results are announced?

After the CAT results are announced, candidates need to participate in the selection process of the IIMs and other participating institutes. This typically includes shortlisting based on CAT scores, followed by group discussions (GD), personal interviews (PI), and written ability tests (WAT).

How can I check my CAT results?

To check the CAT results, candidates need to visit the official CAT website and log in with their User ID and password. The results will be displayed on the screen, and candidates can download their scorecard for future reference.

When will the CAT results be announced?

The CAT results are typically announced in the second week of January. Candidates can check their results by logging into their account on the official CAT website.

When is the CAT provisional answer key released?

The provisional answer key for the CAT exam is usually released a few days after the exam. Candidates can check the answer key on the official CAT website and raise objections if they find any discrepancies.

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