The Common Admission Test (CAT) is an all-India test conducted by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) as an entrance exam for the management programes of its seven business schools. About 2,50,000 students took CAT in 2012 for about 1500 seats in the IIMs.
The test is multiple-choice based with roughly one-fourth negative-mark penalties for wrong answers and traditionally comprises three sections that span the domains of arithmetical problem solving, geometry, statistics, data interpretation, logical reasoning, puzzles and English language skills. It is held on the second week of November. The test duration was two hours prior to year 2006, but since 2006, it has been extended to two and a half hours. The total number of questions has varied from 180 (prior to year 2000) to 150 (from 2001 to 2003) and has gradually decreased to 75 (in 2006 and 2007). However, in 2008 the number of questions increased once again and became 90 (40 in Verbal Ability and 25 each in Quantitative Aptitude and Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation). This trend has seen the CAT evolve from a speed-based test to an exam that evaluates fundamental abilities of candidates in the aforementioned areas.In 2009 CAT the no.of questions decreased to 60 ( 20 questions in each section quantitative analysis, logical reasoning + Data interpretation and Verbal ability) with increase in complexity of questions.