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CAT IIM Selection Process 2021: Check CAP Counselling Process, WAT/GD/PI Process, and Seat Allotment

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Nikkil Visha

Exams Prep Master | Updated On - Jan 4, 2022

CAT IIMs Admission and Selection process 2021 will start soon as CAT 2021 Result has been declared. New IIMs like IIM Bodhgaya, IIM Kashipur, IIM Sambalpur, etc will conduct CAT CAP counselling to offer admission to candidates.

  • The qualifying CAT Cut Off and admission criteria for the 2022-24 batch have been announced by IIMs. For admission in IIMs, candidates will be required to apply on their respective official websites. 
  • CAT selection process involves three stages: Shortlisting of candidates on the basis of their CAT exam score, Screening of candidates for WAT-GD-PI, and Calculation of Composite Score and Final Selection. Check CAT GD/ PI procedure
  • The candidates will be called based on their CAT Scores and CAT Cut Off. In the next stage, the candidates will be screened based on their CAT Score and the Academic Scores at the Undergraduate, HSC, and SSC levels. Next, the composite score will be calculated based on various parameters like graduation marks, work experience, etc. 

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CAT IIM Shortlisting Process

CAT IIM Counselling Dates

Different IIMs will release a shortlist of the candidates who will proceed to the next stage of the CAT admission procedure. This shortlist is released on the official website of the respective IIM. The status of the shortlist as per the IIMs will be updated in the table below. Read New IIMs CAP Shortlist & Admission Criteria

IIMs IIM shortlist status Dates
IIM Ahmedabad January 2022
IIM Kozhikode January 2022
IIM Visakhapatnam January 2022
IIM Calcutta January 2022
IIM Bangalore January 2022
IIM Amritsar March 2022
IIM Bodhgaya March 2022
IIM Nagpur March 2022

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CAT IIM Common Admission Process 2021

CAT Common Admission Process or CAT CAP is conducted for admission in the new IIMs and they are IIM Bodhgaya, IIM Kashipur, IIM Sambalpur, IIM Sirmaur, IIM Jammu, IIM Ranchi, IIM Trichy, IIM Udaipur.

  • In CAP counselling process, common rules, guidelines, or criteria are followed to offer admission to CAT qualified students. 
  • Last year for the 2021-23 session CAT CAP counselling was conducted by IIM Kashipur. The founding institute for this year CAP counselling will be announced after the declaration of CAT Result 2021. 
  • CAT CAP counselling is conducted in cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Chandigarh.

Components of IIM CAP

CAT admission process of new IIMs is the same as older IIMs. The qualifying CAT cut off and the weightage of various selection parameters are also common to these new nine IIMs. 

  • Shortlisting of candidates based on CAT Cut off. 
  • Written Ability Test, Group Discussion and Personal Interview.
  • Final Admission to offer to candidates based on composite CAT scores. 

Key Points of CAT IIM CAP Process

  • CAP conducting IIM will share the list of shortlisted candidates based on CAT cut off with all the participating IIMs.
  • Based on the shortlist of candidates, WAT and PI rounds are being conducted. 
  • After that, the participating IIMs assess the performance of candidates and score them on the parameters like CAT Score, WAT, PI, Profile of the candidate. 
  • Then each IIM prepares its individual merit list to offer admission. 
  • The final admission list of selected candidates can be checked or accessed by vising the official website of the colleges. 

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CAT Counselling Process 2021 

The 3 stages involved in the CAT Counselling or selection process are:

  • Stage 1: Shortlisting of Candidates – Based on CAT qualifying cut off released by the institute's candidates will be shortlisted for stage 2. 
  • Stage 2: WAT, GD, PI – In the second stage candidates will have to appear for WAT, GD, or PI rounds. 
  • Stage 3: Calculation of Composite Score – Based on various parameters the final composite is calculated and based on that admission offers will be made to candidates. 

In the below headings all the stages have been explained in detail for a better understanding of candidates. 

Written Ability Test

CAT Written Ability Test 2021

The Written Ability Test or the WAT is preferred by most IIMs instead of the Group Discussion. Over 11 out of the 20 IIMs have WAT, whereas some IIMs like IIM Lucknow and IIM Kozhikode conduct both WAT and GD. The Major Highlights of WAT are as follows - 

  • WAT assesses a candidate's critical thinking and communication skills.
  • The test is scored on the basis of the following aspects: 
    • Clarity of Thought in the Written Ability Test
    • Simplicity of Expression
    • Comprehensiveness of Perspective
    • Robustness of Reasoning 
  • The weightage for the WAT varies from 10% to 30% of the total score depending on the IIM. 
  • WAT Duration: 
    • The time given to complete WAT varies depending on the IIM. 
    • It can be anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. 
  • Questions Asked - Essay Type
  • Here are the some of the important topics for WAT - 
WAT Important Topics
Media Influence Corruption in India
Women’s Reservation Bill Should Petroleum Subsidy go away? 
Social Activism is necessary for survival of democratic society  GST: Aim to take economy on faster growth path
Demonetization in India: Decision is more appreciated than criticized Ethics and morals cannot be taught in classrooms only
Browsing at Workplace affects productivity RERA should win the trust of home buyers
Aadhar -Utility is more than perceived Beti Bachao Beti Padhao will change the orthodox mindset?
Global economic slowdown COVID-19 Pandemic
Article 370 Abrogation Farm Bills 2020: Protests and more
Digital India Make in India
Union Budget of India Privatization of the Indian Economy

Read CAT WAT and PI Experiences

CAT WAT Duration

The duration for WAT differs based on the IIM of choice. They can usually be anywhere between 15-30 minutes and are essay tests. Given below is the word limit and the duration for the Written Ability Test: 

B-School Time Limit (in minutes) Suggested Word Limit
IIM Ahmedabad 20-25 300+
IIM Bangalore 30 400
IIM Calcutta 20-25 400
IIM Lucknow 15-20 200+
IIM Indore 20-25 250
IIM Kozhikode 25 300
IIM Shillong 20-25 300
New IIMs 25-30 300
FMS 20-30 300
IIFT 20 300+

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Group Discussion

CAT Group Discussion 2021

CAT 2021 GD/PI is one of the major steps towards getting admission into an IIM of your choice. This aspect of the selection procedure tests the candidate's interpersonal skills and ability to work within groups. Some IIMs do not conduct GD/PI as part of the selection procedure, however. 

  • Shortlisted candidates are divided into groups of 8-10 and given a topic. 
  • Based on the topic, students are asked to present their views/opinions. 
  • This part of the selection procedure also assesses the candidates ability to present their views or ideas to a larger group. 
  • The duration for GD varies in each IIM. 
  • Here are some important topics for CAT GD - 
GD Important Topics
Atheism: Advantages and Disadvantages Cryptocurrency/Bitcoin
Cricket vs. Football Excise Tax on Jewellers – Reasonable or Unreasonable
Citizenship Amendment Act - What and Why COVID 19: Importance on spending on Public Health
Union Budget of India Will fake news kill Social Fiber of India if unchecked?
Is social distancing the new world order? Online education, work from home: Have we arrived in virtual world
Why Is Individual Data Privacy is important? How beneficial is the IIM 2017 bill for students?
Will Denuclearisation Instill World Peace? Hard Work Vs Smart Work
Is MBA necessary to be Successful in Business? Agriculture Vs Manufacturing Industry in India
Minimum Support Price: Is it a Political gimmick? Is Globalization an Opportunity or a Threat?
High Deficit Financing V/s high interest rates: Can both go together? Views on YONO
Is Net Neutrality essential to make India Digital? Should the national anthem be played in cinema halls?

CAT GD Previously Asked Topics

Looking at the previously asked topics would give you an idea of the kind of questions that are asked so that you can practise for this round. Here are some of the previously asked topics in the Group Discussion Section of the CAT Selection Procedure: 

CAT GD Previously Asked Topics
Is introducing bullet trains in India a good idea Caste-based reservations are impediments on building a casteless society
Ban of additional homework given to students from school to be done at home Poverty in India: Facts, Causes, Effects, Solution
Agriculture Role in India and Subsidies: Problems & Challenges Women Empowerment & Gender Justice: Addressing the Equality Challenges
End of Globalization/ De-Globalization/ Nationalization Climate Change/Pollution
Banking Scams Traveling: Helps in Generating Ideas and Experiential Learning
Zero Death penalties for perpetrators of crime against women. Is it Justified?

Read More about CAT GD & PI Process 

Personal Interview

CAT Personal Interview 2021

  • It is conducted in most IIMs and is an extremely crucial round for the selection procedure. 
  • The selection panel for PI usually involves 2-4 experts. 
  • This is a crucial part of the selection, and the key to succeeding this round is to be very confident and expressing yourself clearly. 
  • The questions asked in an IIM interview range from questions about Personal life, Academic Record, Extra-curricular activities, work experience, outlook on contemporary issues, etc.

CAT PI Things to Remember

There are some important things to remember while attending the CAT PI. Here are some of the key things to remember: 

  • Remember to present yourself well, i.e. be well dressed and well-groomed. 
  • Work on your language skills and presentation skills. 
  • Try to practice public speaking. 
  • Sometimes, the interviewers can ask abstract questions based on anything in your call letter. For Instance, interviewers have asked why a candidate's email has 1990 in it instead of their actual birth year. 
  • Answer to the point and do not speak too much.
  • Do not give cliched or obvious answers.
  • Interviewers will notice your non-verbal cues/body language while responding.

CAT PI Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions in CAT PI - 

  • Tell us something about yourself.
  • How did you choose MBA as your career? Why?
  • Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
  • Tell us the reasons to select you.
  • Do you have any regrets? (Academic-related, life-related, etc.)
  • Past- related Questions.
  • Why do you choose to join IIM (city)?
  • Discuss your strengths/weaknesses.
  • Questions from your GD. 
  • Do you have any questions from us?

Reservation Criteria

Admission in Non-IIMs through CAT 2021

CAT 2021 Scores are accepted by more than 1000 MBA colleges in India. The top non-IIM colleges in India are The selection process for Non-IIMs also includes:

  • Releasing CAT Cut off and Shortlisting of candidates based on CAT scores: The institutes release their respective CAT cut offs after the declaration of CAT results and shortlist candidates for GD-PI rounds based on CAT scores & percentile.
  • GD-WAT-PI rounds: Some institutes conduct all the 3 rounds while others may conduct either the GD or the PI round.
  • Final Merit List: The final merit list is prepared by assigning different weightage to various parameters including CAT scores, GD-WAT-PI scores, Academic record, past work experience.

The top Non-IIMs in India that accept CAT scores are:

Institute Expected CAT 2021 Cut off
FMS Delhi 99+ percentile
IIT Delhi 98+ percentile
IIT Bombay 98+ percentile
IIT Madras 96+ percentile
JBIMS Mumbai 95+ percentile
SPJIMR Mumbai 90+ percentile
NITIE Mumbai 90+ percentile
IBS Hyderabad 85+ percentile

CAT Reservation Criteria 2021

A certain percentage of seats in IIMs are reserved for SC, ST, OBC and PWD candidates. The table given below provides an overview of the same:

Category Reservation (%)
Scheduled Caste (SC) 15
Scheduled Tribe (ST) 7.5
Non-Creamy – Other Backward Classes (NC-OBC) 27
People with Disability (PWD) 5
Economically Weaker Section (EWS) Up to 10

CAT Seat Intake 2021

There are 20 IIMs across India that offer admission to different specializations of MBA. Here is the total seat intake of various IIMs is given below:

College Number of Seats College Number of Seats
IIM Ahmedabad 395 IIM Ranchi 185
IIM Bangalore 400 IIM Rohtak 264
IIM Calcutta 460 IIM Raipur 90
IIM Lucknow  500 IIM Trichy 240
IIM Indore 450 IIM Udaipur 325
IIM Kozhikode 480 IIM Kashipur 240
IIM Shillong 92 IIM Nagpur 130
IIM Visakhapatnam 120 IIM Sambalpur 90
IIM Bodh Gaya 120 IIM Jammu 90
IIM Sirmaur 120 IIM Amritsar 160

CAT IIMs Selection Criteria

CAT Counseling 2021 FAQs

Ques: Which IIM conducted CAT Counselling?

Ans: IIM CAT counseling is conducted by each of the IIMs for candidate’s admission in management programs in their institute. There is no particular IIM that performs centralized counseling for all management colleges. The admission process depends upon a candidate’s performance in the CAT exam. CAT Counselling will be conducted by IIM Indore. 

Ques: Which factor plays a major role in getting admission to one of the IIMs?

Ans: Candidate’s performance in CAT exam is a major role in securing a seat in any one of the IIMs. After clearing CAT Cutoff, candidates have to qualify WAT, GD, and PI. 

Ques: What are the documents required for CAT counseling?

Ans: The documents required for CAT counseling is given below:

  • CAT Scorecard
  • Class 10th Marksheet
  • Class 12th Marksheet
  • Passport Sized Photograph
  • Admit Card
  • Caste Certificate

Ques: What is the percentage reservation for different category candidates?

Ans: The reservation criteria for different categories are tabulated below:

Category Reservation (%)
Scheduled Caste 15%
Scheduled Tribe 7.5%
Non-Creamy Other Backward Classes 27%
Persons with Benchmark Disabilities (PwD) 5%
Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) Up to 10%

Ques: On what basis do candidates are shortlisted for WAT/GD in IIMs?

Ans: Depending upon the candidate’s performance in CAT exam, IIMs shortlists the candidates for WAT and GD

Ques: What is the procedure to get an MBA admission in IIMs?

Ans: To get admission in MBA program of IIMs, candidates have to follow the steps given below:

  • Take CAT exam
  • Reach the cutoff laid down by IIMs
  • Get shortlisted for a further round of IIMs selection process
  • Appear and clear WAT and GD
  • Perform in PI and secure a seat in IIMs

Ques: Do class 10th and 12th aggregate considered in IIM admission process?

Ans: Yes, class 10th and 12th scores are also considered while offering admission to the candidates. Different IIMs have different percentage of weightage that is assigned to consider a candidate’s percentage in class 10th and 12th.

Ques: What are the number of seats offered by IIMs in MBA admission?

Ans: The approximate number of seats offered by IIMs is 3300 in total. This year, there may be a hike in seats offered by the IIMs into its management program.

Ques: Which IIM offers a maximum number of sears?

Ans: Though the number of seats offered by the IIMs may vary but depending upon the analysis, IIMs offering maximum seats into its management program are listed below:

  • IIM Ahmedabad
  • IIM Bangalore
  • IIM Calcutta
  • IIM Lucknow
  • IIM Indore

*The article might have information for the previous academic years, which will be updated soon subject to the notification issued by the University/College.


Does Narssemonje also accept CAT scores?
manika gupta

Hi Utkarsha, The college doesn’t accept CAT score. The college conducts its own entrance test known as NMAT by GMAC, an upcoming exam whose scores are also accepted by many other B-schools.

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Hi, I am getting a score of 20 in DILR in CAT 2018. Will I be able to get a sectional percentile of at least 75. I need to know because I have been shortlisted for interview by SPJIMR based on profile. Thanks in advance.
I got 85.8 percentile in CAT. Which colleges should i target where i realistically have a chance?

Hello Rittick, You can apply in IIM Ahmedabad according to your percentile. To know more colleges please use this link: CUTOFF

How does CAT help me in the selection of best B. School?

Hi Kritika, As CAT is a highly prestigious exam, Indian Institutes of Management and other top notch B-Schools prefer CAT Score for the admission in their MBA programs. So higher the rank in CAT, better is the chance of getting admission in the top management schools like IIM Ahmadabad, IIM Indore, etc. 

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