The requirement for CAT Application Eligibility

CAT will be conducted by IIM Lucknow. While there is still time left before the official notification is out and the real race begins, why not go through the eligibility requirements essential for appearing in the exam. In general terms, anyone with a graduate degree can appear for the CAT exam. However, there are certain other conditions which must be fulfilled or else a candidate will be disqualified from appearing in the exam. There is also an important question of work experience and if it is an essential requirement for CAT or not.

While understanding the eligibility requirement is fairly easy, sometimes students are at loggerheads with what is considered as a degree equivalent to a graduate degree. Also, students are often under the impression, that it is compulsory to have some work experience before they appear for CAT exam. In this article, we will explain both academic eligibility and the question of work experience.

CAT Eligibility Criteria

  • A candidate applying for CAT exam must have a Bachelor’s degree in any discipline with 50% marks or equivalent CGPA.
  • The minimum percentage required for candidates belonging to Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST), and Persons with Disability (PWD) category is 45% or equivalent CGPA.
  • The degree must have bone obtained from a university incorporated by an Act of Parliament or State Legislature in India or institution recognized by UGC or must possess an equivalent recognition from MHRD, Government of India.
  • Candidate’s appearing in the final year of their qualifying examination can also appear for the CAT exam on the condition that they produce a certificate issued by the Principal/Registrar of their university/institute stating that they have completed all the degree requirements at the time of their admission.
  • Candidates who have completed CA/CS/ICWA can also apply. The percentage requirement for these candidates will be same as mentioned in the points above.
  • The candidate must hold a Bachelor’s Degree, with at least 50% marks or equivalent CGPA (45% in case of the candidates belonging to Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Persons with Disability (PWD)/Differently Able (DA) category) awarded by any of the Universities incorporated by an act of the central or state legislature in India or other educational institutions 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.
  • The percentage of marks obtained by the candidate in the bachelor’s degree would be calculated based on the practice followed by the university/institution from where the candidate has obtained the degree. In case the candidates are awarded grades/CGPA instead of marks, the conversion of grades/CGPA to percentage of marks would be based on the procedure certified by the university/ institution from where they have obtained the bachelor’s degree. In case the university/ institution does not have any scheme for converting CGPA into equivalent marks, the equivalence would be established by dividing the candidate’s CGPA by the maximum possible CGPA and multiplying the result with 100.
  • Candidates appearing for the final year of bachelor’s degree/equivalent qualification examination and those who have completed degree requirements and are awaiting results can also apply. If selected, such candidates will be allowed to join the programme provisionally, only if she/he submits a certificate latest by before July or August from the Principal/Registrar of her/his College/Institute (issued on) stating that the candidate has completed all the requirements for obtaining the bachelor’s degree/equivalent qualification on the date of the issue of the certificate.
  • IIMs may verify eligibility at various stages of the selection process, the details of which are provided at the website Applicants should note that the mere fulfillment of minimum eligibility criteria will not ensure consideration for shortlisting by IIMs. Prospective candidates must maintain a valid and unique email account and a phone number throughout the selection process.

List of Equivalent Qualifications

  1. Bachelor’s degree in Engineering/Technology (4 years after 10+2/Post B.Sc./Post Diploma ) or B.E/B.Tech equivalent examinations, of Professional Societies, recognized by MHRD/UPSC/AICTE (e.g. AMIE by Institution of Engineers -India, AMICE by the Institute of Civil Engineers-India).
  2. Any Qualification recognized by Association of Indian Universities New Delhi, which is equivalent to a Bachelor’s Degree awarded by UGC recognized University/Institutions.

  3. Cases not covered above equivalency certificate to be produced by Association of Indian Universities New Delhi.


  • As per the Government of India requirements, 15% of the seats are reserved for Scheduled Caste (SC) and 7.5% for Scheduled Tribe (ST) candidates. 27% of seats are reserved for Other Backward Classes candidates belonging to the “non- creamy” layer (NC – OBC).
  • For an updated central list of state – wise OBCs eligible for availing the benefit of reservation and information in respect of the creamy layer, visit the website
  • In the case of NC – OBC category, the castes included in Central List (available at of NC – OBC by the National Commission of Backward Classes, Government of India as on last day of registration will be used. Any subsequent changes will not be effective for CAT.
  • As per the provision under section 39 of the PWD Act, 1995, 3% seats are reserved for Differently Abled (DA) candidates. The three categories of disability are – 1) low vision blindness, 2) hearing impairment and 3) Locomotor disability/Cerebral Palsy. This provision is applicable if the candidate suffers from any of the listed disabilities to the extent of not less than 40%, as certified by a medical authority as prescribed and explained in the said Act.
  • The candidates belonging to categories for which seats are reserved need to note and read the eligibility requirements carefully before applying. It should be noted that while it is the endeavor of IIMs that the candidates belonging to SC/ST/PWD/Non – Creamy OBC categories join the Programme in proportions mandated by the law, they have to meet the minimum eligibility criteria and a certain minimum level of performance in the admission process.
  • The candidates should read carefully the description of admission process followed by each IIM on their respective websites. No change in the category will be entertained after the closure of registration window. Hence, applicants are advised to give attention while registering.

Note for SC/ST, NC- OBC, and DA Candidates

  • If you belong to SC or ST categories, your caste/tribe must be listed in the Government of India schedule. The caste certificate that you send to IIM should be in the Government approved format and should clearly state: (a) Name of your caste/tribe; (b) Whether you belong to Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe; (c) District and the State or Union Territory of your ordinary residence; and (d) the appropriate Government of India schedule under which your caste/tribe is approved by it as Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe.
  • A copy of the SC/ST and /or PWD (DA) certificate(s) must be uploaded at the time of CAT Application online. Failure to upload a copy of the caste/class certificate will result in the rejection of your CAT registration.
  • The SC/ST and/or PWD (DA) certificate(s) must be shown and a photocopy should be submitted at the time of interviews. Moreover, the certificate(s) must be submitted at the time of joining programs of any of the IIMs.
  • If you belong to the Non – Creamy Other Backward Classes (NC – OBC), you must produce the NC – OBC certificate duly signed by the competent authority and enclose its photocopy at the time of interviews. Moreover, the certificate must be submitted at the time of joining programs of any of the IIMs. Failure to do so during the post CAT selection process will result in you not being considered under the reserved category.

Work Experience Requirement

Having a prior work experience is not a compulsory requirement for candidates appearing in CAT. The application form does ask for work experience details but it is not mandatory.

However, during the final selection of candidates, work experience is given some weight-age by the IIMs. The exact weight-age given to work experience is never revealed by the IIMs but it varies from IIM to IIM.

The bottom line is that work experience does not come into play till the last stage of final selection and even then it does not play a deciding factor. IIMs have been known to have a mixed batch comprising of both fresh graduates and students with work experience.

Requirement for CAT Application Eligibility


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