CAT Admission Process 2021: Selection Criteria, CAP, GD/PI

Oct 27, 2021 | Management


CAT Exam is conducted by the IIMs for management aspirants seeking admission to the best B-Schools of the country. As part of the admission process, the candidates who clear the cut off will be called for the CAT counselling round. The selection process for the old IIMs is the same, whereas, the newer branches, such as the IIM Bodh Gaya, IIM Kashipur, and IIM Sambalpur will conduct a CAT CAP counselling. The candidates will be subjected to various rounds, such as the Written Ability Test, Group Discussion, and Personal Interview.

All the details related to CAT counselling are discussed below.

Table of Contents:

CAT 2021 Counselling Process Highlights

The CAT counselling process 2021 for IIMs contains three major steps. It is advised in the interest of candidates to check the official website of the concerned IIM from which they have received a call letter to understand the complete procedure of admission. 

Receiving the CAT 2021 Counselling Call Letter

The call letter for IIM CAT 2021 counselling would be sent to the shortlisted candidates at their registered email addresses. The candidates should find the following information on the call letter:

  • Registration link for IIM CAT counselling 2021.
  • The last date to register for CAT counselling 2021.
  • Dates for the shortlisting rounds of Group Discussion, Written Aptitude Test, Personal Interview.
  • Venue for the shortlisting rounds of Group Discussion, Written Aptitude Test, Personal Interview.
  • Candidate’s slot for the shortlisting rounds of Group Discussion, Written Aptitude Test, Personal Interview.

Documents Required for Verification During CAT 2021 Counselling Process

The candidates must report to the venue mentioned on the given date for submission of all the documents mentioned in the call letter. The call letter contains a list of all the documents which a candidate needs to bring to the venue. A list of all the documents is also given below for your reference.

Scorecard: Your CAT 2021 Score Card should be taken along with other original documents for the document verification session.

Marksheet: Candidates are required to produce Original and self-attested Photocopies of 10th, 12th and graduation mark sheets in IIM's CAT Counselling 2021.

Photographs: 4 passport size photographs are required at the time of the counselling process.

Admit Card: Original and photocopy of CAT Admit card 2021 will be required for the admission process.

Caste Certificate: Original and photocopy of caste certificate signed by authorized authority is required for those candidates who come under the reserved category. The aspirants belonging to the SC/ST Category or the EWS Category must produce the certificate at the time of CAT Counselling 2021, and at the time of joining an IIM.

Final Year Candidates: In case you are in the final year of the bachelor's degree or equivalent, then it is mandatory for you to submit an original certificate from the Principal/Registrar/Director of the University/Institution.

Document Photocopies: The candidates should also bring two sets of photocopies of the above-mentioned documents to the IIM CAT counselling venue mentioned on the call letter.

Note: The authorities at the counselling venue might retain the candidate’s documents for further verification formalities. The candidates must remember to take a receipt for the same.

CAT 2021 Counselling Choice Locking

The candidates must visit the official website after fulfilment of the previous step, i.e., document verification for CAT Counselling 2021. Fill the registration form and proceed to select and do the choice locking for CAT 2021 counselling. The candidates will be notified about the same through SMS or email.

The candidates are supposed to visit the allocated institution and submit the order of seat allotment.

CAT 2021 Selection Process

Few days after the announcement of the CAT 2021 Result, based on your percentile you will get the most anticipated "call" from the IIMs for the next level of the selection process. The counselling process of 2021 starts after the candidate has cleared the cut off 2021. Every IIM decides the CAT cut off for their institute and there is no universal cut off applicable to all. Also, the Institutes announces their admission process and selection criteria for the year beforehand. The selection process broadly involves the following steps:

CAT Selection Procedure 2021
Elements Details
Date of Counselling The admission process of each IIM or any other college accepting CAT Score differs. It will be updated on the official website.
Merit Selection Admission is based on a merit list and a strict and focused selection process.
Personal Interview A personal Interview is an important element in the candidate's selection in the IIMs.
Written Test and GD More weightage is given to the Written test as compared to the group discussion at the time of selection of the candidate for CAT 2021 IIMs Admission.

These steps for the Selection Procedure in CAT 2021 Counselling are discussed in detail below:

CAT 2021 Group Discussion

Group Discussion is an integral part of the IIM's CAT counselling 2021 process for admission to IIMs. At this stage, generally, groups of 5-6 students are given one topic and they discuss that topic for about 10 minutes or so.

First-round includes the ability of a candidate to communicate his ideas clearly to a group. The candidate must be highly convincing, logical and reasonable. It also helps to shortlist candidates on the basis of 'team handling quality'. The topics for group discussion will be different for each group. The group discussion is conducted at the counselling to not just evaluate your knowledge on the topic, but also gauge your team approach, leadership skills, and communication skills.

Required Documents at the Time of WAT/ GD and PI

  • IIM Interview call letter
  • CAT 2021 scorecard
  • Class 10th mark sheet and certificate
  • Class 12th mark sheet and certificate
  • Graduation mark sheet and certificate
  • Reservation category proof of certificate (if applicable)
  • Work experience certificate (if any)

Hot Topics for IIM CAT Group Discussion: The topics asked in the CAT 2021 counselling rounds are based on national and international politics, current affairs, topics of socialism. So be prepared by reading newspapers daily, if you have not started reading them and be updated socially. Magazines, social media, articles will also help you in getting a day to day knowledge about current affairs. Some hot topics for CAT 2021 counselling group discussion round are as follows:

  • Narendra Modi - Innovating India
  • Make In India
  • Farm Income
  • General Election
  • RBI Autonomy
  • Regionalism
  • Fugitive Economic Offenders
  • Section 377
  • Me too
  • ISRO's Manned Mission
  • US-China Trade War
  • Immigration crisis
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Social media and Privacy
  • Impact of technology on jobs
  • End of Globalisation
  • Banking Scam, etc.

CAT 2021 Written Ability Test

The Written Ability Test for CAT selection procedure analyzes the candidate’s critical thinking ability, and their ability to solve the problems precisely and clearly in a given period of time. As a part of the Written Ability Test, a student will have to write an essay on a given topic. The topic will be given on the spot and specific time will be allotted for it.

Essay structure is important since the time to write is limited. A student must not spend too much time planning the structure of the essay. A candidate must improve his writing skills to score good marks in the Written Ability Test round of counselling 2021.

The topics for the written ability test can be from a variety of topics like current affairs, socialism, etc. Some of the examples are:

  • Corruption in India
  • Life and work balance
  • Women's welfare etc.
  • The economic problems in India
  • Unemployment is a blessing in disguise
  • The current five-year plan

CAT 2021 Personal Interview

The questions may be asked in an IIM interview based on personal life, academic record, extracurricular activities, work experience, hobbies and any technical questions.

Each IIM compulsorily has a personal interview round for the selection of candidates. So you need to develop some soft skills to get prepared for a Face to Face Interview at the time of the CAT selection process.

CAT Parameters for Final Selection

The table below highlights the parameters used for the final selection. Kindly note that the parameters listed below are general, for criteria related to a specific institute, the candidates are advised to visit the institute's website. 

CAT Parameters for Final Selection
Parameters Details
CAT 2021 Overall percentile score obtained in CAT 2021 exam.
Class 10th The aggregate percentage marks in class 10
Class 12th The aggregate percentage marks in class 12
Graduation The aggregate percentage in 3 or 4 year’s degree course
WAT/ GD-PI In WAT / GD-PI the performance of each candidate is evaluated and marks are allotted accordingly.
Academic Diversity Candidates with a non-engineering background are awarded extra points to ensure a fair representation of students from other streams. Points for academic diversity vary for each campus.
Gender Diversity IIMs give extra points to women/ transgender people to promote fair representation of each gender. Points for gender diversity vary for each campus.
Work Experience Additional points are awarded to candidates with work experience. For this, a limit of experience is defined as the lowest to the highest. Points for work experience vary for each campus.

Note: It should be noted that these parameters vary from institute to institute each year. Therefore, the candidates are advised to visit the institute's official website to check the criteria. 

Common Admission Process (IIM CAP)

Common Admission Process or CAP is an integrated selection process conducted for the 9 new baby IIMs that includes IIM Bodh Gaya, IIM Jammu, IIM Kashipur, IIM Ranchi, IIM Sambalpur, IIM Sirmaur, IIM Trichy, and IIM Udaipur. All candidates are shortlisted for CAP based on their CAT 2021 scores, and then there is an admission process that is conducted at one conducting institute for all the nine new IIMs. The qualifying CAT cut off and weightage of admission selection parameters are common for all CAP participating IIMs. The admission process is the same as that of the other IIMs i.e. WAT-PI process. The final scores from CAP 2021 are then sent to respective CAP participating IIMs and the institutes can then assess the candidates' performances as per their own selection parameters and make admission offers based on the individual merit which is made available on the official website of the respective IIMs.

All aspiring candidates can refer below step by step procedure of the Common Admission Process which is a very integral part of the CAT Counselling process for the new IIMs:

  • The nine new IIMs participating in CAP 2021 prepares a list of shortlisted candidates for the WAT-PI process as per their own selection parameters.
  • Each IIM then shares the candidate list to CAP Coordinator 2021.
  • From this combined list, the CAP conduction institute i.e. IIM Ranchi in this case conducts WAT-PI Round.
  • The final admission list is prepared by individual IIMs who assess the candidates based on the composite scores of WAT, PI, CAT Score, work experience, and past academic performance.
  • Each IIM then makes an individual merit list to offer admissions to the candidates.
  • This final merit list is displayed on the official website of the individual institutes and can be accessed by candidates using their institute login credentials.

CAT Counselling 2021 Reservation Criteria

As per the Indian government reservation scheme, CAT counselling for IIMs follows some reservation criteria. These data are according to the authentic information given on the official website.

CAT Counselling 2021 Reservation Criteria
Student Category Percentage of Seats Allocated
Scheduled Caste (SC) 15% of seats
Scheduled Tribe (ST) 7.5% seats
Other Backwards Classes (NC-OBC) 27% of seats
PWD Differently Abled Candidates (DA) 5% of seats
Economically Weaker Section (EWS) 10 % of Seats

CAT 2021 - Participating IIMs

Studying in IIMs is a dream for many students aspiring to do a management course in India. To get into it one has to clear the CAT exam 2021. One must score high to get into IIMs referring to CAT previous years question papers will help a student to score high.

CAT Counselling 2021 Participating IIMs
IIMs Official Website
IIM Ahmedabad
IIM Amritsar
IIM Bangalore
IIM Bodhgaya
IIM Calcutta
IIM Indore
IIM Kashipur
IIM Kozhikode
IIM Lucknow
IIM Nagpur
IIM Raipur
IIM Ranchi
IIM Rohtak
IIM Shillong
IIM Trichy
IIM Udaipur
IIM Visakhapatnam
IIM Jammu
IIM Sambalpur
IIM Sirmaur

Admission Through CAT 2021 in Non-IIM's

CAT 2021 scores are valid for admission to various Non-IIM institutes also. But these institutes don't follow the same pattern as for shortlisting candidates. Therefore, candidates have to apply to these organizations individually. Below are the Non-IIM institutions, which consider the exam scores, but aren't a part of the IIM CAT counselling.

Non-IIMs granting admission through CAT 2021
CAT 2021 Participating Non-IIMs
Andhra Pradesh
Institute for Financial Management & Research (IFMR University)
Jawaharlal Nehru School of Management Studies
Chandragupt Institute of Management Patna (CIMP) Development Management Institute
University Business School
Faculty of Management Studies Fore School of Management
IMM-Fostiima Business School (IFBS) Fortune Institute of International Business
Apeejay School of Management Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies, Technical Campus
Goa Institute of Management
MICA Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India
Institute of Rural Management Anand Institute of Management, Nirma University
Management Development Institute (MDI)
Jammu & Kashmir
Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University
Indus Business Academy Myra School of Business
Kirloskar Institute of Advanced Management Studies T.A. Pai Management Institute (TAPMI)
Alliance University International School of Management Excellence
Institute of Finance & International Management (IFIM Business School) GIBS Business School
Shri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara Institute For Management Development  
SCMS School of Technology & Management SCMS Cochin School of Business
Rajagiri Business School  
Madhya Pradesh
Jaipuria Institute of Management (Indore) Indian Institute of Forest Management
K J Somaiya Institute of Management Studies & Research Institute Of Technology And Management
National Institute of Bank Management Balaji Institute of Telecom & Management (BITM)
National Institute of Industrial Engineering Balaji Institute of Management and Human Resource Development (BIMHRD)
National Insurance Academy Welingkar Institute of Management Development & Research
Flame School of Business (FLAME University)  
Xavier University Bhubaneswar KIIT School of Management at KIIT University
LM Thapar School of Management University Business School - Ludhiana
Jaipuria Institute of Management (Jaipur) Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani
Tamil Nadu
Bharathidasan Institute of Management (BIM) National Institute of Technology
KCT Business School  
Institute Of Insurance and Risk Management (IIRM) University of Hyderabad (School of Management Studies)
Siva Sivani Institute of Management Hyderabad School of Business Management
Vishwa Vishwani Institute of Systems and Management  
Uttar Pradesh
Institute of Management Technology (IMT) Jaipuria Institute of Management (Lucknow)
Birla Institute of Management Technology Indian Institute of Information Technology
University of Lucknow Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Petroleum Technology, Jais, Amethi
Doon Business School
West Bengal
Indian Institute of Social Welfare & Business Management (IISWBM) International Management Institute (Alipore)
Management Development Institute, Murshidabad Calcutta Business School

Note: All candidates must understand that completing the exam is just the first level and they have to pass through the CAT counselling 2021 process to get admission. Having said that, each candidate must score well to get a call for CAT counselling.

Seat Intake of all Participating IIMs

All participants have their specific seat intake and all candidates who satisfy the eligibility criteria and fall under the merit list as per the CAT Selection process are given admission to the respective IIMs. The seat intake of all participating IIMs based on CAT exam score is given below:

Seat Intake of Participating IIMs
IIMs Seat Intake in MBA/PGP
IIM Ahmedabad 395
IIM Bangalore 400
IIM Calcutta 460
IIM Kozhikode 375
IIM Lucknow 500
IIM Visakhapatnam 120
IIM Indore 450
IIM Rohtak 240
IIM Shillong 180
IIM Trichy 240
IIM Udaipur 260
IIM Ranchi 185
IIM Kashipur 240
IIM Raipur 260
IIM Amritsar 160
IIM Bodhgaya 120
IIM Nagpur 130
IIM Jammu 140
IIM Sambalpur 120
IIM Sirmaur 120

*Number of seats mentioned in the above table is specific to the previous academic session. It may change in the upcoming sessions as per respective participating IIMs.


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