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CAT 2018 Counselling & Selection Procedure (Category-wise)

Updated On - February 19th 2018 by SOUMYA SEHGAL

CAT Counselling is conducted separately by different IIMs from third week of January 2018. It is carried out soon after the declaration of CAT Results. IIM Lucknow will release the results online at

Latest Update: CAT Official answer key with question paper and objection form are uploaded on the official website. Check here
Latest Update:IIM Rohtak will conduct the common admission process for 9 IIMs this year. 
Latest Update: IIM Ahmedabad & Bangalore Announce Shortlisted Candidates for Interview. Check  here 

Candidates have to initially register for web counselling at the official website. Candidates will then be allotted helpline center and called by different IIMs for web CAT Counselling. Candidates have to report at the nearest helpline center on the stipulated date and time for the counselling.

Listed below are quick facts about CAT Exam Counselling:

  • Report to the allotted helpline center along with the required documents for verification and counselling fee payment.
  • After verification, you are provided an ID and password to log in for option entry.
  • Choose and lock the choices of your preferred colleges before submission.
  • After evaluation on the basis of your CAT Score, candidates are called for the further selection process at the selected college. Check  CAT Participating Institutes
  • Candidates have to appear for Group Discussion (GD), Written Ability Test (WAT) and Personal Interview (PI) at the selected IIM to get admission to the applied course.


  • WAT is an additional preparatory step to achieve your target of selection in IIM. WAT includes essay writing on a given topic in stipulated time.
  • The time allotted varies for different IIMs.
  • WAT is followed by GD wherein candidates have to discuss a given topic.
  • PI is the face to face interview round, mandatory for all IIMs. PI may last for 5-50 minutes.

Highlights of CAT Counselling 2017

CAT Counselling DateJanuary 2018
Conducting Body19 IIMs
Minimum EligibilityCAT Score as per the CAT Cutoff
ProcedureReporting at allocated Helpline center, Verification of documents, Choice locking, Reporting to IIM, GDPI and Written Test
Total Participating Colleges19 IIMs (Indian Institute of Management)
Total seats4000 seats (approximately)

CAT Exam Counselling Dates 2017

CAT Counselling begins from third week of January 2018. Given below are the important dates related to CAT Admission Procedure 2017:

CAT Exam Result will be declared onFirst week of January 2018
CAT Counselling begins fromThird week of January 2018
CAT Option Entry will start fromThird week of January 2018
Reporting to IIMs begins fromFourth week of January 2018

CAT Counselling Process

CAT Counselling is done in online mode on the official website- Candidates have to report to the allotted helpline center in person with all the required documents. Carry the original copies of the documents along with the photocopy for the verification process.

Given below are the steps to carry out the web counselling for CAT Exam​ :

Reporting to Helpline Centre and Verification of Documents

  • Report at the allocated helpline center on the date mentioned on the CAT score card
  • Reach the helpline center with the original and photocopies of the required documents
  • After the verification of documents, pay the counselling fee in cash at the center
  • Keep the fee receipt safely. Also, keep the generated ID and Password safely for web login options

Documents to be carried:

Given below are the documents required at the time of CAT Counselling:

  • Class X marksheet and Passing certificate
  • Class XII marksheet and Passing certificate
  • Graduation degree certificates
  • Reservation category certificates (if applicable)
  • Interview Letters
  • CAT Rank Card
  • CAT Admit Card

Registering and Choice Locking

  • After the verification process, visit and click on ‘Existing User’ section.
  • Enter your user ID and password to login.
  • Click on ‘Apply Online’ to select the colleges of your choice.
  • Select and lock your choice before submission.
  • You receive an intimation via SMS or email.
  • After confirmation of the seat, visit the allocated institution and submit the seat allotment order.

Reporting to IIM

  • This is the second stage of the CAT selection process. Report to the IIM on the given date after you receive an intimation.
  • Candidate’s performance in the admission test, academic performance, and relevant work experience are the basis of selection of candidates
  • Written Ability Test (WAT), Group Discussion (GD) and Personal Interview (PI) are conducted on the allocated IIM
  • Candidates who qualify all these stages get admission in the mentioned course.

CAT Selection Process

Candidates who apply for CAT Exam have to not just focus on preparing for the exam. Their focus must be on clearing the tests that follow in the further selection process. The further steps of the selection process of CAT is explained below:

Written Ability Test

  • Most of the IIMs have preferred Written Ability Test (WAT) on Group Discussion (GD) over the last few years.
  • It has been analysed that 11 out of the 19 IIMs have removed the Group Discussion round from their selection process.
  • Although, a few IIMs like IIM Lucknow and IIM Kozhikode still conduct both WAT and GD for selection of candidates.

Written Ability Test is designed to test a candidate’s critical thinking ability, and their ability to formulate and communicate their thoughts clearly. Given below is the pattern of WAT:

  • In WAT, candidate has to write an essay on a given topic.
  • The time given to complete the test varies for different IIMs.
  • For instance, as per the records of the last year admissions, candidates were given 30 minutes to complete the essay. While at IIM Lucknow, candidates were allotted 15 minutes to think and write the essay.
  • Proper practice of essay writing is the key to score well in WAT.
  • The structure is a consideration but candidate must focus on time management too.
  • A candidate must try to put in as many clear ideas in their essay as possible.

The topics for essay writing can be from a variety of domains such as current affairs, government policies, topics of social importance, trade and commerce etc. Some example for WAT topics can be:

  • Media Influence
  • Corruption in India
  • Women’s Reservation Bill
  • Should Petroleum Subsidy go away? 

Group Discussion (GD)

The next step of the CAT Admission Process is Group Discussion (GD). Group Discussion is an important part of the selection procedure for admission to IIMs. The features of a GD are explained below:

  • Candidates are generally divided into groups of 8-10 during a GD. The students are asked to put forward their views on a given topic.
  • This round assesses the ability of a candidate to communicate their idea clearly to a group.
  • It also helps to shortlist candidates who can understand group dynamics and are good team players.
  • The topics for group discussion, again, can be varied for different IIMs and the discussion time too.

The topics may range from National and International Politics, Current Affairs, topics of social importance, Government policies etc. Some example of topics for Group Discussion are as follows:

  • Atheism: Advantages and Disadvantages
  • Donald Trump as the Next US President – the good and the bad
  • Cricket vs Football
  • Excise Tax on Jewellers – Reasonable or Unreasonable

The topics of GD vary with the current affairs. A new addition to these GD topics can be GST (Good and Service Tax).

Personal Interview (PI)

This round in the CAT Admission Process outrages you from the mainstream crowd. This round is a mandatory round at all IIMs and termed as the most crucial. Candidates have to generally face a panel of 3-4 interviewers. The key to success in the interview is- Be witty, funny and confident at the same time.

To excel in this final frontier, candidates should be aware of the types of questions that are frequently asked in a personal interview. 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.

Given below are few expected or commonly asked questions in the PI round of CAT 2017:

  • 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 about your strengths/weaknesses
  • Questions from your GD
  • Do you have any questions from us?

CAT Seat Intake

There are 19 IIMs across India which offer admission to different specializations of MBA. Here is the total seat intake of various IIMs is given below:

CollegeNumber of SeatsCollegeNumber of Seats
IIM Ahmedabad385IIM Bangalore382
IIM Calcutta462IIM Lucknow419
IIM Indore450IIM Kozhikode375
IIM Shillong120IIM Ranchi120
IIM Rohtak120IIM Raipur120
IIM Trichy102IIM Udaipur120
IIM Kashipur90IIM Nagpur60
IIM Vishakhapatnam60IIM Sambalpur60
IIM Sirmaur60IIM Jammu--

Factors affecting CAT Admission Process

There are multiple factors which affect the selection of candidates in their desired IIMs. The panel considers many aspects such as Academic Qualification, Work Experience, Extra-curricular activities etc. for admitting candidates to the IIM.

The weightage for each component including CAT score for shortlisting of candidates is given below:

CAT CAT2017 CATSelectionProcedure CATcounselling CATadmissionProcedure
Aggregate CAT Score38
Graduation Marks3
SSC (12th) Marks2
Work Experience2
Diversity Factor: Gender2
Diversity Factor: Academic Discipline3

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


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1 Comment
Kritika Gupta

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

29 Jul, 2017 14:30
Sakshi Garg Expert

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. 

29 Jul, 2017 14:43

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