admission to iims without cat 2023
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Is CAT mandatory to take Admission in IIMs? Top courses without CAT 2023!

Feb 2, 2024 5.4K Reads

CAT is considered to be India’s toughest Examination. In 2023, CAT is conducted by the Indian Institute of Management Lucknow. CAT(Common Admission Test 2023) will be held on 26th November 2023 in three sessions in around 155 cities. Registration for the CAT 2023 started on 2nd August and closed by 13th September 2023. The exam is conducted for students who are willing to pursue a career in the management field. 

How to take admission in IIM without a CAT Score? Is it possible? CAT Exam Fail

The Examination tests the aptitude and other skills of the students. The students get into IIM after cracking the CAT for the MBA program. But the big question is, can we get into IIM without a CAT Examination? Well, the answer might shock you, but yes, you can get into IIM without cracking or even attempting IIM. But there are some basic eligibility criteria for the same. Let’s go ahead to learn more about these courses. We will also discuss the importance of the CAT examination for IIMs. But before knowing its importance, understand the CAT Exam.

Know Everything about the CAT Examination

CAT(Common Admission Test) 2023 is a Computer-Baed Entrance Test that is conducted by the Indian Institute of Management. There are many IIMs in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Lucknow and many more. Every year one out of 23 institutes of IIM conducts CAT entrance. This year, i.e, CAT 2023 will be conducted by IIM Lucknow on 26th November 2023 in more than 155 cities.

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The CAT exam is an aptitude test that has three sections. Section 1 of the exam is Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, Section 2 is Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning and Section 3 is  Quantitative Ability. Each section contains both MCQ and non-MCQ-based questions and overall the exam has around 66 questions. The time allotted for each section is fixed that is 40 mins per section. The exam is 2 hours duration. 

Here is the examination pattern of the CAT 2023

Section Number

CAT Section  


Time allotted 

Section 1

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension

It assesses the proficiency of the Candidate in English Language, reading comprehension, vocabulary and grammar.

40 Minutes

Section 2 

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

This section is done to check problem-solving skills, logical decisions, and other complex problem-solving skills.

40 Minutes

Section 3 

Quantitative Ability

The role of this section is to evaluate the problems like arithmetic, geometry and algebra questions.

40 Minutes


The exam is in itself a big journey that requires a lot of hard work and dedication every day. The examination is however very competitive, as out of 2 lakh students only around 5,500 students cleared the examination and got admission to IIM, which is less than 1%. This is a big competition to get into the IIMs. Every year many students hustle to get admission to IIMs by appearing in the CAT examination. But it is a big myth that you have to appear in the CAT examination to get admission to IIM. There are certain courses that requires you to appear in the CAT entrance examination, but there are various course that is offered by IIMs that do not need any CAT scores. These courses carry the same reputation as those of IIMs regular degree. These courses can be done Online and are best suited to working professionals. 

Role of CAT Entrance Examination in IIM Admission?

Indeed, the role of the CAT examination is crucial for the judicial screening of the candidates for admission to IIMs. The Examination tests the skills of candidates and finally selects the students after the assessments like the WAT (Written Ability Test), GD (Group Discussion), and PI(Personal Interview). This examination is extremely difficult and requires a lot of hard work, focus and concentration.  

CAT Scores and Cutoffs

CAT 2023 cutoffs will be released for various CAT-accepting institutes and IIMs after the release of the result. For IIMs, the passing percentage for IIMs is generally between 95-100 percentile, but this may vary depending on the difficulty level of the examination. For enrolling in top management schools like IIMs, students are required to meet the CAT cutoffs and only after selection in the CAT, students will be allowed to appear in further rounds of CAT like group discussion and personal interviews. 

Here are some important highlights related to the Cut-offs of CAT 2023-

  • The CAT Cut-offs may lie between 98 and 100 for General category students to enrol in IIMs.
  • However, cutoffs for other reserved categories will be slightly lower ranging between 95-98 percentile.
  • Cut-offs for CAT 2023 for SC Category for colleges like MDI, FMS, SPJIMR and many more will lie between the 90-99 percentile, depending on the difficulty level.
  • Two types of cutoffs will be accessed for admission to IIMs- qualifying and final cut-off.
  • As CAT 2023 will be conducted by IIM Lucknow, the qualifying marks will be released by the institute followed by the result declaration. 
  • Final Cut-offs of CAT will be released during Personal Interview shortlisting.
  • It is important to note that the qualifying marks for the CAT 2023 may vary as it depends on various factors. 
  • The students must have completed the graduation with at least 50% marks (for general category) and 45% (for other reserved category).

Check the table below for Expected CAT Cutoff for IIM (Qualifying)

Expected CAT Cutoff for IIM (Qualifying)

IIMs List

Expected CAT cut-offs

IIM Ahmedabad


IIM Calcutta


IIM Indore


IIM Amritsar


IIM Sambalpur


IIM Raipur


IIM Kashipur


IIM Udaipur


IIM Shillong


IIM Rohtak


IIM Jammu


IIM Bangalore


IIM Lucknow


IIM Kozhikode


IIM Nagpur


IIM Trichy


IIM Ranchi


IIM Vizag


IIM Bodhgaya


IIM Sirmaur


IIM Nagpur


How CAT Score Calculation is done?

CAT Scores can be calculated through a complex formula that requires to use candidate's raw score in CAT in each section of Verbal and Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning, and Quantitative Ability. This helps in normalising the marks as per the difficulty level of various examination shifts. The final score is then used for shortlisting the final marks in the examination. 

What are the Admission Criteria in IIMs?

Before understanding the process of admission to IIMs, it is crucial to understand the eligibility criteria to take admission to IIMs. CAT is just a part of the complex selection process in the examination. There are various other eligibility criteria that have to be accomplished before getting into the IIM.

Here we have mentioned the most crucial criteria to get into IIMs.

  • Academic Qualifications- IIMs usually need students to have completed their graduation with at least 50% marks in the degree. The students with better academic performance can raise the chances of shortlisting the candidate. Hence, higher marks will definitely help.
  • Work Experience- IIMs are among the top institutes and getting into it requires more than marks in the CAT, it really needs a good qualification background along with work experience. These factors actually help in the final shortlisting of the students after the CAT marks.
  • Written Ability Test- Apart from qualifications and work experience, which are the secondary eligibility criteria, the majority of the students fail this WAT(Written Ability Test) which is highly competitive and less than 1% of students pass this level.
  • Group Discussion- The selection of the students after the release of the cutoff of the CAT, is done on the basis of CAT WAT, and later students appear for the next level which is group discussion. This is a very indifferent level as it requires intelligence, patience and skills to speak as well. All these are crucial to clear the level of GD. The candidate should not interrupt the other person. In your turn, make sure you speak with a strong evident fact with a confident tone. This builds a strong impression in the mind of the examiner.  
  • Personal Interview- This is the final step in the admission to IIMs. Interview analyse the motive of the candidate to pursue the course. In this section, the main factor that can help students is being confident and avoiding any doubt. A student with confidence can easily clear the exam.

Is CAT mandatory for IIMs?

Is it necessary to appear in the CAT entrance examination for IIMS? Well, this is the most asked question by the candidates. You will be surprised to know that CAT is not the only way to get into IIMs. You can enter IIMs without giving or qualifying CAT. These courses that are offered by the IIMs carry the same reputation as those of courses with CAT. There are many alternative routes to get into IIMs.

Here are some ways to pursue courses from IIM without CAT-

  • GMAT Scores- There are various IIMs like IIM Ahmedabad, that offer admission to international students through GMAT scores. Also, they give admission to the Indian students, who have pursued graduation from abroad. They also have to qualify for the GMAT Exam to get into IIM. hence, in such cases, students can get into Top management institutes like IIM without appearing for the CAT Examination. 
  • Executive programs- IIMs also offer programs for working professionals. These Executive MBA programs can help working executives pursue their higher education degrees from top and best management institutes like IIMs. However, the eligibility criteria for these courses also vary but do not require any CAT examination.
  • Fellowship programs- As you know IIMs also provide various PhD programs to the candidate and hence for these doctorate programs, students are not required to appear for the CAT examination. The students have to appear in the other examinations to get into IIM, but they are not required to appear in CAT.
  • Online Programs- IIMs offer various online certificate, diploma, and post-graduate diploma courses to the students, and students can enrol in these programs without appearing in the CAT examination.

Courses available in IIM without Entrance Examination of CAT

IIMs are autonomous institutes that are headed by the Indian Government. The Institute offers various on-campus and online courses to students in the Management field. If you want to take admission to one out of 23 IIMs you can pursue an online postgraduate, diploma, certificate, postgraduate course and many more. These online courses are best for working professionals and carry the same reputation and value as that of regular full-time courses. The students are not required to move to the campus, they can continue their jobs and courses simultaneously from anywhere across PAN India.

Online Management Degree Courses without CAT

One Year MBA Online

Global MBA Online

MBA Courses After BCom

MBA Part Time

MBA Courses After BCA

Executive MBA for Working Professionals

MBA Courses After BSc

MBA Courses After BBA
Online MBA Courses MBA Distance Education

So even if you have missed the online registration form for CAT and regret it, move ahead and fill out the form for an online course. The best thing is that the courses are maintained and designed as per the requirements of working students. 



IIM Ahmedabad

  • ePost Graduate Diploma in Advanced Business Analytics

IIM Bangalore

  • EPGP

IIM Calcutta

  • MBAEx

IIM Lucknow

  • IPMX

IIM Kozhikode

  • EPGP
  • PGP-Finance
  • PGP-BL

IIM Indore

  • EPGP

IIM Shillong

  • PGPEx and PGP(WE)

IIM Udaipur

  • One Year MBA-Global Supply Chain Management
  • PGDBA Working Executives
  • One Year MBA-Digital Enterprise Management

IIM Trichy

  • MBA Working Executives (Chennai campus)

IIM Ranchi

  • Executive MBA

IIM Raipur

  • ePGP

IIM Jammu

  • Executive MBA

IIM Sambalpur

  • Executive MBA

IIM Nagpur

  • MBA for Working Professionals

IIM Kashipur

  • MBA (Analytics)
  • Executive MBA

IIM Visakhapatnam

  • PGPEx

IIM Sirmaur

  • MBA (Tourism & Hospitality Management)

IIM Amritsar

  • Executive MBA

There are various benefits of pursuing an online degree from IIM- 

  • No burden to appear in the CAT Entrance Examination.
  • Skills Enhancement
  • Improved Business scope
  • Better Industry Recognition
  • Built a global alumni network

In conclusion, we can specify that the examination of CAT is just a primary yet difficult step to getting into IIM. But it is not the only way to get into IIM. There are various other ways that students can opt and get into the most prestigious institutes like IIM.

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Yes, you can get into IIM without appearing in the CAT as many IIMs offer courses that do not require a CAT score for admission.

IIMs like IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Indore, IIM Rohtak, IIM Bodhgaya and many more offer courses without CAT.

It depends on an individual to skip or attempt CAT. Various IIMs offers course even without CAT. So even if you have missed the form, don’t bother, you can still save the year by enrolling in the other programs offered by the institutes.

Yes, you can get into IIMs after the 12th directly, as various IIMs offer integrated MBA Programs of 5 years of duration that can be done right after the 12th

Yes, many IIMs offer online MBA programs, Executive programs, Online courses for working professionals and many more that students pursue without CAT 2023.

Courses like Executive programs, doctorate programs, online courses and many more are offered without CAT in IIMs.

Yes, you can take admission to IIM without a CAT Score. IIMs offers various online postgraduate, diploma, certificate, and postgraduate courses. And these online courses are best for working professionals.

Yes, you can take admission to IIM even if you miss or fail the CAT Exam 2023. IIMs offer various postgraduate, diploma and certificate courses in online mode that do not require any CAT score.

You can get admission to IIM without a CAT by enrolling in their postgraduate, diploma, or certificate programs that are offered in online mode by most of the IIMs Check the eligibility before applying to these programs.

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