How Long is the CAT Score Valid?

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How long is the CAT score valid? One year, though this may change. Photo by Basti93.

If you’ve recently taken the CAT, you may have heard rumors that the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) are considering extending the validity of CAT scores to five years. This would mean that you could take the CAT and use it to apply to the IIMs during any admissions cycle in the next five years. However, as helpful as this might be for some candidates, it hasn’t happened yet. The current validity of the CAT is one year.

How Long the CAT Score is Valid

You’ll receive your CAT score around the second week of January in the year after taking the exam. For example, applicants who took the 2016 exam can expect to receive their results by January 13 or thereabouts. However, the IIMs make it clear in their advertisement for the CAT that the 2016 scores, at least, would only be valid through December 31, 2017. Unfortunately, this is too early for the following year’s admission cycle. Applicants for the 2018 classes will be selected after their scores from the 2017 exam are released. This is probably in January 2018. This makes previous years’ candidates ineligible for the 2018 admissions process to IIMs.

Why Isn’t the CAT Score Valid for Longer?

The CAT isn’t an exam like the GMAT or the TOEFL. Instead, the CAT is an exam used for entrance only at a particular group of schools—the IIMs. These schools need to select their incoming classes for the following year from a given group of students. So, they use the CAT to narrow the admissions pool. Because the CAT’s purpose is to help the IIMs find students for a particular year, the scores for the exam are only valid for that particular year, as well. That way, the schools can look at applicants in terms of the current year’s pool of potential students.

What to Do About an Expired CAT Score

If you took the CAT in the past several years and got a great score, the bad news is that you will have to take the exam again to qualify as an IIM applicant. However, if you were pleased with your previous score, that’s good news! With some studying regarding changes to the exam and some brushing up on topics covered on the CAT, you have an excellent chance of getting the score you desire this time around, too.

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