How to select the best possible date for CAT exam?

The exam will be conducted in a 20 day window just like the previous year’s CAT. Which date / day should you select for your exam? Should it be entirely based on your convenience or is there some logical way to select the best date? Should I appear in the beginning or should I appear in the end when I have enough information? I have tried to answer these questions and a few others in this article.

Let’s see how we can maximize our chances of a high score by selecting the best possible date for CAT exam.

1)      Select a working day (not a holiday) for your CAT exam.

You should try to select a date during the working week, that is, from Monday to Friday. What we want to do is to avoid taking CAT exam on a holiday. This will help you to maximise your chances of a good score.


As you know, your performance is evaluated on the total performance of your slot. This means that if most of the people in your batch find the paper easy, your score will fall due to normalization.

On the other hand, if most of the people in your batch find it tough, your scores will rise due to normalization.

Who are the best performers?

Generally, it is seen that people with work experience (who are working somewhere) perform better than the fresher population because of various reasons.

So, it becomes obvious that you would want to avoid taking CAT on the same slot as the working population. As it is, most of the working people take their exams on holidays. So, choosing your date on a working date automatically eliminates most of these high scorers, improving your chances

P.S. Though this will help the freshers the most, even the experienced guys can use this.

2)      Should I appear for CAT in the initial days?

In the last 2 years, it has been seen that papers from the initial slots are not as tough as those from the other slots.

Apart from this, the least amount of serious competition a person faces is on the first few days.

So, taking CAT exam on the initial days can be a good strategy. However, there are a few problems with this. Personally, I find it similar to …….

walking on a tight rope

a)      You do not know what the paper is like…

As you are amongst the first few to appear for the paper, you are the ones who are taking the highest risk. You do not have any information on the difficulty level, surprises, general reaction, etc.

b)      You get less time to prepare

Yes, this is true. This may not seem like a lot to you. But, if you are underprepared, an extra 15 days can work wonders for you if utilized properly. This is even more so when you know what the CAT paper was like in the initial days.

So, if you appear for CAT in the initial few days, you have less time to prepare for the CAT than the person who appears for it, say, in the last week.

So, which date is the best?

I would generally advice anyone to select a date in the last week, but not the last 2 days. Even so, the date should not fall on a holiday of any kind. This would make sure that you have the best chances of maximizing your score.

Selecting a working day eliminates most of the guys with work experience and appearing in the last week makes sure than you have enough information.






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