CAT Exam Syllabus, Pattern & Analysis

CAT – Common Admission Test

Conducted by IIMs



CAT examination is countrywide-level management entrance examination carried out with the aid of the Indian Institutes of Management (IIM). aside from 20 IIMs, CAT rankings are used for admission to numerous management institutes across the country.

CAT is generally held in the last week of November. The exact notification for CAT is launched in July/August. Here is the information about the colleges which conducted the exam:

  • 2009 – Ahmedabad
  • 2010 – Lucknow
  • 2011 – Calcutta
  • 2012 – Kozikhode
  • 2013 – Indore
  • 2014 – Indore
  • 2015 – Ahmedabad
  • 2016 – Banglore
  • 2017 – Lucknow
  • 2018 – Calcutta
  • 2019 – Kozhikode
  • 2020 – To be declared

The CAT results are generally out in second week January. The applicants can download their scorecards from the official website.

The CAT question paper and answer keys were not released untile for the first time in 2018 (for CAT 2017 examination) and the candidates have been allowed to elevate objection to answers they observed any incorrect.

Verbal Ability:


Eligibility criteria for CAT:
1.The candidate should own a Bachelor’s degree with at least 50% marks or equivalent CGPA (45% for SC, ST and PWD/DA category).
2.percentage received in bachelor’s degree could be calculated on the premise of practice observed through the involved college/institution. In case of grades/CGPA, the conversion might be based on the manner defined via the involved university/ organization.
3.In absence of any percent conversion scheme, candidate’s CGPA could be divided through most possible CGPA and multiplying the result with 100.
4.applicants appearing for the very last year of bachelor’s degree/equivalent qualification are also eligible to apply for CAT.

Difficult IIM Interview Question:


STEP 1: CAT Application Procedure
CAT application form is to be submitted online with payment of application fee through Credit Card, Debit Card or Net Banking.

STEP 2: CAT Admit Cards
CAT admit cards will available for download on the official website. CAT aspirants must download their admit cards from the official website as they won’t be sent to them by post.

STEP 3: CAT Results
CAT result will be mostly declared in January second week. The test takers can check their scores and download their scorecards from the official website. Based on their scores they will be invited by the IIMs for the further rounds. CAT score is accepted by most of management institutes in India.

CAT Preparation:

CAT Exam Syllabus

CAT analyses the skills of the aspirant in four sections: Quantitative Aptitude, Verbal Ability, Logical & Analytical Reasoning and Data Interpretation. It is also a test of time management.

1. Mathematics or Quantitative Section

CAT Syllabus for Quantitative Ability

  • LCM and HCF
  • Percentages
  • Profit and Loss
  • Interest (Simple and Compound)
  • Speed, Time and Distance; Time and Work; Averages; Ratio and Proportion and others
  • Number System (3-4) questions
  • Algebra (5-7 questions)
  • Geometry/Mensuration (6-8 questions)
  • Pure Math (1-2 questions)
  • Venn diagrams and other topic based questions are 2-3
  • Linear Equations; Quadratic Equations
  • Complex Numbers
  • Logarithm; Progressions
  • Binomial Theorem
  • Surds and Indices
  • Inequalities
  • Permutation and Combination
  • Probability Functions
  • Set Theory
  • Mixtures and Alligations
  • Co-ordinate Geometry
  • Trigonometry

Key Facts on Quantitative Ability Syllabus in CAT & Type of questions 

  • Number of Questions: 34.
  • Sectional weightage in CAT Syllabus: 34%
  • Type of Questions: MCQs and Non-MCQs
  • Past trend in CAT exam syllabus for Quant shows that there are 24 to 27 MCQs and 7 to 10 Non-MCQs in Quant section of CAT exam.
  • More emphasis on Arithmetic to promote academic diversity. Number of questions in Arithmetic: 10 to 12

2. English or Verbal Section also known as VARC (Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension)

CAT Syllabus for Reading Comprehension

  • Current affairs making impact on Social Life, International Affairs, Govt policies and Schemes for example Triple Talaq, Clean India Mission, Migration of people from one country to other, Growing intolerance across the Globe,
  • Business & Economic RC Passages for example Global economic changes, economic development at the cost of environment, Impact of Demonetization in India, Wasteful expenditure by Governments
  • RC passages from various English Literature books, from articles authored by great philosophers, thinkers, from various speeches of great personalities like passages from Charles Dickens, Aristotle, Martin Luther King, Mohan Das Karam Chand Gandhi, Churchill among others
  • Passages on Science & Culture including the journey to Modern world; Fading culture with the advancement of technology
  • Abstract topics and fiction are also included in the Reading Comprehension Syllabus for CAT. These

Passages make the candidates think much leading to put themselves in the author’s shoes before answering the questions following these passages since they are opinion based.

  • RC Passages on Historical events leading to social changes for example French Revolution, War of Roses, Social changes in Indian History and thoughts shared by  various activists which are very much relevant even today
  • RC Passages from Mythology. These passages try to correlate the Mythological events with the current social structure and answers to the questions on them have to be inferred.

Key Facts on RC Syllabus in CAT & Type of questions 

  • Number of Questions: 24
  • Sectional Weightage in CAT Syllabus: 34%
  • Type of passages in CAT Exam Syllabus on RC: 3 Long and 2 shorter
  • Division of questions: 6 questions based on each long passage and 3 questions based on each shorter passage. Sometimes uniform number of 5 questions follow 4 RC passages and 1 RC Passage is followed by 4 questions.
  • Type of Questions: All of MCQ type with penalty of 1/3rd negative marking
  • Format of questions: Questions based on information in RC passage; explanation of the words & phrases as used in the passage; In context of the passage –True/false statements; Author’s view on various issues raised in the RC passage; Inference from the passage; main idea of RC passage; Purpose of the RC passage
  • Length of RC passages in CAT Syllabus: Longer RC passages are of around 900 words; shorter passages are of around 600 words in CAT exam syllabus as reflected in last 3 years.
  • Past trends of topics in RC Syllabus for CAT: Genetics, Second World War; Plastic Pollution; Elephant society; Consumer Behaviour; Status of Languages in 2115; Education System; Sustainable Economic Development; Anthropology /Excruciating Rituals & Reasons; Govt. Definition of Poverty and treatment of Household work.

CAT Syllabus for Verbal Ability

  • Essence of short paragraph/Para summary – (3-4 questions);
  • Jumbled Paragraphs (3-4 questions)
  • Out of Context Sentence in Jumbled paragraphs (2-3 questions)
  • Error Correction of Verb, Noun, Pronoun, Adjective, Adverb and other parts of speech in the Sentences.
  • Correcting the sequence of sentences in the paragraph for example correct use of conditional sentence, time clauses, reported speech, passive writing
  • Vocabulary usage – picking the correct pair of words
  • Vocabulary usage in RC passages – finding out the correct synonyms and antonyms
  • Fill in the blanks with correct vocabulary words
  • Completion of last sentence of Paragraphs
  • Analogies
  • Critical Reasoning
  • Sentence Completion
  • Facts, Inference and Judgement
  • Irrelevant Statements
  • Phrasal Verbs Usage

Key Facts on Verbal Ability Syllabus in CAT & Type of questions 

  • Number of Questions: 10
  • Sectional Weightage in CAT Syllabus: 10%
  • Type of Questions: All of Non-MCQ type with No penalty for wrong answer
  • Format of questions: Essence of paragraph questions are based on around 5-6 sentences; questions on Jumbled paragraphs and out of context jumbled paragraphs have 4 -5 jumbled sentences which are to be placed in a coherent manner. The out of context sentence has to be picked out.

4. Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning Section

CAT Syllabus for Data Interpretation (DI)

  • Data Tables
  • Data charts
  • Bar diagrams & Charts including Simple, Stacked, Composite Bar charts
  • Pie charts
  • Graphs – Line X-Y Graphs
  • Data analysis and Data comparison among others
  • Caselet based Data

Key Facts on Data Interpretation Syllabus in CAT & Type of questions 

  • Number of Questions: 16 divided into MCQs and Non- MCQs
  • Sectional weightage in CAT Syllabus: 16%
  • Past trend of topics in CAT Syllabus for DI: Table (Student Pass percentages over 5 years; Comprehension – Marks in Two sections of papers; Films, Launch, Completion, Release and Profits; Table on Consumption of Veg and Non-Veg Protein; Happiness Index: 4 questions based on Table; Kids Learning in Rural Areas: Data table based 4 questions; Flight operation Questions were in the set of 4 questions.
  • Questions on Data Interpretation and analysis of data based on text, tables, graphs (line, area), charts (column, bar, pie), venn diagram, are asked. Data could be given in form of tables, charts or graphs. In this section it is tested that how candidates can interpret the given data and answer questions based on it.

CAT exam Syllabus for Logical Reasoning (LR)

  • Clocks
  • Calendars
  • Binary logic
  • Seating Arrangement
  • Blood Relations (Family Tree)
  • Logical Sequence
  • Assumption
  • Premise
  • Conclusion
  • Linear and matrix arrangement
  • Team Formation
  • Direction sense and Decision Making
  • Input-Output
  • Series
  • Syllogism
  • Cubes
  • Rows
  • Set Theory, Venn Diagrams, Network Diagrams
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Puzzles
  • Logical Reasoning based on Rankings
  • Critical Reasoning

Key Facts on Logical Reasoning Syllabus in CAT & Type of questions 
CAT entrance exam syllabus defines that questions in LR section can be individual or can be in the set of 4 questions.

  • Weightage of LR Syllabus questions in CAT exam: 16%
  • Total LR questions in CAT syllabus for 2020 exam: 16
  • Type of Questions: MCQs & Non MCQs
  • Past trend of topics in CAT LR Syllabus: Distribution/Arrangement; Venn Diagrams;  Arrangement of files in folders; Students using various Trains and the fares for the same; Seating Arrangement; Direction sense for Cars; Ordering items; Burgers/Fries/ Ice Cream

CAT D-DAY Strategy:

Exam Pattern

1.Applicants will be given 180 mins to answer the questions. every section is allocated 60 minutes. The applicants cannot select any phase to begin with or switch from one segment to another. they will need to comply with the question paper chronologically, from segment 1-3.
2.Total marks of CAT paper will be 300. every question will carry three marks. There can be negative marking of -1 for each wrong attempt. There won’t be any deduction of marks in case a candidate chooses not to attempt a given question.
3.A few questions in every section may not be of more than one choice type, therefore the solutions will need to be typed at the display.
4.Use of fundamental onscreen calculator will be allowed for computation.

Exam Analysis

The CAT is India’s top management entrance exam and it is a gateway to 20 IIMs and over 8000 other business schools in India. Since the competition is so huge, it is important to analyse the past exam patterns to get a complete idea about the examination. Click here to get complete CAT exam analysis. 


Application Form

CAT application form is to be submitted online with payment of application fee through Credit Card, Debit Card or Net Banking.
CAT registration process is a three-step online process.
The three step registration process involves – registration, log in and filling the application form. After registering, applicants have to fill the application form on the official website.
As per the rules:
Candidates will have four options to select the test cities in order of preference. Candidates need not to rush during the initial registration days to block slots.
Candidates do not have the option to choose exam centre. They will be granted their first preferred city as test centre. In case, they do not get the first preference, the same process will be repeated for the second, third and fourth preferred city.

Test Fees
The registration fee is Rs 1800 for General and NC-OBC candidates and Rs 900 for SC/ST/PWD (DA) categories(Fees mentioned was for last year expected to be the same for this year exam also).
Mode of Payment
The test fee can be paid via Debit/Credit cards or through internet banking.
To register for CAT, the aspirant will have to log in to the official website as new user. On successful registration, user ID and password will shared with the aspirant on email. Thereafter, the applicants can fill the form using the user ID and password.
Candidates will have four options to select the test cities in order of preference. Candidates do not need to rush during the initial registration days to block slots.
Candidates will be given their first preferred city. In case, they do not get the first preference, the same process will be repeated for the second, third and fourth preferred city. It will be allotted by CAT Centre on random basis. Candidates do not have the option to choose.
Things to keep in mind:
1.Do not leave vacant any field that is marked mandatory
2.Incomplete forms will be rejected
3.Enter correct information as if any information is found to be incorrect, candidate’s admission can be cancelled
4.Cross check all the information filled thoroughly before hitting submit/save key
5.Once submitted, the form cannot be edited

Admit Card

Admit card for CAT will be available for download from the scheduled date till the examination date. Registered candidates can download their admit cards by using their login ID and password.
The test takers must download their admit cards and take a printout of it before the last date as no hard copies will be sent by post.
Admit card is a mandatory document to be carried to the exam hall. Any candidates found without the admit card will not be allowed to take the test. Thus, the candidates must keep their admit cards safe.
To download the admit card, a candidate needs to follow the below mentioned steps:
1.Visit the official website
2.Enter registration ID and password
3.Once logged in, click on CAT Admit Card tab
4.Download the admit card
5.Take a print out of the admit card

The admit card will carry following details:
1.Candidate’s name
4.Registration Number
5.Date and time of exam
6.Instructions regarding exam
The candidates must check the information printed on the admit card and incase of any error, must immediately contact the exam conducting body to get it rectified or obtain a duplicate card.
Paste a recent passport size colour photograph on the admit card and sign it.
Candidates appearing for the exam must ensure that they preserve the admit card even till the end of admission process.
Candidates also need to carry an identity proof along with the admit card to the exam centre. They are advised not to carry mobile phone, calculator, IPad or any other gadget to the exam hall. Anybody found carrying any such article will be barred from the exam.

Answer Key

CAT answer key is expected to be released 4-5 days after the CAT exam. The answer keys are released online on the official CAT website. The candidates can check their responses by login into the CAT website by using their CAT ID and password. CAT answer key carries, each candidate’s name, registration number, questions and his/her responses.

The following is displayed in the CAT answer key:
Name of the candidate
CAT registration number
CAT exam center
Test date
Test time
Question type
Question ID
Right option/answer

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