CAT Common Admission Test

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Each IIM is independent to mandate their own eligibility criteria (including academic cut-offs as well as relative weights). They can follow different selection processes. Significantly Performance in the CAT Common Admission Test is an important component for consideration in the selection process. 

Test format for CAT EXAM

a. Must be remembered for all Candidates, the Medium of the Test is English.
b. The Test would have (3) three Sections –

  1. Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC).
  2. Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR).
  3. Quantitative Ability (QA).
    c. Some Questions would be of Multiple-Choice Question (MCQ) type with Options to select. On the other hand some would be non-MCQ type.
    d. No mark will be awarded specifically for questions which are not attempted.
    e. For all MCQ type, a wrong answer would result in -1 Mark.Certainly there would be NO Negative Mark for a non-MCQ type question.
    f. A virtual keyboard would be displayed on the screen which is to be used for a non MCQ question. However Use the mouse to operate the virtual keyboard.
    g. Usage of external/physical calculator would not be allowed; however, a virtual Calculator would be available.

SYLLABUS for CAT Common Admission Test

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)

Fill in the blanks

Para completion and inference

Verbal logic

Verbal reasoning

Subject-verb agreement


Sentence completion

Foreign language words used in English

Different usage of same word


Reading comprehension





Jumbled paragraphs

Sentence correction

One word substitution

Parts of speech


Types of clauses

Phrases modifiers

Errors in tenses

Articles usage

Syllabus for Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR).

Blood RelationsClocks and CalendarsSyllogism
SeriesStatementsVenn Diagram
PropositionData ArrangementData Structures
Direction SenseFamily TreeTables
Coding-DecodingBinary LogicPie Charts
AssumptionsSeating ArrangementData Sufficiency
PuzzlesSets & CaseletsBars & Line Graphs

Syllabus for Quantitative Aptitude of CAT Common Admission Test


Ratios and Proportion



In-equations Quadratic and linear equations

Work and Time


Surds and Indices





Partnership (Accounts)

Number System

Square Root and Cube Root

Profit & Loss

Geometric Progression


Mean, mode, median

Binomial theorem

Simple interest and compound interest


Q: What are the subjects included in CAT Common Admission Test?

A: The syllabus of CAT  exam incorporates all the important topics from four subjects. Firstly is Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension. Secondly Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning. Thirdly, and above all Quantitative Ability. The candidates need to focus emphatically on Algebra, Geometry, Arithmetic, Tables, Graphs, Venn Diagram, Blood Relation, Number Series, Coding-Decoding, Reading Comprehension, Para jumbles and Verbal Ability.

Q: Does CAT Common Admission Test syllabus change every year?

A: The CAT syllabus remains the same every year. In fact, the syllabus has remained the same since the inception of the exam. However, the distribution of questions within each section of the question paper changes every year. For example, if in one year Algebra dominates the CAT Maths section then the next year, Arithmetic dominates it.

Q: Who prescribes CAT syllabus?

A: The CAT syllabus is prescribed by the exam conducting authority, the Indian Institute of Management. The CAT question paper pattern, test structure and marking scheme are also decided by the same authority.

Q: Is the syllabus of CAT same as other MBA entrance exams?

A: The syllabus of CAT is similar to other MBA entrance exams. All the MBA entrance exams have Verbal Ability, Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning and Quantitative Aptitude as key subjects. The difficulty level of CAT is higher than other exams, though.

Q: What is the duration of CAT exam?

A: The duration of CAT exam is 120 minutes (two hours). For each section, 40 minutes have been allotted. On the contrary for PwD candidates the total time allotted is 180 minutes, with sectional time-limit of 53 minutes.

Q: Which section of CAT exam is the toughest?

A: Although CAT exam is tough overall, it has been seen over the years that most test takers find VARC tough, as the Reading Comprehension passages are long and tricky. At times, reasoning questions also turn out to be lengthy and time consuming. 

Q: Are NCERT Mathematics books enough to cover the CAT Maths syllabus?

A: You can prepare for Quantitative Aptitude or Maths syllabus for CAT with the help of NCERT books for Mathematics class 9 and 10, for understanding the fundamentals, but you should refer to the books recommended exclusively for CAT preparation.

Q. For how many years the CAT score is valid?

The CAT score is valid for one year only.


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