CAT Syllabus and Exam Pattern 2021

Here we have discussed the syllabus of CAT exam. The IIMs does not release the fixed syllabus for CAT exam. The questions are mostly asked on the bases of middle school Maths and English topics. What we have presented in the article is based on the general topics asked in the CAT exam. The CAT (Common Admission Test) is a computer based test conducted by one of the IIM’s every year on a policy of rotation. This test scores is calculated on the basis of candidate performance in quantitative ability, verbal ability, data interpretation and logical reasoning. This test was started by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) to select desired students for their various business administration programs using the test.

CAT Syllabus 2021

Check the important points of the CAT Syllabus and Exam Pattern in the table below.

Particulars Events
Duration of the CAT Exam 2 Hours (120 Minutes)
Name of the Section
  • Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)
  • Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)
  • Quantitative Aptitude (QA)
Section-wise Duration
  • 40 Minutes for Each Section (VARC, DILR, QA).
  • 53 Minutes 20 Seconds for PwD candidates for each section.
Slot-wise Session
  • Slot 1: 8:30 am - 10:30 pm (Morning Session)
  • Slot 2: 12:30 pm - 2:30 pm (Afternoon Session)
  • Slot 3: 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm (Evening Session)
Number of Questions 76 Questions (54 MCQs and 22 Non-MCQs)
CAT exam total marks 228 marks
Mode of the CAT 2021 exam Computer-Based Mode (CBT)
Marking Scheme
  • For every right answer, +3 will be awarded
  • For every wrong answer in MCQs, -1 will be deducted
  • No negative marks for Non-MCQs

CAT Exam Pattern 2021

Before getting into the CAT Syllabus let us have a look at the Exam Pattern. Check out the table for the general points of the exam pattern of the CAT exam below.

CAT Exam Pattern
Number of sections 3
Duration of exam 40 minutes per section
Number of questions 76
Total marks 228
Language of question paper English
Number of answer choices 4

CAT Section Wise Exam Pattern

Check the section-wise exam pattern of the CAT exam in the table below:

CAT Section Questions MCQs Non-MCQs Maximum Marks
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC) 26 18 8 78
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR) 24 18 6 72
Quantitative Aptitude (QA) 26 18 8 78
Total 76 54 22 228

CAT Syllabus 2021

After acquainted yourself with the exam pattern of the CAT exam you can have a look at the section-wise syllabus of the CAT exam. Check the detailed syllabus below.

CAT Syllabus: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension

Out of the three sections, the VARC section is the first section that is to be solved in the exam. The section has two sub-parts, Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension. Take a look at important topics and some key points of this section.

CAT VARC Syllabus
Fill in the blanks Para Completion and inference Verbal Logic
Verbal Reasoning Subject-verb agreement Para jumbles
Sentence completion Foreign language words used in English Different usage of the same word
Grammar Reading Comprehension Idioms
Syllogisms Analogies Antonyms
Jumbled paragraphs Sentence correction One word substitution
Parts of speech Preposition Types of Clauses
Phrases Modifiers Errors in tenses Articles usage

The topic-wise questions in CAT VACR are given in the table below.

Topics Number of questions expected
Para-Jumbles 2-4
Sentence Completion & Correction 2-3
Odd Sentences 1-2
Others (Fill in the blanks, Vocabulary Based, etc.) 1-2

CAT Syllabus: Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR) is the second section of the CAT exam. This section is divided into two sub-sections: Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning. Check the important topics of the section.

CAT DILR syllabus
Blood Relations Clocks and Calendars Syllogism
Series Statements Venn Diagram
Proposition Data Arrangement Data Structures
Direction Sense Family Tree Tables
Coding-Decoding Binary Logic Pie Charts
Assumptions Seating Arrangement Data Sufficiency
Puzzles Sets & Caselets Bars & Line Graphs

The number of expected questions from the topics in the CAT DILR Section is given below:

Topics Total Number of Questions
Graph, Bar diagram 6-8
Tables & Charts 5-8
Graphs, Charts 7-10
Tables, Pie chart 4-5

CAT Syllabus: Quantitative Aptitude

Quantitative Aptitude is the last section of the CAT question paper and is to be solved in the last 40 minutes of the exam. Take a look at important topics and some key points of this section.

CAT Quantitative Aptitude Syllabus
Geometry Ratios and Proportion Inequalities
Trigonometry In-equations Quadratic and linear equations Work and Time
Algebra Surds and Indices Percentages
Mensuration Time-Speed-Distance Logarithms
Partnership (Accounts) Number System Square Root and Cube Root
Profit & Loss Geometric Progression Probability
Mean, mode, median Binomial theorem Simple interest and compound interest

The number of topics and expected questions in CAT QA Section

Topics Total Number of Questions
Arithmetic Questions 10-12
Geometry & Mensuration 7-8
Algebra 6-7
Number System 4-5
Others 2-3

CAT Syllabus 2021 (FAQs)

Q1. How many sections are there in the CAT exam?

There are three sections in the CAT exam namely quantitative ability, verbal ability, data interpretation and logical reasoning.

Q2. What is the time provided for each section in the CAT exam?

The candidates will be provided 40 minutes for each section in the exam. The test for that section will be over after completion of 40 minutes.

Q3. How many question are asked in each section of the CAT exam?

There are a total of 76 question in the CAT exam. the section-wise question distribution are as follows VARC-26, DILR- 24 and QA- 26.

Q4. What is the marks distribution in the CAT exam?

The CAT written exam is of 228 marks. The marks distribution is as follows VARC-78, DILR- 72 and QA- 78.

Q5. For how many years the CAT score is valid?

The CAT score is valid for one year only.