Top 45 CAT Probability, Combinatorics Questions With Video Solutions

Probability topic an important part of the CAT. You can expect close to 2-3 questions in the latest 22 question format of the CAT Quant section. Here, some of the important probability questions for the CAT Exam. If you want to practice these important probability questions, you can download the PDF, which is completely Free.

Probability is often one of the most feared topics among the candidates. It is not a very difficult topic if you understand the basics of Probability well.

Probability-based questions appear in the CAT test almost every year. A lot of aspirants avoid this topic but remember that one can definitely solve the easy questions on Probability if one is thorough with the basics. Therefore, practising questions with Probability should not be avoided.

The chances of occurring or not occurring an event should be determined based on the number of favourable and not favourable conditions.

Here we are giving some very important probability questions, which also include questions from the CAT previous papers. The candidates are advised to try each question on their own and later go through the solutions given below.

CAT probability and combinatorics questions are the important questions that frequently appear in the CAT examination. These questions require a solid understanding of fundamental concepts such as permutations, combinations, and probability distributions. As such, CAT aspirants need to grasp these topics to excel in the exam thoroughly. To help the aspirants, we have compiled all the questions from this topic that appear in the previous CAT papers, along with the video solutions for every question explained in detail by the CAT experts. One can download them in a PDF format or take them in a test format. Click on the link below to download the CAT probability and combinatorics questions with detailed video solutions PDF.

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Topic Weightage Over Past 6 years

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CAT Probability And Combinatorics Formulas PDF

CAT Probability and Combinatorics are among the important topics in the quantitative aptitude section, and it is vital to understand the formulas related to them clearly. To help the aspirants to ace this topic, we have made a PDF containing a comprehensive list of formulas, tips, and tricks that you can use to solve Progressions and series questions with ease and speed. Click on the below link to download the CAT Progressions and series formulas PDF.

1. Basics of Probability

If the probability of an event occurring is p, then the probability that the event will occur r times in n trials is given by = $$ ^{n}\textrm{C}_{r}p^{r}(1-p)^{n-r} $$

If p is the probability of an event, then odds in favor of an event are p / (1 – p). Conversely, the odds against are (1-p)/p.

Say $$E_{1}, E_{2}…. E_{n} $$ are mutually exclusive exhaustive events with probabilities $$p_{1}, p_{2}.... p_{n}$$ and expected values $$e_{1}, e_{2}.... e_{n}$$ then Expected payoff = $$\sum_{i=1}$$ $$^{n}p_{i}e_{i} $$

2.  Bayes theorem:

Let $$E_{1}, E_{2}, E_{3}...$$ be mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive events each with a probability $$p_{1}, p_{2}, p_{3}...$$ of occurring. Let B be another event of non-zero probability such that probability of B given $$E_{1}$$ is $$q_{1}$$, B given $$E_{2}$$ is $$q_{2}$$ etc. By Bayes theorem: $$$P(E_{i}/B) = \frac{p_{i}q_{i}}{\sum_{j=1}^{n}p_{j}q_{j}}$$$

3. Derangements

If n distinct items are arranged, the number of ways they can be arranged so that they do not occupy their intended spot is $$D = n!$$($$ \frac{1}{0!}$$ - $$\frac{1}{1!}$$ + $$\frac{1}{2!}$$ - $$\frac{1}{3!}$$ + .... + $$\frac{(-1)^{n}}{n!}$$)

For, example, Derangements of 4 will be D(4) = $$4!\left(1-\dfrac{1}{1!}+\dfrac{1}{2!}-\dfrac{1}{3!}+\dfrac{1}{4!}\right)=24\left(\dfrac{1}{2}-\dfrac{1}{6}+\dfrac{1}{24}\right)=24\left(\dfrac{12-4+1}{24}\right)=9$$

D(1) = 0, D(2) = 1, D(3) = 2, D(4) = 9, D(5) = 44, and D(6) = 265

4. Arrangement with repetitions

If x items out of n items are repeated, then the number of ways of arranging these n items is $$\dfrac{n!}{x!}$$ ways. If x items, y items and z items are repeated within n items, they can be arranged in $$\frac{n!}{a!b!c!}$$ ways.

CAT 2022 Probability, Combinatorics questions

Question 1

The number of ways of distributing 20 identical balloons among 4 children such that each child gets some balloons but no child gets an odd number of balloons, is


Question 2

The arithmetic mean of all the distinct numbers that can be obtained by rearranging the digits in 1421, including itself, is


Question 3

The number of integers greater than 2000 that can be formed with the digits 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, using each digit at most once, is

CAT 2021 Probability, Combinatorics questions

Question 1

The number of ways of distributing 15 identical balloons, 6 identical pencils and 3 identical erasers among 3 children, such that each child gets at least four balloons and one pencil, is


Question 2

The number of groups of three or more distinct numbers that can be chosen from 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 so that the groups always include 3 and 5, while 7 and 8 are never included together is


Question 3

How many three-digit numbers are greater than 100 and increase by 198 when the three digits are arranged in the reverse order?


Question 4

A four-digit number is formed by using only the digits 1, 2 and 3 such that both 2 and 3 appear at least once. The number of all such four-digit numbers is

CAT 2019 Probability, Combinatorics questions

Question 1

With rectangular axes of coordinates, the number of paths from (1, 1) to (8, 10) via (4, 6), where each step from any point (x, y) is either to (x, y+1) or to (x+1, y), is

CAT 2018 Probability, Combinatorics questions

Question 1

How many two-digit numbers, with a non-zero digit in the units place, are there which are more than thrice the number formed by interchanging the positions of its digits?


Question 2

In a tournament, there are 43 junior level and 51 senior level participants. Each pair of juniors play one match. Each pair of seniors play one match. There is no junior versus senior match. The number of girl versus girl matches in junior level is 153, while the number of boy versus boy matches in senior level is 276. The number of matches a boy plays against a girl is


Question 3

How many numbers with two or more digits can be formed with the digits 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, so that in every such number, each digit is used at most once and the digits appear in the ascending order?

CAT 2017 Probability, Combinatorics questions

Question 1

The numbers 1, 2, ..., 9 are arranged in a 3 X 3 square grid in such a way that each number occurs once and the entries along each column, each row, and each of the two diagonals add up to the same value.

If the top left and the top right entries of the grid are 6 and 2, respectively, then the bottom middle entry is


Question 2

In how many ways can 8 identical pens be distributed among Amal, Bimal, and Kamal so that Amal gets at least 1 pen, Bimal gets at least 2 pens, and Kamal gets at least 3 pens?


Question 3

Let AB, CD, EF, GH, and JK be five diameters of a circle with center at 0. In how many ways can three points be chosen out of A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, J, K, and O so as to form a triangle?


Question 4

How many four digit numbers, which are divisible by 6, can be formed using the digits 0, 2, 3, 4, 6, such that no digit is used more than once and 0 does not occur in the left-most position?


Question 5

In how many ways can 7 identical erasers be distributed among 4 kids in such a way that each kid gets at least one eraser but nobody gets more than 3 erasers?

CAT 2008 Probability, Combinatorics questions

Question 1

How many integers, greater than 999 but not greater than 4000, can be formed with the digits 0, 1, 2, 3 and 4, if repetition of digits is allowed?


Question 2

What is the number of distinct terms in the expansion of $$(a + b + c)^{20}$$?


Instruction for set 1:

Directions for the next two questions: The figure below shows the plan of a town. The streets are at right angles to each other. A rectangular park (P) is situated inside the town with a diagonal road running through it. There is also a prohibited region (D) in the town.

Question 3

Neelam rides her bicycle from her house at A to her office at B, taking the shortest path. Then the number of possible shortest paths that she can choose is

[CAT 2008]


Instruction for set 1:

Directions for the next two questions: The figure below shows the plan of a town. The streets are at right angles to each other. A rectangular park (P) is situated inside the town with a diagonal road running through it. There is also a prohibited region (D) in the town.

Question 4

Neelam rides her bicycle from her house at A to her club at C, via B taking the shortest path. Then the number of possible shortest paths that she can choose is

[CAT 2008]

CAT 2006 Probability, Combinatorics questions

Question 1

Consider the set S = { 1, 2, 3, .., 1000 }. How many arithmetic progressions can be formed from the elements of S that start with l and end with 1000 and have at least 3 elements?


Question 2

There are 6 tasks and 6 persons. Task 1 cannot be assigned either to person 1 or to person 2; task 2 must be assigned to either person 3 or person 4. Every person is to be assigned one task. In how many ways can the assignment be done?

[CAT 2006]

Show Answer Explanation

CAT 2005 Probability, Combinatorics questions

Question 1

In a chess competition involving some boys and girls of a school, every student had to play exactly one game with every other student. It was found that in 45 games both the players were girls, and in 190 games both were boys. The number of games in which one player was a boy and the other was a girl is


Question 2

Let S be the set of five-digit numbers formed by the digits 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, using each digit exactly once such that exactly two odd positions are occupied by odd digits. What is the sum of the digits in the rightmost position of the numbers in S?

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Question 3

Three Englishmen and three Frenchmen work for the same company. Each of them knows a secret not known to others. They need to exchange these secrets over person-to-person phone calls so that eventually each person knows all six secrets. None of the Frenchmen knows English, and only one Englishman knows French. What is the minimum number of phone calls needed for the above purpose?

Show Answer Explanation

CAT 2004 Probability, Combinatorics questions

Question 1

N persons stand on the circumference of a circle at distinct points. Each possible pair of persons, not standing next to each other, sings a two-minute song one pair after the other. If the total time taken for singing is 28 minutes, what is N?

[CAT 2004]

Show Answer Explanation

Question 2

In the adjoining figure, the lines represent one-way roads allowing travel only northwards or only westwards. Along how many distinct routes can a car reach point B from point A?


Question 3

A new flag is to be designed with six vertical stripes using some or all of the colours yellow, green, blue and red. Then, the number of ways this can be done such that no two adjacent stripes have the same colour is

CAT 2003 Probability, Combinatorics questions

Question 1

There are 6 boxes numbered 1,2,… 6. Each box is to be filled up either with a red or a green ball in such a way that at least 1 box contains a green ball and the boxes containing green balls are consecutively numbered. The total number of ways in which this can be done is


Question 2

A graph may be defined as a set of points connected by lines called edges. Every edge connects a pair of points. Thus, a triangle is a graph with 3 edges and 3 points. The degree of a point is the number of edges connected to it. For example, a triangle is a graph with three points of degree 2 each. Consider a graph with 12 points. It is possible to reach any point from any point through a sequence of edges. The number of edges, e, in the graph must satisfy the condition

Show Answer Explanation

CAT 2002 Probability, Combinatorics questions

Question 1

Ten straight lines, no two of which are parallel and no three of which pass through any common point, are drawn on a plane. The total number of regions (including finite and infinite regions) into which the plane would be divided by the lines is

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Question 2

In how many ways is it possible to choose a white square and a black square on a chessboard so that the squares must not lie in the same row or column?

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Question 3

How many numbers greater than 0 and less than a million can be formed with the digits 0, 7 and 8?

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Question 4

If there are 10 positive real numbers $$n_1 < n_2 < n_3 ... < n_{10}$$ , how many triplets of these numbers $$(n_1, n_2, n_3 ), ( n_2, n_3, n_4 )$$ can be generated such that in each triplet the first number is always less than the second number, and the second number is always less than the third number?


Instruction for set 1:

Directions for the next two questions: Answer the questions based on the following information.

Each of the 11 letters A, H, I, M, O, T, U, V, W, X and Z appears same when looked at in a mirror. They are called symmetric letters. Other letters in the alphabet are asymmetric letters.

Question 5

How many four-letter computer passwords can be formed using only the symmetric letters (no repetition allowed)?

Show Answer Explanation

Instruction for set 1:

Directions for the next two questions: Answer the questions based on the following information.

Each of the 11 letters A, H, I, M, O, T, U, V, W, X and Z appears same when looked at in a mirror. They are called symmetric letters. Other letters in the alphabet are asymmetric letters.

Question 6

How many three-letter computer passwords can be formed (no repetition allowed) with at least one symmetric letter?

Show Answer Explanation

CAT 2001 Probability, Combinatorics questions

Question 1

The figure below shows the network connecting cities A, B, C, D, E and F. The arrows indicate permissible direction of travel. What is the number of distinct paths from A to F?

Show Answer Explanation

CAT 2000 Probability, Combinatorics questions

Question 1

One red flag, three white flags and two blue flags are arranged in a line such that,

A. no two adjacent flags are of the same colour

B. the flags at the two ends of the line are of different colours.

In how many different ways can the flags be arranged?

Show Answer Explanation

Question 2

Sam has forgotten his friend’s seven-digit telephone number. He remembers the following: the first three digits are either 635 or 674, the number is odd, and the number nine appears once. If Sam were to use a trial and error process to reach his friend, what is the minimum number of trials he has to make before he can be certain to succeed?

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Question 3

There are three cities A, B and C. Each of these cities is connected with the other two cities by at least one direct road. If a traveller wants to go from one city (origin) to another city (destination), she can do so either by traversing a road connecting the two cities directly, or by traversing two roads, the, first connecting the origin to the third city and the second connecting the third city to the destination. In all there are 33 routes from A to B (including those via C). Similarly there are 23 routes from B to C (including those via A). How many roads are there from A to C directly?

Show Answer Explanation

CAT 1999 Probability, Combinatorics questions

Question 1

For a scholarship, at most n candidates out of 2n + 1 can be selected. If the number of different ways of selection of at least one candidate is 63, the maximum number of candidates that can be selected for the scholarship is:

CAT 1997 Probability, Combinatorics questions

Question 1

In how many ways can eight directors, the vice chairman and chairman of a firm be seated at a round table, if the chairman has to sit between the the vice chairman and a specific director?

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CAT 1996 Probability, Combinatorics questions

Question 1

A man has 9 friends: 4 boys and 5 girls. In how many ways can he invite them, if there has to be exactly 3 girls in the invitees?

CAT 1991 Probability, Combinatorics questions

Question 1

A player rolls a die and receives the same number of rupees as the number of dots on the face that turns up. What should the player pay for each roll if he wants to make a profit of one rupee per throw of the die in the long run?

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CAT 1990 Probability, Combinatorics questions

Question 1

There are six boxes numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Each box is to be filled up either with a white ball or a black ball in such a manner that at least one box contains a black ball and all the boxes containing black balls are consecutively numbered. The total number of ways in which this can be done equals.

Show Answer Explanation
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