Download the complete CAT exam syllabus for Quant, VARC and LRDI sections.
Last updated: November 3, 2022 16:15 IST
Published November 3, 2022 16:11 IST
The Common Admission Test (CAT) is an annual management entrance test for admission to MBA/PGP programmes at the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and over 1,200 B-Schools in India. Every year, around 2.30 lakh applicants take the CAT exam, which is held in November. The CAT 2023 exam will likely be held on the last Sunday of Nov, i.e., on the 26th of November 2023, and online registration will commence in the first week of August 2023. See the excellent video below on the latest CAT 2023 syllabus (along with topic-wise weightage) explained in detail by Sayali Ma'am (IIMA Alumna).
You can start your CAT 2023 Preparation today. Download the CAT exam syllabus PDF by clicking the link below 👇
CAT 2023 Exam pattern
Over the past two years (due to the covid pandemic), the CAT exam pattern has changed. Earlier CAT was conducted in a 3-hour pattern with 1-hour for each section. But, Since 2020, the exam has moved to a 2-hour format. The exam pattern is expected to remain the same (2-hrs) for the CAT 2023 examination. The expected exam pattern for CAT 2023 is as follows.
There will be three sections:
Each correct answer is awarded 3 marks, and each wrong answer carries a penalty of -1 mark. Some questions are Type-in-the-answer (TITA) questions. The marking scheme for TITA questions is +3 marks for the correct answer and NO negative marks for the wrong answer. Also, there is no negative marking for Unattempted questions.
Each section has a sectional time limit of 40 minutes, and candidates are not allowed to switch between the sections. Candidates are expected to perform well in all the sections, and most of the institutes accepting CAT scores for admission have sectional cut-offs in addition to overall cut-offs.
The below table shows the exam pattern for CAT 2023 (the following pattern is based on the previous year's exam pattern):
|SECTION||DURATION||Number of questions (Expected)|
|Verbal Ability||40 minutes|
|Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning||40 minutes|
|Quantitative Ability||40 minutes|
Over the past two years (due to covid pandemic) the CAT exam patten has been changed. Earlier CAT was conducted in 3-hour pattern with 1-hour for each section. But, Since 2020 the exam moved to 2-hour format. Check out the changes in the pattern below.
|CAT Exam Pattern||CAT 2021||CAT 2020|
|Total No. of Questions||66||76||100|
|Marks Per Question||3|
|Score to get 99 Percentile||98||101||162|
|Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)|
[Total No. of Questions]
|Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation (LRDI)
[Total No. of Questions]
|Quantitative Aptitude (QA)|
[Total No. of Questions]
There are 24 questions in the verbal ability and reading comprehension segment, with 5 of them being TITA-based. Out of the 24 questions, 16 questions are from RCs coupled with 8 verbal ability questions. The majority of the questions are about reading comprehension. Some of the key syllabus topics for the CAT VARC part are listed below.
The topic-wise marks distribution for each of these themes is carefully detailed in the CAT syllabus PDF, which is based on recent CAT papers.
Some of the CAT exam questions include the application of two or more topics from two or more groups. As a result, after practising the questions topic by topic, it is required to take a sufficient number of mock exams to develop the talent of applying the concepts at the appropriate places.
In addition, many strategies for answering the same question may exist, and applicants must choose the method that saves the most time.
Please keep in mind that the themes are only illustrative and not exhaustive. After reviewing the prior papers, we discovered that the majority of the questions fall under the areas covered in this syllabus.
|Section||Slot 1||Slot 2||Slot 3|
|Odd of content||2||2||2|
|Section||Slot 1||Slot 2||Slot 3|
|RC 1||Philosophical||Philosophical||Analytical Scientific|
|RC 3||Analytical||Analytical||Informative Scientific|
|RC 4||Informative Scientific||Persuasive||Informative Scientific|
/Outer space resources
|Ethics/Neuromarketing||Diversity/Chinese Business Schools|
The CAT logical thinking and data interpretation portion contain 20 questions, with 6 TITA-based questions. There are a total of 4 sets which are comprised of 2 sets of 6 questions each and 2 sets of 4 questions each.
Questions from the seating arrangement, blood relations, syllogisms, direction sense exam, and other puzzles are presented in the logical part.
Tables, graphs & charts, and caselets are presented in the data interpretation section.
|Set Type||Topics||No. of questions||Difficulty|
|Set 1||LR - Grouping/Arrangement: Professors and research papers||6||Moderate/Difficult|
|Set 2||LR - Arrangement/Puzzle: Friends, acquaintances and strangers||6||Moderate/Difficult|
|Set 3||DI - Smoothies stalls and sales||4||Moderate/Difficult|
|Set 4||DI - Horizontal bar graph on revenue||4||Easy|
|Set Type||Topic||Number of Questions||Overall Difficulty|
|Set 1||Bar graph||4||Easy - moderate|
|Set 2||Games & tournaments||4||Moderate|
|Set 3||10 Items & arrangements||6||Moderate - Difficult|
|Set 4||Arrangements - Students - Rating (puzzles)||6||Moderate|
|Topic||Number of Questions||Overall Difficulty|
|Set 1||Reviewing Questions||6||Moderate - Difficult|
|Set 2||Javelin Tournament||6||Difficult|
|Set 3||Impurity + Purity||4||Difficult|
|Set 4||Employees - Projects||4||Easy|
There are a few items in the quantitative aptitude part that are extremely important and are repeated every year in the CAT exam. This part has 22 questions, 8 of which are TITA-based. The following are some of the most important syllabus subjects for CAT 2023.
The themes on which the questions will be based may vary. For some problems in this topic, candidates are not expected to find the precise value, but rather to determine whether the equation is solvable with the information provided in the statement.
|Topics||Sub-topics||2020 Slot 1||2020 Slot 2||2020 Slot 3||2021 Slot 1||2021 Slot 2||2021 Slot 3|
As mentioned in the table, almost 50-60% of the questions have arrived from the tropics "arithmetic and geometry".
Q) Is the CAT exam tough? / Is CAT easy to crack?
A) The CAT exam is neither too easy nor too tough. If you’re thorough with the fundamentals of the Quant concepts learned in high school, have good reading skills and Logical thinking skills, it is not a very tough exam to crack
Q) What is the Syllabus of CAT?
A) The CAT Syllabus for the year 2023 includes the important topics from 3 Sections: VARC, DILR and QA. Candidates can download the PDF of all the topics from these 3 Sections here.
Q) What is a good score in CAT?
A) A good score in CAT depends on many factors (such as your academic diversity, the category you belong to, etc.) For the IIMs, nothing less than 97-98 percentile is good, but for other top B-schools, 90-95 percentile is good. Also, 100s of B-schools accept candidates who have CAT scores in the 80-90 percentile range.
Q) Does the CAT syllabus change every year?
A) No, the CAT syllabus won't change every year. Over the past few years, the Syllabus has remained more or less the same. Only the exam pattern has changed over the past two years.
Q) Does the 12th mark matter in CAT?
A) Your 12th Mark will NOT matter to taking the CAT Exam. Your past academic performance will matter only during the selection process of the IIMs.
Q) What major sections and concepts are included in the CAT syllabus?
A) There are 3 major sections in the CAT, and they are Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation (LRDI), and Quantitative Ability (QA). For detailed section-wise CAT syllabus and weightage, you can download the PDF here.
Q) What will be the duration of the CAT exam?
A) The duration of the CAT exam is 2 hours. Till the year 2019, the CAT was conducted as a 3-hour exam. But, due to the Covid pandemic, the exam has changed to a 2-hour pattern.
Q) Who prescribes the CAT syllabus?
A) The CAT Syllabus is prescribed by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), which conducts the examination.
Q) Is the Syllabus of CAT the same as other MBA entrance exams?
A) The Syllabus for CAT and other MBA entrance exams is very similar. The CAT syllabus includes 3 sections (VARC, LRDI, QA). Most other MBA entrance exams also have Verbal and Quantitative Ability and a few different sections.
Q) Which is the best CAT coaching institute?
A) Cracku is one of the best coaching institutes in India for CAT and other MBA exams (such as XAT, IIFT, SNAP, CMAT, MAH-CET, etc.). The content is prepared by IIM alumni who have taken CAT multiple times and know how to ace the exam. We receive testimonials regularly that our videos were genuinely beneficial and that our CAT mocks were the closest to actual CAT.
Q) Is the GMAT and CAT Syllabus the Same?