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CAT Syllabus And Exam Pattern

The Common Admission Test (CAT) syllabus consists of topics related to the 3 sections of CAT - Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning, Quantitative Ability.

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CAT 2018 Exam Pattern:

Section No. of MCQ QuestionsNo. of Non-MCQ Questions Time Allotted
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension 277 60 minutes
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning 248 60 minutes
Quantitative Ability 2311 60 minutes
Total 7426 180 minutes (3 Hours)
 

Highlights of the pattern:

A total of 100 questions are to be solved in 180 minutes. Each correct response carries 3 marks, while each incorrect response carries -1 marks. Non-MCQ questions will not be negatively marked.

  • VA-RC - This section consists of 20-25 Reading Comprehension questions and the rest consist of Verbal Ability questions.
  • DI-LR - This section consists of 8 sets of 4 questions each. Anywhere between 2-4 sets of Data Interpretation questions can be expected in CAT 2018.
  • QA - This section consists of 34 questions from various topics. Based on historic trends, most questions for CAT 2018 can be expected to be from Geometry, Arithmetic, and Algebra (in descending order).
The CAT exam syllabus can be broken down as follows:

CAT Syllabus 2018:

Quantitative Ability - 

Arithmetic Algebra Number Systems
1. Time, Speed & Distance
2. Time & Work, Pipes & Cisterns
3. Simple Interest & Compound Interest
4. Ratios, Proportions & Variations
5. Percentages, Profit & Loss, Discount
6. Averages, Mixtures & Alligations
 
 
 
1. Inequalities & Modulus
2. Functions & Graphs
3. Linear & Quadratic Equations
4. Polynomials
5. Logarithms
6. Algebraic Identities
7. Maxima Minima
 
 
1. LCM and HCF
2. Divisibility Rules
3. Base Change
4. Finding Unit's Place, Ten's Place of a number
5. Cyclicity, Number of trailing zeroes
6. Remainders
7. Prime Factorisation
8. Factorials
9. Indices & Surds
Geometry & Mensuration Modern Mathematics
1. Circles
2. Triangles
3. Polygons
4. Co-ordinate Geometry
5. Lines and Angles
6. Trigonometry
1. Permutations & Combinations
2. Probability
3. Set Theory (Including Venn Diagrams)
4. Binomial Theorem
5. Arithmetic, Geometric and Harmonic Progressions (Sequence & Series)

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning:

Data Interpretation Logical Reasoning
1. Tables
2. Pie Charts
3. Bar Graphs
 
 
 
 
 
 
1. Number, Symbol, Letter Series
2. Coding Decoding
3. Blood Relations & Family Tree
4. Directions
5. Binary Logic
6. Games & Tournaments
7. Linear & Circular Arrangements
8. Team Formations
9. Order & Ranking

Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension:

Verbal Ability Reading Comprehension
1. Parajumbles
2. Para Completion
3. Statements & Assumptions
4. Fill In The Blanks
5. Sentence Completion
1. Tone Of Writing
2. Passages
3. Logical InferencesTree
 
 
 

The CAT 2018 syllabus can ideally be completed in a span of 4-8 months, depending on the level of preparation of a candidate.

Also read, 15 Must Read Books For CAT Preparation
 

Changes In CAT Exam Pattern

2018

  • Conducted By - IIM Calcutta

2017

  • Conducted By - IIM Lucknow

2016

  • Reduced the no. of TITA questions to 25 (earlier 28)
  • Conducted By - IIM Bangalore

2015

  • Introduction of on-screen calculator & TITA Questions (28 Questions)
  • Test Window - 1 day (2 slots)
  • 3 Sections - 34 in two sections & 32 in other (Changed from 2 sections)
  • No Negative Marking for TITA Questions
  • Duration - 3 Hours (earlier - 2 Hours and 50 minutes
  • Conducted By - IIM Ahemdabad

2014

  • Test Window - 2 days (2 slots per day) from 20 days
  • Duration - 2 Hours and 50 mintues (earlier 2 Hours and 20 minutes)
  • 2 Sections - 50 questions each (from 30 questions each)
  • Conducted By - IIM Indore
  • Online Testing Partner - Tata Consultancy Services (earlier Prometric)

2011 - 2013

  • 2 Sections (30 questions each) - 3 sections earlier
  • Test Window - 20 days window (2 slots per day)
  • Duration - 2 Hours and 20 minutes (Changed from 2 Hours and 15 minutes)
  • Conducted By - IIM Calcutta, IIM Kozhikode & IIM Indore resp.

2009 - 2010

  • Mode - Online (introducted in 2009)
  • Test Window - 20 days window (2 slots per day)
  • Duration - 2 Hours and 15 minutes
  • 3 Sections (30 questions each)
  • Conducted By - IIM Ahemdabad
  • Online Testing Partner - Prometric
  • Attacked By 2 Viruses - 'Conficker' & 'W32 Nimda'

Before 2009

  • Mode - Pen-Paper Based
  • Test Window - 1 day
  • 3 Sections (100 questions each)
  • Duration - 3 hours