Understanding CAT exam pattern is the first step to planning your preparation!
Conducted annually for PGP/MBA admissions in IIMs and other B-Schools of India, CAT is one of the toughest entrance exams. It is held in the month of November in three shifts. Lakhs of management aspirants appear for CAT every year. Each of the IIMs facilitates CAT exam on a rotational basis.
Over the last few years, there have been several changes across theCAT paper pattern. In 2020, the number of questions and time limit were changed to accommodate the pandemic-induced rules. More such modifications were witnessed in 2021 and 2022.
CAT Exam Pattern 2022
CAT is administered in a computer-based mode. It is devised to check the general aptitude, time-management and complexity-handling skills of the candidates. The following table presents the complete details about CAT pattern 2022:
|Sections||Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Quantitative Aptitude (QA), and Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR)|
|Total Duration||120 Minutes|
|Total No. of Questions||66|
|Type of Questions||MCQs & Non-MCQs|
|Time Limit per section||40 Minutes|
NOTE: The above details are based on the exam pattern of CAT 2021. Similar pattern is expected for CAT 2022.
- Each correct answer is awarded 3 marks.
- For every incorrectly answered MCQ, 1 mark is deducted.
- There is no negative marking for Non-MCQs (TITA).
Other Things to Know:
- The sectional order remains fixed in CAT. The exam always starts with VARC section.
- You cannot navigate between sections without submitting the current one.
- An on-screen calculator will be provided on your test screen.
- Nearly 30% of the total questions are Non-MCQs.
- CAT is held at 150+ test centres across India.
You can access the tutorial for the latest CAT exam pattern at the official website (iimcat.ac.in). This tutorial is usually made available inthe month of October.
CAT Exam Pattern – Previous Year Analysis
Since the proportion of objective and subjective questions is not fixed in CAT, it would help to refer to the detailed exam structure of CAT 2021:
|Sections||No. of Questions|
|Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)||Total: 24|
MCQ – 19
TITA – 5
|Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)||Total: 20|
MCQ – 15
TITA – 5
|Quantitative Aptitude (QA)||Total: 22|
MCQ – 15
TITA – 7
CAT Exam Pattern – Sectional Analysis
In the CAT exam, certain types of questions appear almost every time. So, it is important to be aware of the weightage of different topics in the CAT syllabus.
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)
VARC section is dominated by questions based on Reading Comprehension passages. There are 4-5 RC passages in CAT, and the remaining questions are grammar-based. The following table gives a glimpse of CAT VARC:
|Topic||No. of Questions in CAT|
*Miscellaneous topics include Fill in the blanks, Odd-one out, Analogies, Critical Reasoning, Sentence correction/completion, etc.
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)
DILR section is composed of questions based on graphical information and common reasoning topics. The given table shows the distribution of different topics in CAT:
|Area||Topics||No. of Sets||No. of Questions|
|Data Interpretation||Tables, Graphs, Charts||2-3||4-6 questions/set|
|Logical Reasoning||arrangements, sequences, syllogisms, blood relations, etc.||1-2||4-6 questions/set|
Quantitative Aptitude (QA)
Quant section has a majority of the questions from arithmetic, algebra, and geometry. The following table displays the number of questions that are asked from various topics:
|Area||Topics||No. of Questions|
|Arithmetic||Averages, Ratio and Proportion, Percentages, Profit and Loss, Simple and Compound Interest, Mixtures and Allegations, Time and Work,TSD (Time, Speed, and Distance)||9-11|
|Number System||Divisibility, Unit Digit, Binomial Theorem, Surds and Indices,Factorization||2-4|
|Algebra||Inequalities, Functions, Linear Equations, Quadratic Equations, Logarithm, Complex Numbers||5-6|
|Geometry & Mensuration||Triangles, Lines and Angles, Trigonometry, Polygons, Circles, Solids (3D Geometry), Coordinate Geometry,||3-4|
|Modern Math||Set Theory,Probability, Permutation and Combination||1-2|
CAT exam pattern and syllabus draw from the fundamental topics of maths, reasoning, and the English language. This way, it serves as a level-playing field for graduates of all backgrounds. A candidate need not be an expert in mathematics or English, but possess a basic knowledge of both areas. Besides, CAT is less of a speed test and more of an analysis of your management skills. Albeit the basic nature of topics, the questions based on these are tricky to tackle. So, you must do a good amount of practice and reflect on your performance timely.
Now that you are fully familiar with the CAT 2022 exam pattern and the weightage of different topics, you should begin your preparation soon. At the same time, you should go through the previous year CAT papers to get the real look of the test. After all, to get shortlisted by top B-schools, you need to attain a high overall as well as sectional CAT percentile.