CAT Exam Pattern: All about the CAT Exam

Get to know about the CAT exam pattern, syllabus and more in this article.

The Common Admission Test (CAT) is a computer-based entrance exam that is given once a year for the purpose of admittance into the MBA programmes offered by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs). The Common Admissions Test (CAT) is given by a different IIM each year. Over two lakh students participate in the examination each and every year, making it one of the most difficult and prestigious examinations in India. The structure of the CAT exam is going to be covered in great depth here in this article.

CAT Exam Pattern: Overview

  • The examination is known as the Common Admission Test.
  • It takes place during the month of November once every year.
  • Online submission of application forms is the only method currently available.
  • The test is given in an electronic format and can be taken online.
  • Candidates will be evaluated in order to determine their eligibility for admission to one of India’s many business schools.
  • The Common Admissions Test (CAT) is recognised by all IIMs as well as other private and public business schools.
  • There will be both subjective and objective types of questions on the examination.
  • July or August is the typical month in which the registration process officially begins.
  • Candidates who are interested in learning more about the CAT exam can do so by going to the official website for the CAT exam.

CAT Exam Pattern: Eligibility Criteria

  • A candidate must fulfil a number of educational prerequisites before being accepted to take the CAT examination.
  • The candidate who has earned a bachelor’s degree or a degree that is equivalent to a bachelor’s degree from an institution or board that is accredited. The examination is open to high school students who are in their senior year.
  • Prior to the pandemic, there was a minimum requirement for the percentage of people who had vaccinations. It has not yet been decided whether or not this criterion will continue to be used throughout the following year or if it will be eliminated entirely.

CAT Exam Pattern: Section-Wise

The CAT exam is segregated into 3 sections, namely Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR), Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), and Quantitative Ability (QA). The exam is 2 hours long, and each section is timed at 40 minutes, totalling 120 minutes for the three sections. The exam consists of 66 questions in total.

  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)

This section tests the candidate’s ability to comprehend and analyze written material. It consists of 24 questions on Reading Comprehension and Verbal Ability. The questions in this section combine multiple-choice and TITA (type in your answer) questions.

  • Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR)

This section tests the candidate’s analytical and logical reasoning skills. It consists of 20 questions on Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning. The questions in this section are a combination of multiple-choice and subjective questions.

  • Quantitative Ability (QA)

This section tests the candidate’s mathematical skills. It consists of 22 questions. The questions in this section are a combination of multiple-choice and subjective questions. Over the years, the conducting bodies brought down the difficulty level of the Quantitative Abilities (QA).

CAT Exam Pattern: Marking Scheme

Each question in the CAT exam carries three marks. There is a component of negative marking in the CAT exam. 1 mark is deducted per incorrect response. However, there is no negative marking for subjective questions.

CAT Exam Pattern: Important Topics

The CAT syllabus is not exhaustive in nature. But questions from some topics frequently appear in the exam. These topics essential, according to the candidates. Below is a list of critical section-wise topics.

Section 1: Quantitative AptitudeSection 2: Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning Section 3: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
Number SystemProfit, Loss and DiscountLCM and HCFSpeed, Time and DistancePercentagesTime and WorkRatio and proportionsAveragesQuadratic Equations and Linear EquationsComplex NumbersSimple and Compound InterestLogarithmSequences and SeriesInequalitiesProbabilitySurd and IndicesSet theory & FunctionPermutation and CombinationMixtures and AlligationsTrigonometryCoordinate GeometryMensurationTableCaseletsBar GraphsLine chartsColumn GraphsVenn diagramPie ChartsCalendarsNumber and Letter SeriesClocksVenn DiagramsSeating ArrangementBinary LogicLogical MatchingLogical sequenceSyllogismLogical ConnectivesBlood relationsEnglish GrammarVocabulary based (Synonyms and Antonyms)Fill in the blanksSentence CorrectionClose PassageJumbles ParagraphMeaning-usage matchAnalogies or Reverse analogiesSummary QuestionsVerbal reasoningFacts-Inferences- JudgementsReading Comprehension

CAT Exam Pattern: CAT Study Material

The candidate must be sure of the opted subject matter and the CAT study material to excel in the CAT exam. The finest study material for CAT preparation is difficult to choose because many resources are available online and offline. Here is a list of suitable study materials for CAT preparations.

Best Books for preparation of Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC).

  1. Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT by Arun Sharma and Meenakshi Upadhyay are the best books for CAT VARC preparations.
  2. Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT by Nishit K. Sinha is one of the most talked-about books for preparing for Verbal Ability for CAT.
  3. Another good book for CAT VARC preparation is Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension by Ajay Singh.

Apart from these, the following books can be beneficial while building vocabulary; Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis and Barron’s Pocket Guide to Vocabulary.

Best Books for Preparation of Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR).

  1. How to prepare Data Interpretation for CAT by Arun Sharma is another reliable book for CAT Preparation.
  2. Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for CAT by Nishit Sinha.
  3. How to prepare for Logical Reasoning for CAT by Arun Sharma.
  4. Puzzle to Puzzle you by Shakuntala Devi.

Best Books for preparation of Quantitative Aptitude (QA).

  1. Quantitative Aptitude Quantum CAT by Sarvesh K Verma is a well-known book for CAT Quantitative Aptitude amongst students preparing for CAT. 
  2. Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT by Arun Sharma.
  3. Quantitative Aptitude by R.S. Aggarwal
  4. Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT by Nishit K. Sinha.
  5. Quantitative Aptitude for All Competitive Examinations by Abhijit Goha.

The CAT exam is among the most competitive exams in India. Candidates must have a thorough understanding of the exam pattern and syllabus to perform well. By following the tips mentioned above, candidates can prepare effectively for the CAT exam and increase their chances of success.