CAT Syllabus | CAT Syllabus 2019

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CAT Syllabus

1. What is CAT Syllabus ?
2. CAT Exam Pattern
3. Section-wise CAT Syllabus
4. CAT Syllabus for VARC
5. CAT Syllabus for Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning for CAT
6. CAT Syllabus for Quantitative Aptitude
More than 2 lakh candidates appear for the Common Admission Test (CAT) every year for admissions to 20 Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and over 100 B-schools in India. The exam is held in November or December, once a year, by one of the IIMs. CAT 2018 was held on 25th November, 2018.
Officially, the IIMs do not prescribe a CAT syllabus as such. Still, the exam follows a broad pattern, from which we can infer what the CAT syllabus is.

Overall CAT Syllabus and CAT Exam Pattern

Before we look into the CAT syllabus, here is a quick recap of key facts about the exam:

  • CAT Exam is a 3-hour (180 min), computer-based exam. It is not held in offline mode.
  • The exam is held in two slots—morning and afternoon—on the same day. The papers are different in these sessions, but the scores are normalized to account for the differences.
  • The exam comprises of 3 sections— Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DI/LR) and Quantitative Ability (QA).
  • In the last few CATs, the order of the sections has been VARC first, followed by DILR, followed by QA. Switching between sections is not possible. There are no breaks between sections.
  • There are 100 questions in all. Most questions are Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs), with 4 answer choices, one of which is right. About one-third of the paper, however, consists of objective but non-MCQ questions. These are of the Type-In-The-Answer (TITA) kind.
  • MCQs carry 3 marks for a right answer and -1 mark for a wrong answer, but there is no negative marking for TITA questions.
  • A simple, on-screen calculator is provided for the QA and DI/LR sections.
  • Any Bachelor’s degree holder (with 50% at least marks) and any candidate in the final year of their graduation can write CAT.
  • The official website for CAT: CAT Website

CAT 2018 had the following pattern:

Section Duration No. of MCQs No. of non MCQs Total
VARC 1 hour 27 7 34
DI LR 1 hour 24 8 32
QA 1 hour 22 12 34
Total 3 hours 73 27 100

The actual CAT 2018 slot 1 and slot 2 question papers along with the detailed answer key can be found here : CAT 2018 Analysis

CAT Syllabus Video

CAT Syllabus details in video format.

Section-wise CAT Syllabus

This CAT syllabus is drawn up based on the pattern of the exam over the last few years. In general, the CAT syllabus includes topics from Mathematics and English taught in schools up to 10th standard. However, the questions are application-oriented and test conceptual understanding.
Download the CAT syllabus in pdf format

CAT Syllabus for VARC

The VARC section of CAT is primarily a test of your reading ability, that is, your ability to understand and reflect on ideas given in a passage or paragraph.
The CAT syllabus, in terms of the topics tested in the VARC section of CAT is as follows:

VARC Sub-Section Description Question Type No. of Questions
CAT Reading Comprehension This section comprises of 5 RC passages which are usually 600-700 words in length 4-5 MCQs based on each passage 24
CAT Verbal Ability Paragraph Jumbles

Paragraph Summary

Sentence Elimination

3-4 questions, usually TITA, involving rearrangement of sentences in the right order.
2-3 questions, MCQs, involving identification of the best summary for a given paragraph.
2-3 questions, involving identification of the odd sentence in a given set of sentences.
Questions of these types are less common:
• Paragraph Completion
• Sentence Correction
• Critical Reasoning
• Fact Inference Judgement

To prepare for VARC questions of different types in the CAT syllabus, have a go at solving these from 2IIM’s free CAT question bank. 2IIM CAT Questions - Click to learn
For information on how to prepare for the VARC section of CAT Exam, go to CAT Verbal Preparation

CAT Syllabus for Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning for CAT

The DI LR section of CAT comprises of puzzles based on data sets. This section tests your ability to understand, identify patterns and derive conclusions based on the given data/clues.
In total, there are 32 questions in this section, including 8-9 TITA questions.
Broadly, the CAT syllabus, in terms of the topics tested in the DI/LR section of CAT is as follows:

Data Interpretation Bar graph, line graphs, pie charts, tables, Venn diagrams, word problems, combination of graphs
Logical Reasoning Puzzles based on visualization, math puzzles, games and tournaments, calendar, sequencing, grid puzzles, seating arrangement, direction- based puzzles

2IIM’s free CAT Questions has a number of CAT-level DI LR puzzles you can solve - Click to learn
For further information on how to prepare for the DI LR section of CAT, see CAT DI LR preparation

CAT Syllabus for Quantitative Aptitude

The QA section of CAT tests your understanding of some key mathematical concepts.
The CAT syllabus for Quantitative Aptitude, in terms of the topics tested, is as follows:

QA Topic Key Concepts Approx. No. of Questions
Arithmetic Percentages
Time Speed Distance
Pipe Cisterns, Work Time
Profit and Loss
Ratios and Proportion
Simple Interest Compound Interest
11 - 12
Geometry Triangles, Circles, Quadrilaterals
Coordinate Geometry
7 - 8
Algebra Linear and Quadratic Equations
Arithmetic and Geometric Progressions
6 - 8
Number Theory and Modern Math HCF LCM
Factors and Multiples
Factorials, Remainders
Set Theory
Permutation Combination, Probability
6 - 8

For loads of free practice questions in various Quantitative Aptitude topics in the CAT syllabus, have a look at - CAT Questions

For further information on how to prepare for the Quant section, see - CAT Quantitative Aptitude

CAT 2018 Exam Analysis

The story of CAT Exam 2018 was the level of difficulty of the Quant section. I (Rajesh Balasubramanian) have taken 8 of the last 10 CATs and I can confidently say that this was the toughest Quant section I have seen thus far. We have done a CAT 2018 Analysis of Slot 1 and Slot 2 on Youtube. Scroll down to have a look at that.

Our estimates for CAT Exam 2018 percentiles and scores are given below for both slot 1 and slot 2.Note that these are merely estimates and are not based on statistical analysis.

CAT 2018 Slot 1 percentile
CAT 2018 Slot 2 percentile

To know the full CAT 2018 exam analysis, please go to this page - CAT 2018 Exam Analysis

CAT Exam - CAT Question Papers

CAT Exam Pattern changes frequently and the best way to get a sense of the CAT Syllabus is to go through the CAT Question papers of the most recent years. We at 2IIM have created a student-friendly version that lets students see CAT Questions one at a time, attempt to solve these and then choose to either see the answer or view a detailed video lecture solution. To see past year CAT question papers, please go to this page - CAT question papers

Let's talk CAT 2019

It is not too early to start preparation. If you took CAT 2018 merely as a precursor to CAT 2019, then it is about time to start thinking about a pleasant 1-year preparation cycle. If you are not already one, sign up as a trial user to the 2IIM Online Course and see why so many students say so many good things about us (review link here).

2IIM’s CAT 2018 online students can renew the course at very reasonable rates. The price for renewal is pegged at a level where students pay the difference between our current 2019 price point and what they have paid already. Effectively, for students who are renewing the course, the price for preparation for CAT 2018 and CAT 2019 would be merely the price for CAT 2019 (In other words CAT 2018 prep came for free).

Those of you just beginning on this CAT preparation journey, Click here to know about every aspect of How to Prepare for CAT? . Those of you feeling a little lost amidst all this talk of percentiles, slots, analysis, syllabus etc, click here to learn What is CAT exam

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