## CAT Exam Syllabus

CAT is a computer-based objective exam that has 3 sections – Verbal Ability, Logical Reasoning and Quantitative Ability. The sections have nearly equal weightage. For a long time, from 2010-2019 roughly it was a 3-hour exam. The pandemic has seen it transform into a 2-hour exam. Around 75% of the questions are MCQs (Multiple-Choice Questions) while the rest are TITA (Type in the Answer). The MCQs carry negative marks for incorrect answers, while TITA ones do not.

Broadly, the CAT syllabus covered comprises of math learnt in classes VI to X of schooling. Although the framework has been broadly constant throughout the past 15 years, there are some specific patterns that emerge if we scroll through the data. The video below gives a wonderful overview of what we can take away from the past few years’ papers.

### CAT Exam Overview (CAT 2022)

Section | Duration | No. of MCQs | No. of non MCQs | Total |
---|---|---|---|---|

VARC | 40 minutes | 21 | 3 | 24 |

DI LR | 40 minutes | 14 | 6 | 20 |

QA | 40 minutes | 14 | 8 | 22 |

Total | 2 hours | 66 | 17 | 49 |

As we dive deeper into the sections and take them up one by one, we will take you through the CAT Syllabus followed by our analysis of the CAT previous year papers to give you a glimpse of what you can expect in the upcoming CAT exam.

#### 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:

- Historically, CAT Exam is a 3-hour (180 min), computer-based exam. It is not held in offline mode.

*One of many things that swayed away from normal in 2020 & 2021 was the CAT exam duration.*

CAT 2020 & CAT 2021 was conducted in three slots of 2 hours each. The patterns continues in CAT 2022 as well. - 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 2021 had the following pattern:

VARC: 24, DILR: 20, Quant: 22 (40 minute per section), and the entire exam is conducted in 3 slots instead of usual 2 slots. For CAT 2022 it has been announced that it will be a 2 hour exam across 3 sections but there isn't any information regarding the number of questions.

## Diving deeper into CAT VARC Syllabus

In terms of CAT Syllabus across the sections, the VARC section is the simplest to describe. Building a habit of reading is the closest to what one might call as Syllabus. If you are looking at a timeline north of 4 months, you have a great time window to build up the habit of reading. You should check out the video on the left for more information than just Reading, how to make the most of this etc.

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 Others |
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 |
10 |

Success Factor | Key Resource | Big Takeaway |
---|---|---|

Reading Habit | Bharath's Reading List | RC is the Elephant in the room |

## Diving deeper into CAT LRDI Syllabus

The DILR section has been elusive in terms of giving us a definitive syllabus for this section. We can of course paint a broad picture with the information we have obtained through taking this exam over the years. In case you are looking to know how to prepare for this section, head out to this link. But if you are keen to understand the section first, watch this video and then scroll down!

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 |

Success Factor | Key Free Resource | Big Focus Area |
---|---|---|

1. Variety in puzzles 2. Detailed solutions |
2IIM Free Question Bank | Previous year Papers |

## Diving deeper into CAT Quant Syllabus

The Quantitative Aptitude section is the most robust section in terms of something that can give you a definitive syllabus. Do not fret looking at the enormous list of topics listed below. Following the Pareto principle, a collection of a few key topics can help you get upto 90+ percentile. Watch the video on the left to get more clarity on the CAT syllabus for the Quantitative Aptitude section of the CAT exam.

QA Topic | Key Concepts | Approx. No. of Questions |
---|---|---|

Arithmetic | Percentages Time Speed Distance Pipe Cisterns, Work Time Profit and Loss Mixtures Averages Ratios and Proportion Simple Interest Compound Interest |
11 - 12 |

Geometry | Triangles, Circles, Quadrilaterals Mensuration Coordinate Geometry Trigonometry |
7 - 8 |

Algebra | Linear and Quadratic Equations Functions Polynomials Inequalities Arithmetic and Geometric Progressions Logarithms |
6 - 8 |

Number Theory and Modern Math | HCF LCM Factors and Multiples Factorials, Remainders Set Theory Permutation Combination, Probability |
6 - 8 |

Further breaking down the segments topic-wise:

Segment | Topic | 2017_1 | 2017_2 | 2017 | 2018_1 | 2018_2 | 2018 | 2019_1 | 2019_2 | 2019 | 2020_1 | 2020_2 | 2020_3 | 2020 | 2021_1 | 2021_2 | 2021_3 | 2021 | 2022_1 | 2022_2 | 2022_3 | 2022 | Total |
---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|

Arithmetic | RATIOS, MIXTURES; AVERAGES | 4 | 4 | 8 | 6 | 5 | 11 | 3 | 4 | 7 | 3 | 2 | 4 | 9 | 5 | 3 | 4 | 12 | 6 | 4 | 5 | 15 | 62 |

PERCENTS, PROFITS, SICI | 6 | 4 | 10 | 2 | 1 | 3 | 5 | 5 | 10 | 3 | 3 | 3 | 9 | 3 | 3 | 4 | 10 | 2 | 2 | 1 | 5 | 47 | |

SPEED, TIME, DISTANCE; RACES | 2 | 3 | 5 | 3 | 3 | 6 | 4 | 3 | 7 | 4 | 4 | 3 | 11 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 3 | 1 | 1 | 3 | 5 | 37 | |

PIPES, CISTERNS; WORK, TIME | 1 | 2 | 3 | 3 | 3 | 6 | 2 | 2 | 4 | 0 | 1 | 1 | 2 | 2 | 2 | 2 | 6 | 0 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 24 | |

Algebra | LINEAR & QUADRATIC | 1 | 1 | 2 | 1 | 0 | 1 | 3 | 4 | 7 | 2 | 4 | 2 | 8 | 0 | 1 | 1 | 2 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 6 | 26 |

PROGRESSIONS | 2 | 3 | 5 | 1 | 4 | 5 | 3 | 3 | 6 | 1 | 1 | 0 | 2 | 1 | 2 | 1 | 4 | 1 | 2 | 0 | 3 | 25 | |

POLYNOMIALS | 2 | 0 | 2 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 1 | 0 | 1 | 1 | 2 | 1 | 4 | 2 | 0 | 0 | 2 | 9 | |

INEQUALITIES | 1 | 0 | 1 | 0 | 3 | 3 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 1 | 0 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 3 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 8 | |

FUNCTIONS | 2 | 3 | 5 | 2 | 1 | 3 | 2 | 1 | 3 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 3 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 3 | 3 | 2 | 2 | 7 | 24 | |

LOGARITHMS AND EXPONENTS | 3 | 3 | 6 | 4 | 2 | 6 | 3 | 3 | 6 | 4 | 1 | 4 | 9 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 3 | 0 | 1 | 1 | 2 | 32 | |

Geometry | GEOMETRY | 3 | 5 | 8 | 5 | 2 | 7 | 2 | 4 | 6 | 1 | 3 | 1 | 5 | 3 | 2 | 1 | 6 | 0 | 3 | 3 | 6 | 38 |

CO-GEO | 2 | 1 | 3 | 0 | 1 | 1 | 3 | 0 | 3 | 1 | 0 | 2 | 3 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 1 | 0 | 0 | 1 | 11 | |

MENSURATION | 2 | 0 | 2 | 2 | 3 | 5 | 2 | 2 | 4 | 2 | 1 | 0 | 3 | 0 | 1 | 3 | 4 | 2 | 0 | 0 | 2 | 20 | |

TRIGONOMETRY | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 1 | 0 | 1 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 1 | |

NT & Modern Math | COMBINATORICS | 3 | 2 | 5 | 1 | 1 | 2 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 0 | 2 | 1 | 2 | 0 | 3 | 13 |

DIGITS | 0 | 3 | 3 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 0 | 1 | 1 | 4 | 2 | 2 | 8 | 2 | 1 | 1 | 4 | 1 | 1 | 0 | 2 | 21 | |

FACTORIALS | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 1 | 0 | 1 | 1 | |

FACTORS | 0 | 0 | 0 | 1 | 1 | 2 | 0 | 2 | 2 | 0 | 0 | 2 | 2 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 1 | 1 | 7 | |

REMAINDERS | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 1 | 1 | 1 | |

SET THEORY | 0 | 0 | 0 | 2 | 2 | 4 | 1 | 0 | 1 | 0 | 1 | 0 | 1 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 1 | 0 | 0 | 1 | 7 |

Success Factor | Key Free Resource | Big Focus Area |
---|---|---|

1. Strong Fundamentals 2. Excellent Drill |
1. 2IIM Free Question Bank 2. 2IIM YouTube Channel |
Arithmetic alone can take you to 90th percentile |

## How much should you score for 95^{th} percentile?

If you are someone looking to cross the 95th percentile, based on CAT 2022, the table above depicts the required score for 95th percentile across sections.

For instance, In the VARC section in CAT 2022 95th percentile is 30 marks, or to put things in perspective, 10 correct answers could have fetched a neat 95th percentile in the VARC section. People worry a lot about answering all RC’s and answering all questions in this section. Answering less than half the paper correctly can help you cross 95th percentile.

For the DILR Section this statistic falls even further down. To obtain 95th percentile one needs about 26 marks, which is about 8.xx correct answers. Two correct puzzles could have brought you more than 95th percentile.

For the Quantitative Aptitude Section, about 8 right answers in the CAT 2022 obtained 95th percentile. 6 helped you cross 90th percentile. And for sure the paper had lot more than 6 questions from arithmetic. In one of the slots there were 11 to 12 Arithmetic questions.

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## What do Previous year CAT papers tell us?

## CAT 2020 Exam Analysis

Given the pattern change this year, the uncertainty regarding the number of questions and difficulty level was palpable throughout the test center. We at 2IIM had predicted a proportional decrease in the number of questions within each section, which proved to be on point.

**VARC:** With respect to Slot 1 & 2, it was a smidgen easier compared to CAT 2019. The passages were tough, the questions were mildly tricky, but ultimately it was doable. But Slot 3 was an entirely different story... It was tougher than VARC of 2019 the passages were difficult to digest and several questions with double negatives compounded the difficulty level. The sentences in Para Jumbling were unconventionally long.

**DILR:** DILR has been consistently tougher since 2015. we feel it has retained that state this year as well. There were 2 sets with 6 questions each, and 3 sets with 4 questions each, thereby adding the total number of questions for DILR to be 24.

**Quant:** The Quant section had about 10 questions in arithmetic (as we guessed earlier), about 4 in Geometry. The rest were a couple of questions from logarithms, functions, and exponents. 1 or 2 questions were from Number Theory. There were no questions from Permutations and Probability. Overall, the Quant Section had 26 questions. In deviation with the previous year CAT examinations, the section wise breakup was not the same for all the three slots. For instance, Slot 3 was more loaded with co-ordinate geometry, while Slot 1 didn't have any...

To know the full CAT 2020 exam analysis, please go to this page - CAT 2020 Exam Analysis

To know the full CAT 2020 score analysis, please go to this page - CAT 2020 Score Analysis

## CAT 2019 Exam Analysis

DILR was at the same level as seen in the past 4–5 years, perhaps a little easier. Quant was easier than 2018 but far tougher than the levels seen in 2017, 2016 or 2015. VARC was the elephant in the room. The passages were tough, the questions reveled in double-negatives. We have given a quick snapshot of what we think could be the cut-offs. Note that these are, at best, wild guesses.

Our estimates for CAT Exam 2019 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.

To know the full CAT 2019 exam analysis, please go to this page - CAT 2019 Exam Analysis

## 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.

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

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