CAT Syllabus has been consistently the same since the last 10 years with a little variation in the type of questions and the number of questions from various topics. Therefore, it is expected to remain unchanged for CAT 2020 as well. However, if any changes are made in the CAT 2020 syllabus, they will be highlighted in the official notification which will be out by the last week of July, 2020.
Although the syllabus for CAT is vast, most of its Maths and English based questions are based on the middle school level (Class 9 and 10) curriculum. CAT is an annual, computer-based test conducted by IIM, which acts as a gateway for more than 100 B-schools in India, including all the IIMs. It is conducted in more than 156 cities across the country.
Given the vast syllabus and stiff competition, CAT requires dedicated preparation. The exam is divided into three sections – Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC); Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DI & LR); and Quantitative Ability (QA). Each section is 60 minutes long and candidates cannot switch between the sections during the exam. The number of questions in each section varies between 32-34, but the total number of questions including all sections is 100.
Table of Contents
- CAT Syllabus – Sections
- CAT Syllabus – Marking Scheme
- CAT Syllabus – Important Topics
- CAT Syllabus – Summary
- CAT Syllabus – All Topics
- CAT Syllabus – Preparation Books for CAT 2020
- CAT Syllabus – FAQs
CAT Syllabus – Sections
|Sections||Number of Questions||Time Allotted|
|Quantitative Ability||32-34||60 Minutes|
|Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension||32-34||60 Minutes|
|Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning||30-32||60 Minutes|
CAT Syllabus – Marking Scheme
The CAT marking scheme includes negative marks for wrong answers. Hence, candidates need to be very careful in answering questions. The final score is awarded out of 300. The CAT marking scheme for 2020 is expected to be same as CAT 2019 which was:
- 3 marks will be awarded for each correct answer.
- 1 mark will be deducted for each wrong answer (except in non MCQs).
- If the candidate does not attempt a question, no marks will be awarded or deducted.
CAT Syllabus – Important Topics
The three sections of CAT contain many topics and subtopics which appear in the exam year after year. Some of these topics hold more weightage than others whereas some are easier to attempt. Here, we will understand about each section and what topics frequently appear in them.
1. Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VA-RC)
CAT 2020 Syllabus for VA-RC covers a number of topics which test a candidate’s language and comprehension skills. A brief about the CAT 2019 syllabus for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension passages are given below:
Verbal Ability: Key points
- Number of questions asked range from 6-11.
- The type of questions are all non-MCQs, which means the candidates have to type in the answer (TITA).
- There is no negative marking in VA since the questions are the non-MCQ type.
Reading Comprehension (RC): Key points
- Reading Comprehension (RC) includes true/false type questions based on the passage, author’s point of view on the issues raised in the passage, inference from the passage, the central idea of the passage and its purpose.
- Number of questions asked range from 24 to 28. Generally, 70% of VA-RC questions are from Reading Comprehension.
- The type of questions are all MCQs, hence there is negative marking of -1.
- This section contains 3-4 long passages and 2-3 short passages.
- Long passages are of 900 words and short passages are of 600 words (approx).
- Topics of these passages range from science, history, politics, environment, society, literature, mythology and abstract topics.
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VA-RC) – Important topics
- Verbal Reasoning
- Fill in the blanks
- Jumbled paragraphs
- Unseen Passages
- Para Completion and inference
- Contextual usage
- Foreign language words used in English
- Reading Comprehension
- Sentence correction
- Sentence completion
- Verbal Logic
- Different usage of the same word
- Reading Comprehension
- Para jumbles
- One-word substitution
- Verbal Logic
2. Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DI & LR)
DI-LR is the second section of the CAT question paper and is to be solved after the completion of the VA – RC. The sectional time limit for DI – LR is 60 minutes.
Some key points in this section are:
- This section is expected to have 32 questions. 16 questions from DI and 16 questions from LR.
- Questions from Data Interpretation(DI) will focus on a candidate’s ability to derive conclusions from a given set of data.
- Logical Reasoning (LR) section tests a candidate’s logical thinking and its application to everyday problems.
- LR questions can be individual or be in a set of 4 or more questions.
- DI – LR section is expected to have 24 MCQs and 8 non-MCQs.
- There is negative marking for MCQs as well as non-MCQs.
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning – Important topics
- Blood Relations
- Direction Sense
- Clocks and Calendars
- Data Arrangement
- Family Tree
- Binary Logic
- Seating Arrangement
- Sets & Caselets
- Venn Diagram
- Data Structures
- Tables & Pie Charts
- Data Sufficiency
- Bars & Line Graphs
3. Quantitative Aptitude (QA)
This section is expected to be easier on difficulty levels for CAT 2020 as IIMs are trying to get more non-engineering students for better diversity. QA focuses on numerical problems and will test a candidate’s mathematical knowledge, speed, accuracy, and precision.
Some key points of this section are:
- Questions are mostly based on topics from the Mathematics syllabus up to class 10.
- This section is expected to have 27 MCQs and 7 Non-MCQs.
- Number of questions asked in this section is 34.
- There is negative marking for MCQs.
Quantitative Aptitude – Important topics
- Partnership (Accounts)
- Profit & Loss
- Ratios and Proportion
- Inequalities Quadratic and linear equations
- Surds and Indices
- Number System
- Geometric Progression
- Work and Time
CAT Syllabus – Summary
- There are a total of 100 questions asked in CAT.
- The exam is divided into three sections, namely Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC); Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DI & LR); and Quantitative Ability (QA).
- Each section is 60 minutes long, making the total duration of the exam to be 180 minutes.
- The number of questions from each section varies from 32-34.
- Most of the questions in CAT are MCQ type questions. For non-MCQ type questions, a direct answer has to be typed on the screen.
- Reading Comprehension takes 70% weightage in the VA-RC section with 24 questions in 5-6 sets.
- Close to 20 questions from Data Interpretation and 12 questions on Logical Reasoning are expected in CAT 2020. However, this number can change.
- More than 25 non-MCQ questions can be expected in CAT 2020.
CAT Syllabus – All Topics
|Quantitative Aptitude Syllabus||Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning Syllabus||Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension Syllabus|
|Number Systems||Tables||English Usage or Grammar|
|Profit, Loss and Discount||Caselets||Vocabulary Based (Synonyms/ Antonyms)|
|LCM and HCF||Bar Graphs||Fill in the blanks|
|Speed, Time and Distance||Line Charts||Sentence Correction|
|Percentages||Column Graphs||Cloze Passage|
|Time and Work||Venn Diagrams||Jumbled Paragraph|
|Ratio and Proportion||Pie Chart||Meaning-Usage Match|
|Averages||Other Basic Reasoning Questions||Analogies or Reverse Analogies|
|Quadratic Equations & Linear Equations||Calendars||Summary Questions|
|Complex Numbers||Number and Letter Series||Verbal Reasoning|
|Simple and Compound Interest||Clocks||Facts-Inferences-Judgments|
|Logarithm||Venn Diagrams||Reading Comprehension|
|Sequences and Series||Cubes|
|Surds and Indices||Logical Matching|
|Set Theory & Function||Logical Sequence|
|Permutation and Combination||Syllogism|
|Mixtures and Alligations||Logical Connectives|
CAT Syllabus – Preparation Books for CAT 2020
|Sections||Suggested Books for Preparation||Author/s|
|Quantitative Aptitude||How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT||Arun Sharma|
|Quantitative Aptitude Quantum CAT Common Admission Tests for Admission into IIMs||Sarvesh K. Verma|
|Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT||Nishit K. Sinha|
|Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning||CAT 2020 Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning||Gautam Puri|
|Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for the CAT||Nishit K. Sinha|
|Data Interpretation & Data Sufficiency||Ananta Ashisha|
|How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CAT||Arun Sharma|
|Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension||How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT||Arun Sharma and Meenakshi Upadhyay/Arihant|
|30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary Mass Market Paperback||Wilfred Funk & Norman Lewis/ Simon & Schuster|
|How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CAT||Sharma and Upadhyay|
|PSC for VA for CAT||Nishit Sinha|
CAT Syllabus – FAQs
Q. What are the subjects in the CAT exam?
The syllabus of CAT 2020 examination includes three sections – Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning, and Quantitative Aptitude. Each section has many sub-topics. Read this article to have a better understanding.
Q. Is the CAT exam tough?
CAT tests a number of things in a candidate. It tests knowledge, comprehension & verbal skills, data interpretation skills, pressure handling skills, time management and much more. Other than this, it also covers a vast syllabus. The competition level of the exam is also high with more than 2.44 lakhs applicants in CAT 2019. All of these factors combined make CAT a tough exam. However, a dedicated and planned preparation can help any candidate get a good percentile in the CAT exam.
Q. Is a calculator allowed in CAT?
Yes, calculators are allowed during the CAT exam. All the applicants will be provided with an on-screen calculator during the test. Personal calculators are not allowed.
Q. Are General Knowledge (GK) questions asked in CAT?
CAT does not ask General Knowledge questions. All the questions are from three sections namely Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning, and Quantitative Aptitude.
Q. Does the CAT syllabus and pattern change every year?
The IIMs do announce a test pattern along with CAT notification. Over the last 10 years, the variation in the number of questions from each section has been observed. However, the syllabus has remained almost unchanged.
Q. Who prescribes the CAT syllabus?
The CAT syllabus is prescribed by the IIM admission body which comprises representatives from all Indian Institutes of Management.
Q. What is the marking scheme in the CAT exam?
The total marks of the CAT exam is 300. Each question carries 3 marks which are awarded for the right answer. For each wrong answer in MCQ, 1 mark is deducted. Negative marks are not awarded in non-multiple-choice questions. Further, unattempted questions do not lead to any negative marking.