CAT Exam Pattern: Eligibility, Syllabus, Marking Scheme, Weightage

If you’ve made the decision to take the CAT exam, you must be well familiar with its format, organisation, and scoring system. For entry into a number of India’s management institutes, the CAT exam is required. So it’s crucial to approach the CAT exam strategically if you want to succeed. It would be easier for you to prepare if you are aware of the exam format.

This article will give comprehensive details on the CAT exam format, scoring standards, and significant subjects.

What is CAT?

The Common Admission Test (CAT) is a national exam given in India to students applying to MBA and PGDM programmes at several IIMs and other prestigious management universities. Each year, one of the IIMs administers the test.

CAT Exam Pattern: Latest Changes 

  • CAT 2022 Exam is scheduled for November 2022.
  • There is no negative marking for Non-MCQs.
  • The order of the sections starts with VARC followed by DILR and QA. Candidates cannot switch between sections.
  • For CAT 2022, students will be notified about the changes in the exam window.
  • Previously, the total number of questions in CAT was 100, and the total marks were 300. But in 2020, the number of questions was reduced to 76, and the total marks were 228. In 2021, the number of questions was further reduced to 66.
  • IIM will also release a tutorial for the aspirants to understand CAT 2022 exam format and question pattern. The tutorial will be available on their official website in October 2022.
  • There is an onscreen calculator provided during the exam.
  • CAT 2022 exam will be held in 150+ cities across the country.

CAT Eligibility

A bachelor’s degree with a minimum of three years’ study is required. Students in their last year can, however, also apply for this exam. The requirements for taking the CAT have changed recently as a result of the epidemic, making them less strict than they once were. Candidates must check their eligibility for the CAT in order to prevent any last-minute stress.


Qualification Requirements
Age NA
Educational Qualification Bachelor’s Degree (with min. 50% marks)
Work Experience  Not Compulsory
Reservation As per category


CAT Exam Pattern

The exam pattern of CAT has changed in the previous years due to the pandemic. Here is the description of the CAT exam pattern:


Particulars Details
Mode of Examination Online
Total Duration 120 minutes
Type of Questions MCQs and TITA-type questions
No. of MCQs 75%
No. of TITA Questions 25%
Sectional Duration 40 minutes
Sections Three
No. of Questions 66
Section-wise Distribution of Questions
  • VARC- 24
  • QA- 22
  • DILR- 20
Total Marks 198
Marks for Correct Answer 3
Negative Marking -1 for every wrong answer; No Negative Marks for TITA-type Questions
Medium English


CAT Syllabus


There are three sections in the CAT syllabus. Each topic has a different weightage in CAT. Prioritize these topics and start your preparation accordingly. Keep track of the following topics asked in the CAT exam:


Quantitative Aptitude Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension
Number System Seating Arrangement Para jumbles
Algebra Reasoning Based DI Summary Based Questions 
Arithmetic Grid-Based DI  Sentence exclusion questions
Geometry Tables RC passages
Mensuration Graphs Sentence Correction
LCM and HCF Data Caselets Analogies or Reverse Analogies
Profit, Loss, and Discount Venn Diagrams Facts-Inferences-Judgments


Comprehensive View of Different Sections


Verbal Ability & Comprehensive Reading

This section aims to evaluate your understanding of the English language. To do well in this section, aspirants must enhance their reading skills, develop an above-average vocabulary base and know all the basics of English Grammar. Common question types are reading comprehension, sentence completion, para-jumbles, antonyms and synonyms, fill-in-the-blanks, and summary questions. Reading comprehension aims to establish your comprehension and reasoning abilities.

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning

It is the combined section of two separate areas: Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning. It probes questions based on various data forms, such as bar graphs, line graphs, and pie charts. You must understand the data presented and answer the questions based on the same. Besides this, you need to think logically to analyze the situation and make the correct deductions. The topics included are blood relations, calendars, clocks, cubes, seating arrangement, syllogism, logical connectives, logical matching, and sequencing.

Quantitative Ability

This section tests your knowledge and understanding of basic mathematical concepts. You should be proficient in calculations and develop your aptitude for quick thinking to solve problems based on trigonometry, mensuration, number system, and arithmetic.

CAT Paper Patter: Marking Scheme


Section MCQ TITA Questions Marks(MCQ) Marks(TITA) Total marks
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension 20-21 4-5 +3, -1 +3, no negative 78
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning 20-21 2-3 +3, -1 +3, no negative 72
Quantitative Ability 20-21 4-5 +3, -1 +3, no negative 78


CAT Exam: Slot Timings

There is a time limit for each section in the CAT examination pattern. Once the time is over, the screen automatically advances to the next segment, and the candidate can’t move back to make any changes. Therefore, you must keep track of time duration and practice accordingly.

The following are the three sessions for the exam:

  • Morning session (8:30 am – 10:30 pm)
  • Afternoon session (12:30 pm – 2:30 pm)
  • Evening session (4:30 pm – 6:30 pm)


CAT Exam Pattern: Weightage


  Syllabus Weightage
  Verbal Ability 8-10 questions based on grammar and verbal reasoning
Reading Comprehension Out of 24 questions in the VARC section, 16 questions are from RC.
Quantitative Ability Arithmetic and Algebra dominate the section, with approx. 8 questions from each.
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning There will be 2 sets with 10 questions in DI and 2 sets from LR.



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