Over 2 lakh candidates fill the CAT form and write the exam for getting admission in various IIMs and more than 100s of other B Schools. The CAT exam is held once a year only in November mostly. Candidates can give the CAT exam any number of times. This is not the case with some engineering entrance exams. In 2019 CAT exam was held on 24 November. Officially, the IIM which conducts the CAT exam does not give any syllabus. Still, the syllabus can be easily derived from the past year’s CAT exam papers. There is no confusion in it.
Before going to syllabus part we shall see some important things related to CAT exam –

1.Cat exam is a 3-hour online exam. Not held offline.
The exam consists of 3 sections-




2. The time and order of each section are fixed. You can not attempt another section without submitting the section prior to the order.

3. The paper mostly consists of MCQs. Some TITA(typing number) questions are also there.

4. +3 marks for the correct answer and -1 for the wrong answer. No marks for unattempted.

5. No negative marking for TITA type questions

6. Students in the final year of college can also write the exam but not before.

7.On-screen calculator is provided for the Quant and LRDI section.

The rough pattern of the exam is given below.

SectionDurationNo. of MCQsNo. of non-MCQs(TITA)
VARC1 hour277
DILR1 hour248
QUANT1 hour2311
cat syllabus and pattern


Although topic wise it is not fixed, how many questions would be of one type and rest another. But, the pattern is mostly as follows.

Reading ComprehensionConsists of 5 RC passages of 500-600 words each.24
Verbal AbilityParagraph Jumbles.
Para Summary.
Odd one out.
Inference based questions


This section consists of puzzles of different types. There is no fixed syllabus for this. The thing required is an open mind to understand the pattern and find the solution based on this pattern.

Still, many institutes have given names to some techniques which are used in these type of questions many a time. On this basis, topics are created. These are given below:-

  1. Games and Tournaments
  2. Calendar
  3. Grid Puzzles
  4. Seating arrangement
  5. Direction based puzzles

The questions are in sets of 3-4 questions per set. If one is able to crack the trick of the set, most probably he would be able to answer most questions. In some cases, each question needs to be solved separately apart from the given set.


Quant section is the best section for engineers. Also, if you are well versed with the concepts, you can score good marks in this section. The broad classification is given below-

TopicConceptApproximate no. of Questions
ArithmeticTime, speed, distance
Work done
Ratio and Proportion
Profit, Loss, Interest
GeometryCo-ordiante geometry, trigonometry, mensuration7-8
Number theory and Modern mathLCM, HCF
Number system
P and C
Linear equation
Quadratic equation

For any doubts, you can comment below.



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