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Over 2 lakh students appear ever year for the computer based Common Admission Test (CAT Exam). This exam is conducted across the country in the month of November. Besides IIMs, many other premier management institutes in India use CAT scores to admit students

CAT Syllabus

There is no set syllabus of the exam according to the IIM’s which conduct the exam. However, studying the pattern of previous year exams – experts have worked out the tentative syllabus that the aspirants need to prepare for.

Verbal Ability Section- Syllabus

  • Reading comprehension
  • Paragraph Summary
  • Parajumbles & misfit sentences
  • Critical Reasoning
  • Paragraph completion
  • Vocabulary based – fill in the blanks
  • Grammar & Usage
  • Sentence Correction
  • Fact Inference & Judgement

DI & LR Syllabus

  • Caselets
  • Tables
  • Bars & Column Graphs
  • Line charts
  • VennDiagrams
  • Pie charts
  • Number & letter Series
  • Calenders
  • Cubes
  • Clocks
  • Seating Arrangement
  • Binary Logic
  • Blood Relations
  • Syllogism
  • Logical- matching, sequence & connectives

Quantitative Ability Syllabus

  • LCM & HCF
  • Profit, Loss, Discount
  • Percentages
  • Speed
  • Time & Distance
  • Work
  • Interest
  • Ratio & Proportion
  • Averages
  • Equations- linear & quadratic
  • Complex Numbers
  • Binomial Theorem
  • Sequences and Series
  • Surds and Indices
  • Inequalities
  • Probability
  • Permutation and Combination
  • Set Theory
  • Functions
  • Geometry
  • Trigonometry
  • Coordinate Geometry
  • Mensuration.

CAT eligibility criteria

To be eligible to take the CAT exam a candidate should have a Bachelor’s Degree/professional degree (CA, CS, ICWA) with at least 50% marks or an equivalent CGPA . Candidates who are in final year of their bachelor studies may also apply and secure admissions. However, their admissions are considered provisional till they do not submit their final year results.

All IIMs and other government institutes also have reservations wherein 15 per cent of the seats for Scheduled Caste (SC), 7.5 per cent of the seats for Scheduled Tribe (ST), 27 per cent seats are reserved for Other Backward Classes (OBC) and 3% are reserved for differently abled candidates.


CAT Pattern

The CAT exam’s pattern changes almost every year- depending on the institute that conducts the exam.

Basis the last few years the exam is expected to have 100 questions across the following 3 sections

1.       Quantitative Ability with 34 questions

2.      Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning with 32 questions

3.      Verbal Ability with 34 questions

The duration of the test is 180 minutes (3 hours) which is split equally amongst the 3 sections. The candidate is not allowed to switch between sections while answering the questions.

The questions are a mix of multiple choice type and direct answer type. Every correct answer is scored as +3 and incorrect as -1. There is no negative marking for direct answer type questions. No marks are deducted for leaving a question unanswered.




Testing the competence and language proficiency of the candidates is an integral part of most qualifying exams for higher education especially CAT. Candidates intending to take CAT, need to make sure that they develop a rich and extensive English vocabulary, in addition to enhancing their mathematical, reasoning and analytical skills.


CAT no longer has direct vocabulary questions, however, building vocabulary will go a long way in cracking the verbal ability section of CAT exam. English is a non native language for Indians – so many times we falter in answering questions correctly as we don’t really know the meaning of some words that appear in the CAT exam. Your ability to crack RCs will improve significantly as an improved vocabulary bank improves your comprehension as it makes you better acquainted with the language. Working on your vocabulary will thus ensure that you understand the question asked.


Some other management entrance exams like NMAT, IIFT, XAT, SNAP etc also have direct vocabulary based questions. So if you are targeting these exams you definitely need to work on your vocabulary.