CAT Syllabus

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Updated CAT Syllabus 2023

CAT 2023 Syllabus

CAT exam dates are out now and candidates have only few months for the preparation of the exam. As we all know that this exam covers a wide syllabus and candidates are required to complete it in a timely manner for securing a higher rank. For better preparation for the exam, candidates need to have knowledge of the updated exam syllabus and the exam pattern. In this article, you'll find each and every information of the 2023 exam syllabus and pattern of the exam.

What is in the CAT Syllabus?

There is no official CAT exam syllabus released by IIMs or any authenticated source. Yes, you have heard this right all the information available online is based on the previous year's papers and mock tests provided by IIMs Our teams working on syllabus who are IIM alumni and CAT experts have suggested the syllabus could be as below:

CAT Syllabus: An overview

The Syllabus of CAT 2023 is divided in three parts:
  • VARC (Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension)
  • DILR (Data Interpretation& Logical Reasoning)
  • QA (Quantitative Ability)
Further, the 3 sections are divided into multiple choice questions (MCQs) and Non-MCQs. VARC & DILR are further sub divided into 2 subs-sections.

CAT 2023 - The Complete Composition

CAT Exam Syllabus

CAT 2023 was conducted on November 26, 2023 (Sunday) in three sessions.

After a deep analysis of CAT previous year's papers and exam patterns, our experts created the syllabus of CAT with section-wise weightage of each topic in the 2023 exam.

The following was the pattern of CAT Exam

Total number of questions: 66
Maximum Time: 120 Min.

  • VARC: 24 questions on specific topics, maximum time permitted 40 min.
  • DILR: 20 questions, maximum time permitted 40 min.
  • QUANT:22 questions, focus on Arithmetic, maximum time permitted 40 min.
11-15 Non-MCQs Out of 66 Questions
  • VARC - 3-5
  • DILR - 3-5
  • QA - 4-5

Marking Scheme: For every correct answer student will get +3 marks and for a wrong answer -1. No negative marking for Non-MCQs

  • Candidates will be allotted exactly 40 minutes for answering questions in each section and they will not be allowed to switch from one section to another while answering questions in a section.
  • Tutorials to understand the format of the test will be available on the CAT website. Candidates are advised to work on the tutorials available on the CAT website well in advance.

Also read about : IIM Placements 2023 & IIM waitlist movement

CAT 2023 Syllabus for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)

Section Highlights: Common Admission Test (CAT) for VARC section is divided into 2 parts. The 1st part of the syllabus of CAT covers topics on Reading Comprehension passages and the 2nd part of syllabus on VARC covers topics on Verbal Ability.

Part-1: Syllabus for Reading Comprehension (RC)
  • International Affairs, Govt policies and Schemes, i.e.,Russia vs Ukraine War, Agneepath Scheme, Triple Talaq, CAA, COVID 19 Pandemic, Clean India Mission, Migration of people from one country to other, Growing intolerance across the Globe.
  • Business & Economic RC Passages, i.e., Indian budget 2023, Economic reform of India, Global economic changes, economic development at the cost of environment, Impact of Demonetization in India, Wasteful expenditure by Governments.
  • RC passages from various English Literature books, from articles authored by great philosophers and thinkers, from speeches of great personalities like Charles Dickens, Aristotle, Martin Luther King, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Churchill, etc.
  • Passages on Science & Culture including the journey to Modern world; Fading culture with the advancement of technology
  • Abstract topics and fiction are also included in the Reading Comprehension Syllabus for CAT.

These passages make the candidates to put themselves in the author’s shoes before answering the questions since they are opinion based.

  • RC Passages on Historical events leading to social changes, i.e., French Revolution, War of Roses, Social changes in Indian History and thoughts shared by various activists which are relevant even in current times.
  • RC Passages from Mythology like Indian Veda and Granths.

These passages try to correlate the Mythological events with the current social structure and answers to these questions must be inferred

Key Facts on RC Syllabus in CAT & Type of questions

RC passage on any topic 'under the Sun' can be placed in exam.

Number of Questions: 12-15
Sectional Weightage in CAT: 15%-20%
Type of passages in Exam on RC: 3 Long and 2 Short.
Division of questions: 6 questions based on each long passage and 3 questions based on each short passage. Sometimes, a uniform number of 5 questions is followed for 4 RC passages and 4 questions for 1 RC Passage.
Type of Questions: All MCQ type with 1/3rd negative marking.
Format of Questions: Questions based on information in RC passage; explanation of the words & phrases as used in the passage; in context of the passage – True/False statements; Author’s view on various issues as raised in the RC passage; Inference from the passage; main idea of RC passage; Purpose of the RC passage
Length of RC passages in CAT: Longer RC passages are of somewhere around 900 words; shorter passages are of around 600 words in exam as revealed in last 3 years.
Formal style of topics in RC Syllabus for CAT: Genetics, Second World War; Plastic Pollution; Elephant society; Consumer Behaviour; Status of Languages in 2115; Education System; Sustainable Economic Development; Anthropology /Excruciating Rituals & Reasons; Govt. definition of Poverty and treatment of Household work.

Part-2: CAT 2023 Syllabus for Verbal Ability
Number of Questions: 12-15
Sectional Weightage in CAT: 15%-20%

Essence of short paragraph/Para summary - (4-5 questions).
Jumbled Paragraphs (4-5 questions)
Out of Context Sentence in Jumbled Paragraphs (4-5 questions)
Error Correction of Verb, Noun, Pronoun, Adjective, Adverb, and other Parts of Speech in the Sentences.
Correcting the sequence of sentences in the paragraph, i.e., correct use of conditional sentence, time clauses, reported speech, passive writing, etc.
Vocabulary usage – picking the correct pair of words
Vocabulary usage in RC passages – look for correct synonyms and antonyms

Fill in the blanks with correct terminology words
  • Completion of last sentence of Paragraphs
  • Analogies
  • Critical Reasoning
  • Sentence Completion
  • Facts, Inference and Judgement
  • Irrelevant Statements
  • Phrasal Verbs Usage
Key Facts on Verbal Ability Syllabus in CAT & Type of questions

Type of Questions: All Non-MCQ type with No penalty for wrong answer
Format of questions: Crux of paragraph questions are based on around 5-6 sentences; Questions on Jumbled Paragraphs and Out of Context Jumbled Paragraphs that carries 4 -5 jumbled sentences which are to be arranged in a coherent manner. The Out of Context sentences must be selected.

Also Read: CAT Cut off & Work from home vs work from office

CAT Syllabus 2023 for Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)

Section Highlights: CAT Syllabus and pattern for Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR) has been refurbished. As a separate section in CAT exam, DILR was re-originated after keeping the section in abeyance for 4 years. During this period, the DILR questions were clubbed to Quant and Verbal Ability sections, respectively.

Syllabus for DILR section in CAT is divided in 2 parts – Syllabus for Data Interpretation and Syllabus for Logical Reasoning. The 1st part of CAT syllabus covers questions based on Data Interpretation (DI) and the 2nd part is based on questions, on different topics of Logical Reasoning.

Part-1: CAT Syllabus 2023 for Data Interpretation (DI)
  • Data Tables
  • Data charts
  • Bar diagrams & Charts including Simple, Stacked, Composite Bar charts
  • Pie charts
  • Graphs – Line X-Y Graphs
  • Data analysis and Data comparison among others
  • Caselet based Data
Key Facts on Data Interpretation Syllabus in CAT 2023 & Type of questions

Number of Questions: 11-14 divided into MCQs and Non- MCQs
Sectional weightage in CAT: 13% - 17%
Former style of topics in CAT Syllabus for DI: Table; Films: Launch, Completion, Release and Profits; Table on Consumption of Veg and Non-Veg Protein; Happiness Index: 4 questions based on Table; Kids Learning in Rural Areas: Data table based 4 questions; Flight operation questions, in the set of 4 questions.
Questions on Data Interpretation and analysis of data based on text, tables, graphs (line, area), charts (column, bar, pie), Venn diagram. Data could be given in the form of tables, charts, or graphs.
This section tests candidate’s interpretation abilities on the given data.

Part-2: CAT 2023 Syllabus for Logical Reasoning (LR)
  • Clocks
  • Calendars
  • Binary logic
  • Seating Arrangement
  • Blood Relations (Family Tree)
  • Logical Sequence
  • Assumption
  • Premise
  • Conclusion
  • Linear and matrix arrangement
  • Team Formation
  • Direction sense and Decision Making
  • Input-Output
  • Series
  • Syllogism
  • Cubes
  • Rows
  • Set Theory, Venn Diagrams, Network Diagrams
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Puzzles
  • Logical Reasoning based on Rankings
  • Critical Reasoning

Also Read: IIM Placements & IIM Waitlist Movement

Key Facts on Logical Reasoning Syllabus in CAT 2023 & Type of questions

CAT entrance exam syllabus classifies, that questions in LR section can be individual or can be in the set of 4 questions.

Total LR questions in CAT: 11-14
Weightage of LR Syllabus questions in CAT: 13% - 17%
Type of Questions: MCQs & Non MCQs

Formal style of topics in LR Syllabus: Distribution/Arrangement; Venn Diagrams; Arrangement of files in folders; Students using various Trains and the fares for the same; Seating Arrangement; Direction sense for Cars; Ordering items; Burgers/Fries/ Ice Cream

Syllabus for Quantitative Ability (QA)

Section Highlight: The syllabus for Quant section is overly broad. Quantitative Ability (Quant) is the 3rd and final section in the refurbished exam pattern. The syllabus and pattern for Quant is vast and covers everything in Mathematics, that you may or may not expect. CAT exam syllabus on Quant is based on questions from different topics of Arithmetic, Algebra, Modern Math, Geometry, Mensuration, Trigonometry, etc.

CAT 2023 Exam Syllabus for Quantitative Ability
  • LCM and HCF
  • Percentages
  • Profit and Loss
  • Interest (Simple and Compound)
  • Speed, Time, and Distance; Time and Work; Averages; Ratio and Proportion and others
  • Number System (3-4 questions)
  • Algebra (5-7 questions)
  • Geometry/Mensuration (6-8 questions)
  • Pure Math (1-2 questions)
  • Venn diagrams and other topic-based (2-3 questions)
  • Linear Equations; Quadratic Equations
  • Complex Numbers
  • Logarithm; Progressions
  • Binomial Theorem
  • Surds and Indices
  • Inequalities
  • Permutation and Combination
  • Probability Functions
  • Set Theory
  • Mixtures and Alligations
  • Co-ordinate Geometry
  • Trigonometry

Also Know about Best coaching for CAT

Key Facts on Quantitative Ability Syllabus in CAT 2023 & Type of questions

Total Number of Questions: 28 - 32.
Sectional weightage in CAT: 35% - 40%
Type of Questions: MCQs and Non-MCQs
Formal style shows that there were 20 to 22 MCQs and 8 to 10 Non-MCQs in Quant section of CAT exam
Emphasis on Arithmetic to boost academic variety.
Number of questions in Arithmetic: 14 to 18

Learn About: Time Management Tips for CAT Exam

CAT Exam Syllabus Past Trends

Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)
  • 5 RC passages, followed by 24 questions based on inferences, statements, arguments, main idea, author’s assumption, vocabulary – synonyms, antonyms, meaning of the phrase as present in the passage.
  • 10 questions based on Para Summary. Jumbled Paragraphs of 4 sentences, Jumbled Paragraphs of 5 sentences, followed by questions of pick the odd one out.
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR)
  • Questions come in sets of 4-5, both in DI and LR.
    • 10 questions in DI, based on Data Analysis, Data comparison from Table, Graphs, Bar graphs, Pie charts, Data Caselets.
    • 10 questions in LR, based on Direction sense, Team formation, Seating Arrangement, Blood Relation.
Quantitative Ability (QA)
  • 50% questions are based on Arithmetic topics like Number System, Ratio, Percentage, Interest, Profit & Loss, Speed & Distance, Time & Work, and others.
  • Rest 50% is covered by topics on Geometry, Algebra, Mensuration, and Modern Math.
Also See: CAT 2023 Exam Date

CAT pattern and duration - MBAROI

CAT 2023 Exam pattern and Time Duration

In 2023 the CAT paper consist 75-80 questions from all three section. For solving each section 40 minutes will be allocated to the aspirants and the total time duration of exam is 120 minutes. Extra 40 minutes will be given to the PWD candidates for sovling the exam. 3 marks will be rewarded for every right answer and 1 mark will be dedcuted for every wrong answer. There is no provision for negative marking in case cnadidates left the questions. Exam will be conducted in an online manner.

Type Computer-Based Standardized Test
Administrator Indian Institutes of Management
Skills tested Quantitative Aptitude, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning, Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
Purpose Admission to post-graduate management programs
Duration 120 Mins
Score range 100 to 300
Score validity 1 year
Offered Once a year in November
Centres CAT 2023 was conducted in 154 cities. Candidates will be given the option to choose six optional cities.
Languages English
Annual number Of test takers 2,22,000 in 2023
Fee Rs 2300/- for general/OBC category candidates. Rs 1150/- for SC / ST / DA (PWD) category candidates
CAT Exam Pattern

Requirement of CAT Exam Syllabus


You cannot prepare for CAT without CAT Section wise Syllabus Each section in CAT exam is unique and equally important. The unique weightage system is what matters for shortlisting process of IIMs. If you do not score required percentile in any of the three sections, you will not be shortlisted by any IIM. So, it is important to be aware of complete syllabus and prepare accordingly. It would be beneficial if you do not leave any topic unread.

It would be extremely difficult to proceed with the preparation of CAT without acknowledging the syllabus first. Syllabus for CAT is extremely wide and requires special focus. It is advised that you download the syllabus and go through it first so that you can clear idea of weightage to get into your preferred B-Schools.

Important Points about CAT Entrance Exam Syllabus

CAT syllabus for MBA is based on the guidelines and current structure of exam.
This exam has never had any limitations, and this also relates to the syllabus of CAT. The updated exam syllabus is the outcome of the topics which have earlier appeared in CAT exam although the type of questions, their composition, format and number may change in each subsequent exam.
Past tendencies indicate that CAT MBA syllabus and pattern overall tests the candidate on Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension; Quantitative Aptitude; Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning.
The syllabus covers all the major topics in three test sections which are further divided into sub-sections.
The main point in syllabus is that there is no recurrence of CAT questions in any CAT test although difficulty level of the questions in exam would not go out of the syllabus.
The syllabus is available online for download at various websites.
The Syllabus keeps changing after each exam. It may be changed again based on exam pattern, Exam Syllabus appeared in last year CAT question paper may get not be a part of this year’s syllabus.
Note: IIM entrance exam syllabus is not pre-defined by CAT.

CAT 2023 Syllabus Alterations:

Yearly Changes
The CAT question paper with maximum of 100 test questions of MCQ and Non-MCQ type is based on updated topics included in CAT syllabus. You will be able to crack CAT with high score, if you prepare in accord with the modified exam syllabus.

Every year, the Syllabus and pattern is revised by CAT experts with expected changes in CAT exam pattern and the topics. After this practice, the syllabus is updated section wise.

Also Read:

FAQ CAT 2023 Syllabus, Exam pattern

Questions: What is the CAT 2023 syllabus?
Answer: CAT syllabus 2023 is divided into 3 parts : VARC (Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension),DILR (Data Interpretation& Logical Reasoning)and QA (Quantitative Ability).

Questions: Is CAT Exam tough?
Answer: CAT exam is considered one of the toughest entrance exams in India. Every year more than 2,00,000 candidates appear in the exam and fight for the seats of top mba colleges in India. CAT exam diffculty level is moderate to high.

Questions: What is the time duration of CAT exam?
Answer: The total time duration of the CAT Exam is 120 minutes. Each section in the exam is about 40 minutes and extra time of 40 minutes will be provided to the PwD candidates only.

Questions: What is the marking scheme for CAT 2023?
Answer: CAT exam have 66 questions this year and the total marks for the CAT 2023 exam are 2208. For every right answer, 3 marks will be rewarded to the candidate and 1 mark is deducted for every wrong answer. No provision for deduction in case of an empty answer. On the basis of that marking scheme, the CAT result will be going to declare.

Questions: What is best way to prepare for CAT Exam?
Answer: CAT preparation Strategies require solving the CAT mock test, CAT previous year's papers, and making a daily routine of studies. The candidate needs to be focused on his goal.