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CAT 2017 Exam Pattern

CAT 2017 will be a Computer Based Test. The CAT 2017 exam pattern will have three sections, each of which will focus on a different area. The three sections in the question paper are:

  • Quantitative Aptitude
  • Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning
  • Verbal and Reading Comprehension

Quantitative Ability paper in CAT 2017  will focus on numerical problems and will test a candidate’s ability to apply their mathematical knowledge to everyday problems with accuracy and precision.

Data Interpretation  & Logical Reasoning in CAT 2017 will focus on two aspects. This section will consist of questions of Data Interpretation, which focus on a candidate’s ability to derive conclusions from a given set of data. Logical Reasoning section tests a candidate’s logical thinking and its application to everyday problems.

Verbal and Reading Comprehension in CAT 2017  will have questions from English language and grammar. This  section tests a candidate’s knowledge of English language and comprehension.

In CAT 2015 Quantitative Ability, and Verbal and Reading Comprehension had a total of 34 questions each. Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning section had a total of 32 questions. CAT 2016 too is expected to follow the same pattern. The break-up of questions asked in each section is given below:

SectionNumber of MCQ questionsNumber of Non-MCQ questionsTotal questions
Verbal and Reading Comprehension241034
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning24832
Quantitative Aptitude241034

CAT 2017 Marking Scheme

The CAT 2017 Practice papers will have two types of questions – MCQs and Non-MCQs. Both the type of questions will carry equal marks. For each correct answer, a candidate will get +3. There will be negative marking for MCQ type questions. Each wrong answer will merit -1 score. There will be no negative marking for Non-MCQ type questions. The table given below provides a brief of the marking scheme, expected to be followed for CAT 2017. The paper will have a total of 100 questions, thus the maximum marks will be 300. 

Type of QuestionCorrect AnswerIncorrect AnswerUn-attempted Question

CAT 2017 Changes in Exam Pattern

The CAT 2017 exam will retain the changes introduced in CAT 2015. The official changes in CAT exam pattern in 2015 are listed below:

  1. Instead of two sections – Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation, and Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning, CAT 2015 had three sections, i.e., Quantitative Aptitude, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning, and Verbal and Reading Comprehension.
  2. The test duration was increased from 170 minutes to 180 minutes. Also unlike previous years, in 2015 each section had 1 hour sectional time limit each. Also, aspirants were not allowed to navigate between the three sections and could answer questions from only one section at a time.
  3. The CAT 2015, in addition to MCQ type questions, also had Non-MCQ type questions.
  4. In CAT 2015, candidates were provided a virtual calculator on their screen.

These changes were introduced in order to level the field for students belonging to engineering and non-engineering backgrounds. The introduction of on-screen calculator and Non-MCQ questions is an attempt to make CAT exam favorable to Non-engineering students as well. On the other hand, the introduction of sectional duration would allow the candidates to focus on each section equally as the IIMs during selection prefer students who have performed equllay well in all the sections in comparison to those who perform well in only one.  


CAT 2017 Test Duration

The CAT Exam will be of 3 hours duration. Each section will have 1 hour each in which to attempt all the questions. The sequence of question paper will be set by the CAT authorities and a candidate will have to answer the sections according to the sequence in which they appear. Candidates will not have the liberty to navigate between sections. In 2015, the sequence of sections in CAT exam paper were as following:

  1. Verbal and Reading Comprehension
  2. Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
  3. Quantitative Ability

Earlier the exam was of 170 minutes duration, i.e., 2 hours and 50 minutes and there was no sectional limit.

Candidates in the PwD (Persons with Disability) and DA (Differently Abled) will be given concession in duration of test. For such candidates the CAT 2017  will be of 4 hours duration. Consequently, they will get 80 minutes, i.e., 1 hour and 20 minutes to attempt each section.

Testing Assistive Devices for PwD Candidates

Candidates who belong to PwD (Persons with Disability) or DA (Differently Abled) category will be provided testing assistance at their respective CAT exam centers. Testing Assistive devices or TA devices are technical aids which help a person with disability to complete a task with ease. A candidate will have to select the necessary option in their application form.

A Pwd and DA candidate will be provided only wheelchair and a magnifying screen. The magnifying screen will be a system built feature. Other than these provisions, there are other approved devices which a candidate can bring to their CAT 2016 exam center. These devices are:

  • Abacus
  • Hearing Aids
  • Scribe/Reader

Note 1: Candidates who wish to bring a scribe or reader along do not need to fill a separate form. There is no eligibility criteria either for scribes.

Sectional Analysis of CAT Paper

Going through previous papers always helps in devising a preparation strategy for the CAT  exam. Below we have analysed the different section of CAT 2015 test paper, in order to provide an insight for the CAT 2016 exam pattern. A candidate should also go through the detailed CAT 2017 Syllabus for a better understanding of the CAT 2017 exam pattern.

The total number of questions asked in CAT 2015 were 100. There were 34 questions each in Quantitative Ability, and Varbal and Reading Comprehension section. Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning had 32 questions. The sequence of sections in CAT 2015 was – Verbal and Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning, and Quantitative Ability.  Section wise analysis of the CAT 2015 test paper is given below.

Analysis of Quantitative Ability

There were 34 questions in this section out of which 14 were MCQ type questions. There were 20 non-MCQ type questions. The time duration to attempt this section was 1 hour. The questions were  of easy to moderate difficulty level. The chapter wise breakup of this section is given below:

CAT 2016 Exam Pattern

Analysis of Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning

There were 32 questions in this section out of which 8 were of MCQ type and 24 were of non-MCQ type. The time duration to attempt this section was 1 hour. Questions were of hard to moderate to easy difficulty level. The topic wise distribution of questions is given below:

Topic-wise distribution of questions in DI and LR section for CAT

Analysis of Verbal and Reading Comprehension

There were a total of 34 questions in this section in CAT 2015. Out of the 34 questions, 24 were of MCQ type and 10 were of non-MCQ type. The time duration to attempt this section was 1 hour. The questions were of moderate to easy difficulty level. The topic wise distribution is given below:

Topic wise question distribution for VRC for CAT



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