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CAT 2017 Exam Pattern

IIM Lucknow will define CAT exam pattern. The paper pattern for CAT describes the complete paper pattern, marking scheme, total marks, and distribution of marks. Generally, the pattern changes each year. However, you can expect about 100 MCQs in the exam.

Here are some quick points about the exam pattern of CAT: CAT Exam Pattern, CAT Syllabus, CAT, CAT 2017, CAT Exam

  • CAT will be held in offline modeIt is expected to be held on December 4, 2017.
  • Questions distributed among 4 sections namely – Verbal & Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning and Quantitative Aptitude.
  • Th exam duration is 3 hours. It will be conducted in around 650 exam centers in India. 
  • As for CAT Marking Scheme, +3 would be awarded for the correct answer.
  • The total marks are 300 and there is a negative marking of 1 mark in case of an incorrect response. Check CAT Syllabus
  • The overall level of difficulty of the exam is moderately high as compared to other management entrance exams.

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.

CAT Exam Pattern Highlights

CAT Exam dateDecember 4, 2016 (Tentative)
Number of sections3 (Verbal & Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning and Quantitative Aptitude)
Duration of exam180 minutes (60 minutes per section)
Number of questions100
Language of paperEnglish
Number of answer choices4
Mode of examinationOnline
Marking scheme+3 marks for correct answer -1 mark for incorrect answer

In CAT 2016 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 2017 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

CAT Paper 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 & Data Interpretation and Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning, CAT 2015 had three sections, i.e., Quantitative Aptitude, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning and Verbal & 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 the 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 equally 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 be alloted 1 hour of duration. No section can be switched or chosen while taking the exam. The sequence of question paper will be set by the CAT authorities.

  • 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 provided 20 minutes compensatory time for 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 has to select the necessary option during CAT Registration.

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 2017 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.

CAT Syllabus 

It is essential to be thorough with CAT Syllabus before sitting for the exam. This is to avoid any surprises in the actual paper. The syllabus helps cover all topics and sub-topics from all the sections of CAT exam. Here is the section-wise syllabus for your reference-

Important Topics - Quantitative Aptitude 

VariationTime and WorkTime, Speed and Distance
Linear and Quadratics EquationsSurds and IndicesInequalities
LogarithmsMensuration and GeometryTables and Case lets
Probability/ Profit or LossCritical PathAverages and Partnerships
Alligations and MixturesAlgebraPercentage

Important Books – Quantitative Aptitude

CAT Exam Pattern, CAT Syllabus, CAT, CAT 2017, Books for CAT

Books for CATAuthor Name/PublisherISBN Number
How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for the CATArun Sharma9352602242
Quantitative Aptitude Quantum CAT Common Admission Tests for Admission into IIMsSarvesh K. Verma9311123870
Quantitative Aptitude for the CATNishit K. Sinha9332570019

Important Topics – Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning 

Bar GraphCase lets
Line GraphCombination of Graphs
Pie ChartData Sufficiency
TablesVenn Diagram
Seating ArrangementBlood Relations
SyllogismVenn Diagram
PropositionsData Arrangement
StatementsClocks and Calendars


Important Books - Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

CAT Syllabus, CAT Exam Pattern, CAT Preparation Books, CAT Exam, CAT, CAT 2017

Books for CATAuthor Name/PublisherISBN Number
CAT 2017 Data Interpretation & Logical ReasoningGautam Puri9386309475
Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for the CATNishit K. Sinha933257121X
Data Interpretation & Data SufficiencyAnanta Ashisha9352039246
How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CATArun Sharma9352602250

CAT Syllabus for Verbal and Reading Comprehension

Sentence CorrectionWord usage
Fill in the blanksPara Jumble
Para completionFact Inference Judgement

Preparation Books for Verbal and Reading Comprehension

CAT Syllabus, CAT Exam Pattern, CAT Preparation Books, Books for CAT, CAT 2017, CAT Exam, CAT

Books for CATAuthor Name/PublisherISBN Number
How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CATArun Sharma and Meenakshi Upadhyay/Arihant9352602269
30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary Mass Market PaperbackWilfred Funk & Norman Lewis/ Simon & Schuster067174349X
How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CATSharma and Upadhyay9339222695
PSC for VA for CATNishit Sinha9332570027



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