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CAT Syllabus 2017

The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) has not prescribed any specific syllabus of CAT. Before starting the preparation, it is important to have complete information and knowledge aboutCAT Syllabus. It is designed to assess a candidate’s suitability for MBA education offered at 20 IIMs and other top-notch B-Schools or not. CAT Syllabus is divided into 3 sections viz.

  1. Quantitative Ability (QA),
  2. Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR) and
  3. Verbal & Reading Comprehension (VRC).

The test will be of 3 hours in total. Some questions in each section may not be objective in nature. Instead, a direct answer is to be typed in on screen. There will be a 1-hour sectional time limit for each section. Here is a quick glance at CAT Exam Pattern:

Section NameNo. of QuestionsDuration (minutes) Marking Scheme
Quantitative Ability3460Correct Answer: +3

Wrong Answer: -1

No Negative Marking for Non-MCQs

No penalty for unanswered questions

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning32

DI – 16

LR - 16


Verbal & Reading Comprehension


VA – 10

RC - 24


Total100 Questions180 minutes


  • CAT Exam will have 2 types of questions – MCQs and Non- MCQs. Know More about CAT MCQs and Non-MCQs
  • For MCQs, candidates have to choose the most appropriate answer among the 4 choices.
  • The medium of answering questions in CAT is English language only
  • CAT syllabus and pattern was revised in 2015. Check  CAT Exam Pattern Analysis

CAT is conducted for admission to MBA/PGDM courses in IIMs and Top B-Schools of India. It is an all India level entrance exam held in online mode. As there is no official CAT syllabus released by the IIMs. Hence, as per the previous year trends, we have developed a comprehensive list of important topics that are most likely to appear in CAT 2017.

Highlights of CAT Exam Syllabus

Mode of ExamOnline
Sections3 (QA, DA & LR and VRC)
Total Number of Questions100 (QA-34, DA & LR-32 & VRC-34)
Sectional Duration1 hour for each section
Calculator UsageVirtual Calculator will be provided
Time Allotted180 Minutes
Question TypesMCQs and Non-MCQs
Marking Scheme

Non-MCQs (+3, No negative marking)

MCQs (+3, -1)

Preparation Tips for Working Professionals for CAT

CAT Syllabus for Quantitative Aptitude (QA)

  • Quantitative Aptitude section has mostly questions from Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Mensuration, Calculus etc.
  • The questions in this section are designed to test a candidate’s ability to apply mathematical principles to solve real time problems.
  • The questions are of 10+2 difficulty level.

Each topic in Quant syllabus has many sub-topics and are important in their own right. A candidate appearing for CAT 2017 must go through all these sub-topics in order to attempt a maximum number of questions in CAT 2017 and score a good percentile.

Click Here- Important Formulae for CAT 

The sub-topics for each chapter included in CAT 2017 syllabus is given below-

CAT Syllabus for QuantSub-Topics
ArithmeticNumber System, HCF, LCM, Ratio & Proportion, Simplification, Percentage, Average, Age Calculation, Time & Work, Distances
AlgebraTheory of Equations, Quadratic Equation, Permutation & Combination, Sequence & Series 
GeometryAngles, Lines, Triangles, Circles
MensurationAreas and Volumes – Rectangles, Squares, Triangles, Circles, Cubes, Cones, Spheres, Pipes and Cistern
CalculusMaxima and Minima, Function
TrigonometryTrigonometric Ratios, Heights, and Distances

Read More Crack Quantitative Ability Like A Pro 

CAT Syllabus for Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DI & LR)

  • In this section, a candidate’s ability to derive information from a given set of data, which can be in any form, i.e., pie chart or line graph etc, is tested.
  • There are various types of charts and graphs which are used to frame Data Interpretation questions.
  • An aspirant for CAT 2017 must practice all these questions.

The different types of charts and graphs are listed below:

  1. Bar Graph
  2. Line Graph
  3. Pie Chart
  4. Tables
  5. Case lets
  6. Combination of Graphs
  7. Data Sufficiency
  8. Venn Diagram

Before CAT 2017, Logical Reasoning and Language Comprehension comprised one section of the test paper. However, in 2015, Logical Reasoning was clubbed with Data Interpretation to make for a separate third section in the question paper.

Logical Reasoning can prove to be a scoring section if prepared carefully. Though the syllabus for Logical Reasoning can be endless, there are certain crucial topics which are repeated in CAT Exam papers.

Some of the main topics for Logical Reasoning for CAT Syllabus 2017 are given below:

  • Seating Arrangement
  • Blood Relations
  • Syllogism
  • Venn Diagram
  • Propositions
  • Data Arrangement
  • Puzzles
  • Assumptions
  • Statements
  • Clocks and Calendars
  • Sets

How To Prepare Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning? Read More

CAT Syllabus for Verbal and Reading Comprehension (VRC)

  • Since CAT 2015, Verbal and Reading Comprehension has been made into a separate section.
  • In CAT 2016, 34 questions were asked in this section. But it is expected, by this year, the weightage of questions is likely to be increased.
  • It is a scoring paper but due to the introduction of non-MCQ type questions, it could be a little time-taking.
  • In order to score good percentile in this section, a candidate must practice all topics.
  • Verbal and Reading Comprehension basically contains questions from Reading Comprehension, English Grammar, Passage, Vocabulary and Language Usage.
  • 70% of questions come from Reading Comprehension.

The types of questions in this section are listed below:

  • Sentence Correction
  • Word usage
  • Fill in the blanks
  • Para Jumble
  • Para completion
  • Fact Inference Judgement
  • Analogies
  • Idioms

Tips to Crack Verbal and Reading Comprehension

Best Books for CAT

There are plenty of preparation books and other resources available for CAT exam. However, the major problem comes while selecting the perfect book for CAT preparation. First and foremost while preparing for CAT, ensure that you are thorough with CAT Exam Pattern. Here, we have enlisted some of the important books for CAT. Prepare strategically from them and practice hard.  

Preparation Books for Verbal and Reading Comprehension

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Here we have prepared a list of some highly recommended books which are excellent for the preparation of Verbal and Reading Comprehension section.

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

Preparation Books for Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning

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Below we have curated a list of preparation books for Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning section based on user reviews:

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

Preparation books for Quantitative Ability section

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Preparing with the right resources in hand can prove to be an asset for those appearing in the CAT 2017. Here we have listed a few books which are vouched for by CAT exam toppers.

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

What makes CAT a different exam as compared to other management entrance exams?

The level of questions asked in CAT is very high as compared to others. English section is highly dependent on Reading Comprehension (RC) and it is marked that over 70% of the questions are based on RC. Trend Analysis of pattern of questions in CAT is represented in the following tables-

In 2015, there was no particular change in the number of questions in CAT. The distribution of questions is depicted in the table given below-

Number of Questions343234

In 2016, in Quantitative Ability section, the change in the distribution of questions can be easily seen.

Number of Questions343234

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DI & LR)- Usually, there are 8 sets of 4 questions each in DI & LR but in 2016, it was difficult to figure out the type of questions as no graph was provided. Questions on DI & LR are tricky while in other management entrance exams, questions are direct and are in-depth calculative.  

Quantitative Ability (QA)- In 2016, due to technical glitches (symbolic issues) in QA section, the sectional cut off dropped. An aspirant should attempt 27-28 questions with 90% accuracy in order to secure 99 percentiles in the quant section. Normally, questions are formulae based but they are tricky too.

Verbal and Reading Comprehension (VRC) Section- In 2015, 24 questions were based on Reading Comprehension (RC) and 10 were on Verbal Ability (VA). The separate subsection was defined in 2015 but in 2016, there was no separate subsection. All the questions were merged, which increased the stress level of candidates.

CAT is an online entrance test while other management entrance exams such as XAT, IIFT and SNAP are held in offline mode. There is no provision of choosing the particular section, they will be auto generated while taking the exam.

Over the years, change in the level of difficulty of the sections has been observed. The same is predicted in the following table:

SectionLevel of Difficulty
Quantitative AbilityDecreased
Verbal and Reading ComprehensionIncreased
Data Interpretation and Logical ReasoningHighly Increased

CAT Sample Papers

CAT exam can be termed as the ‘make or break’ for candidates who are seeking to pursue a management course from the reputed institute. There are many CAT Sample Papers that are available online. Here, we have put together an inclusive list of advantages that you can gain by solving CAT Sample Papers-

  1. Overcome the Fear- CAT Sample Papers are designed to make you comfortable with the exam pattern and the type of questions. Practising from CAT Sample Papers relieves the stress and anxiety about the exam as you know exactly what to appear for the exam. 
  2. Effective Revision- Brushing up the knowledge before the final exam, increases the percentage of your success. Since sample paper covers almost every topic and thus provide you with a comprehensive revision.
  3. Marking Scheme- Solving CAT sample papers will make you aware of the marking pattern of questions, which will lead you to define how much importance is to be given to each section. 
  4. Time Management- It is a key to success in academics and in every field. When you plan your days in prior then time can become your friend rather than your devil. Better management of time will enable you to get the most out of life. It helps you in getting more done with confusion, less stress, and annoyance. 
  5. Self Assessment- Solving sample papers get you the clarity about the speed, strengths and weaknesses. By actively practising sample papers, you can periodically monitor your performance.  
  6. Speed and Accuracy-  Skills for solving questions effectively vary with the topics involved and sometimes varies even within. Every topic generally has kinds of questions which are solved with different tricks. There is the only thing that can really help you out and it is practice. Keep solving CAT Sample Papers to stay in touch with the older topics.
  7. Boosts Confidence- Many brilliant candidates fail to perform their best on exam day because of their nervousness and lack of confidence. When you have practised enough CAT sample papers, you know how to deal with the questions.

Click Here CAT Sample Papers


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1 Comment

Provide me information for cat information

06 Mar, 2017 11:58

Hi Shivmona, to catch full details such as important dates, syllabus and preparation tips on CAT exam, please fins the link

11 May, 2017 11:29

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