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CAT 2017 Exam Pattern

Updated On - January 5th 2018 by SOUMYA SEHGAL

CAT Exam Pattern has observed several changes over the years. Remaining true to its unpredictable nature, the exam pattern and difficulty level of CAT Exam are anticipated to revise this year too. We say this because of the recently released CAT 2017 Mock Test by IIM Lucknow. Analysing the mock paper, we predict the following changes in CAT Exam Pattern 2017:

  • Each section may contain non-MCQ questions, the answers of which are to be typed directly
  • An onscreen calculator may be provided
  • No option of switching between sections
  • The Quants section may be easier to attempt. Check CAT Syllabus for QA

We are sure all aspirants of CAT Exam must be covering all their bases. But first, it is essential to be thorough with CAT Paper Pattern thoroughly. Given below are the key highlights of CAT Exam Pattern:

cat exam pattern

CAT Exam Pattern Highlights
CAT Exam DateNovember 26, 2017 
Number of sections3 (Verbal & Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning, and Quantitative Aptitude)
Duration of exam180 minutes (60 minutes per section)
Number of questions100
CAT Exam Total Marks300
Language of paperEnglish
Number of answer choices4
Mode of examinationOnline
CAT Marking scheme+3 marks for correct answer -1 mark for incorrect answer

Sectional Pattern of CAT 2017

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

Read CAT 2017: Model Paper Predicted by Collegedunia

CAT Exam Pattern 2017 for Quantitative Aptitude

  • This section focuses on numerical problems and will test a candidate’s mathematical knowledge.
  • It is a test of speed, accuracy, and precision.
  • There is a total of 43 questions in this section. 
  • They will be further divided into 24 MCQ & 10 Non-MCQsCheck How to Prepare Quantitative Aptitude for CAT

Important Topics in Quantitative Aptitude 

CAT Exam Syllabus for Quantitative Ability
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

Check CAT Syllabus

CAT 2016 Paper Analysis

The Quantitative ability Section of CAT 2016 was quite lengthy but candidates with mathematics background did not face many difficulties in getting through with it. Geometry was given higher weightage this year. The overall difficulty level of the exam was moderate.

Following are the highlights of Cat 2016 QA section:

  • There were only 7 Non MCQ questions, nearly half than last year’s CAT exam
  • The square root symbol looked more like pie symbol, this caused confusion.
  • Questions from the topics – Compound Interest, Coordinate Geometry, geometry, Mixture and Alligation, Permutation and Combination, Partnership, Mensuration, Logarithm, Quadric Equation, Proportion and Ratio.
  • 7 questions were inclined on the tough side.

Read  CAT Paper Analysis for QA

CAT Preparation Books for Quantitative Aptitude

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

Read How to Prepare Quantitative Aptitude for CAT Exam?

CAT Exam Pattern 2017 for Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning

  • This section will focus on two aspects- Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning.
  • Questions from Data Interpretation (DI) focus on a candidate’s ability to derive conclusions from a given set of data.
  • Logical Reasoning (LR) section tests a candidate’s logical thinking and its application to everyday problems.
  • There will be a total of 32 questions from this section.
  • They will be further divided into 24 MCQ & 8 Non-MCQs.

Read Best Books for CAT Preparation 2017

Important Topics in Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning 

CAT Syllabus for 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


CAT 2016 Paper Analysis for DI/LR

  • Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR) was the toughest section of CAT Exam​ 2016.
  • The overall difficulty level of this section was high.
  • Some candidates faced problem in completing this section. The trick to score high in this section was only to identify the easier sets.
  • If candidates identified the easier set, the calculator would have proved useful and thus an attempt of 10-12 questions will be enough to clear the sectional cutoff.
  • 4 sets of DILR questions were there including MCQ and Non MCQ questions.
  • Questions were asked from following topics:
  1. Line Chart
  2. Table Chart
  3. Set Theory
  4. Arrangement
  5. Cube Based Sets

Read CAT Paper Analysis for DI

CAT Books for Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

CAT Syllabus, CAT Exam Pattern, CAT Preparation Books, CAT Exam, CAT, CAT 2017
Books for CAT ExamAuthor 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 Exam Pattern 2017 for Verbal & Reading Comprehension

  • This section will have questions from English language and grammar.
  • It tests a candidate’s language and comprehension skills.
  • The comprehension questions will test the ability to comprehend the meaning from a given passage.
  • Questions about the language usage and their rules are also expected to appear in the exam. Testing the understanding of basic grammar is also part of the exam.
  • A total of 34 questions will be asked from this section.
  • They will be further divided into 24 MCQ & 10 Non-MCQs.

Important Topics from Verbal and Reading Comprehension

CAT Exam Syllabus for Verbal & Reading Comprehension
Sentence CorrectionWord usage
Fill in the blanksPara Jumble
Para completionFact Inference Judgement

CAT 2016 Paper Analysis for VA/RC

  • The Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension section of CAT Exam 2016 consisted of 5 passages of 400-500 words each.
  • 3 passages had 6 questions each related to them and 2 passages had 3 questions each.
  • +3 marks were given for each correct answer and -1 marks for each wrong answer.
  • The overall difficulty level of the exam was Moderate.
  • Along with this, there were Non-MCQ from the following topics:
  1. Jumbled paragraphs – 4 questions
  2. Out of context and paragraph summary – 3 questions
  3. Find odd sentences – 3 questions

Read  5 ways to Improve Reading Speed for CAT 2017

Preparation Books for Verbal and Reading Comprehension

CAT Syllabus, CAT Exam Pattern, CAT Preparation Books, Books for CAT, CAT 2017, CAT Exam, CAT
Book NameAuthor 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 CAT ExamNishit Sinha9332570027

CAT 2017 Marking Scheme

CAT will have two types of questions– MCQs and Non-MCQs. Both the type of questions will carry equal marks. Here is CAT Marking Scheme for your reference:

  • Total Questions- 100
  • Total Marks- 300
  • Marks for Each Correct Answer- +3 marks
  • Marks for Each Incorrect Answer- -1 score.
  • Negative Marking for Non-MCQs- No
  • Questions Left Blank- No mark

The table given below provides a brief of the marking scheme, expected to be followed for CAT 2017.

Type of QuestionCorrect AnswerIncorrect AnswerUn-attempted Question


  • Candidates get 60 minutes to complete each section.
  • Even if candidates complete a section before 60 minutes, they cannot switch/ start with the next section.
  • However, candidates can attempt any of the section first and can also answer the questions out of sequence.

Check 5 Recommended Magazines for CAT Preparation 2017

CAT Mock Test 2017

IIM Lucknow has recently released the CAT Mock Test at its official website. It is a handy and helpful tool for candidates taking CAT 2017. A mock paper helps you understand the pattern and difficulty level of questions so that you do not get any surprises in the actual paper.

It is advisable to practice CAT 2017 Mock Test along with Previous Year Question Papers as much as possible. Given below is the direct link to access IIM CAT Mock Test 2017.

cat mock test 2017

CAT Exam Pattern Analysis

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 2016, 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 Exam Day Instructions

To have a better understanding of do’s and don’ts at CAT Exam Day, you may refer to the below video:


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pushpendra singh

Are there any changes in the CAT Exam Pattern?

29 Jul, 2017 14:32
Sakshi Garg Expert

Hi Pushpendra, Currently no update has been released on changes in the exam pattern. But CAT is famous for throwing surprises in the exam pattern which is not even notified before the exam. In the case of any release of notification, the same will be updated on our website. For more details, click hereDetails

29 Jul, 2017 16:05
Yashika Goel

Can I Bring a calculator to the exam?

29 Jul, 2017 14:30
Sakshi Garg Expert

Hi Yashika, No calculator is allowed in the exam hall. However, a virtual calculator would be provided for the calculation work.

29 Jul, 2017 14:45
Vivek Bansal

What are the sections in CAT 2017?

29 Jul, 2017 14:25
Sakshi Garg Expert

Hi Vivek, There are 3 sections in the CAT 2017 exam:

  • Section I: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
  • Section II: Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
  • Section III: Quantitative Ability

29 Jul, 2017 15:00
Ruby Goyal

Where can I fill the form for a scribe/reader?

29 Jul, 2017 13:29
Sakshi Garg Expert

Hi Ruby, At the time of filling the application form, you have to indicate that you will be using a service of the scribe. Under the physical disability section, you need to fill the details regarding the requirement of a scribe.

29 Jul, 2017 15:09

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