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CAT 2017 Exam Pattern

IIM Lucknow will define CAT 2017 Exam Pattern once the official notification is out. The exam pattern for CAT has observed several changes over the years. Remaining true to its unpredictable nature, CAT Exam Pattern is anticipated to change this year too. 

CAT is one of the most competitive management exams, where over 2 lakh candidates fight against 4000 seats in IIMs and other management institutes in India. CAT 2017 is scheduled for December 4, 2017 (tentative).

It is essential to be thorough with CAT Exam Pattern so as to formulate a strategy for the management examination. Listed below are some quick highlights of it:

  • The Common Admission Test (CAT) is held in online mode. 
  • Questions are distributed amongst 4 sections namely – Verbal & Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning, and Quantitative AptitudeCheck CAT Syllabus
  • There are approximately 100 questions that must be completed in 3 hours
  • There is a sectional time-limit of 1 hour per section.
  • Questions are of both types - Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) and non-Multiple Choice Questions (non-MCQs).
  • The exam is conducted in around 650 CAT Exam Centers across India. Check CAT Exam Centers
  • As for CAT Marking Scheme, +3 marks are awarded for a correct answer and -1 mark is deducted for an incorrect response. 
  • CAT carries a total of 300 marks. Check  CAT Practice Papers
  • The overall level of difficulty of the exam is moderately high as compared to other management entrance exams. It is heard that the difficulty level of CAT 2017 will be relatively lower so that more engineering candidates appear for the exam. Check  CAT Paper Analysis

Highlights of CAT Exam Pattern

CAT Exam dateDecember 4, 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

A total of 100 questions will be asked in CAT 2017. The Verbal and Reading Comprehension section and Quantitative Aptitude section are expected to have the maximum questions i.e. 34 each. The least number of questions will be asked from Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (32), as anticipated. Questions will be both, MCQ & Non-MCQ in nature.

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

CAT 2017 Exam Pattern 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-MCQs.

Important Topics in Quantitative Aptitude 

CAT 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?

CAT 2017 Exam Pattern 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.

Check Here  CAT Notification

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 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 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 2017 Exam Pattern 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 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 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  CAT Paper Analysis

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 CATNishit Sinha9332570027

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. 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.

Changes in CAT Exam Pattern 2017

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

  1. Instead of two sections (Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation and Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning), CAT 2016 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. 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 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 Practice Papers

  • CAT Sample Papers help give a fair idea of how the actual exam can be expected to be. 
  • All candidates appearing for CAT in December 2017, must practice CAT Question papers as much as possible.
  • It is advisable to go through with these beforehand so that candidates do not get surprised in the actual exam. 
  • By solving CAT Practice Papers, candidates can get familiar with the exam pattern and difficulty level of the actual test.
  • The model papers provided for download are the previous years’ papers. These will help students have a better understanding of the exam pattern before they sit for the exam.

Download CAT Practice Papers

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 Center. 
  • 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:
  1. Abacus
  2. Hearing Aids
  3. Scribe/Reader

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



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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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