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CAT Exam Pattern 2018

Last Updated - September 12, 2017

CAT Exam Pattern 2018 for the academic year 2018-19 will not observe any change in its pattern. It will be same as that of last year. CAT is a Computer-based standardized test. Candidates are selected on the basis of their Quantitative Ability (QA), Verbal Ability (VA) and Reading Comprehension (RC), Data Interpretation (DI) and Logical Reasoning (LR).

This article will help candidates understand various important elements related to the exam pattern of CAT viz. nature of questions, marking scheme, subject-wise marks distribution, the total number of questions, etc. CAT 2018 will be held in December 2017.

Highlights of CAT Exam Pattern 2018

Here are some quick facts about CAT Exam Pattern 2018:

  • CAT is a computer based test
  • CAT Syllabus 2018 will have questions from 3 sections- Verbal Ability, Quantitative Aptitude and Logical Reasoning
  • CAT Exam consists of both multiple-choice questions and non-multiple choice questions
  • There is a provision of negative marking for wrong answers. 1 mark would be deducted for an incorrect answer
  • There will be a total of 100 questions
  • Each section will have 30 – 35 questions
  • Three marks will be awarded for each correct answer
  • Duration of the exam will be of 3 hours 

3 hours


Exam duration is 3 hours


+3 marks


Each Correct Answer will be awarded 3 marks


-1 mark

-ve Score

1 mark will be deducted for an incorrect answer



Exam type

CAT 2018 is a computer-based test


Objective and Non-Objective

Question type

Questions will be of objective and non-objective types



Total questions

There are 100 questions in CAT 2018

The distribution of questions in CAT 2018 is given below:

SectionTotal No. of Questions
Verbal Ability30 – 40 
Quantitative Aptitude30 – 35
Logical Reasoning30 – 35 

Last year, Quantitative Ability section and Verbal section held 34 questions each, whereas the Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning section had 32 questions. Along with the objective type questions, there were some non-multiple choice questions in each section and it was to be answered in the space provided to them. Test takers cannot switch between the sections and have to attend the test in a particular order. The order of the sections is-

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

CAT 2018: Marking Scheme

CAT 2018 will follow the previous year trends in terms of number of questions and total marks allotted to each section. The marking scheme of CAT 2018 will be done as mentioned below. Candidates scoring marks above than the mentioned cut off as per CAT 2018 Marking Scheme will be shortlisted for calls from management institutes.

  • Correct Responses: +3 marks
  • Incorrect responses: -1 mark
  • Questions not attempted: no negative marking

CAT Exam Pattern for Verbal Ability

Verbal Ability in CAT covers all the aspects of English aptitude and it examines candidates’ construction of ideas into words. A separate section is dedicated to Verbal Ability in CAT holding equal weightage of questions as other sections of Logical Reasoning and Quantitative Aptitude. The section aims at testing candidates’ knowledge of English as a second language. The questions in the section are in the form of MCQs and non-MCQs.

Here’s a quick look at the Exam Pattern of CAT Verbal Ability Section.

  • Total Questions Asked: 30-40 (20-30 MCQs + 10-20 Non MCQs)
  • Maximum Marks: 72-100
  • Time Allotted: 60 minutes
  • Difficulty Level: Graduation
  • Marking Scheme: +3 marks for correct answer | -1 mark for wrong answer
  • No negative marking for un-attempted questions

CAT Syllabus for Verbal Ability

CAT Verbal Ability checks the capability of candidates in expressing ideas using words in a clearly understandable manner. Verbal Ability is a very important component of competitive examinations primarily management entrance exams such as Common Admission Test and other exams like MAT, XAT, SNAP, GRE and GMAT.

TopicsFrequency of QuestionsLevel of Difficulty
Sentence CorrectionFrequently AskedModerate
Para JumbleFrequently AskedModerate
Fill in the BlanksFrequently AskedLow
Para CompletionRarely AskedHigh
Fact Inference JudgementRarely AskedHigh
AnalogiesFrequently AskedHigh
IdiomsFrequently AskedHigh
Word UsageFrequently AskedVery High

Recommended Books for CAT Verbal Ability

  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension- Arun Sharma
  • Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning- RS Aggarwal
  • Verbal Ability & Comprehension
  • Wiley's Exam XPert MBA, Verbal Ability

CAT Exam Pattern for Logical Reasoning

Questions in Logical Reasoning are based on deductive and inductive approaches to Logical Reasoning. The section comprises around 30 questions. Similar to Verbal Ability and Quantitative Aptitude, the section holds equal importance and weightage of questions in CAT question paper. Questions in the section cover topics mentioned in the syllabus below. Meanwhile, here’s a quick look at the paper pattern of Logical Reasoning in CAT.

  • Total number of questions: 30-35 questions (20-30 MCQs + 10-15 non-MCQs)
  • Maximum Marks: 90-100
  • Total Time: 60 Minutes
  • Difficulty Level: Secondary
  • Marking Scheme: +3 marks for correct answer | -1 mark for the wrong answer
  • No negative marking for un-attempted questions

CAT Syllabus for Logical Reasoning

Logical Reasoning, also known as Critical Thinking or Analytic Reasoning, involves one's ability to isolate and identify the various components of any given argument. Logical Reasoning in CAT covers the verbal and non-verbal aspects of reasoning. Let’s enlighten ourselves with the syllabus of Logical Reasoning asked in CAT.

TopicsFrequency of QuestionsLevel of Difficulty
Seating ArrangementRarely AskedModerate
Blood RelationsRarely AskedModerate
SyllogismFrequently AskedHigh
Venn DiagramMost AskedHigh
PropositionsMost AskedLow
Data ArrangementFrequently AskedHigh
PuzzlesFrequently AskedModerate
AssumptionsMost AskedModerate
StatementsFrequently AskedHigh
SetsMost AskedHigh
Clocks and CalendarsRarely AskedModerate

Books Recommended for Logical Reasoning

  • Pearson Guide to Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning for CAT by Nishit Sinha, Publisher- Pearson
  • How to Prepare for Logical Reasoning for the CAT by Arun Sharma, Publisher- Tata Mcgraw Hill
  • How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for the CAT by Arun Sharma, Publisher- Tata Mcgraw Hill

CAT Exam Pattern for Quantitative Aptitude

Aptitude is considered as a competence to do a certain work, whereas Quantitative Aptitude is the competence to solve a complex problem numerically. The section of quantitative aptitude is considered to be the toughest section of all asked in CAT exam. Here’s a quick look at the exam pattern of Quantitative Aptitude:

  • Total questions asked: 30-35 questions (20-30 MCQs + 10-15 non-MCQs)
  • Maximum Marks: 90-100
  • Total Time: 60 Minutes
  • Difficulty Level: Secondary
  • Marking Scheme: +3 marks for correct answer | -1 mark for the wrong answer
  • No negative marking for unanswered questions

CAT Syllabus for Quantitative Aptitude

Quantitative Aptitude is the most conceptual and the section where you don’t have the fear of being wrong once you have calculated the answer. The section comprises multiple choice question and one answer questions. Candidates should know the syllabus better to ace the section.

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

Recommended Books for CAT Quantitative Aptitude

  • How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT by Arun Sharma, Publisher- Tata Mcgraw Hill
  • Pearson Guide to Quantitative Aptitude and Data Interpretation for CAT by Nishit Sinha, Publisher- Pearson
  •  Quantum CAT: Quantitative Aptitude Common Admission Test for Admission into IIMs by Sarvesh K Verma, Publisher- Arihant
  • Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Examination Tips, Techniques, and Short-cut Methods by Abhijit Guha
  • NCERT Mathematics books for class 8th, 9th, 10th and 10+2

Testing Assistive Devices for PwD Candidates

Candidates who fall under 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 the technical aids which would help a person with disability to complete a task with ease. They will have to select the necessary option in their CAT Application Form.

Such candidates 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 2018 exam center. These devices are:

  • Abacus
  • Hearing Aids
  • 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.

Important Instructions for CAT 2018

Candidates appearing for CAT 2018 need to stay sharp, alert and always a step ahead of their competitors every time. CAT is somehow a game of timing and precision. You need not solve every question that comes your way but solve whatever you can. Here are some tips that will help you scale up your CAT preparation

  • Logical Reasoning clubbed with Data Interpretation comes as main antagonist with some nasty powerups. Proper attention should be given to every sub topic of the both sections.
  • IIMs have recently introduced 60 minutes constraint for each section. So, it is advisable to strengthen every section equally.
  • Quantitative Aptitude is infamously termed as toughest section of off while in truth it is the easiest. While Verbal Ability is subjective in nature and logical reasoning complex, Quantitative Aptitude is the only section that’s robotic and calculative.

Hence, with just a little extra attention to formulae and concept, you can ace the section like a boss.



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