CAT Exam Pattern: Updated Version

CAT Exam Pattern

The Common Admission Test (CAT) is conducted annually by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) on a rotation basis for granting admission to students in an array of MBA courses offered by top B-Schools of the country. Through the CAT score, you can apply to various institutes like the IIM, IIFT, MDI-Gurgaon, SPJIMR, BITS Pilani, etc. Due to the increase in the number of students appearing for the exam, the competition has become tougher. It thus has become more than important to prepare for the exam thoroughly by reading the best books for CAT. The first step to scoring a high percentile in CAT 2020 is to understand the exam pattern and the syllabus. In this blog, we will share the information related to the CAT exam pattern and syllabus. 

Full form  Common Admission Test
CAT 2020 conducted by IIM Indore
Administrator Indian Institute of Management
Eligibility Bachelor’s degree with at least 50 % marks or equivalent CGPA
45% for reserved categories
Use Of CAT exam To get admission into top business schools for pursuing MBA
Top MBA colleges accepting CAT score 20 IIM’S
Faculty of Management Studies, University of Delhi
S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research
International Management Institute
Xavier Institute of Management
Offered Once a year
Fees General category – Rs.1900
Reserved categories – Rs. 900
Official website

Important Details

These are all the basics that you need to know about CAT exam 2020

Date of exam November 29, 2020
Timing : Morning Slot 8.30 AM – 10:30 AM
Timing : Afternoon Slot 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM
Timing : Evening Slot 4:30 PM – 6:30 PM
Mode  Computer based Exam
Expected Marking Scheme -1 for a wrong answer
+3 for a correct answer
No Negative marking for non MCQ questions
Total marks 300
Total duration 2 hours
No. Of Questions 100
Language of question paper English

CAT Exam Pattern: Overall and Sectional Time Limit

The Indian Institute of Management, Indore has recently announced a change in the pattern of the CAT for the year 2020. The CAT exam will be of a total duration of 120 minutes, as opposed to the earlier duration of 180 minutes. The exams will be held in 3 slots instead of two, which are as follows:

  • Morning session (8:30 AM – 10:30 AM)
  • Afternoon session (12:30 PM – 2:30 PM)
  • Evening session (4:30 PM – 6:30 PM)

The time allotted for each section in the revised CAT exam pattern is as follows:

CAT Sections Time allotted
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension(VRAC) 40 minutes
Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation(LRDI) 40 minutes
Quantitative Aptitude(QA) 40 minutes

To know more read our blog on – CAT undergoes major changes!

How is CAT 2020 Different? Updated CAT Exam Pattern 2020

We have already given you the updated CAT 2020 exam pattern but here are the other key changes that have taken place. 

  1. The duration of the exam has been reduced from three hours to two hours. 
  2. This time IIM Indore will conduct the exam while it was IIM Kozhikode last year. 
  3. CAT 2020 is divided into three sections instead of two. With a time limit of 40 minutes for each section. 
  4. You cannot switch between sections and there will be a fixed order of sections.You have to finish one section and move on to the next section after 40 minutes. 
  5. 70-75 percent questions have negative marking. 

Key Changes in CAT Exam Pattern in 10 Years 

The CAT exam pattern is revised every year and changes are brought in accordingly. The changes vary in terms of duration, sections and even number of questions. For instance, till 2013 the number of questions was limited to 60. But since 2014, the number of questions has been raised to 100. Given below are the significant changes that have taken over time in the CAT exam pattern. 

Year No. Of questions Duration
2020 100 2 hrs 
2019 100 3 hrs 
2018 100 3 hrs
2017 100 3 hrs
2016 100 3 hrs
2015 100 3 hrs
2014 100 2.5 hrs
2013 60 2.20 hrs
2012 60 2.20 hrs
2011 60 2.20 hrs

CAT Exam: Syllabus

Before understanding the CAT exam pattern, it is important to go through the syllabus. The primary objective of the CAT exam is to select the best minds out of a pool of candidates to grant admission into the top elite B-School of the country. For this, the Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, Aptitude, and Logical Reasoning ability of the candidates are assessed. Given below is the detailed syllabus of the CAT exam: 

Verbal and Reading Comprehension

This section of the CAT exam pattern has witnessed many changes in the last 3 years. Generally, vocabulary topics are asked in the form of fill in the blanks are of High School standard. Referring to CAT 2020, the topics covered in this portion are: 

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Paragraph Summary
  • Para jumble and Misfit Sentence
  • Critical Reasoning
  • Paragraph Completion
  • Grammar and Usage
  • Idioms and Phrases
  • Synonyms and Antonyms
  • Cloze Passage
  • Analogies and Reverse Analogies,

Quantitative Aptitude

Considered as one of the toughest sections of all three, the Quantitative Aptitude portion needs a lot of practice to score well. The topics covered in this section of the CAT exam pattern have been tabulated below:  

Number System LCM and HCF Profit, Loss, and Discount related Questions Permutation and Combination
Time, Work and, Distance Mixtures and Alligations Sequence and Series Surds and Indices
Complex Number and Logarithms Simple and Compound Interest Coordinate Geometry and Mensuration Ratio and Proportion
Quadratic Equation Trigonometry Averages Linear Equations

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning 

The Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning section of the CAT exam pattern forms an integral part of the test. The topics from which the questions are framed are as follows:

Number and Letter Series Caselets Graph and charts related questions(Line charts, pie charts, bar graphs) Combinations and Venn diagram
Games and Tournaments Calendars Cubes, clocks Binary Logics
Seating Arrangement Syllogism Logical Matching Logical Sequences
Logical Connectives Blood Relations Tables Column charts

Also Read: CAT score vs percentile


What is the duration of the CAT exam as per the revised pattern?

Answer) The revised duration for CAT 2020 in 2 hours.

What are the different sections in the CAT exam?

Answer) The different sections in the CAT exam include the Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation and Quantitative Aptitude

What is the time allotted for each section according to the revised CAT exam pattern?

Answer) Each section will be for 40 minutes as per the revised CAT exam pattern 2020.

How many slots will the CAT 2020 exam be conducted in?

Answer) The CAT 2020 will be conducted in 3 slots instead of two due to the current Covid-19 situation.

Hopefully, with this blog, you are now familiar with the CAT exam pattern and the syllabus. If you are preparing for any such competitive and need assistance then you can reach out to our experts at Leverage Edu. Our experienced professionals will help you with building a complete preparation strategy along with equipping you with the best tips and study material to ensure that you sail through your exam with flying colors.

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