The first step towards your CAT 2023 preparation is to have complete information and knowledge of CAT Syllabus and the important topics.
CAT 2023 Syllabus: An Overview
- There is a total of 66 questions in the CAT exam but the three sections in the CAT syllabus carry different weightage in the exam.
- Although the CAT syllabus 2023 is divided into 3 sections, the effective number of sections is five as VARC and DILR sections are further subdivided into 2 sub-sections.
- Despite being very wide, the CAT entrance exam syllabus is neither specifically defined nor released by IIMs. Instead, IIMs release an official Mock Test which is as per the forthcoming CAT exam topics and consists of question types that are expected in the actual CAT Exam.
1. CAT Syllabus for Quantitative Ability (QA): Weightage
- Quantitative Ability (QA) is the Mathematics section in the CAT exam. Although the CAT syllabus for Quant is very wide, the questions and topics in it are of class 10 & 12 standard. Out of 66 questions in the CAT exam, Quant Section in the CAT exam consists of 22 questions, and 7 questions in the section will be of Non-MCQ type without carrying a penalty of negative marking.
- IIMs have started giving more emphasis on Arithmetic questions in the CAT entrance exam syllabus to promote diversity. While a maximum of 14-15 questions is from Arithmetic, the questions on other topics like Algebra, Geometry, and others are in the range of 3-5.
Below shared is the syllabus for the QA portion of the exam:
- Arithmetic: Topics under arithmetic will include Number System, HCF, LCM, Ratio & Proportion, Simplification, Percentage, Average, Age Calculation, Time & Work, Distance
- Algebra: Topics under algebra will include Theory of equations, Quadratic Equations, Permutation & Combination, Sequence & Series
- Geometry: Topics under geometry will include angles, lines, triangles, and circles
- Mensuration: Topics under mensuration will include Areas and Volumes- Rectangle, Squares, Triangle, Circles, Cubes, Cones, Spheres, Pipes, and Cistern
- Calculus: Topics under calculus will include Maxima & Minima and Function
- Trigonometry: Topics under calculus will include Trigonometric Ratios, Heights and Distances
Topic-wise Distribution of QA
Given table shows the significance of different topics from varied areas of Quant:
2. CAT Syllabus for Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR): Sectional Weightage
CAT 2023 Syllabus for Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR) is divided into 2 parts:
(i) Data Interpretation
(ii) Logical Reasoning
- DI & LR consists of an equal number of questions and carries a weightage of 32% as the total questions are 20 out of 66.
- Both the sections have 10 questions each.
- Around 5 questions are of Non-MCQ type which does not have negative marking for the wrong answer.
- Almost all the questions are in sets of 3-4 questions based on each problem.
Below shared is the syllabus for the DILR portion of the exam:
- Data Interpretation: Bar Graph, Line Graph, Pie Chart, Tables, Caselets, Combination of Graphs, Data Sufficiency, Games, and Tournaments
- Logical Reasoning: Arrangements, Prepositions, Puzzles, Data Arrangement, Assumptions, Statements, Venn Diagrams, Logical Connectives, Clocks & Calendars, Logical Matching
Topic-wise Distribution of DILR
DILR sets feature in the various representations and follow the given weightage:
3. CAT Syllabus for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC): Sectional Weightage
The common Admission Test (CAT) syllabus for the VARC section is divided into 2 parts:
(i) Verbal Ability
(ii) Reading Comprehension
- Total questions in this section are 24 out of which 5 questions are of Non-MCQ type which does not carry negative marking.
- The 34% weightage of the VARC syllabus is divided into 24% to RC syllabus and 10% to VA syllabus.
- There are 3-4 long and short English Comprehension passages in the VARC section. 6 questions are based on each long passage and 3 questions are based on each shorter passage. Sometimes a uniform number of 5 questions follows 2 RC passages and 1 RC Passage is followed by 4 questions.
- Total questions based on Reading Comprehension are 16-18 and are of MCQ type with negative marking.
- The verbal Ability part has individual questions that cover different areas of English language grammar and usage. The questions are of Non-MCQ type without the penalty of negative marking.
Below shared is the syllabus for the VARC portion of the exam:
- Reading Comprehension: Inferences, Statements, Arguments, The main idea in the RC Passage, Author’s assumption
- Verbal Ability: Synonyms-antonyms, Meaning of the phrase, Para Summary, Jumbled paragraphs, Pick Out of Context Sentence, Error Correction in Sentences, Sequence of sentences, Completion of Paragraph, Analogies, Critical Reasoning, Sentence Completion, Irrelevant Statements, Vocabulary usage
Topic-wise weightage of VARC Syllabus
As per the analysis of VARC section of previous year CAT papers, we have indicated the weightage of different topics:
Changing Trends/Patterns in CAT
The key changes in the exam pattern that have occurred throughout the years are listed in the table below.
|CAT Syllabus & Pattern||Changes in CAT|
|Exam Duration||Reduced from 3 to 2 hours|
|Exam slots||Increased from 2 to 3|
|Total questions||Reduced from 100 to 66|
|Total score||Reduced from 300 to 228|
|Total questions in VARC section||Reduced from 34 to 24|
|Total Questions in DILR section||Reduced from 32 to 20|
|Total Questions in QA section||Reduced from 34 to 22|
Recent Trends in the QA section of the CAT:
IIMs have started giving more emphasis on Arithmetic questions in the CAT entrance exam syllabus to promote diversity. While a maximum of 10-14 questions is from Arithmetic, 8-10 questions are from Algebra, and 3-5 questions are from topics like Geometry, Number System, and Modern Math. You can find the number of questions with their weightage in the exam given below:
Recent Trends in the DILR section of the CAT:
DILR as a section poses many difficulties as it does not have a fixed syllabus. However, questions based on Arrangements and Graphs, Tables & Caselets form the core of cracking DILR. Other topics that are important include Blood Relations and Data Sufficiency.
Recent Trends in the VARC section of the CAT:
For the past few years the VARC syllabus of the CAT focuses on 4 major topics:
- Reading Comprehension: Most of this section is made of Reading Comprehension. Usually, 4 to 5 passages are seen in this section every year and each passage contains 3 to 6 questions.
- Para Jumbles: There are 2 types of Para jumbles that are generally tested in the CAT Exam and are a part of the CAT 2023 Syllabus. The normal Para jumbles which are multiple-choice and the Subjective Para jumbles where the answer needs to be filled in.
- Para Summary: While there are other topics that have been tested in the CAT Exam, the Para summary topic is tested practically every year and is, therefore, an immovable part of the CAT 2023 Syllabus.
- Odd Sentence Out: They are a recent addition to the CAT verbal ability section. It is very similar to para jumbles. The only difference is that in para jumbles you are asked to arrange the sentences to form a coherent paragraph, whereas in odd sentences you are asked to find the sentence that is not a part of the paragraph, thus the name odd one out.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Can I cover CAT syllabus in 2-3 months?
Yes, you can complete CAT syllabus in about 2-3 months, if you prepare in a planned, focused, and efficient way.
Q. Does the syllabus for CAT change every year?
Since there is no official syllabus prescribed for CAT, there is no such change in the topics. However, the weightage of different areas has witnessed modifications after every few years.
Q. Is the CAT syllabus same as that of other MBA entrance tests?
Yes, the syllabus for CAT is similar to that of other management entrance tests like XAT, MAT, etc.
Q. Which section of CAT is the toughest?
CAT is generally difficult in nature. However, in terms of time, VARC mostly takes more time-consuming than other sections. This is because of the tricky and long Reading Comprehension passages.
Q. Which section of CAT holds highest weightage?
There is very less difference in the weightage allotted to different sections of CAT. Of all three sections, VARC carries the highest marks.
Q. By which month should I complete CAT syllabus and start practising mock tests?
Although there is no fixed timeline for CAT preparation schedule, most aspirants aim to complete the syllabus by September. In the rest two months, you can devote time to mock tests.
Q. Do I need to be a graduate in English to ace CAT?
No, you do not need to have knowledge of college-level for the verbal section. But you must have good vocab to nail the section.
Q. Do I need to be a graduate in Mathematics to crack CAT?
No, the syllabus for CAT is quite basic and doesn't require graduation-level knowledge.
Q. Can I prepare for CAT just by taking mock tests?
No, this approach proves ineffective. You must gain a strong understanding of concepts before taking mocks.
Q. Is there negative marking in CAT?
Yes, CAT carries a negative marking for MCQs, but there is no penalty for wrong answers in the Non-MCQ part.