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CAT: Everything You Need to Know

Jun 18, 2021

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What is the CAT ?

CAT Eligibility

Exam Pattern of CAT

CAT Syllabus

All About CAT 2021

What is the CAT ?

CAT is a computer-based entrance test for admission in a graduate management program at 20 IIMs in India. It is a highly competitive test and every year CAT is conducted by one of the IIMs for over 2 lakh candidates.

What makes the CAT different from other competitive exams? Its syllabus and the complexity of the question paper. The CAT question paper consists of MCQs and non-MCQs from Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC), Quantitative Ability (QA), and Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning).

CAT was conducted by IIM Indore last year. CAT 2021 will be conducted by IIM Ahemdabad on November 28 (tentatively).

CAT Eligibility

To be eligible for CAT, a candidate must fulfil the below-mentioned criteria:

  • The candidate should hold a Bachelor degree with a minimum of 50 per cent aggregate or equal CGPA (For general and NC-OBC category candidates) and, (45% for Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Persons with Disability (PWD)/ Differently Able (DA) classification).
  • The degree should be granted by any of the recognized university or the candidate should possess an equivalent qualification recognized by the Ministry of HRD, Government of India. 
  • Candidates in the final year of their bachelor degree or awaiting their results can also apply. In such cases, a candidate will have to submit a certificate issued by the Principal/Registrar of the College/Institution (issued on or before June 30, 2021). The certificate should state that the candidate has completed the requirements of the degree course. 

Exam Pattern of CAT

As far as the exam pattern of CAT is concerned, the CAT question paper comprises three sections: Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC), Quantitative Ability (QA), and Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning(DILR). Candidates are required to solve both MCQs and Non-MCQs type questions. CAT is conducted in two sections.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the CAT pattern and syllabus may change. In case the pandemic situation improves by November 2021, CAT may go back to its earlier pattern of 100 questions. Last year due to worsened COVID situation, the CAT was conducted with the same structure but with a reduced number of 75-76 questions.   

To get more clarity on the CAT syllabus and exam pattern, refer to the below-mentioned table:

Key Highlights of CAT (Exam Pattern)CAT 2021 (In case COVID-19 situation improves)CAT 2021 (In case COVID-19 situation deteriorates)
Test Duration3 Hours2 Hours
Test SessionsTwoThree
Total Questions10076
Total Score300228
Total Questions in VARC Section3426
Total Questions in DILR Section3224
Total Questions in QA Section3426

CAT Syllabus

The right understanding of the CAT syllabus is a prerequisite for scoring well in the exam. Try to comprehend it ‘No Syllabus, No Study. Know Syllabus, Know Study’. If you are thorough with the syllabus and know what to study, you will be able to utilize your time smartly.  The syllabus for the CAT is a mixture of important topics from the following three sections:

1. Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC):

The VARC syllabus is likely to consist of three major topics.

· Reading Comprehension: This is likely to consist of approximately 70% weightage of the total VARC score. The RCs can be from a wide range of topics from abstract to scientific.

· Parajumbles: 2 types of Parajumbles are generally tested in the CAT and are a part of the CAT 2021 Syllabus. The normal Parajumbles are multiple-choice and the Subjective Parajumbles where the answer needs to be filled in.

· Parasummary: While other topics have been tested in the CAT, the Parasummary topic is tested practically every year and is, therefore, an immovable part of the CAT 2021 Syllabus.

2. Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning(DILR):

The two subsections of the DILR syllabus are as follow:

· Data Interpretation: Data will be presented in the form of a graph, chart or another form of visualization and you will be required to solve the questions given based on the information given.

· Logical Reasoning: Here you may be given information in a non-structured manner and you may be required to structure it and derive the outcome to solve the questions given. 

3. Quantitative Ability (QA):

Some of the major topics of the QA syllabus are:

· Arithmetic: This topic covers the maximum number of questions in most CAT Exams and is a topic that all students should prepare for.

· Algebra: This topic has the second-highest weightage in terms of the questions asked in the CAT.

· Numbers: These are topics that are regularly tested in the CAT and every aspirant should be clear about the basics of the topics to not lose out on easy marks.

· Geometry: This is another regularly tested topic and consists of Geometry, Coordinate Geometry and Mensuration. Having a basic knowledge of the topic will allow aspirants to attempt at least a few questions from the topic in the CAT 2021.

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All the best for your exams. Stay tuned for more updates.

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Auther Details

Raminder Singh

Raminder is a Content Manager at PrepLadder. He has worked in several aspects of the education industry throughout his career and has assisted numerous candidates in cracking major competitive exams.