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IIM Indore has brought changes in CAT 2020 exam pattern. The paper will now consist of total 100 MCQ and Non-MCQ type questions from 3 sections Verbal & Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning, and Quantitative Aptitude that will have to be completed in 2 hours. Sectional duration in CAT has been reduced to 40 minutes from that of earlier 60 minutes. 

CAT 2020 will be conducted in online mode in two slots morning and afternoon in a single day on November 29, 2020. Exam pattern of CAT has undergone changes over the years. For 2020 session it was speculated that testing mode will change due to COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing measures, and the same has now been implemented Check CAT Syllabus 

Latest Update: CAT Registration has started from August 5 and will be available till September 23, 2020 on iimcat.ac.in. Apply Here!

CAT 2020 Exam Pattern Features

  • CAT 2020 will be of 2 hour duration and each section will be alloted 40 minutes. Total 100 questions for 300 marks will be asked in exam.
  • Each section will contain Non-MCQ questions, that are to be directly typed on the screen.
  • Unlike GMAT, CAT doesn’t have a descriptive question for e.g. analytical writing assessment Check CAT vs GMAT
  • No option will be given to move between sections. A basic on-screen calculator will be provided for computation. 
  • CAT Mock Test facility will be provided by conducting body from October 16, 2020 in order to help candidates understand the examination pattern.

In 2009, CAT became a computer-based test of 150 minutes. In 2015, for the first non-MCQs were included in the paper. Test takers were required to type in the answer in the box provided. Non- MCQs had no negative marking to them. The duration of the test was increased to 180 minutes with a sectional time limit of 60 minutes each. 

The exam is a gateway to 20 IIMs and 100+ premier management institutes and is conducted annually by one of the older IIMs on a rotational basis. CAT Exam Pattern is segregated in a way so that it  judges a candidate’s ability through 3 sections - Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning and Quantitative Aptitude. 

CAT 2020 Exam Pattern Highlights

Pattern Detail
Total Number of Questions 100
Total Marks 300
Number of Sections 3 (Verbal & Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning, and Quantitative Aptitude)
Duration of Exam 120 minutes (40 minutes per section)
Medium of Exam English
Number of Answer Choices 4
Mode of Exam Online
CAT Marking Scheme +3 marks for the correct answer -1 mark for an incorrect answer
Questions with Negative Marking MCQs-70 to 75
Questions without Negative Marking NON-MCQs- 25 to 30

CAT 2020 Exam Pattern Sectional Composition 

Section Total questions Number of MCQ questions Number of Non-MCQ questions
Verbal and Reading Comprehension (VARC) 34 (RC-24, VA-10)

24-27

7-10
Quantitative Aptitude (Quant) 34 22-24 10-12
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR) 32 (DI-16, LR-16) 24 8
Total 100 75 25
CAT Marking Scheme

CAT 2020 Marking Scheme

CAT will have two types of questions– MCQs and Non-MCQs. Both the type of questions will carry equal marks. Here is the 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 2020.

Type of Question Correct Answer Incorrect Answer Un-attempted Question
MCQ +3 -1 0
Non-MCQ +3 0 0
  • Candidates get 40 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.

CAT 2020 Test Taking Instructions

Detailed instructions are displayed on the screen beforethe exam commences, candidates are advised to follow the same throughout the exam. When candidates login into the sytems provided, aclock starts at the right hand side of the screen. This displays time remianing for each section that is 60 minutes. The moment time duration for a specific section is over candidates are automatically switched to further sections and wont be able to answer any more question from the previous section.  

It is important to have a fair idea of the colour panel which is displayed on the computer screen of the candidate. This will guide them in attempting the questions on the basis of priority.

Colour on the Panel Indication
Red Question not been answered nor marked for review
Green Questions has been answeredbut not marked for review
Grey Question neither viewed nor visited
Violet Question marked for review but not answered
Violet with Grey Mark Question is both answered and marked for review

Q&A on CAT Exam Pattern

Ques: CAT 2020 Computer Based or Online Based Test?

Ans: IIMs have made it clear that CAT is essentially a cpmputer based test and not an online test. As exams which are conducted online are based on internet (IBT) thus no internet site is taken into use. It is a computer based test that is candidates read the question booklet on the computer screen and choose the answer on it only. There is a timer constantly ticking defining time duration for each particular section. Check CAT Online Preparation

CAT 2020 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 are 34 questions in this section. 
  • They will be further divided into 27 MCQ & 7 Non-MCQs.
Sub Section Number of Questions
Arithmetic 14 questions
Algebra 9 questions
Geometry 7 questions
Number System 2 questions
Modern Maths 2 questions

CAT Syllabus for Quantitative Aptitude 

Variation Time and Work Time, Speed and Distance
Linear and Quadratics Equations Surds and Indices Inequalities
Logarithms Mensuration and Geometry Tables and Case lets
Probability/ Profit or Loss Critical Path Averages and Partnerships
Allegations and Mixtures Algebra Percentage

Read CAT 2020 Quants Preparation Tips

CAT 2019 Exam Pattern Analysis for Quantitative Aptitude

The quantitative ability section of CAT 2019 was quite lengthy, but candidates with mathematics background did not face many difficulties in getting through with it. Geometry was given more weightage this year. The overall difficulty level of the exam was moderate.

Following are the highlights of Cat 2019 QA section:

  • There were only 7 Non MCQ questions, nearly half than last year’s CAT exam
  • The square root symbol looked more like the pie symbol; this caused confusion.
  • Questions from the topics – Compound Interest, Coordinate Geometry, geometry, Mixture and Allegation, 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

Important study material/ books for Quantitative

CAT quants books
Book Name Author Name/Publisher ISBN Number
How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT Arun Sharma 9352602242
Quantitative Aptitude Quantum CAT Common Admission Tests for Admission into IIMs Sarvesh K. Verma 9311123870
Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT Nishit K. Sinha 9332570019

CAT Exam Pattern for DI/LR

Read Best Books for CAT Preparation 2020

CAT 2020 Exam Pattern for Data Interpretation and 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.
Bar Graph Case lets
Line Graph Combination of Graphs
Pie Chart Data Sufficiency
Tables Venn Diagram
Seating Arrangement Blood Relations
Syllogism Venn Diagram
Propositions Data Arrangement
Puzzles Assumptions
Statements Clocks and Calendars
Sets

-

Read CAT 2020 DILR Preparation Tips

CAT 2019 Exam Pattern Analysis for DI/LR

  • Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR) was the toughest section of CAT Exam
  • The overall difficulty level of this section was high.
  • Some candidates faced a problem in completing this section. The trick to scoring 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 the 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 reasoning books

Books for CAT Exam Author Name/Publisher ISBN Number
CAT 2020 Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning Gautam Puri 9386309475
Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for the CAT Nishit K. Sinha 933257121X
Data Interpretation & Data Sufficiency Ananta Ashisha 9352039246
How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CAT Arun Sharma 9352602250

CAT Exam Pattern for VARC

  • 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 language usage and their rules are also expected to appear in the exam. Testing the understanding of basic grammar is also a 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. 

CAT 2020 Exam Pattern for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension

Sub Section Number of Questions
Reading Comprehension 24
Sentence Correction 3
Summary 3
Para Jumble 4

Read CAT 2020 VARC Preparation Tips

Syllabus for Verbal and Reading Comprehension

Sentence Correction Word usage
Fill in the blanks Para Jumble
Para completion Fact Inference Judgement
Analogies Idioms

CAT 2019 Paper Analysis for VA/RC

  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension section 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

Preparation Books for Verbal and Reading Comprehension

CAT verbal ability books
Book Name Author Name/Publisher ISBN Number
How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT Arun Sharma and Meenakshi Upadhyay/Arihant 9352602269
30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary Mass Market Paperback Wilfred Funk & Norman Lewis/ Simon & Schuster 067174349X
How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CAT Sharma and Upadhyay 9339222695
PSC for VA for CAT Exam Nishit Sinha 933257002

Q&A on CAT Exam Pattern

Ques: What is the difficulty level of CAT?

Ans: Difficulty level in CAT varies from section to section. Going by the trend Verbal Reasoning and Reading Comprehension are easy to moderate, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning is on the tougher side whereas Quantitative Aptitude is moderate. The overall difficulty level of the exam is moderate. The amount of competition candidate faces in CAT makes it difficult to crack.

Read Courses Offered by IIMs through CAT

Changes in CAT Exam Pattern (2015-2018)

Ever since the change of CAT exam mode from offline to online in 2009, the exam has seen several changes in its pattern. Given below is the trend analysis of the CAT paper pattern for the past three years. This will help you predict the expected CAT 2019 Question Paper:

  • In 2018 Non-MCQ questions in total increased to 27 as compared to 26 in 2017.
  • Reading Comprehension were reduced to 4 from 5, each passage having 5 questions.
  • Quant had a good number of 12 Non-MCQ’s. Arithmetic questions were given a good weightage.
  • Some of the Non-MCQ questions had options also, with space provided to write the correct option.

With computer based test introduced in 2009. CAT exam pattern has undergone several changes. Prior to 2009 the exam was held in pen-paper mode. Since past 4 years the paper pattern has not gone under major alterations.

Year of Exam Number of Questions VARC DILR Quant Level of Difficulty Analysis
CAT 2018 100 VARC-34 RC-24 (MCQs Only) VA-10 (2 MCQs and 7 NON-MCQs) DILR-32 DI-16 LR-16 MCQs-24 NON-MCQs-8 Quant-34 MCQs-22 NON-MCQs-12 Moderate to high

Same pattern like last year.

Changes in number of MCQ and NON-MCQ question in sections

CAT 2017 100 VARC-34 RC-24 (All MCQs) VA-10 (3 MCQs and 7 non MCQs) DILR-32 DI-16 LR-16, MCQs-24 NON-MCQ-8 Quant-34 MCQ-23 Non-MCQs-11 Moderate

Same pattern like last year.

Changes in number of NON-MCQ questions

CAT 2016 100 VARC-34 RC-24 (MCQ) VA-10 (NON-MCQs only ) DILR-32 DI-16 LR-16, MCQs-24, Non-MCQs-8 Quant-34 MCQ-27 Non-MCQs-7 Moderate to difficult

Same pattern like last year.

NON-MCQ in quant reduced

CAT 2015 100 VARC -34 RC-24 (MCQs) VA-10 (Non MCQs) DILR-32 DI-16 LR-16 MCQs-24, Non-MCQs-8 Quant-34, MCQs-24, Non-MCQs-10 Moderate to difficult

Time limit increased to 180 minutes.

Sectional time restriction of 1 hour.

NON-MCQs with no negative marking

CAT Topper Tips

Q&A on CAT Exam Pattern

Ques: Does CAT exam pattern vary from year to year?

Ans: CAT exam pattern has changed over the years but since past 3 years it has been constant. CAT 2020 will have 3 sections Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC-34 questions), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR-32 questions), Quantitative Ability (QA-34 questions). Though the number of questions may slightly vary from year to year.

Preparation Tips by CAT Toppers

Swapnil Suman scored 100 percentile in CAT 2018. His section wise strategy is as follows:

  • VARC- He read fiction and non-fiction text to improve reading speed, vocabulary and grammar. He also went for reading The Hindu newspaper and watched video solutions by TIME mocks.
  • DILR- Swapnil says solving puzzles and regular practice will make this section interesting.
  • Quant- It was an easy section for him as he belonged to engineering background. He went for tricks and revised the concepts often.

Manaswi Kumar scored 99.14 percentile in CAT 2018 . Here are some insights on his sectional preparation strategy:

  • VARC- He noted down 21 new words everyday, read newspapers and novels in addition. 
  • DILR- Mock test proved to be helpful to him for preparing this section. He constantly reviewed his preparation level through practice tests.
  • Quant- He went for doubt clearing sessions and consulted previous year question papers to master quants.

CAT Mock Test 2020

A month before the main Exam on Octover 16, 2020, IIM Indore which is conducting CAT 2020 will provide the facility of Mock Test in order to provide an idea to the candidates about to appear in the exam about the online exam pattern details and the way to answer in exam. CAT 2020 will be held on 29 November 2020. 

It is advisable to practice Mock Test along with Previous Year Question Papers as much as possible. Most of CAT Coaching Centers also release their test papers or series for MBA aspirants. Practicing rigorously is the only key to crack CAT exam. Make sure you leave no stone unturned during your preparation strategy.

CAT 

CAT Vs XAT Exam Pattern Comparison

Component XAT by XLRI CAT by IIMs 
Mode of Exam Computer Based Test Computer Based Test
Number of Questions 100 (60 earlier since 2014) 100 (98 earlier till 2017)
Total Time Duration 180 minutes 210 minutes
Type of Questions 72-75 MCQs, rest Non-MCQ 99 MCQs and 1 Essay type question
Number of Options 4 5
Marking Scheme

+3 for Correct response

1/3  nehative marking for MCQs 

No negative marking for Non MCQs

+1 for correct response

¼ negative marking for 74 MCQs

No Negative marking for 25 MCQs and Essay Question

Sectional Time Limit 1 hour for each section No restriction
Number of Sections

3 (DILR, VARC, Quants)

5 (Decision Making, General Awareness, Essay Writing, Quants/DI,English Aptitude)

CAT Exam Pattern FAQs

CAT 2020 Exam Pattern FAQs

Ques.: When will CAT 2020 take place?

Ans. CAT 2020 will be conducted tentatively on November 29, 2020 by IIM Indore. The application process will commence in first week of of August, 2020. Check CAT 2020 Application Process

Ques.: Is CAT 2020 an online exam?

Ans. CAT is not an online exam. It is a digital or Computer Based Test (CBT); not an Internet-Based Test (IBT), i.e., a candidate will not take the exam on an internet site.

Ques.: Is there any change in CAT 2020 exam pattern?

Ans. No major change is expected in CAT 2020 Exam Pattern and Syllabus. The pattern will be same as last year. The difficulty level and number of questions in each section may vary and not necessarily be the same as in previous years. Check

Ques.: Can I take the exam from any computer?

Ans. A candidate will take the exam on a workstation assigned at the test center. No candidate can take the exa on their personal laptop or computer system.

Ques.: Are there negative marks for questions other than MCQs?

Ans. No, there are no negative marks for non-MCQ type questions.

Ques.: How many non-MCQs are there in each section?

Ans. The number of questions as Non-MCQs may vary in each section. Generally- VARC has 7 Non-MCQs and 27 MCQs, DILR has 8 Non-MCQs and 24 MCQs whereas Quants ahs 12 Non-MCQs and 22 MCQs

Ques.: Is there a specific order for answering sections?

Ans. You must answer the sections in a pre-specified order, and this order will remain the same for all the candidates. The time duration is 180 minutes.

Ques.: What is the difference between the Computer-Based test and Pen-paper Based Test?

Ans. The Computer-based test is where the applicants read the questions on a computer terminal and click on the right answer. In the Pen-Paper based test, the applicants will be provided with a paper booklet, and they are needed to use a pencil or pen and darken the ovals against the right answers.

Ques.: How to know more about the CBT?

Ans. For more details on the CBT, check out the CAT 2020 Practice tests and the CAT 2020 Mock Test.

Ques.: What are the sections in CAT 2020?

Ans. There are three sections in the CAT 2020 question paper –

Section I – Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension

Section II – Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

Section III – Quantitative Ability. Check CAT Syllabus

Ques.:  Can I Bring a calculator to the exam?

Ans. No, the applicants are not allowed to bring in any electronic devices to the exam center. An on-screen calculator will be provided in the exam.

Ques.:  How many MCQ and Non-MCQ in CAT? 

Ans. There are 72 MCQ and 28 Non MCQ Questions.

SECTION NUMBER OF MCQ QUESTIONS NUMBER OF NON-MCQ QUESTIONS TOTAL QUESTIONS
Verbal and Reading Comprehension 24 10 34
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning 24 8 32
Quantitative Aptitude 27 7 34
Total 72 28 100

Ques.: Do the MCQs and non-MCQs carry equal scores?

Ans. Yes, all the questions carry equal scores.

Ques.: What is the syllabus for CAT? How should I prepare?

Ans. There is no fixed syllabus for CAT. However, applicants can check the numerous tips provided by professionals or join a coaching Institute. Also, the applicants can also check the numerous CAT preparation tips accessible online.

Ques.: What is the marking scheme for CAT? Is there any negative marking?

Ans. For every right answer, the applicants will be awarded 3 marks. However, an insight answer will fetch -1 mark.

Ques.: What is the weightage of Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension?

Ans. There are 34 questions for 102 marks for 60 minutes.

Ques.: What is the Weightage of Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning?

Ans. There are 32 questions for 96 marks for 60 minutes.

Ques.: What is the Weightage of Quantitative Ability?

Ans. There are 34 questions for 102 marks for 60 minutes.

Ques.: What is the syllabus for Quantitative Ability?

Ans. There are important topics for quantitative ability:

Linear and Quadratics Equations Time and Work Inequalities
Variation Mensuration and Geometry Time, Speed and Distance
Probability/ Profit or Loss Surds and Indices Tables and Case lets
Logarithms Critical Path Averages and Partnerships
Allegations and Mixtures Algebra Percentage

Ques.: What is the CAT Exam Pattern for Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning?

Ans. These are the important topics to cover in Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning:

Bar Graph Case lets Seating Arrangement Blood Relations Statements
Line Graph Combination of Graphs Syllogism Venn Diagram Sets
Pie Chart Data Sufficiency Propositions Data Arrangement Clocks and Calendars
Tables Venn Diagram Puzzles Assumptions -

Ques.What is the CAT Exam Pattern for Verbal & Reading Comprehension?

Ans. These are the major topics to cover in Verbal & Reading Comprehension:

Sentence Correction Word usage
Fill in the blanks Para Jumble
Para completion Fact Inference Judgement
Analogies Idioms

Ques.: Is there any help for computation in CAT Exam?

Ans. To help applicants with general computations, a non-scientific on-screen calculator is offered. Candidates have to use the mouse to carry out calculations on the on-screen calculator.

Ques.:  From where can I get the list of exam centers?

Ans. The list of CAT 2019 exam centers will be accessible on the official website iimcat.ac.in. Currently, applicants can see the test cities where CAT 2019 will take place.

Ques: What are TITA questions?

Ans: TITA or “Type in the answer” type questions are those questions in which no options are provided. Candidates have to go through the questions and solve the same to type the answer in the text box provided. These are also referred to as Non-MCQs. 25-30% of the questions asked in the paper are non-MCQs. 

Ques: Which among TITA and MCQs, help in gaining higher score in CAT?

Ans: If we analyse CAT exam paper, the percentage of MCQs are more than that of non-MCQs. But there is a negative marking of -1 in MCQs for each correct answer while no negative marking in non-MCQs. Therefore, if the non-MCQs do not add one to your number, it won’t decrease your number as well. Therefore, candidates may get a good score if they answered each and every TITA questions correctly along with more than 60% right multiple-choice questions. 

Ques: Which is more time consuming among CAT MCQs and TITA questions?

Ans: TITA questions are more time consuming than that of traditional non- MCQs and there are chances that these questions do not give accurate answers.

Ques: Is there any specific section in which only MCQs are asked?

Ans: No, CAT exam contain both MCQs and non-MCQs type questions in each and every section. 

Ques.: What are the time slots for the CAT 2020?

Ans. CAT 2020 will be conducted in two sessions or time slots. Applicants will be allotted a single session time slot based on the availability of test center and city of selection.

Ques.: Can I appear for more than one slot for CAT 2020?

Ans. No, you cannot appear for more than one slot for CAT 2020. If any applicant attempts to appear for CAT 2020 in two distinctive time slots, it would be considered as a fraudulent activity. To maintain the distance from any fraudulent activity on this front, CAT 2020 applicants will be subject to verification of Admit Cards, applicant pictures, photo IDs, and biometric verification.

Ques.: Where can I select my preference for shift and test date?

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Ans. The examination shift (forenoon or afternoon) is distributed to each registered applicant based on the selection of the city, which made at the time of application. An applicant cannot select the shift.

Ques.: What are the timings to contact the Applicant Helpdesk?

Ans. CAT 2020 help desk is accessible to applicants via telephone from Monday to Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. CAT Applicant Helpdesk is shut on Sundays and National/Public holidays.

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