CAT Syllabus 2021

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Updated on
August 13, 2021

CAT Syllabus 2021: Read & Download Latest Exam Syllabus with key changes

4 steps to read complete cat syllabus 2020

CAT 2021 Exam syllabus is changed by the CAT exam convening IIM Ahmedabad. Now the CAT 2021 syllabus is divided into three sections with fewer questions. The CAT 2021 exam has 76 questions with 75% of questions with negative marking and 25% questions without negative marking. The CAT 2021 exam date is November 28, 2021 and the exam will be held in three slots of 2 hours duration for each slot. IIM Ahmedabad has appointed Prof M P Ram Mohan, faculty in Business Policy area as CAT 2021 convener. Given the reputation of IIM Ahmedabad for bringing changes in CAT exam, number of changes are there in the CAT syllabus 2021. The exam content and structure for CAT may also change this year. 

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CAT syllabus 2021 can be divided into three sections: Quantitative Ability (QA); Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR) and Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC). For better understanding and preparation, the CAT MBA Syllabus 2021 for each section can be divided into subsections. This article prepared by MBAUniverse.com CAT experts will share complete overview, key changes in CAT syllabus 2021, sectional details, weightages of topics in CAT syllabus and pattern.

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Key Changes in CAT Syllabus 2021
CAT 2021 syllabus has a different pattern and structure. Due to the Covid pandemic situation, CAT will be conducted in 3 slots on November 28, and each slot will be of 2 hours duration. CAT 2021 has reduced number of 76 questions instead of 100 questions as was the earlier pattern. The sectional weightage for CAT syllabus will be 34% to VARC section; 32% to DILR section and 34% to Quant section. Key highlights of CAT 2021 syllabus are:

Key Components of CAT Exam Pattern & Syllabus
CAT 2021 Test Pattern
Test duration
2 hrs
Test sessions
Three
Total questions
76
Total score
228
Total questions in VARC Section
  26
Total Questions in DILR section
  24
Total Questions in QA section
  26

Let’s start with a broad understanding of CAT Syllabus. The proportionate weightage for all the three sections in CAT syllabus will be as shared above.  

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CAT 2021 Syllabus: An Overview
There are total 76 questions in CAT exam but the three sections in CAT syllabus carry different weightage in the exam. Although the CAT syllabus 2021 is divided in 3 sections, the effective number of sections are five as VARC and DILR sections are further sub-divided into 2 sub sections. Read details below.

CAT Syllabus Sectional Division
Overview of Topics in the CAT Syllabus 2021
Weightage in CAT exam
Quantitative Ability (QA)
 
Arithmetic, Modern Math, Number System
Algebra, Mensuration, Trigonometry, Geometry
34%
Data Interpretation& Logical Reasoning (DILR)
Data Charts, Data Tables, Bar Graphs,
Venn Diagrams, Seating arrangement,
Team formation, Clocks & Calendars
32%
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)
Long & Short Passages
Jumbled Paragraphs; Para-summary
Picking the Out of context sentence from a jumbled paragraph
34%

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 which are expected in actual CAT Exam.   

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Sectional Topics in CAT Syllabus
The broad break-up of topics as given above for CAT syllabus is as under. You may find most of the questions in CAT exam based on following CAT syllabus topics

Quantitative Ability (QA)
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)
Averages
Ratio & Proportion
LCM and HCF
Percentages
Profit and Loss
Interest (Simple and Compound)
Speed, Time and Distance Time and Work
Number System
Algebra
Geometry/Mensuration
Pure Math
Venn diagrams
Linear Equations
Quadratic Equations
Complex Numbers
Logarithm
Progressions
Binomial Theorem
Surds and Indices
Inequalities
Permutation and Combination Probability Functions
Set Theory
Mixtures and Alligations
Co-ordinate Geometry
Trigonometry
 
 
 
Data comparison from Table
Graphs
Bar charts - Simple, Stacked, Composite Bar charts
Pie charts
Caselets
Data Analysis
Direction sense
Team formation
Seating Arrangement
Blood Relation
Clocks
Calendars
Binary logic
Logical Sequence
Assumption
Premise
Conclusion
Linear and matrix arrangement
Input-Output
Series
Syllogism
Cubes
Rows
Set Theory
 Venn Diagrams
Network Diagrams
Quantitative Reasoning
Puzzles
Main idea in the passage
Assumption
Inferences, Statements, Arguments
Synonyms-antonyms
Phrasal meaning & Usage
Para Summary
Jumbled paragraphs 
Odd sentence out of Jumbled paragraph
Error Corrections
Sequence of sentences
Vocabulary usage
Fill in the blanks
Completion of Paragraph
Analogies
Critical Reasoning
Sentence Completion
 
 

CAT Syllabus Section Wise
The CAT exam syllabus section wise is not limited to these three sections only, as they are further sub-divided. This sub-division makes MBA CAT syllabus 2021 divided into 5 effective sections. Check below in detail the key sections, their sub-divisions, number of questions on important topics in the MBA CAT syllabus.

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    1. CAT Syllabus for Quantitative Ability (QA): Weightage 
    Quantitative Ability (QA) is the Mathematics section in 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 76 questions in CAT exam, Quant Section in CAT exam consists of 26 questions and  6-8 questions in the section will be of Non-MCQ type without carrying penalty of negative marking. 

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    IIMs have started giving more emphasis on Arithmetic questions in CAT entrance exam syllabus to promote diversity. While maximum 14-15 questions are from Arithmetic, the questions on other topics like Algebra, Geometry and others are in the range of 3-5. Below is shared the topic wise syllabus and number of questions with their weightage in the exam

    CAT Syllabus Topics in Quant Section
    No. of Questions in CAT
    • Averages; Ratio & Proportion 
    • Speed, Time and Distance; Time and Work
    • LCM and HCF
    • Percentages, Profit and Loss
    • Interest (Simple and Compound)
    • Number System
    • Algebra
    • Geometry/Mensuration
    • Venn diagrams and other topics
    • Linear Equations; Quadratic Equations Complex Numbers
    • Logarithm; Progressions
    • Binomial Theorem
    • Surds and Indices; Inequalities
    • Permutation and Combination
    • Probability Functions
    • Set Theory; Mixtures and Alligations
    • Co-ordinate Geometry
    • Trigonometry
    1-2 Questions
    1-2 Questions
    1-2 Questions
    1-2 Questions
    1-2 Questions
    2-3 Questions
    2-3 Questions
    4-5 Questions
    1-2 Questions
    1-2 Questions
    1-2 Questions
    1-2 Questions
    1-2 Questions
    1-2 Questions
    1-2 Questions
    1-2 Questions
    1-2 Questions
    1-2 Questions
    1-2 Questions

    2. CAT Syllabus for Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR):Sectional Weightage
    CAT 2021 Syllabus for Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR) is divided in 2 parts –  Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning with equal number of questions and carries a weightage of 32% as the total questions are 24 out of 76. While Data Interpretation (DI) part has 12 questions, the Logical Reasoning part also has 12 questions. Around 8 questions are of Non-MCQ type which do not have negative marking for wrong answer.

     

    Almost all the questions are in sets of 3-4 questions based on each problem. 2-3 DI and 2-3 LR problems can be followed by 24 questions in this section.  Below is shared the topic wise CAT entrance exam syllabus on which problems are based in this section

    DILR Topics
    • Bar charts - Simple, Stacked, Composite Bar charts
    • Pie charts
    • Caselets
    • Data Analysis
    • Data comparison from Table
    • Graphs
    • Direction sense
    • Team formation
    • Seating Arrangement
    • Blood Relation
    • Clocks
    • Calendars
    • Binary logic
    • Logical Sequence
    • Assumption
    • Premise
    • Conclusion
    • Linear and matrix arrangement
    • Input-Output
    • Series
    • Syllogism
    • Cubes
    • Rows
    • Set Theory
    •  Venn Diagrams

    3. CAT Syllabus for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC): Sectional Weightage
    Common Admission Test (CAT) syllabus for VARC section is divided into 2 parts. The 1st part of CAT syllabus covers topics on Reading Comprehension passages and the 2nd part of CAT MBA syllabus 2021 on VARC covers topics on Verbal Ability. Total questions in this section are 26 out of which 6-8 questions are of Non-MCQ type which do not carry negative marking. The 34% weightage of 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 VARC section. 6 questions are based on each long passage and 3 questions are based on each shorter passage. Sometimes uniform number of 5 questions follow 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. 

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    Verbal Ability part has individual questions that covers different areas of English language grammar and usage. The questions are of Non-MCQ type without the penalty of negative marking. Below is shared the topic wise VARC CAT syllabus and number of questions in the exam

    VARC Topics
    No. of questions in CAT exam
    • Inferences, Statements, Arguments
    • Main idea in the RC Passage
    •  Author’s assumption
    • Synonyms-antonyms
    • Meaning of the phrase
    • Para Summary
    • Jumbled paragraphs
    • Pick Out of Context Sentence
    • Error Correction in Sentences
    • Sequence of sentences
    • Fill in the blanks
    • Completion of Paragraph
    • Analogies
    • Critical Reasoning
    • Sentence Completion
    • Irrelevant Statements
    • Vocabulary usage
    4-6 Questions
    2-3 Questions
    2-3 Questions
    1-2 Questions
    2-3 Questions
    2-3 Questions
    2-3 Questions
    2-3 Questions
    1-2 Questions
    1-2 Questions
    1-2 Questions
    1-2 Questions
    1-2 Questions
    1-2 Questions
    1-2 Questions
    1-2 Questions
    2-3 Questions

    1.1 Key areas in RC Syllabus
    The English Reading comprehension passages in CAT entrance exam syllabus are taken from a wide area which includes, current affairs, Literature, Business Economy among others as detailed under. Diverse reading of topics in following areas will help you cover the CAT exam syllabus in VARC

    • Current affairs making impact on Social Life, International Affairs, Govt policies and Schemes for example New Education Policy, Triple Talaq, CAA, Covid 19 Pandemic, Clean India Mission, Migration of people from one country to other, Growing intolerance across the Globe,
    • Business & Economic RC Passages for example Global economic changes, economic development at the cost of environment, Impact of Demonetization in India, Wasteful expenditure by Governments
    • RC passages from various English Literature books, from articles authored by great philosophers, thinkers, from various speeches of great personalities like passages from Charles Dickens, Aristotle, Martin Luther King, Mohan Das Karam Chand Gandhi, Churchill among others
    • Passages on Science & Culture including the journey to Modern world; Fading culture with the advancement of technology
    • Abstract topics and fiction are also included in the Reading Comprehension Syllabus for CAT. These Passages make the candidates think well before leading to put themselves in the author’s shoes before answering the questions following these passages since they are opinion based.
    • RC Passages on Historical events leading to social changes for example French Revolution, War of Roses, Social changes in Indian History and thoughts shared by  various activists which are very much relevant even today
    • RC Passages from Mythology. These passages try to correlate the Mythological events with the current social structure and answers to the questions on them have to be inferred 

    3.2 Format of Questions in Reading Comprehension (RC)
    While the Verbal Ability questions are of Non-MCQ type, all the RC Passage based questions are of MCQ type with penalty of 1/3rd negative marking. The questions are based on information in RC passage; explanation of the words & phrases as used in the passage; In context of the passage –True/false statements; Author’s view on various issues raised in the RC passage; Inference from the passage; main idea of RC passage; Purpose of the RC passage

     

    3.3 Length of RC passages in CAT
    Longer RC passages are of around 600 words; shorter passages are of around 500 words in CAT exam as reflected last year.

     

    Download Latest CAT Syllabus Pdf 2021
    The updated CAT syllabus PDF 2021 can help you boost your CAT preparation as per the current CAT pattern. The CAT syllabus 2021 Pdf download is available free with existing and expected topics covered in the CAT syllabus pdf download document alongwith the type of questions expected in the CAT exam. Click Here for CAT Syllabus 2021 Pdf Download Free

     

    How do CAT Toppers cover the Complete CAT Exam Syllabus?
    CAT toppers with 100 percentile, 99 percentile and others studying at IIM Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Lucknow, Udaipur, MDI Gurgaon devised the strategy to cover the CAT syllabus which helped them crack CAT exam with high percentile overall and sectionwise. Read below the toppers’ plan to cover the syllabus:

     

    Rahul Gupta, CAT topper with 100 percentile: IIM Ahmedabad student
    To complete the CAT exam syllabus, Rahul Gupta took following steps:

    • Initially focused on getting the basics correct and solving some easy questions to get comfortable with the subject then move on to try higher level problems
    • Started giving the mocks as soon as they started instead of waiting till end.
    • Used to analyze the solutions extensively to check what mistakes I made or the questions I missed during the test. It helped me to decide the topics I needed to put more efforts in.

    Shantanu Singh Yadav, CAT topper with 99.73 percentile: IIM Ahmedabad Student
    Shantanu judiciously divided his time to cover the complete MBA CAT syllabus and adopted following strategy

    • I devoted equal time to all the three sections with some extra effort towards DI and LR which is I believe is the most unpredictable section in the exam. You could practice a hell lot of LR sets prior to the exam but might still hassle on the D-Day.
    • LR sets are not straightforward like Quants or DI sets. Timing my complete mocks and sectional tests along with thoroughly analysing my wrong as well as right attempts turned out to be fruitful.
    • Since the CAT entrance exam syllabus is so wide and even has no boundaries defined for VARC and DILR, last minute hustle mostly turns fruitless and overloads you with added stress

    Tanuj Ruia, CAT topper with 99.69 percentile: IIM Bangalore student
    Tanuj Ruia took a faster mode to cover the CAT exam syllabus with a mix of CAT preparation and shares “After clearing my fundamentals and the basics, I enrolled for the mock series. It helped me in analysing my current level of preparation, my weaknesses and my rank amongst a pool of serious aspirants”

    Anushree Naik, CAT topper with 98.20 percentile: IIM Ahmedabad student
    Anushree was very particular to complete her CAT entrance exam syllabus in time and utilized her travel time also in preparation. She has shared her strategy, “I studied for about 3 hours on week days by solving QA sectional tests, practicing a lot of data interpretation and logical reasoning (DILR) sets and utilised my travel time to work in reading books, building a vocabulary and solving math quizzes on my phone. My weekends were dedicated to attending classes, covering major chunk of the portion, solving mock tests and analysing my strengths and weaknesses through them.”

     

    Nikita Agarwal, CAT topper with 99.22 percentile: MDI Gurgaon Student
    Consistent practice helped Nikita to cover complete CAT syllabus. Sharing her strategy, she says, “I used to give practice all the three sections consistently. I never skipped a particular section, say VARC, because I had to focus on Quants. Learning to strike a balance between three sections is really necessary.” 

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