CAT Syllabus 2020

Register Now for Latest Update - Don't miss it

Updated on
July 31, 2020

CAT Syllabus 2020: Read & Download Latest Exam Syllabus Pdf with CAT Pattern
CAT Syllabus for the IIM-CAT 2020 exam has been released. IIM Indore is conducting CAT 2020 on November 29, 2020 without any change in the exam pattern, Exam sections and exam time duration. Besides there is no change in the CAT 2020 testing mode - as confirmed by CAT Centre 2020. 


As such, the CAT syllabus 2020 has also not changed for CAT 2020 exam. CAT syllabus is the very first thing to know before beginning your CAT exam preparation. If you go through the complete CAT MBA entrance syllabus thoroughly, the preparation journey becomes easier as the path of CAT preparation is well known. This article prepared by experts will share complete details on CAT syllabus with CAT exam pattern, key topics, sectional composition of CAT syllabus, how to prepare as per CAT syllabus, so read carefully to prepare well as per the syllabus and crack CAT with high score 


4 steps to read complete cat syllabus 2020

CAT MBA Syllabus 2020 has changed as per the revised CAT exam pattern since 2015. During past few years and with the recent changes in CAT exam structure and content by IIMs, CAT syllabus is changed in each CAT exam. Despite being very wide, the syllabus is not specifically defined and released by IIMs. However, over the years, CAT MBA entrance exam syllabus has covered chapters, subjects and topics like Verbal, RC, DI, LR, QA and is now divided into three sections. CAT requires smart preparation as per the syllabus topics.


Instead of releasing specific CAT syllabus, IIMs release an official Mock Test which is exactly on forthcoming CAT exam pattern and consists of question types which are expected in actual CAT Exam. According to IIMs, “The CAT examination does not have a defined syllabus for CAT preparation. However, you can attempt the mock test to understand the pattern of examination and types of questions.” 


How the CAT Syllabus is Prepared & Updated?
Although IIMs do not release the CAT syllabus in detail, the changes in CAT exam pattern keep on determining and updating the syllabus with most relevant topics as per revised question pattern. Experts at have prepared the revised CAT syllabus based on different type of questions as would appear in CAT 2020 Exam.

Important: Read more top articles on CAT 2020

CAT Syllabus at a Glance: An Overview
The below shared latest CAT syllabus with changes, including the sectional composition of questions as introduced in CAT, has following key features:

  • The Syllabus is divided in three sections namely VARC, DILR, Quant
  • Each of the 3 sections is divided into MCQs and Non-MCQs
  • Overall the syllabus & pattern is divided in 3 sections, the effective number of sections are five as VARC and DILR sections are further subdivided into 2 sub sections
  • Based on CAT MBA Syllabus 2020, a full length CAT exam tutorial with 100 questions of 3 hours duration will be released by IIMs in October

Sectional Composition and Topics for CAT Syllabus 2020

Sectional Order for Syllabus
Total Questions
Key Topics in Syllabus
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)
5 RC Passages followed by 24 questions based on inferences, statements, arguments, main idea, author’s assumption, vocabulary – synonyms, antonyms, meaning of the phrase as given in the passage
10 questions based on Para Summary, Jumbled paragraphs with 4 sentences, Jumbled paragraphs with 5 sentences followed by question to pick the odd sentence out
Data Interpretation& Logical Reasoning (DILR)
Question are in sets of 4-5 both in DI and LR. 16 questions in DI part are based on Data Analysis, Data comparison from Table, Graphs, Bar charts, Pie charts, Caselets. 16 questions in LR are based on  Direction sense, Team formation, Seating Arrangement, Blood Relation among others
Quantitative Ability (QA)
Around 50% questions are based on Arithmetic topics like Number System, Ratio, Percentage, Interest, Profit & Loss, Speed & Distance, Time & Work and others. Rest 50% is covered by topics on Geometry, Algebra, Mensuration, Modern Math

CAT Entrance Exam Syllabus 2020: Updated with Changes
The syllabus for all the three sections - VARC, DILR and Quant is prepared after incorporating important changes announced by IIMs in the forthcoming CAT exam. There are two different exam sessions in Common Admission Test 2020 which will be held on November 29, 2020 in 157 cities in India. Each CAT exam slot will have different difficulty level but the questions are based within the CAT exam syllabus.     


Based on the past CAT exam pattern and the changes introduced by IIMs in the forthcoming CAT exam, the syllabus for CAT 2020 has four major components:

  • Overall Syllabus - Split section wise with overall 100 questions carrying 300 marks
  • CAT MBA Syllabus 2020 for VARC: 34 Questions on Limited Topics, carrying 102 Marks
  • CAT MBA Syllabus 2020 for DILR: 32 Questions on changed topics every year, carrying 96 Marks
  • CAT MBA Syllabus 2020 for Quant: 34 Questions with more focus on Arithmetic, now carrying 102 Marks

You should also be aware how much time is required to cover the complete syllabus and should start preparing for the exam accordingly without loss of time.

4 steps to read complete cat syllabus 2020

Overall & Sectional Weightage of Various Topics in CAT Syllabus

CAT Section
Syllabus Topics & Percentage of Weightage in Section
Overall Weightage in CAT exam
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)
Verbal Ability: 30%
Reading Cimprehension: 70%
VA: 10%
RC: 24%
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)
Data Interpretation: 50%
Logical Reasoning: 50%
Quantitative Ability (QA)
Arithmetic, Number system: 50%
Geometry, Algebra, modern Math, Mensuration & Others: 50%
Arithmetic: 17%
Other QA topics:17%

How do CAT Toppers Cover the Complete Syllabus?
CAT 2019 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 2019 topper with 100 percentile: IIM Ahmedabad student

  • 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 2019 topper with 99.73 percentile: IIM Ahmedabad Student

  • 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 syllabus for CAT 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 2019 topper with 99.69 percentile: IIM Bangalore student

“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 2019 topper with 98.20 percentile: IIM Ahmedabad student  

“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 2019 topper with 99.22 percentile: MDI Gurgaon Student

“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.”


Syllabus Section Wise: 5 Effective Sections After Sub-Division
CAT syllabus section wise is further sub-divided broadly into three sections but there is still a catch! The syllabus section wise is not limited to these three sections only as they are further subdivided. This sub-division makes CAT 2020 as an exam with 5 effective sections.


The section one VARC syllabus is further divided into two parts –Syllabus for Verbal Ability and for Reading Comprehension.


Similarly, section two DILR syllabus is also divided into two parts – syllabus for Data Interpretation and syllabus for Logical Reasoning. Both sections have equal number of questions.


The syllabus for Quantitative Ability section is also very wide and covers each and every topic in Mathematics with greater emphasis on Arithmetic.


Latest CAT Syllabus Pdf

The updated CAT syllabus PDF 2020 can help you boost your CAT preparation as per the current CAT pattern. The CAT syllabus 2020 Pdf download free is available online with existing and expected topics alongwith the type of questions expected in CAT exam.


Click Here for CAT Syllabus 2020 Pdf free Download


 After making a proper division of section wise syllabus, it is easier to finalise CAT preparation strategy based on CAT 2020 entrance exam syllabus whichis based on the pastand anticipated CAT  paper patterns:


Section-1: Syllabus for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) 
 Section Highlights: Common Admission Test (CAT) for VARC section is divided into 2 parts. The 1st part of CAT 2020 syllabus covers topics on Reading Comprehension passages and the 2nd part of syllabus on VARC covers topics on Verbal Ability.


Part-1: Syllabus for Reading Comprehension (RC)

  • Current affairs making impact on Social Life, International Affairs, Govt policies and Schemes for example 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 much 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 

Key Facts on RC Syllabus in CAT & Type of questions 
RC passage on any topic under the Sun can be placed in CAT exam.  

  • Number of Questions: 24
  • Sectional Weightage in CAT: 34%
  • Type of passages in CAT Exam on RC: 3 Long and 2 shorter
  • Division of questions: 6 questions based on each long passage and 3 questions based on each shorter passage. Sometimes uniform number of 5 questions follow 4 RC passages and 1 RC Passage is followed by 4 questions.
  • Type of Questions: All of MCQ type with penalty of 1/3rd negative marking
  • Format of questions: Questions 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
  • Length of RC passages in CAT: Longer RC passages are of around 900 words; shorter passages are of around 600 words in CAT exam as reflected in last 3 years.
  • Past trends of topics in RC Syllabus for CAT: Genetics, Second World War; Plastic Pollution; Elephant society; Consumer Behaviour; Status of Languages in 2115; Education System; Sustainable Economic Development; Anthropology /Excruciating Rituals & Reasons; Govt. Definition of Poverty and treatment of Household work 

Part-2: Syllabus for Verbal Ability

  • Essence of short paragraph/Para summary - (3-4 questions);
  • Jumbled Paragraphs (3-4 questions)
  • Out of Context Sentence in Jumbled paragraphs (2-3 questions)
  • Error Correction of Verb, Noun, Pronoun, Adjective, Adverb and other parts of speech in the Sentences.
  • Correcting the sequence of sentences in the paragraph for example correct use of conditional sentence, time clauses, reported speech, passive writing
  • Vocabulary usage – picking the correct pair of words
  • Vocabulary usage in RC passages – finding out the correct synonyms and antonyms
  • Fill in the blanks with correct vocabulary words
  • Completion of last sentence of Paragraphs
  • Analogies
  • Critical Reasoning
  • Sentence Completion
  • Facts, Inference and Judgement
  • Irrelevant Statements
  • Phrasal Verbs Usage

Key Facts on Verbal Ability Syllabus in CAT & Type of questions 

  • Number of Questions: 10
  • Sectional Weightage in CAT: 10%
  • Type of Questions: All of Non-MCQ type with No penalty for wrong answer
  • Format of questions: Essence of paragraph questions are based on around 5-6 sentences; questions on Jumbled paragraphs and out of context jumbled paragraphs have 4 -5 jumbled sentences which are to be placed in a coherent manner. The out of context sentence has to be picked out.

Click for CAT Syllabus 2020 pdf Download


Section-2: Syllabus for Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)
Section Highlights: CAT 2020 Syllabus and pattern for Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR) has been revamped. As a separate section in CAT exam, DILR was re-originated after keeping the section in abeyance for 4 years. During this period the DILR questions were clubbed to Quant and Verbal Ability sections respectively.


CAT entrance exam Syllabus for DILR section in CAT 2020 is divided in 2 parts – Syllabus for Data Interpretation and Syllabus for Logical Reasoning. Accordingly, the 1st part of CAT 2020 syllabus covers questions based on Data Interpretation (DI) and the 2nd part of CAT exam is based on questions on different topics on Logical Reasoning.


Part-1: Syllabus for Data Interpretation (DI)

  • Data Tables
  • Data charts
  • Bar diagrams & Charts including Simple, Stacked, Composite Bar charts
  • Pie charts
  • Graphs – Line X-Y Graphs
  • Data analysis and Data comparison among others
  • Caselet based Data

Key Facts on Data Interpretation Syllabus in CAT & Type of questions 

  • Number of Questions: 16 divided into MCQs and Non- MCQs
  • Sectional weightage in CAT: 16%
  • Past trend of topics in CAT Syllabus for DI: Table (Student Pass percentages over 5 years; Comprehension – Marks in Two sections of papers; Films, Launch, Completion, Release and Profits; Table on Consumption of Veg and Non-Veg Protein; Happiness Index: 4 questions based on Table; Kids Learning in Rural Areas: Data table based 4 questions; Flight operation Questions were in the set of 4 questions.
  • Questions on Data Interpretation and analysis of data based on text, tables, graphs (line, area), charts (column, bar, pie), venn diagram, are asked. Data could be given in form of tables, charts or graphs. In this section it is tested that how candidates can interpret the given data and answer questions based on it.

Part-2: Syllabus for Logical Reasoning (LR)

  • Clocks
  • Calendars
  • Binary logic
  • Seating Arrangement
  • Blood Relations (Family Tree)
  • Logical Sequence
  • Assumption
  • Premise
  • Conclusion
  • Linear and matrix arrangement
  • Team Formation
  • Direction sense and Decision Making
  • Input-Output
  • Series
  • Syllogism
  • Cubes
  • Rows
  • Set Theory, Venn Diagrams, Network Diagrams
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Puzzles
  • Logical Reasoning based on Rankings
  • Critical Reasoning

Key Facts on Logical Reasoning Syllabus in CAT & Type of questions 
CAT entrance exam syllabus defines that questions in LR section can be individual or can be in the set of 4 questions.

  • Weightage of LR Syllabus questions in CAT exam: 16%
  • Total LR questions in CAT: 16
  • Type of Questions: MCQs & Non MCQs
  • Past trend of topics in CAT LR Syllabus: Distribution/Arrangement; Venn Diagrams;  Arrangement of files in folders; Students using various Trains and the fares for the same; Seating Arrangement; Direction sense for Cars; Ordering items; Burgers/Fries/ Ice Cream

Click Here to get free CAT Syllabus pdf 2020


Section-3: Syllabus for Quantitative Ability (QA) 

Section Highlight: The syllabus for Quant section is very wide. Quantitative Ability (Quant) is the 3rd and last section in the revamped CAT exam pattern.  The syllabus and pattern for Quant is vast and covers everything in Mathematics that you may or may not expect. CAT exam syllabus 2020 on Quant is based on questions on different topics on Arithmetic, Algebra, Modern Math, Geometry, Mensuration, Trignometry among others. 


CAT Quant Syllabus 

  • LCM and HCF
  • Percentages
  • Profit and Loss
  • Interest (Simple and Compound)
  • Speed, Time and Distance; Time and Work; Averages; Ratio and Proportion and others
  • Number System (3-4) questions
  • Algebra (5-7 questions)
  • Geometry/Mensuration (6-8 questions)
  • Pure Math (1-2 questions)
  • Venn diagrams and other topic based questions are 2-3
  • 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

Key Facts on Quantitative Ability Syllabus in CAT & Type of questions 

  • Number of Questions: 34.
  • Sectional weightage in CAT: 34%
  • Type of Questions: MCQs and Non-MCQs
  • Past trend in CAT exam shows that there are 24 to 27 MCQs and 7 to 10 Non-MCQs in Quant section of CAT exam.
  • More emphasis on Arithmetic to promote academic diversity. Number of questions in Arithmetic: 10 to 12

Click for Quant CAT Syllabus 2020 pdf Download


Remember: No CAT Preparation without CAT Section wise Syllabus
Each section in CAT exam is as important as other two sections and has unique weightage in shortlisting process of IIMs. If you do not score minimum required percentile in any of the three sections, you are not shortlisted by any IIM. So make sure that you are well aware of CAT syllabus section wise for all the three sections and do not leave any syllabus topic unread.


The fact is that you will find it difficult to proceed with CAT preparation even if you have all the CAT preparation material, unless you know the MBA CAT syllabus. CAT MBA exam syllabus is much wider than one can anticipate. It does not leave any study topic untouched. It is advisable that first you should go for CAT syllabus pdf 2020 download and scan the complete syllabus. This will give you a fair idea about the complete CAT exam 2020 for MBA admission 2021 in IIMs and other top B-schools.


If you go through the document after CAT Syllabus 2020pdf Download, it will help you to decide when to begin CAT preparation? How to prepare for CAT 2020? What important topics covered in CAT exam need your focused attentionand so on so forth. Going by the past trends and past CAT exam pattern, CAT complete syllabus for each section of Common Admission Test (CAT) has been shared above to help the CAT 2020 aspirants in CAT 2020 preparation in accordance with the CAT 2020 exam syllabus.  


Important Points about CAT Entrance Exam Syllabus

  • CAT MBA syllabus is based on the mentioned guidelines and current structure of CAT exam.
  • CAT Exam has never had any boundaries and this fact also applies to define the CAT 2020 exam syllabus. 
  • The syllabus is based on recent trends in CAT exams and putting it the right way, the syllabus is the outcome of the topics which have earlier appeared in CAT exam although the type of questions, their composition, format and number may change in each subsequent CAT exam.
  • Past tendencies reflect that CAT MBA syllabus and pattern overall tests the candidate on Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension; Quantitative Aptitude; Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning.
  • The syllabus covers all the major topics on these three test sections which are further divided into sub-sections.
  • The key point in syllabus 2020 is that there is no repetition of CAT questions in any CAT exam although difficulty level of the questions in CAT exam would not go out of the syllabus. 

Don’t be Misled
The syllabus is available online for download at various websites. You should not be misled by such CAT syllabus 2020 Pdf as it may create more confusion than can help you. So, once you know about the details and pattern of CAT Exam 2020 for MBA admission in IIMs, your next step for CAT preparation is to duly scan the Syllabus 2020.


The Syllabus goes on changing after each CAT exam. It may be changed again based on CAT 2020 exam pattern. What appeared in last year CAT question paper may get replaced with changes in syllabus of CAT 2020 exam. So, please note that IIM entrance exam syllabus is not pre-defined by CAT 2020 convening IIM nor the syllabus was outlined earlier also by the CAT exam convening IIM Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Indore, Kozhikode or Lucknow and Calcutta. 


Please note that Scanning of Syllabus should be the first step to begin your CAT preparation journey for CAT 2020 exam .


CAT Syllabus Modifications: Yearly Changes

The CAT question paper with 100 test questions of MCQ and Non-MCQ type is based on updated topics contained in CAT 2020 syllabus. If you wish to crack CAT 2020 with high score, you should prepare in accordance with the exam syllabus which is modified and changed every year.


Every year, the Syllabus and pattern is updated by CAT experts with anticipated changes in CAT exam pattern and the topics.After this exercise, the syllabusis updated section wise. The prospective test takers can go for CAT syllabus pdf 2020 download and prepare accordingly.


Read More: CAT 2020- Exam Date, Registration, Syllabus, Preparation, Books

Short name

Question and Answers