CAT Syllabus 2020


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Updated on
February 17, 2020

CAT Syllabus 2020 is changed and you should make your preparation strategy as per the revised CAT Syllabus. The number of questions in Quantitative Ability (QA) section, DILR section and Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) section have been changed. Besides, the number of TITA questions (Non-MCQs or No penalty questions) in different CAT sections have also been changed alongwith the topics in CAT syllabus. 


The CAT syllabus for all the three sections - VARC, DILR and Quant is prepared after incorporating important changes announced by IIMs in the forth coming 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.     


Important changes in CAT Syllabus 2020
Changes and surprises including the sectional composition of questions as introduced in CAT syllabus are:

  • Non-MCQ Questions are 27 now
  • The syllabus & pattern for DILR Section has 32 questions in total
  • Quantitative Ability (QA) Section has 34 questions
  • RC Syllabus in VARC section has 5 RC Passages with 24 questions of MCQ type with negative marking
  • Syllabus for Verbal Ability part in VARC has 10 questions on 3 topics – Jumbled paragraphs; Picking the Odd Sentence out of the jumbled paragraph and Para Summary questions.
  • VARC section will include 10 Non-MCQ type questions  


Based on CAT Syllabus 2020, a full length CAT exam tutorial with 100 questions of 3 hours duration will be released by IIMs in October. 

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CAT Syllabus, as prepared by experts at and other CAT Preparation centres, gives you the right direction to prepare for the IIM CAT exam. Therefore, the CAT 2020 syllabus is the first thing you should know before getting ready for IIM CAT.   

CAT syllabus is very wide and it may contain questions on new topics or on the topics on which no questions have been asked during past many years. So, each and every past and probable topic is included in the CAT syllabus to make your preparation journey smooth and meaningful. Although IIMs do not release the CAT exam syllabus in detail, over the years top experts and changes in CAT pattern keep on determining CAT syllabus with new topics and question pattern.


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 for CAT 2020 - Split section wise with overall 100 questions carrying 300 marks
  • CAT 2020 Syllabus for VARC: 34 Questions on Limited Topics, carrying 102 Marks
  • CAT 2020 Syllabus for DILR: 32 Questions on changed topics every year, carrying 96 Marks
  • CAT 2020 Syllabus 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 CAT syllabus 2020 and should start preparing for the exam accordingly without loss of time.

4 steps to read complete cat syllabus 2018

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 syllabus 2020. If you wish to crack CAT 2020 with high score, you should prepare in accordance with CAT exam syllabus which is modified and changed every year.


CAT Syllabus and pattern is not pre-defined by IIMs. However, every year, the CAT Syllabus and pattern is updated by CAT experts with anticipated changes in CAT exam pattern and the topics. After this exercise, CAT syllabus section wise is updated. The prospective test takers can go for CAT syllabus 2020 download and prepare accordingly.


The CAT exam 2020 syllabus shared below is based on revamped and updated Syllabus of CAT Exam, the structure of which stands totally changed.


Since 2015, CAT entrance exam syllabus has gone through many changes. Below is shared the updated MBA CAT syllabus for all the 3 sections of VARC, DILR and QA including some forgotton topics which may appear again in CAT exam 


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


The section one VARC syllabus is divided into two parts - Verbal Ability syllabus and Reading Comprehension syllabus.


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


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


Section-1: CAT Syllabus for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) 

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


Part-1: CAT Syllabus for Reading Comprehension (RC)

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


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 Syllabus: 34%
  • Type of passages in CAT Exam Syllabus 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 Syllabus: Longer RC passages are of around 900 words; shorter passages are of around 600 words in CAT exam syllabus 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: CAT 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 Syllabus: 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 Download


Section-2: CAT 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 2020 exam syllabus on DILR is based on questions on different topics on Logical Reasoning.


Part-1: CAT 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 Syllabus: 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: CAT exam 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 syllabus for 2020 exam: 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 for CAT Syllabus 2020 Download


Section-3: CAT Syllabus for Quantitative Ability (QA) 

Section Highlight: CAT exam syllabus 2020 for Quant section is very wide. Quantitative Aptitude (Quant) is the 3rd and last section in the revamped CAT exam pattern.  CAT syllabus and pattern 2020 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 Syllabus: 34%
  • Type of Questions: MCQs and Non-MCQs
  • Past trend in CAT exam syllabus for Quant 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 Download


Remember: No CAT Preparation without CAT Syllabus Section Wise
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. IIMs CAT syllabus does not leave any study topic untouched. it is advisable that first you should go for CAT syllabus 2020 download and scan the complete syllabus. This will give you a fair idea about CAT syllabus 2020 for MBA admission 2021 in IIMs and other top B-schools.


If you go through the document after CAT Syllabus 2020 Download, it will help you to decide when to begin CAT preparation? How to prepare for CAT 2020? What important topics covered in CAT syllabus need your focused attention in CAT preparation and 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 2020 MBA syllabus is based on the mentioned guidelines and current structure of CAT exam.
  • CAT Exam Syllabus has never had any boundaries and this fact also applies to define the CAT 2020 exam syllabus. 
  • CAT 2020 exam syllabus is based on recent trends in CAT exams and putting it the right way, the CAT 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 2020 and pattern overall tests the candidate on Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension; Quantitative Aptitude; Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning.
  • CAT exam Syllabus covers all the major topics on these three test sections which are further divided into sub-sections.
  • The key point in CAT MBA 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 CAT exam syllabus. 
  • CAT MBA Syllabus 2020 pdf is available for download on the coaching institutes' websites and other CAT preparation sites online.

Don’t be Misled
The CAT Exam syllabus 2020 PDF 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 go through and duly scan the CAT exam Syllabus 2020.


The MBA CAT Syllabus goes on changing after each CAT exam. The syllabus for CAT question paper 2020 may be changed based on CAT exam pattern. What appeared in CAT 2019 question paper may get replaced with changes in syllabus of CAT 2020 exam. So, please note that IIM entrance exam syllabus or CAT 2020 exam Syllabus is not pre-defined by CAT 2020 convening IIM nor the CAT syllabus was outlined earlier also by the CAT exam convening IIM Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Indore, Kozhikode or Lucknow and Calcutta. 


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


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

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