Over the years CAT 2020 Exam Pattern has undergone perceptible changes in structure. In 2015 some major changes were done by IIM Ahmedabad, the conducting body for that year when sectional time limit and Non-MCQ (Type in the Answer) type questions were introduced. This pattern has remained unchanged since then. Keeping in mind the level of competition a comprehensive CAT 2020 Preparation Strategy is necessary to ace the exam.
CAT is an aptitude test in order to select the best minds from a large pool of candidates aiming to pursue MBA from elite B-Schools in India. It is a computer based test conducted annually in the month of November in two sessions-Morning and Evening. 20 IIMs and more than 100+ management institutes admit candidates taking into account CAT scores.
Understanding the CAT 2020 Exam Pattern and its sectional details is necessary to devise a personal preparation plan. The 3 hour paper test candidates skills on: Quantitative aptitude, Verbal ability and Reading Comprehension and Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning. Each section is to be completed in one hour each.
There is a sectional time limit of 60 minutes for each section. After which candidates have to submit the section and move onto the next. PwD candidates have the leverage to submit their response between 60 minutes to 80 minutes. There are three options available with the candidates for each question:
|Total Number of Questions||100|
|Number of Sections||3|
|Questions with Negative Marking||70 to 75|
|Questions Without Negative Marking||25 to 30|
|Marking Pattern||+3 for a correct response|
|-1 for an incorrect response|
The Color panel on the question paper is as follows:
|Green||Answered and not marked for review|
|Red||Question neither answered nor reviewed|
|Grey||Question that is not visited or viewed|
|Violet||Question marked for review and not answered|
|Violet with a green tick||Question marked for review and answered|
CAT is a digital or computer based test rather than an online exam. It is not an internet based exam, candidates are supposed to read the question on the computer screen assigned to them and mark their responses. A detailed section wise pattern is mentioned below:
|Section Name||Number of Questions||Time Allotted|
|Section||Number of Questions||Number of MCQs||Number of Non-MCQs||Duration|
|Quantitative Aptitude (QA)||34||22-24||10-12||60 minutes|
|Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VALR)||34||24-27||7-10||60 minutes|
|Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning(DILR)||32||24||8||60 minutes|
There are two types of questions asked in CAT 2020 exams - MCQs and Non-MCQs. Given below is the marking scheme for CAT examination:
|Correct Answer||+3 Marks|
|Incorrect Answer||-1 Marks|
|Unattempted Question||Not Marked|
The following table will help you give a better understanding of how the CAT 2020 Exam Pattern is slightly different from XAT.
|Nature of Comparison||XAT by XLRI||CAT by IIM|
|Mode of Examination||Computer Based Test||Computer Based Test|
|Duration of the Exam||210 minutes||180 minutes|
|Sectional Time Limit||No time limit||1 Hour for each section|
|Number of Questions||100||100|
|Types of Questions||99 MCQs; 1 Essay-type||72-75 MCQs, others non-MCQs|
|Number of options||4||4|
|Number of sections||5 (Decision Making, General Awareness, Essay Writing, Quants/DI, English Aptitude)||3 (DILR, VARC, Quants)|
|Marking Scheme||+1 for a correct answer; ¼ negative for 74 MCQs; No negative marking for 25 MCQs and Essay-type question||+3 for correct answer; ? for negative answer; No negative marking for Non-MCQ type question|
After knowing the CAT 2020 Exam Pattern, the next step is to know the syllabus. The CAT exam is set by the conducting authority, which are the IIMs in this case. No set syllabus is released before the exam but there are topics that frequently appear in each year's paper. As described in the previous section, the exam has three sections: Quantitative Ability, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning and Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension. The topics that are covered in the exam under each section are as follows:
The Quantitative Ability section has numerical questions. It has different mathematics topics ranging from arithmetic, geometry, algebra to modern mathematics. The section has a total of 34 questions. Following table will show you the sectional distribution of the questions:
|Sections||Number of questions|
The syllabus for Quantitative Ability is tabulated in the following section.
|Variation||Linear and Quadratics Equations||Logarithms|
|Time and Work||Speed, Distance and Time||Surds and Indices|
|Mensuration and Geometry||Tables and Case Lets||Probability/ Profit and Loss|
|Allegations and Mixtures||Algebra||Percentage|
|Critical Path||Averages and Partnerships||Inequalities|
The Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension section is meant to check and understand the student’s English proficiency levels. Candidates are judged on basic grammar, sentence completions and para jumbles. There are also reading comprehension questions where one has to read through a paragraph and answer questions based on the paragraph. The VARC section too has a total of 34 questions out of which 10 are of Verbal Ability and rest are of reading comprehension. Following table shows the sectional distribution of the questions.
You also need to know about the syllabus of VARC. The following table will give you an idea of it.
|Sentence Correction||Fill in the Blanks|
|Word usage||Para Jumble|
|Para Completion||Fact Inference Judgement|
The Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation section has been designed to judge each candidate’s ability to read and understand data. The questions are set to judge the logical reasoning of each candidate. This section has a total of 32 questions. The LRDI section requires a lot of concentration and caution while attempting. The section has witnessed 16 questions of Logical Reasoning and 16 from the Data Interpretation section in the past papers.
The syllabus for this section is tabulated below:
|Pie Chart||Venn Diagram|
|Bar Graph||Blood Relations|
|Line Graph||Combination of Graphs|
|Seating Arrangements||Case Lets|
|Statements||Clocks and Calendars|
The most important topics from each section, as per the pattern witnessed in previous year’s papers are as follows:
|Quantitative Aptitude||Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation||Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension|
|Number Systems||Calendars||Grammar and Usage|
|Profit, Loss and Discount||Graphs and Charts||Vocabulary|
|LCM and HCF||Number and Letter series||Fill in the blanks|
|Percentages||Seating Arrangement||Sentence correction|
|Time and Work||Matching||Analogies|
|Permutation Combinations||Blood Relations||Reading Comprehension questions|
|Trigonometry||Syllogism||Inferences and Judgements|
The market has a variety of books marketed for CAT preparation. It is very easy to get confused with which books to pick, as a beginner. The good news is that if one book is harder to understand one can always pick up another book that is easier.
A good starting point to buy any CAT 2020 preparation book is to make sure that it is the latest edition. All CAT books are updated yearly to include that year’s CAT paper. Another point to look out for is to make sure the book is as per CAT 2020 exam pattern, syllabus and covers all the topics necessary.
Some of the popular writers that have quality CAT preparation books are Arun Sharma and Arihant’s CAT preparation books. Both types of books are recommended often by toppers and teachers.
Some of the best books that are recommended for CAT 2020 preparation are:
|Book Name||Author Name|
|How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT||Arun Sharma|
|How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT||Arun Sharma|
|How to Prepare for Logical Reasoning for CAT||Arun Sharma|
|How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CAT||Arun Sharma|
|Word Power Made Easy||Norman Lewis|
|Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for the CAT||Nishit K.Sinha|
|Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT||Nishit K.Sinha|
|Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CAT||Nishit K.Sinha|
|Quantitative Aptitude for Quantitative CAT||Sarvesh K. Verma|
|A Modern Approach to Logical Reasoning||R.S. Agarwal|
General feedback from all candidates was that the 2019 CAT paper had a difficult Verbal section. As compared to it, the Quantitative and the LRDI section were easier as compared to the previous year’s paper. There were two slots in which the exam was conducted. Candidates have reported that there has been not much difference between the papers of both slots for CAT 2019. In regards to the structure and the overall difficulty level of the paper, it was not too difficult than the 2018 paper.
The number of questions that appeared in each section of both slots was:
|Section Name||Number of Questions||MCQs||Non-MCQ|
|Quantitative Aptitude (QA)||34||23||11|
|Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VALR)||34||27||7|
|Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning(DILR)||32||24||8|
The verbal section for CAT 2019 was easy to moderate. The more accurate the answers the higher will be the score.
The slot of the quant section was the same as the previous year’s paper and has moderate difficulty.
CAT aspirants who sit for the exam are on the rise every year. With an increase in the standard of living and better-paying jobs, more and more students are choosing the CAT exam route to complete their post-graduation. CAT is one of the toughest management entrance examinations. It requires a lot of preparation but at the same time gives a running start to an illustrious career later.
Ques. Is there any change in CAT 2020 Exam Pattern?
Ans. No, there are no major changes in the CAT 2020 Exam Pattern. Although, the difficulty level and the number of questions in each section may vary.
Ques. Is CAT 2020 an online exam?
Ans. CAT 2020 is not an online exam. It is a computer-based exam, i.e, the exam does not take place on an internet site.
Ques. How many MCQs are there in each section in the CAT 2020 Examination?
Ans. the number of questions in each section may vary. Generally, there are 24 MCQs in VARC, 24 MCQs in DL/RI and 22 MCQs in Quants.
Ques. What is the time duration of the CAT 2020 examination?
Ans. The duration of the examination is 180 minutes.
Ques. How many sections are there in the CAT 2020 Examination?
Ans. There are 3 sections in the CAT examination, namely, Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DL/RI) and Quantitative Ability.
Ques. What are TITA questions?
Ans. TITA questions or the “Type in the answer” questions are non-MCQ types questions. Candidates have to write the answer in the box provided to them.
Ques. Can I appear for more than one slot in the CAT 2020 Examination?
Ans. No, you cannot appear for more than one slot in the examination.