CAT Exam Syllabus

Exam Syllabus

As you decide to start your preparation for CAT 2019, you keep fishing around for proper exam syllabus description!

Here is the one for you: The fact is, CAT Exam Syllabus hasn’t had any boundaries, and this pertains to define the CAT 2019 exam syllabus. CAT 2019 exam syllabus will be based up on past trend of CAT exams and putting it the right way, as in, CAT syllabus is always an outcome of the topics which were dealt in earlier CAT exam although the type of questions, their composition, format and number may change in each subsequent CAT exam but the topics allocated would remain in a synchrony with the previous years.

The key aspect regarding CAT exam syllabus 2019 is that there is no repetition of CAT questions in any CAT exam although difficulty level of the questions in CAT exam would remain like the examination pattern. Past tendencies showcase that CAT exam syllabus and pattern tests the overall skill level of the candidate in:

  1. Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension
  2. Quantitative Aptitude
  3. Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning.

Once you go through the CAT exam syllabus thoroughly, it will help you to breakdown and understand and address few major question like:

when to begin your CAT preparation?

How to prepare for CAT 2019?

What important topics covered in CAT syllabus need your focused preparation and so on. Going by the past trends and past CAT exam pattern the information shared below would be of a help for your better understanding about the exam.

CAT exam Syllabus covers all the major topics in these three sections which are further divided into sub-sections.

Sectional Sub-division of CAT 2019 Syllabus

To bell the CAT, you require a comprehensive understanding on what all are skill set you are tested. For a better understanding this is further subdivided as:

VARC = Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension.

DILR = Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning.

QA = Quantitative Aptitude.


This is divided into 2 parts.

Part 1, covers questions based on Reading Comprehension passages and Part 2, is based on questions on different topics on Verbal Ability.

Part-1: Reading Comprehension (RC)

Reading Comprehension in VARC section of CAT exam is comprised of 70%

Total RC passages:  5

Topics covered: Current affairs; Social and Economic issues; Literature; Science & Culture; Abstract topics; history & fiction.

The topics are only indicative and not exhaustive.

*There are no defined set of RC topics in CAT exam syllabus.

Total questions based on RC passages


Type of RC passages

3 Long and 2 shorter

Length of RC passages

CAT exam has 3 longer RC passages of around 900 words; shorter passages are of around 600 words in CAT exam syllabus as reflected in last 3 years.

Division of questions

6 questions based on each long passage and 3 questions based on each shorter passage

Type of Questions

All 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.

Part-2: Verbal Ability

Verbal Ability (VA) questions in  VARC section of CAT exam comprised of 30%

Total VA based questions


Topics on which VA questions are based:


Para summary


Para jumbles


Jumbled paragraphs with out of context sentence


Type of Questions

All Non-MCQ type with No penalty for wrong answer

The topics are only indicative and not exhaustive.

Format of questions :

Para summary 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 accordance with coherence.

The out of context sentence must be picked out.

English Usage & Sentence Correction;

Fill in the blanks;

Vocabulary-Usage in context.


This section is divided into 2 parts – Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning.

Part1, covers questions based on Data Interpretation (DI); Part 2 is based on questions on different topics on Logical Reasoning.

Part-1: Syllabus for Data Interpretation (DI)

DI questions in DILR section of CAT exam comprised of 50%

Total DI questions


Number of MCQs


Number of Non MCQs



Data Tables, Data charts, Bar diagrams, Pie charts, Graphs, Data analysis and comparison among others

Format of questions:

This section test how well you can interpret the given data and answer questions based on it.

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.

The topics are only indicative and not exhaustive.

Part-2: Logical Reasoning (LR)

LR questions in DILR section comprise of 50%

Total LR questions


Number of MCQs


Number of Non MCQs



Clocks, Calendars, binary logic, seating arrangement, blood relations, logical sequence, Assumption, premise, conclusion, linear and matrix arrangement.

The topics are only indicative and not exhaustive.

Quantitative Aptitude:

CAT exam Quant section is very wide. Quantitative Aptitude (Quant) is the 3rd and last section in the redesigned CAT exam pattern. This section covers almost everything in Mathematics that you may or may not expect questions can be based on different topics on Arithmetic, Algebra, Modern Math, Geometry, Mensuration, Trigonometry among others.

Total questions


Number of MCQs

24 to 27

Number of Non-MCQs

7 to 10

Number of questions in Arithmetic

10 to 12; more emphasis on Arithmetic to promote academic diversity.

Major topics

LCM and HCF; Percentages; Profit and Loss; Interest (Simple and Compound); Speed, Time and Distance; Time and Work; Averages; Ratio and Proportion.

Other key areas of Quant syllabus

Numbers (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 apart from above.


  1. Linear Equations
  2. Quadratic Equations
  3. Complex Numbers
  4. Logarithm
  5. Progressions
  6. Binomial Theorem
  7. Surds and Indices
  8. Inequalities
  9. Permutation and Combination
  10. Probability Functions
  11. Set Theory
  12. Mixtures and Allegations
  13. Geometry
  14. Co-ordinate Geometry
  15. Trigonometry
  16. Mensuration

The topics in Quant are only indicative and not exhaustive.