The CAT (Common Admission Test) is an online computer-based test which happens every year and is conducted by IIMs. The exam tests aspirants on the basis of Quantitative Ability, Verbal Ability, Interpretation of Data, and Logical Reasoning. This test thus helps aspirants to take admission to the IIMs and other quality MBA Colleges in India.

The syllabus for CAT is vast and over the past few years there have been no substantial changes in the syllabus. As a result, the syllabus is expected to remain the same in the current year too. By knowing the critical topics within the CAT syllabus candidates will be able to draw a clear cut strategy as how to prepare for the exam. Hence, completing CAT syllabus is no more a myth.

CAT Exam Pattern

The exam pattern of CAT follows below:

  1. Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC): Para-jumbles & Para-summary, sentence completion, inferences, and RC passages based questions.
  2. Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR): Seating Arrangement, Blood Relation, Syllogism, Tables, Graphs, Data Caselets.
  3. Quantitative Aptitude (QA): Number System, Geometry, Algebra, Mensuration, Time and Work.

Note: Each Section will have 60 minutes of time and will have 100 questions. The total marks is 300.

CAT Syllabus: Section-wise Critical Topics

VARC section is the very first section of the CAT question paper and is to be solved first. The section is divided into two sub-parts, Verbal Ability (VA) and Reading Comprehension (RC). Take a look at critical topics for each of the subsections.

Syllabus for Reading Comprehension (RC)

There will be questions on Current affairs which has an impact on Social Life, International Affairs, Govt Policies and Schemes. For example, Triple Talaq, CAA, COVID-19 pandemic, Clean India Mission, and many more may feature in the exam.

You may find passages on Business & Economic, for example – Changes in Global Economy, Economic Development at the Cost of Environment, Impact of the Demonetization in India, etc. There will also be passages from English Literature Books like passages from Charles Dickens, Martin Luther King, Mohan Das Karam Chand Gandhi, Churchill, and others.

One has to look into  topics like Science & Culture, Fading Culture with the daily advancement of Technology as there can be passages based on such topics. Abstract and Fiction topics are also included in the Reading Comprehension Syllabus for CAT. 

You may also come across passages on various Historical events like the French Revolution, War of Roses, Social changes in Indian History and many others. Finally, there can be passages on Mythology as well. So, prepare accordingly based on the topics mentioned above to ace this section.

Syllabus for Verbal Ability

The essence of a short paragraph/Para summary with 3 to 4 questions. Then there will be 3 to 4 questions on Jumbled Paragraphs. You can expect 2 to 3 questions on Out of Context Sentences. Apart from that there will be questions on Correction of Error in Verbs, Noun, Pronoun, Adjective, Adverb, other parts of speech, Correcting the sequences of sentences in paragraphs. For example, correct use of the conditional sentence, clauses of time, reported speech, etc.

Usage of Vocabulary like picking the exact words is also a critical topic to take a look into. Usage of Vocabulary in RC passages, find out correct antonyms and synonyms, fill in the blanks using right vocabulary words, Completion of the last sentence of Paragraphs, Analogies are other important topics of this section.

Finally, you must practice Critical Reasoning, Sentence Completion, Facts, Inference and Judgment, Irrelevant Statements, and Phrasal Verbs Usage which will complete your preparation for this section.

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

DILR is the second section of the question paper in CAT and is to be solved after the VARC section. This section is divided into two sub-sections, DI and LR. Take a look at important topics and some critical points of both sections.

Syllabus for Data Interpretation (DI):

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

Questions on Data Interpretation and data analysis based on text, tables, graphs both line and area, column charts, bar, pie, Venn Diagram, are asked. Data could be given in the form of tables, charts, and graphs. This section tests how candidates can interpret the provided data and answer questions based on it.

Syllabus for Logical Reasoning (LR)

For LR, one must look into the following topics as mentioned below:

  1. Clocks
  2. Calendars
  3. Binary logic
  4. Seating Arrangement
  5. Blood Relations (Family Tree)
  6. Logical Sequence
  7. Assumption
  8. Linear and matrix arrangement
  9. Team Formation
  10. Direction sense and Decision Making
  11. Input-Output
  12. Series
  13. Syllogism
  14. Cubes
  15. Rows
  16. Set Theory, Venn Diagrams, Network Diagrams
  17. Quantitative Reasoning
  18. Puzzles
  19. Logical Reasoning based on Rankings
  20. Critical Reasoning

CAT Syllabus: Quantitative Ability

QA is the last section of the question paper in CAT and is to be solved in the last hour of the exam. Take a look at important topics and some key points of this section.

  1. Geometry
  2. Trigonometry
  3. Algebra
  4. Mensuration
  5. Partnership (Accounts)
  6. Profit & Loss
  7. Ratios and Proportion
  8. In-equations Quadratic and linear equations
  9. Surds and Indices
  10. Time-Speed-Distance
  11. Number System
  12. Geometric Progression
  13. Inequalities
  14. Work and Time
  15. Percentages
  16. Logarithms

No Preparation is possible without CAT Section-wise Syllabus

Each section in the CAT exam is equally important and carries a unique weightage for getting shortlisted for IIMs. If you do not have a minimum score in any of the sections, you will not get shortlisted by any of the IIMs. So, make sure that you give importance to all the critical topics in the CAT syllabus and do not leave any topic unread. 

The exam pattern of CAT has changed over the years. But as of now there is no official notification on changes in pattern further. CAT exam syllabus is not predefined and covering the entire syllabus is not a myth if you focus on critical topics. This will help you prepare better.