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What is CAT Exam Pattern 2024

CAT Exam Pattern 2024 will be released tentatively on 31 July 2024, along with the official notification. The candidates appearing in the upcoming exam must check the latest and official CAT Exam Pattern 2024 in detail. The exam pattern for CAT has been changed several times in the past years by the conducting IIMs. But, since 2015, the CAT pattern with respect to the CAT total marks, duration, and total questions, has remained the same. CAT exam pattern helps to devise personal test-taking strategies.

The CAT Exam Pattern 2024 is expected to be the same as the last two years’ exams, as the authority did not make any changes in the pattern in 2022 and 2023. The CAT exam pattern given below will help the CAT aspirants to get acquainted with the latest pattern and prepare accordingly.

The CAT (Common Admission Test) exam pattern typically consists of three major sections. Here’s an overview of the CAT exam pattern:

  1. Sections: CAT is divided into three sections:

    • Quantitative Ability (QA)
    • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)
    • Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR)
  2. Number of Questions: The total number of questions in CAT has varied in recent years, but it typically ranges between 76 to 100 questions in total. The exact number may vary year to year.

  3. Sectional Time Limit: Each section of CAT is timed separately. As of the last update, the time allocated for each section is usually 60 minutes. Candidates cannot switch between sections during the exam.

  4. Marking Scheme: CAT employs a +3, -1 marking scheme for correct and incorrect answers respectively. This means:

    • You earn 3 marks for every correct answer.
    • 1 mark is deducted for every incorrect answer (negative marking).
    • There is no penalty (no negative marking) for unattempted questions.
  5. Type of Questions: CAT primarily features multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and some non-MCQs (also known as TITA or Type in the Answer questions). Non-MCQs do not have options provided, and candidates need to type in their answers using a virtual keyboard.

  6. Difficulty Level: The difficulty level of CAT questions is generally considered to be moderate to high, testing candidates’ conceptual understanding, problem-solving abilities, and application of knowledge.

  7. Sectional Order: The order of sections (QA, VARC, DILR) in the CAT exam may vary from year to year. Candidates typically do not have control over the sequence in which the sections appear.

  8. Exam Duration: The total duration of the CAT exam is 180 minutes (3 hours). Each section is timed separately within this overall duration.

It’s essential for aspirants to familiarize themselves with the CAT exam pattern well in advance and practice with mock tests to get accustomed to the format, time constraints, and types of questions asked.

CAT Exam Pattern 2024: Overview (Expected)

The CAT 2023 exam pattern may see some minor changes. Aspirants can refer to the 2023 pattern given below for reference.

Total Questions in CAT Exam66
Total Marks198
Total CAT Exam Sections3
CAT Exam Duration2 Hours
Mode of PaperOnline Only
Question TypesMCQs and Non-MCQs (TITA)
CAT Exam Making Scheme

+3 For Correct Answers

-1 For Incorrect Answers

0 For Unattempted Questions

CAT Exam Section Names

1. Quantitative Aptitude

2. Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension

3. Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation

The CAT exam is one of the toughest exams in the country since it has neither a pre-defined syllabus nor a set exam pattern. Thus, the candidates often get confused as the CAT exam pattern changes frequently.

The examiners made some major changes in the CAT 2015 exam pattern by introducing sectional timing and TITA (Type In The Answer) type questions. This pattern for CAT EXAM was repeated in CAT 2016 and remained unchanged in CAT 2017 and 2018.

CAT 2024 Expected Exam Pattern – CAT Marks Distribution 

Note the table below to get a detailed analysis of the latest CAT marks distribution based on the last year’s CAT exam Pattern.

CAT 2023 Sectional Pattern
SectionMCQsNon-MCQsTotal No. of QuestionsCAT Exam Duration
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)2132440 min
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DI & LR)1462040 min
Quantitative Ability (QA)1482240 min
Total491766120 (2 hours)

CAT Exam Tips & Tricks Related Resources:

The candidates can check the links given below to know the tips and tricks to ace the CAT exam:

How To Prepare For CAT Exam?

CAT Preparation Tips for Final Year Graduate Students

How To Prepare for CAT In Two months?

CAT Preparation Tips for Non-Engineers

How to Crack CAT 2024 in 3 Months?

Should I Re-Attempt CAT Exam?

How To Prepare for CAT in 6 Months?

Data Interpretation Tips For CAT Preparation

How Important is CAT Exam for Your Career?

Logical Reasoning Tips for CAT Exam

How to Guess an Answer in CAT?

Online CAT Preparation Tips for Working Professionals

How to Improve Reading Speed for CAT Exam 2024?

How To Crack Non-MCQ Questions in CAT?

How to Solve Your Vocabulary Woes?

CAT Exam Pattern 2024 Quantitative Aptitude

The CAT Quantitative Aptitude section is a standalone section comprising only numerical-based questions from different Maths topics. A total of 26 questions are included in this section for this year. The detailed pattern for the Quantitative Aptitude section is given below.

The complete Quantitative Aptitude section comprises mainly 5 topics, and they are as follows:

  • Basic Arithmetic
  • Algebra
  • Number System
  • Geometry & Mensuration
  • Modern Maths

The cat marks distribution on these topics varies every year. A tentative marks distribution graph of Quantitative Aptitude topics is given below.

Marks Distribution Graph

From the chart, it is clear that Arithmetic is one of the most important CAT exam topics, and 10-14 questions related to Arithmetic are repeated in the exam every year. In this section, almost 6-8 TITA questions (Non-MCQs) are included where candidates are required to type their answers. Overall, the level of difficulty of the CAT quantitative aptitude section ranges from easy to moderately high and can be answered easily with the proper practice of the syllabus topics.

From the chart, it is clear that Arithmetic is one of the most important CAT exam topics, and 10-14 questions related to Arithmetic are repeated in the exam every year. In this section, almost 6-8 TITA questions (Non-MCQs) are included, where candidates are required to type their answers. Overall, the level of difficulty of the CAT Quantitative Aptitude section ranges from easy to moderately high and can be answered easily with the proper practice of the syllabus topics.

VARC CAT Question Exam Pattern 

The CAT VARC section is mainly focused on checking the English language skills of the candidates and how well they can interpret paragraphs and understand the core ideas. In the VA-RC section, 26 questions will come in the CAT exam this year.

In the CAT exam section for Verbal Ability, 8 questions will be included this year. The main areas in the Verbal Ability section from where the questions will come are listed below:

  • Para Jumbles
  • Sentence Correction and Completion
  • Summary Based

Altogether, some questions are from the Verbal Ability section while others are from the Reading Comprehension passages. In CAT Reading Comprehension, there are various types of questions, such as vocabulary-based, title-based, etc.

A comparative analysis of the CAT VARC questions is given below. As evidenced below, the reading comprehension rates as the most important aspect of this section.

Comparative Analysis Of Cat Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension

In this section, a total of 5-8 TITA questions will be included, in which no options will be given, and the candidates need to type the answers. The overall level of difficulty of the CAT Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension section is moderately difficult, and this section will be time-consuming.

CAT Exam Pattern for Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation

The Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation section tests the proficiency of the candidates in interpreting data and their ability to understand logical assumptions. In this section, a total of 22-24 questions will be included.

In the CAT Logical Reasoning section, 18-20 questions will be included this year. The questions vary from inequalities to symbol operations, direction sense test, etc. The questions in this section are easily solvable, and thus, this section is highly-scoring.

On the other hand, the Data Interpretation section is a bit difficult and time-consuming. Several confusing data caselets are included in this section, and candidates are required to understand the data sets thoroughly to be able to answer the full question sets. The CAT Data Interpretation section should be attempted cautiously, as a single mistake can lead the candidates to attempt all the questions from a particular set incorrectly.

A comparative analysis for CAT Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning section is given below.

Comparative Analysis For Cat Data Interpretation And Logical Reasoning

A total of 6-7 TITA questions will be included in this section. The question pattern in the CAT LR-DI section is often confusing, and thus, the candidates need to attempt this section properly. This section is high-scoring, and one should not hurry to read the data caselets and logical reasoning statements.

CAT Exam Duration

Each section of the CAT has a set time limit. As per the most recent CAT Exam Pattern, the sectional timings and slot-by-slot information are listed below.

  • Morning session: 8:30 am – 10:30 pm
  • Afternoon session: 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm
  • Evening session: 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm
CAT Exam SectionsCAT Sectional Time
VARC40 Minutes
QA40 Minutes
DILR40 Minutes
Total120 Minutes

CAT Exam Marking Scheme

According to the official CAT Exam Pattern, there is a different scoring system for MCQ and TITA questions. Both MCQs and Non-MCQs will award +3 points for each right response. Negative marking, however, is limited to MCQ questions and subtracts one mark for each incorrect response. TITA and unattempted questions do not receive any deducted points.

CAT 2024 Exam Pattern – Other Important Points

  • The exam will be conducted in three slots of 2 hours each on a single day, with 40 minutes allotted for each section.
  • The exam will be a computer-based test.
  • The exam will be for 198 marks in total, and the candidates cannot switch between the sections.
  • A non-scientific and onscreen calculator is provided, and no other electronic devices are allowed inside the test room.
  • An on-screen timer is present on the computer screen, which shows the remaining time for the respective sections.
  • There is a negative marking of 1 mark for each incorrect answer.

Being one of the toughest exams in the country, the CAT exam surely requires the candidates to be thoroughly prepared and well-versed in all the syllabus topics to ace the exam. So, it is very important to know the proper CAT EXAM SYLLABUS and pattern to get prepared to face the competition.

The CAT exam is generally conducted in the month of November every year, while the registration starts in August. This year, CAT 2024 will be conducted tentatively on the last Sunday of November 2024. The CAT Notification  will be released on the official site, and the CAT Registration is expected to open up in the first week of August 2024. Stay tuned to CAT GURU’S  to get more information on the exam, along with effective preparation tips, the latest notifications, and the previous years’ question papers.

Important Links:

CAT PreparationCAT Quantitative Aptitude
CAT Reading Comprehension CAT Verbal Ability
CAT Data InterpretationCAT Logical Reasoning
CAT Sample QuestionsCAT Question Papers