CAT Syllabus 2023-24 – Updated CAT Exam Syllabus PDF for MBA (QA, DILR, and VARC)

The CAT syllabus 2023 is designed to test the aptitude, analytical and quantitative skills of the candidates. It is essential for the candidates to have a thorough understanding of the syllabus in order to prepare for the exam effectively.

The Syllabus of the CAT exam is broadly divided into three sections: Quantitative Ability, Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension and Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning. Aspiring candidates should try to get a good hold of all these sections to clear the exams with flying colours.

It is a computer-based test conducted by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) to select eligible candidates for admission into the various IIMs. In this article, we are going to provide the latest CAT Syllabus 2023-24 along with all the components. 

CAT Syllabus 2023 Overview

Name of the examCommon Admission Test (CAT)
Number of Questions66 questions
Number of Sections3
Time allotted per section40 minutes for each section
Medium of examinationEnglish

CAT Exam Pattern 2023

There are three sections in the CAT exam. You will find both MCQ and non-MCQ types of questions, and incorrect answers to MCQs carry penalties. You need to be familiar with the CAT 2023 exam pattern before diving into the important topics:

SectionsNumber of questionsTime Limit
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)2440 Minutes
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)2040 Minutes
Quantitative Ability (QA)2240 Minutes
Total66 Questions120 Minutes

Each Question will carry 3 marks. 

CAT Exam Syllabus 2023 – 2024

Quantitative Aptitude SyllabusData Interpretation & Logical Reasoning SyllabusVerbal Reasoning Syllabus
Number SystemsCaseletsEnglish Usage or Grammar
LCM and HCFTablesFill in the blanks
PercentagesBar GraphsVocabulary-based (Synonyms/ Antonyms)
Ratio and ProportionColumn GraphsCloze Passage
Quadratic Equations & Linear EquationsLine GraphsSentence Correction
Simple and Compound InterestVenn DiagramsJumbled Paragraph
Sequences and SeriesBasic Reasoning QuestionsSummary Questions
InequalitiesPie ChartAnalogies or Reverse Analogies
MensurationNumber and Letter SeriesMeaning-Usage Match
GeometryCalendarsVerbal Reasoning
Coordinate GeometryBlood RelationsReading Comprehension
TrigonometryLogical ConnectivesFacts-Inferences-Judgments
Mixtures and AlligationsSyllogism 
Permutation and CombinationLogical Sequence 
Set theory and functionLogical Matching 
Surds and IndicesBinary Logic 
ProbabilitySeating Arrangement 
Profit, Loss, and DiscountCubes 
Speed, Time and Distance  
Time and Work  
Complex Numbers  

Section-Wise Detailed Syllabus

Quantitative Aptitude Syllabus

There are a few topics in the Quantitative Aptitude section that are extremely important and are covered again and again on the CAT exam each year. There are 22 questions in this section, 14 of which are non-MCQ questions. The following are some of the most significant topics on the CAT 2023 syllabus, along with their respective weightage.

Main TopicSub-TopicNumber of Questions in CAT
ArithmeticPercentages, TSD (Time, Speed, and Distance), Averages, Time and Work, Ratio and Proportion, Profit and Loss, Simple and Compound Interest, Mixtures and Alligations.9 to 11 questions
Number SystemFactorization, Unit Digit, Divisibility, Binomial Theorem, Surds and Indices2 to 4 questions
AlgebraLinear Equations, Quadratic Equations, Inequalities, Functions, Logarithm, Complex Numbers5 to 6 questions
Geometry & MensurationLines and Angles, Triangles, Polygons, Circles, Solids (3D Geometry), Coordinate Geometry, Trigonometry3 to 4 questions
Modern MathsSet Theory, Permutation, and Combination, Probability, etc.1 to 2 questions

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning Syllabus

There are nearly equally as many questions in the DILR section related to data interpretation and logical reasoning, with some of them based on a combination of the two. Typically, this section consumes the most time.

The subtopics in this section keep on changing every year. Up until the 2017 CAT, the section was evenly divided into two sections, each with 16 questions for DI and LR. However, CAT 2018 and CAT 2019 included 20 questions from Logical Reasoning and 12 questions for Data Interpretation.

In CAT 2020, students were surprised by the section’s 16 questions on data interpretation and 8 questions on logical reasoning. In the DILR section of CAT 2021, there were 20 questions, 15 of which were Non-MCQ questions. Candidates should have a solid understanding of the data sets in order to accurately attempt the entire set of questions in the DI section, which consists of three to four sets of questions. Given below are sub-topics of the DILR section as per the previous CAT exam.

1st Exam Slot
TopicNumber of questions
Arranging People into Countries & Categories​​6
Bar Graph – Percentages4
Table – 3 Girls making a smoothie6
Table – Relation (Acquaintance, ​​Friend & Stranger)4
Total20 Questions
2nd Exam Slot
TopicNumber of questions
Games & Tournament4
Bar Graph – Stacked Horizontal4
Number-Based Reasoning (Envy Set)6
Total20 Questions
3rd Exam Slot
TopicNumber of questions
Games and Tournaments (Javelin)​6
Gantt Chart4
Content Creation6
Total20 Questions

Verbal Reasoning Syllabus

There are 24 questions in the Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension section, 19 of which are Non-MCQ questions. The majority of the questions are in Reading Comprehension. The following is a list of some important syllabus topics for the CAT VARC section.

Name of the topicExpected Number of Questions
Questions based on Reading Comprehension Passage16
Para-Summary3 to 4
Para-Jumbles3 to 4
Odd Sentences1 to 2
Others (Fill in the blanks, Sentence Completion or Correction, Vocabulary based, etc.)0 to 1
Total20 Questions

Books to Prepare for CAT Examination

There is a wide range of books for CAT preparation available in the market. Candidates must take due care in selecting the right books to study. Here are some books recommended for CAT exam preparation.

For Quantitative Aptitude (QA)

  • NCERT Mathematics Books (Class 9 to 10) – NCERT
  • Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Examinations – Abhijit Guha
  • How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT – Arun Sharma
  • Quantitative Aptitude Quantum CAT – Sarvesh Sharma
  • Quantitative Aptitude for CAT – Nishit Sinha​​​​​​

For Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)

  • How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CAT – Sharma and Upadhyay
  • 30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary Mass Market Paperback – Wilfred Funk & Norman Lewis/ Simon & Schuster
  • How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT – Arun Sharma and Meenakshi Upadhyay/ Arihant
  • High School English Grammar & Composition – Wren & Martin

Books for Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)

  • Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for the CAT – Nishit K Sinha
  • Data Interpretation & Data Sufficiency – Ananta Ashisha
  • How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CAT – Arun Sharma
  • CAT Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning – Gautam Puri

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the syllabus of CAT change every year?

No, most of the syllabus remains the same every year.

Is there a negative marking in the CAT exam?

Yes, 1 mark will be deducted in case of an incorrect answer.

Is CAT an online exam?

Yes, CAT is a computer-based online exam.

Which is the best coaching centre for the CAT Exam?

It is not possible to name one coaching centre. There are hundreds of good coaching centres. You may choose as per your location.

Answer: It is not possible to name one coaching centre. There are hundreds of good coaching centres. You may choose as per your location.

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