CAT Exam Syllabus for MBA 2022

The Common Admission Test (CAT) is required for MBA/PGP admission to 20 IIMs and other top business schools such as FMS Delhi, SPJIMR Mumbai, MDI Gurugram, and IITs DMS. This year, IIM Bangalore will hold the CAT on November 27, 2022, in three 2-hour slots.
CAT Exam Syllabus for MBA 2022

The Common Admission Test (CAT) is required for MBA/PGP admission to 20 IIMs and other top business schools such as FMS Delhi, SPJIMR Mumbai, MDI Gurugram, and IITs DMS. This year, IIM Bangalore will hold the CAT on November 27, 2022, in three 2-hour slots.

If the candidate devotes a significant amount of time each day, the CAT syllabus can be completed in two to three months. The CAT exam syllabus consists of three subjects: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR), and Quantitative Aptitude (QA). The VARC section of the MBA CAT exam syllabus covers topics such as English Grammar, Verbal Reasoning, and Reading Comprehension. The QA section of the CAT syllabus covers all Math topics from Class 9 to 10, including Arithmetic, Geometry, Algebra, Trigonometry, and Mensuration. The DILR syllabus of the CAT exam includes topics such as Puzzles, Pie Charts, Tables, and Bar Graphs that require analytical interpretation of data. These subjects will be covered in the CAT question paper.

To understand and prepare for the CAT syllabus and pattern 2022, carefully read the overview and key changes in the CAT syllabus 2022, as well as the important sectional details and weightage of topics in the CAT syllabus and pattern, which are provided below.

CAT Syllabus 2022: A Comprehensive Overview of the CAT Syllabus and Pattern with Sectional Weightage

The CAT syllabus contains three sections, each with a different weight in the CAT question paper. Although the CAT syllabus is divided into three sections, the actual number of sections is five because the VARC and DILR sections are further divided into two sub-sections each. Read on for more information.

Sectional Division of CAT SyllabusOverview of Topics in SyllabusOverall Weightage in CAT exam
Section-1: CAT VARC Syllabus Weightage & Topics (Sectional Division is given belowRC Based Questions, Para jumbles, Para summary, Out of Context Sentence 36%
Section-1.1: CAT Verbal Ability (VA) Syllabus- Key Topics & WeightageJumbled Paragraphs; Para-summary Picking the Out of context sentence from a jumbled paragraph10%
Section-1.2: CAT Reading Comprehension (RC) Syllabus- Key Topics & WeightageLong & Short RC Passages followed by questions based on vocabulary, statements, inferences, elaboration of ideas in the passage24%
Section-2: CAT DILR Syllabus Weightage & Topics (Sectional Division is given below Data Analysis Charts, Tables, Graphs, Direction sense, seating arrangements32%
Section-2.1: CAT Data Interpretation Syllabus Weightage & TopicsSet of 3-4 Questions based on Data Charts, Data Tables, Bar Graphs, Venn Diagrams16%
Section-2.2: CAT Logical Reasoning Syllabus Weightage & TopicsSet of 3-4 Questions based on Seating Arrangement, Team Formation, Clocks & Calendars, Direction Sense, Family Tree16%
Section-3: CAT Quantitative Aptitude Syllabus Weightage & Key TopicsIndividual Questions based on Arithmetic, Algebra, Modern Math, Geometry, Mensuration, Number system, Trigonometry34%

CAT 2022 Syllabus: Key Points

CAT has undergone noticeable changes in the last ten years, with changes in CAT question pattern, time duration, test structure, scoring scheme, and other key components. Currently, the syllabus is based on the most recent CAT exam pattern introduced by IIM Ahmedabad for the CAT 2021 exam.

CAT Syllabus & Pattern Changes in CAT 2019 to 2020Changes in CAT 2020 to 2021
Total QuestionsReduced from 100 to 76Reduced from 76 to 66
Total scoreReduced from 300 to 228Reduced from 228 to 198
Total questions in the VARC sectionReduced from 34 to 26Reduced from 26 to 24
Total Questions in the DILR sectionReduced from 32 to 24Reduced from 24 to 20
Total Questions in the QA sectionReduced from 34 to 26Reduced from 26 to 22

CAT Syllabus 2022 Revisions and Changes

The CAT 2022 Exam Syllabus has been updated to reflect changes in the CAT pattern and structure. Given IBM’s reputation for introducing changes to the CAT exam every year, a few changes are introduced in the CAT syllabus 2022 as the exam pattern for CAT is also changed. The CAT syllabus has been changed again this year, with fewer questions in the exam.

Changes to the CAT Syllabus in 2022

The CAT 2022 syllabus has been revised and now follows a different pattern and structure. There have been significant changes to the CAT syllabus.

i) The CAT will be divided into three sections with fewer questions

ii) Sectional weightage in the CAT syllabus is as follows:

  • Section-1: VARC – 34% weightage
  • Section-2: DILR – 32% weightage
  • Section-3: Quant – 34% weightage

iii) Questions on topics such as sentence correction, fill-in-the-blanks, and sentence completion are no longer included in the CAT exam.

iv) The number of sections is increased from two to three, and DILR is now a single section. It is given a lot of weight in the IIM shortlisting process, and you must clear the cut-offs in this section as well as the other two.

v) The CAT exam now includes 25% to 28% of questions with no negative marking. The topics for non-MCQ questions are the same as for MCQ questions with negative markings.

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension CAT Syllabus 2022

The VARC section is the first section of the CAT exam and must be completed in 40 minutes. The section is split into two subsections: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension. RC questions dominate this section. Consider the following important topics and key points:

CAT syllabus: VARC
Fill in the blanksPara completion and inferenceVerbal logic
Verbal reasoningSubject-verb agreementPara jumbles
Sentence completionForeign language words used in EnglishDifferent usage of the same word
GrammarReading comprehensionIdioms
SyllogismsAnalogiesAntonyms
Jumbled paragraphsSentence correctionOne word substitution
Parts of speechPrepositionTypes of clauses
Phrases modifiersErrors in tensesArticles usage

CAT VARC Section: Topic-Wise Question Count

As previously stated, the VARC section of the CAT syllabus includes questions of four major types: RC, Parajumbles, Verbal Ability, and Sentences. The following is the breakdown of the VARC section of the CAT 2021 paper. The VARC section of CAT 2022 is expected to have the same composition.

CAT VARC TopicsNo. of Questions in CAT ExamLevel of Difficulty
Reading Comprehension16Moderate to Difficult
VA-Para jumbles3Moderate to Difficult
VA-Odd Sentence2Easy to Moderate
VA-Summary3Easy to Moderate
Overall24Moderate to Difficult

CAT Syllabus: Key Points for Verbal Ability

CAT exams typically include eight Verbal Ability questions.

The questions in the Verbal Ability section are not multiple-choice, so candidates must type in their answers (TITA) and because the questions in Verbal Ability are not multiple-choice, there is no negative marking.

In VA, the following types of questions are given:

  • Para-jumbles
  • A sentence in a paragraph that is out of context
  • Correction of an error in a paragraph
  • Use of vocabulary
  • Finishing a sentence
  • Analogies
  • Critical thinking

Reading Comprehension Key Points on the CAT Syllabus:

  • As the Reading Comprehension questions are all multiple-choice, one mark is deducted.
  • The RC section of the CAT exam typically contains three to four long passages and two to three short passages.
  • There were only four passages in CAT 2021. Candidates can expect four RC passages in CAT 2022 as well.
  • In CAT, long passages are 900 words long and short passages are 600 words long.
  • Science, history, politics, the environment, society, literature, mythology, and abstract topics are all possible RCs.

Reading Comprehension Passages from the Last Few Years:

The VARC Reading Comprehension section accounts for two-thirds of the first section of the CAT question paper. There are four to five RC passages totaling 18-24 questions. Check out the following RC topics for 2021, 2020, 2019, and 2018:

CAT RC PassagesSlot 1Slot 2Slot 3
CAT 2021Mayan CivilisationUtopia and DystopiaMarshmallow ExperimentEvolution of Tea as a DrinkLanguage/ Indigenous People Why Fiction Trumps TruthColonialism/NationalismKnowledge and Problems of Knowledge is a Scandal to PhilosophyNanotechnology Language Instinct Time Accuracy EntropyUnconscious and Psychoanalysis
CAT 2020Anarchism Migration of Northern Seals Currency of Tang Dynasty Grammar/VocabularyInvesting in Renewable Energy TechnologiesPiracy in International TradeFreudian Models of AggressionA Study of VisualisationTravel Writing and Feminism During Colonial TimesThe Need for Economic Literacy in the General PopulationScreen Time and Undercurrents of Social Classen Analysis of Human Nature
CAT 2019British Folk Music Topophilia Emperor Penguins Internet Shopping and Choice Anxiety Origin of Story of AlladinDense CitiesGoogle and ArchaeologyDistributing BureaucracyLanguage & CultureBritish Colonial PolicyNo exam
CAT 2018Genetics India’s View on its Legacy of Second World War Plastic Pollution Elephant Society Consumer Behaviour StudiesGrover Snails Meritocracy and Diversified Teams Use of Technology in Essential Services Rings of Saturn and Their Age Human Resource and LearningNo exam

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning CAT Syllabus 2022

The Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR) section of the CAT question paper comes after the VARC section. This section is divided into two sub-sections: data interpretation and logic reasoning. Consider the following important topics and key points:

CAT DILR syllabus
Blood RelationsClocks and CalendarsSyllogism
SeriesStatementsVenn Diagram
PropositionData ArrangementData Structures
Direction SenseFamily TreeTables
Coding-DecodingBinary LogicPie Charts
AssumptionsSeating ArrangementData Sufficiency
PuzzlesSets & CaseletsBars & Line Graphs

Data Interpretation Key Points in the CAT Syllabus

  • The CAT question paper contains approximately 14 questions on Data Interpretation.
  • Data interpretation questions are typically moderate to difficult.
  • The Data Interpretation section includes both MCQ and non-MCQ questions.
  • In the Data Interpretation section, the number of MCQs and non-MCQs varies.
  • In the Data Interpretation section of the CAT, there is a negative marking for MCQs.
  • In the Data Interpretation section, there is no negative marking for non-MCQs.

Logical Reasoning Key Points in the CAT Syllabus

  • The Logical Reasoning section contains approximately ten questions.
  • The questions in this section range from moderate to difficult.
  • The Logical Reasoning section includes both MCQ and non-MCQ questions.
  • In the Logical Reasoning section, the number of MCQs and non-MCQs varies.
  • Negative marking is available for MCQs but not for non-MCQs.

CAT DILR Section: Topic-Wise Question Count

As previously stated, the DILR section includes questions of two types: data interpretation and logical reasoning. The DILR section of the CAT 2021 paper is outlined below. The DILR section of CAT 2022 is expected to have the same composition.

AreaNo. of QuestionsLevel of Difficulty
Data Interpretation4Easy
Data Interpretation4Moderate
Logical Reasoning6Moderate to difficult
Logical Reasoning6Easy to Moderate
Overall20Moderate to difficult

CAT 2022 Syllabus: Quantitative Aptitude

The last section of the CAT question paper is Quantitative Aptitude, which must be completed in the final 40 minutes of the exam. Consider the following important topics and key points:

CAT Quantitative Aptitude syllabus
GeometryRatios and ProportionInequalities
TrigonometryIn-equations Quadratic and linear equationsWork and Time
AlgebraSurds and IndicesPercentages
MensurationTime-Speed-DistanceLogarithms
Partnership (Accounts)Number SystemSquare Root and Cube Root
Profit & LossGeometric ProgressionProbability
Mean, mode, medianBinomial theoremSimple interest and compound interest

Key Points for Quantitative Aptitude (QA)

  • The CAT exam’s Quantitative Aptitude section includes both MCQ and non-MCQ-type questions.
  • The number of MCQs and non-MCQs in Quantitative Aptitude varies from year to year.
  • Previous trends indicate that arithmetic questions will dominate this section of the CAT.
  • Negative marking is available for MCQs but not for non-MCQs.

CAT Quantitative Aptitude Section: Topic-Wise Question Count

As previously stated, the QA section includes questions from Modern Maths, Numbers, Algebra, Arithmetic, and Geometry. The following is the breakdown of the QA section of the CAT 2021 paper. The QA section of CAT 2022 is expected to have the same composition.

AreaNo. of QuestionsLevel of Difficulty
Arithmetic10Moderate
Algebra5Moderate
Geometry3Moderate
Modern Maths4Moderate
Overall22Moderate

CAT 2022 Exam Syllabus: What to Expect and How to Prepare?

  • IIMs do not have an official CAT syllabus. It is based on the most recent CAT exam pattern from the previous few years.
  • The MBA CAT Syllabus is extensive and broad. It addresses any subject related to the relevant section.
  • According to CAT exam trends and the last five years’ CAT question papers, the topics covered in the CAT syllabus necessitate two things: your conceptual clarity and quick question-solving skills from class X and XII.
  • To achieve a high percentile, you must answer the questions quickly and accurately.
  • You should cover the important topics and practice thoroughly on all of the CAT syllabus topics.
  • Choose the easier and no-penalty questions in the CAT testing lab first to maximize your attempts.

Best CAT Preparation Books

There are numerous books available on the market for CAT preparation. Candidates must exercise caution when selecting books to read. Experts advise that CAT syllabus preparation books be comprehensive, have up-to-date exam patterns, and include question banks. Take a look at the list of best books for the CAT exam, which has been carefully curated after reviewing all available options and consulting our CAT experts.

1) CAT Books for Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)

  • CAT Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning- Gautam Puri
  • 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

2) CAT Books for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)

  • How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT- Arun Sharma and Meenakshi Upadhyay/Arihant
  • 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
  • High School English Grammar & Composition- Wren & Martin 

3) CAT Books for Quantitative Aptitude (QA)

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

CAT Exam Pattern 2022

Candidates must be familiar with the CAT exam pattern as well as the CAT syllabus 2022 before beginning their preparation for the exam. In 2021, the CAT exam pattern was revised, and the number of questions was reduced from 76 to 66. The most important things to remember are:

  • CAT exam mode is online
  • Each question carries three marks
  • There is a negative marking of minus one mark for wrong attempts
Section NameNo. of QuestionsAllotted Time
Quantitative Ability (QA)2440 minutes
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)2040 minutes
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)2240 minutes
Total66120 minutes

How to Get Ready for the CAT QA, VARC, and DILR

The only way to do well in the CAT is to prepare using the official syllabus. Candidates who want to take the CAT exam must plan their preparation based on their knowledge of the topics covered in the CAT syllabus. Many Quantitative Aptitude topics are taught in schools, and the same is true for English Grammar. So, the first step in preparing for the CAT is to make a list of topics based on familiarity – familiar, somewhat familiar, and not familiar at all. After that, begin studying unfamiliar topics first, then somewhat familiar topics, and finally familiar topics. Take a look at some CAT preparation tips broken down by section.

How to Get Ready for CAT VARC

  • VARC preparation, specifically Reading Comprehension practice, should begin early in the CAT preparation process.
  • Examine the CAT VARC syllabus and review all of the Grammar rules and definitions.
  • To learn new words and phrases, get a dictionary and word-meaning books.
  • Because RC dominates the VARC section, it is critical to practice speed reading. Reading books, novels, magazines, and data-heavy reports can help with this.
  • Sample questions are the best source of Verbal Ability preparation. To master it, answer a large number of questions on Verbal Ability.

How to Prepare for the CAT DILR Section The CAT DILR section is all about tables, graphs, charts, and series.

  • This section necessitates good math skills as well as an eye for detail.
  • This section’s 24 questions will be evenly divided into DI and LR, so you must work on both.
  • To read and calculate quickly, memorize tables of up to 20 squares, square roots, cubes, cube roots, and other such mathematical values.
  • Because there is no formula to remember, practice as many sample questions and sectional mock tests as you can.
  • The more experience you have with speed reading charts and tables, the better your chances of scoring high on the CAT’s DILR section.

How to Get Ready for CAT QA

  • The CAT’s Quantitative Aptitude section is all about conceptual clarity and practice.
  • Pick up each CAT syllabus topic and gain conceptual clarity. Answer a few questions to determine whether you have correctly understood the application.
  • Only after you have completed the syllabus should you begin practicing full-length and sectional mock tests.
  • Divide practice sessions into three categories: easy, moderate, and high. Begin by answering simple questions, then progress to moderately difficult questions, and finally to difficult questions.
  • Time yourself while answering questions and answer them at least three times. The first attempt is to understand the question, the second is to solve it with 100% accuracy, and the third is to solve it with 100% accuracy and speed.
  • Improve your mental calculation skills to save time on the CAT exam.

How to Prepare for the CAT Syllabus Top Secrets

CAT toppers with 100 percentile, 99 percentile, and others from IIM Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Lucknow, Udaipur, and MDI Gurgaon devised a strategy to cover the syllabus, which helped them crack the CAT exam with high percentiles overall and section-wise. Read on to find out how the toppers plan to cover the syllabus:

  1. Rahul Gupta, IIM Ahmedabad student and CAT topper with a perfect score
  2. Rahul Gupta took the following steps to complete the syllabus:
  3. Initially, concentrate on learning the fundamentals and answering simple questions to become acquainted with the subject before moving on to more difficult problems.
  4. Instead of waiting until the end, I began giving mocks as soon as they began.
  5. I used to thoroughly examine the solutions to see what errors I made or questions I missed during the test. It aided me in determining which topics required more attention.
  • IIM Ahmedabad student Shantanu Singh Yadav, CAT topper with 99.73 percentile
  • Shantanu divided his time wisely to cover the entire MBA syllabus and used the following strategy.
  • I gave equal time to all three sections, with a special emphasis on DI and LR, which I believe is the most unpredictable section of the exam. You could practice a ton of LR sets before the exam, but you might still have problems on the big day.
  • LR sets are not as simple as Quants or DI sets. Timing my entire mocks and sectional tests, as well as thoroughly analyzing my wrong and right attempts, proved beneficial.
  • Because the CAT entrance exam syllabus is so broad, and VARC and DILR has no defined boundaries, last-minute hustle mostly turns fruitless and overloads you with added stress.
  • TanujRuia, IIM Bangalore student, CAT topper with 99.69 percentile

Tanuj Ruia used a combination of CAT preparation and shares to cover the exam syllabus quickly. “I enrolled in the mock series after finishing my fundamentals and basics.” It assisted me in analyzing my current level of preparation, weaknesses, and ranking among a pool of serious aspirants.”

  • IIM Ahmedabad student Anushree Naik, CAT topper with 98.20 percentile

Anushree was very conscientious about completing her CAT entrance exam syllabus on time and utilizing her travel time in preparation. “I studied for about 3 hours on weekdays by solving QA sectional tests, practicing a lot of data interpretation and logical reasoning (DILR) sets, and utilizing my commute time to work in reading books, building a vocabulary, and solving math quizzes on my phone,” she explained. My weekends were spent attending classes, covering a large portion of the material, taking mock tests, and analyzing my strengths and weaknesses.”

  • Nikita Agarwal, CAT winner with a score of 99.22 percentile: Student at MDI Gurgaon

Nikita was able to complete the syllabus thanks to consistent practice. “I used to give consistent practice to all three sections,” she says of her strategy. I never skipped a section, such as VARC, because I needed to focus on Quants. It is critical to learn to strike a balance between three sections.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What are the subjects for the CAT exam?

 Ans. The syllabus of the CAT 2022 exam includes all the important topics from these four subjects: Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning, and Quantitative Ability. The candidates need to focus mainly on Algebra, Geometry, Arithmetic, Tables, Graphs, Venn diagrams, Blood Relations, Number Series, Coding-Decoding, Reading Comprehension, Para jumbles, and Verbal Ability.

Q2. Does the CAT syllabus change every year?

Ans. The CAT syllabus remains the same every year. In fact, the syllabus has remained the same since the inception of the exam. However, the distribution of questions within each section of the question paper changes every year. For example, if in one-year Algebra dominates the QA section then the next year, Arithmetic dominates it.

Q3. Who prescribes the CAT syllabus?

Ans. The CAT syllabus is prescribed by the exam conducting authority, the Indian Institute of Management. The CAT question paper pattern, test structure, and marking scheme are also decided by the same authority.

Q4. Is the CAT exam tough for MBA?

Ans. Common Admission Test, abbreviated as CAT, is a national-level MBA Entrance Test conducted by IIMs for admission into various MBA specializations. The CAT exam’s competition level is a little more challenging than the other MBA exam, as more than 2 Lakhs (approx) candidates appear for this exam every year.

Q5. Is CAT very difficult?

Ans. Conclusion: Overall CAT has a moderate difficulty level, but it can turn easy for sometimes who start their preparation early and keep practicing all three sections. If well planned, you can easily crack the CAT! It just tests your math and logical skills of grade tenth level tenth class.

Q6. Which section of the CAT exam is the toughest?

Ans. Although the CAT exam is tough overall, it has been seen over the years that most test takers find VARC tough, as the Reading Comprehension passages are long and tricky. At times, reasoning questions also turn out to be lengthy and time-consuming. 

Q7. Which section of CAT 2022 will carry maximum marks?

Ans. In CAT 2022, VARC and Quantitative Aptitude sections carry 72 and 66 marks respectively, whereas DILR carries 60 marks. So, overall there is not much difference in the weightage of CAT sections.

Q8. What is the marking scheme for CAT 2022?

Ans. The total marks for CAT 2022 exam are expected to be 198. For each right attempt, three marks are awarded and for each wrong attempt, one mark is deducted. There is no deduction of marks in case of unanswered questions. 

 Q9. Is the syllabus of CAT the same as other MBA entrance exams?

Ans. The syllabus of CAT is similar to other MBA entrance exams. All the MBA entrance exams have Verbal Ability, Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning, and Quantitative Aptitude as key subjects. The difficulty level of CAT is higher than other exams, though.

Q10. What is the duration of the CAT exam?

Ans. The duration of the CAT exam is 120 minutes (two hours). For each section, 40 minutes have been allotted. For PwD candidates the total time allotted is 180 minutes, with a sectional time limit of 53 minutes.

Q11. Which is the best CAT coaching institute?

Ans. There are a number of very good coaching institutes for the CAT exam in India. Candidates can select the coaching institute according to their study module and fees. To know whether self-study is better than coaching or not.

Q12. Are NCERT Mathematics books enough to prepare for Quant?

Ans. You can prepare for the Quantitative Aptitude section of CAT with the help of NCERT books for Mathematics classes 9 and 10, for understanding the fundamentals, but you should refer to the books recommended exclusively for CAT preparation.

Q13. Can I prepare for CAT by practicing CAT mock tests only?

Ans. No, candidates are advised to go through the CAT syllabus first and study the topics in detail, understand concepts, formulae and theorems before moving on to solving CAT mock tests. Without understanding the concepts, it will be difficult to solve practice questions and there will be no learning.

Q14. By when should I finish studying the CAT syllabus to be able to have enough time to practice 50 plus mock tests?

 Ans. Ideally, aspirants should complete the CAT syllabus by September-end, so that they can dedicate October and November to mock tests. However, it depends upon the candidate how they wish to plan out their preparation timetable so that they are well prepared for the exam by the end of November.

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