CAT Examination Pattern
Important points to note about the CAT exam pattern:
The question paper has three main sections
- Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)
- Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DI-LR)
- Quantitative Ability (QA)
- Total number of questions is 100 and are of both MCQ and non-MCQ format
- Total time allotted is 180 minutes(3 hours)
- Each section is for 60 minutes.
- The exam is conducted in online mode
As per the latest notification released by IIMCAT, no changes have been made to the CAT 2020 exam pattern. The exam authorities will release the CAT tutorial on October 16, 2020 so that the candidates can get an idea of the actual CAT 2020 exam. The exam is to be held on 25th November 2020.
Also Check CAT 2020 Admit Card
More details on the exam pattern and marking scheme are mentioned below:
|CAT 2020 Pattern|
|Number of sections||3|
|Duration of exam||60 minutes per section|
|Number of questions||100|
|Language of question paper||English|
|Number of answer choices||4|
CAT 2020 – Overall and Sectional Time Limit
CAT exam has a sectional time limit, which means that the candidate cannot switch between sections or choose the section they want to start with. They will have to solve the CAT 2020 question paper in the order given, from sections 1 to 3. The order is as follows:
- Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
- Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
- Quantitative Aptitude
It is imperative to remember that each section has to be finished within one hour and after the end of each hour, the next section will start. Once the next section starts, changes or corrections cannot be made to the answers in the previous section.
Also Check CAT 2020 Question Papers
The number of questions in each section of CAT exam and the time allotted is summarized in the table below:
|CAT 2020 Section||Questions||Allotted Time|
|Quantitative Aptitude (QA)||34||60 minutes|
|Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation (LRDI)||32||60 minutes|
|Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)||34||60 minutes|
CAT Marking Scheme
It is essential to understand the CAT marking scheme before writing the exam so that you can choose the questions to solve based on the marks allotted.
- The exam carries 300 marks in total
- Each question is of 3 marks
- Negative marking of -1 each for a wrong answer
- No marks are deducted in case of questions left unattempted
- Some questions in each section may not be of the multiple-choice type, and the answers will have to be typed on the screen
The marking scheme for CAT 2020 is given below:
|Type of Questions||Correct Answer||Incorrect Answer|
Important Points about CAT Exam Pattern
- A basic onscreen calculator is there on each computer for calculations
- An onscreen clock will help candidates keep a tab on time
- A rough paper will be provided for rough work, which has to be given back once the exam is done
- The candidates cannot attempt the exam before the time allotted
- All the computer screens will start the exam at the same time
- Candidates have to sit in the seats assigned to them for taking the test. If found sitting elsewhere, he/she will be debarred from the exam
Changes in CAT Exam Pattern over the Years
The test structure of the CAT exam underwent several changes in 2013-2014 in terms of duration and number of questions. While the CAT 2013 paper had 60 questions and the exam was for 140 minutes, in 2014, the number of questions increased to 100 and the time duration was increased to 170 minutes.
The exam has seen changes in the number of sections as well. It kept varying between two and three sections in the years from 2010 to 2015. In the years from 2011 to 2014, the CAT paper had only two sections. The DI section of CAT exam was initially clubbed with QA and the LR section was clubbed with VARC. However, from 2015 onwards, DI was clubbed with LR while QA and VARC became separate sections.
The table below reveals the changes in CAT exam pattern over the years:
|Year||Number of questions||Time duration||Sections|
|2010||60||150 mins||QA, DILR, VARC|
|2011||60||140 mins||QA & DI, LR & VARC|
|2012||60||140 mins||QA & DI, LR & VARC|
|2013||60||140 mins||QA & DI, LR & VARC|
|2014||100||170 mins||QA & DI, LR & VARC|
|2015||100||180 mins||QA, DILR, VARC|
|2016||100||180 mins||QA, DILR, VARC|
|2017||100||180 mins||QA, DILR, VARC|
|2018||100||180 mins||QA, DILR, VARC|
|2019||100||180 mins||QA, DILR, VARC|
CAT Question Paper Analysis 2018
The basic pattern of CAT exam has remained the same over the years but the exam has witnessed significant changes in the number of questions. Given below is the summary of the difficulty level of CAT 2018 paper and exam analysis.
Also Check CAT 2020 Examination Analysis
Slot-Wise Difficulty Level of CAT 2018 Question Papers
The section-wise difficulty level of both the slots of CAT 2018 is highlighted in the table below:
|CAT sections||CAT 2018: Slot 1||CAT 2018: Slot 2|
|DILR||Moderate to Difficult||Moderate to Very Difficult|
The CAT 2018 question paper saw a few changes in the pattern of questions as well, especially in the Quantitative Ability section.
- The Quantitative Ability section was difficult. In fact, tougher than CAT 2017.
- The Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning section of CAT 2018 were moderately difficult and the VARC section was the easiest.
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- CAT Score Vs CAT Percentile
CAT Exam Pattern FAQs
A: The CAT exam is conducted only once a year usually on the last Sunday of November or the first Sunday in December. CAT 2020 is scheduled for November 25, 2020.
A: The CAT question paper has three sections:
Section 1: VARC (Verbal ability and reading comprehension)
Section 2: DILR (Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning)
Section 3: QA (Quantitative Aptitude)
A: Yes, for every incorrect answer, 1 mark is deducted.
A: No, you are not allowed to carry a calculator or any other electronic gadgets into the exam hall. The computer system allotted to you has an on-screen calculator.
A: The CAT 2020 question paper is expected to have 72 MCQ and 28 non MCQ questions.
A: The sectional time-limit is 60 minutes for General category students and 80 minutes for PWD category students.
A: No, you are required to answer based on the order of the sections. You cannot switch between sections.
A: No marks are deducted for unattempted answers.
A: No, you will not be allowed to carry our watch inside the exam hall. The computer system allotted to you has an onscreen timer.
A: Yes, the question papers of both slots can be slightly different in terms of difficulty levels.
A: There is no data to suggest that the questions in a particular slot are tougher than the other. It can be either way.