CAT Exam Pattern 2021: Sectional Composition, Marking Scheme


CAT Exam Pattern 2021 will be released by Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode. Common Admission Test question pattern consists of 26 questions in the VARC and QA section and 24 questions in the DILR section. The duration of the CAT 2021 examination will be 02 hours (120 Minutes) and for each section, the time limit will be 40 Minutes. Read the whole article to know more about CAT 2021 Exam Pattern.

CAT Exam Pattern 2021 Important Points


Applicants can check hereunder CAT 2021 Question Paper Pattern:

  • CAT Exam 2021 is a computer-based test but not an online test i.e. candidate cannot use the internet while giving the exam.
  • DURATION OF THE EXAM: 3 hours.
  • CAT EXAM 2021 is divided into 3 sections of 60 minutes each. The 3 sections are as follows; VARC-Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, DILR-Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning and QA-Quantitative Ability.
  • Candidates cannot move from one section to another during the 1 hour assigned to the particular section.
  • Candidates taking the CAT test could not leave their seats during the exam.
  • Non-MCQs in CAT exam pattern will require the candidate to type-in the correct answer on the computer screen.
  • Each correct answer in CAT exam pattern will be given 3 marks even if it is an MCQ or Non-MCQ.
  • Each wrong answer for MCQ will be imposed a penalty of the 1/3rd  negative mark (-1 mark)
  • CAT exam pattern follows the pattern of CAT official Mock test released by IIMs a month before the CAT exam.

CAT Exam Pattern 2021

The detailed information regarding the CAT Exam Pattern is given below.

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Questions Numbers
Total Questions 100
Number of sections 03
Questions with negative marking (MCQs) 75
Questions without negative marking (Non-MCQs) 25
Score awarded for each correct answer 03
Negative marking (Applicable for  wrong answers in MCQs) -1
Individual time limit [Each Section] 1 hour

CAT 2021: Sectional Exam Pattern

VARC (Verbal Ability and Reading Composition)

Total questions 34
No. of MCQs 24 to 27
No. of non-MCQs 7 to 10
Total RC passages 05
RC based questions[all MCQs] 24
Verbal Ability Questions[ mix of MCQs and not- MCQs] 10
LOD Moderate to difficult

DILR (Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning)

Total questions 32
MCQs 28
Non-MCQs 08
Share of DI questions 16
Share of LR questions 16
LoD Moderate to difficult

QUANT: Quantitative Ability

Total questions 34
MCQs 23 To 27
Non-MCQs 7 To 11
LoD Moderate to Difficult

CAT 2021 Pattern: Sectional Composition

The CAT Exam Pattern 2021 contains sectional composition and list is given below.

Section name Total questions Total MCQs [with negative marking] Total MCQs [without negative marking] Total maximum marks
VARC 34 24 to 27 7 to 10 102
DILR 32 24 08 96
Quant 34 23 to 27 7 to 11 102
  • VARC – Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
  • DILR – Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
  • QUANT- Quantitative Ability

Responding to queries regarding the question of whether the CAT is an online test or not. IIMs reply that CAT is a computer-based test but not an online test. As they said in an official statement “CAT is not an online exam. It is a digital or Computer Based Test (CBT); not an Internet-Based Test (IBT); that is, a candidate will not take the exam on an internet site. Instead of reading the questions in a paper booklet and darkening the ovals on answer sheet, a candidate will read the questions on a computer terminal and choose an answer by clicking on the correct option”.

CAT PATTERN: Changes Since Computerization

Year Total No of Qs VA  DI-LR Quant Difficulty level
CAT 2017 100 VARC-34. RC-24, (All MCQs), Verbal-10 (3 MCQs, 7 on-MCQs) DILR-32, DI-16, LR-16, MCQs-24, Non-MCQs-8 Total-34. MCQs 23, Non-MCQs-11 Moderate
CAT 2016 100 VARC-34, RC-24, (All MCQs), Verbal-10 (All non-MCQs) DILR-32, DI-16, LR-16, MCQs-24, Non-MCQs-8 Quant-34, MCQ-27, Non-MCQs-7 Moderate to difficult
CAT 2015 100 VARC -34, RC-24 (MCQs), Verbal-10 (Non-MCQs) DILR-32, DI-16, LR-16, MCQs-24, Non-MCQs-8 Quant-34, MCQs-24, Non-MCQs-10 Moderate to difficult
CAT 2014 100 50 VARC-34 LR-16 50 Quant-34 DI-16 Moderate to difficult
CAT 2013 60 30 10 verbal 10 RC 10 LR 30 DI-10 Moderate to difficult
CAT 2012 60 30 (LR 10) 10 verbal 10 RC 10 LR 30 (DI 10) Moderate to difficult (Difficulty level was more or less maintained to the same level.
CAT 2011 60 30(LR 10) 30(DI10) Moderate to difficult-LOD>2
CAT 2010 60 20 20 20 Moderate to difficult-LOD>2
CAT 2009 60 20 20 20 Moderate-
LOD=2 overall

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Abhinandan is interested in writing and creating articles related to career and admission from past 7 years. His interests lie in mentoring and career counselling.


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