CAT 2018 Syllabus: Exam Format, Verbal Ability


The official date for CAT 2018 has been released. CAT 2018 was conducted on 25 November 2018. Understanding CAT Syllabus 2018 is the first step towards preparation for the exam. The CAT syllabus structured below is the revamped and updated version of the CAT exam format which was once changed by IIM Ahmedabad in 2015. Please note that CAT 2018 Syllabus is not predefined or outlined earlier by any IIMs. CAT 2018 Syllabus is based on recent trends in the CAT exams. The syllabus is the outcome of the topics that have earlier appeared in the exams along with the type of questions, their composition, their format which was common in previous years question. This may, however, change in the subsequent years. The key point is that there is no repetition of CAT questions in any CAT exam although difficulty level of the questions in the CAT exam would not go out of CAT exam syllabus.

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The CAT syllabus is further divided into an exam with 5 effective sections. VARC is divided into topics on Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension; DILR syllabus is also divided into an equal number of questions based on Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning.

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VARC (Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension)

Number of Questions: 34 with 24 MCQs and 10 Non-MCQs

Sectional Weightage in CAT Syllabus: 34%

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1st Section- based on reading and analysing passage comprehension

2nd Section- based on topics related to verbal ability.

CAT Syllabus PDF

The syllabus is released by exam conducting body along with information bulletin. The CAT syllabus is important for CAT aspirants. Download the CAT 2018 Syllabus.


The CAT 2018 Syllabus includes reading comprehension and share of reading comprehension is 70 per cent.

Share of Reading Comprehension in VARC section of CAT exam


Total RC passages 5
Topics on which RC passages are based Current Affairs, Social and Economic Issues. Literature, Science and Culture. Abstract topics, history and fiction
Total questions based on RC passages 24
Type of RC passages 3 Long and 2 Shorter
Division of questions 6 questions based on Long Passage and 3 questions based on Short Passage
Type of Questions All MCQ Type Questions with 1/3rd negative marking
Length of RC passages Longer passages- 900 words

Shorter passages- 600 words

Past trends of topics Education system, sustainable development, anthropology


Share of Verbal Ability (VA)  questions in  VARC section of CAT exam 30%
Total VA based questions 10
The essence of short paragraph/Para summary 3-4 questions
Jumbled Paragraphs 3-4 questions
Jumbled paragraphs with out of context sentence 2-3 questions
Type of Questions All of Non-MCQ type with No penalty for the wrong answer
Format of questions  Essence of paragraph questions are based on around 5-6 sentences; questions on Jumbled paragraphs and out of context jumbled paragraphs have 4 -5 jumbled sentences which are to be placed in a coherent manner. The out of context sentence has to be picked out.

DILR ( Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning)

Number of Questions: 32 divided into 24 MCQs and 8 Non- MCQs

Sectional weightage in CAT Syllabus: 32%

1st Section- Data Interpretation

2nd Section- Logical Reasoning

Share of DI questions in DILR section of CAT exam 50%
Total DI questions 16
Number of MCQs 12
Number of Non-MCQs 04
Topics on which DI questions are based Data Tables, Data charts, Bar diagrams, Pie charts, Graphs, Data analysis and comparison among others.

Questions on interpretation and analysis of data based on text, tables, graphs (line, area), charts (column, bar, pie), Venn diagram.

Data could also be given in form of tables, charts or graphs.

In this section, it is tested how a candidate can interpret a given data and answer questions based on that data.

Past trend of topics Marks in Two section of papers- Films,

Launch, Completion, Release and Profits;

Table on Consumption of Veg and Non-Veg Protein;

Happiness Index: 4 questions based on Table; Kids Learning in Rural Areas: Data table based 4 questions; Flight operation


Share of LR questions in DILR section of CAT exam: 50%
Total LR questions in CAT syllabus for 2018 exam: 16
Number of MCQs: 12
Number of Non MCQs: 04
Topics covered in CAT test syllabus 2018 on which LR questions are based  Clocks, Calendars, binary logic, seating arrangement, blood relations, logical sequence, Assumption, premise, conclusion, linear and matrix arrangement
Past trend of topics in CAT IIM Syllabus: Distribution/Arrangement; Venn Diagrams;  Arrangement of files in folders; Students using various Trains and the fares for the same; Seating Arrangement; Direction sense for Cars; Ordering items; Burgers/Fries/ Ice Cream


Number of Questions: 34

(The past 2 years trend in CAT exam syllabus for Quant shows that there are 24 to 27 MCQs and 7 to 10 Non-MCQs in Quant section of CAT exam).

Sectional weightage in CAT Syllabus: 34%

Number of MCQ 24 To 27
Number of Non-MCQs 7 To 10
No. of questions in Arithmetic 10 -12


  • LCM and HCF
  • Percentages
  • Profit and Loss
  • Interest (Simple and Compound)
  • Speed, Time and Distance; Time and Work; Averages; Ratio and Proportion and others
  • Number System (3-4) questions
  • Algebra (5-7 questions)
  • Geometry/Mensuration (6-8 questions)
  • Pure Math (1-2 questions)
  • Venn diagrams and other topic based questions are 2-3
  • Linear Equations; Quadratic Equations
  • Complex Numbers
  • Logarithm; Progressions
  • Binomial Theorem
  • Surds and Indices
  • Inequalities
  • Permutation and Combination
  • Probability Functions
  • Set Theory
  • Mixtures and Alligations
  • Co-ordinate Geometry
  • Trigonometry

CAT Preparation

CAT Preparation is difficult without scanning CAT Syllabus. It will be difficult to have a successful attempt at this exam without having a complete understanding of the syllabus.

While the syllabus is wider than one usually anticipates it to be, still it is important to plan one’s study material according to the weightage and personal strengths.



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