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CAT 2019 Exam Pattern, Marks Distribution, Syllabus

Updated On - May 16th 2019 by SUJATA GAUR

CAT 2019 Exam Pattern: CAT is a computer-based test that evaluates candidate’s quantitative, verbal/reading, data interpretation, and reasoning skills. The paper comprises of 3 sections, having 100 MCQ & Non-MCQs that are to be completed in 3 hours. Each section is timed with the individual time limit of 1 hour.

  • This year, the exam is scheduled for November 24 in CBT mode.
  • The syllabus is based on the fundamentals of 10+2 curriculum.Check CAT 2019 Syllabus
  • As per the marking scheme, 3 marks are awarded for a correct answer, and 1 mark is deducted for an incorrect answer in CAT exam.
  • Prepare with CAT Model Paper as predicted by 

Download Free CAT Sample Papers

What to Expect from CAT 2019 Exam?

CAT Exam Pattern has observed several changes over the years. The exam pattern and difficulty level of CAT 2019 is anticipated to revise this year too. Analyzing last year’s mock paper, we predict the following changes in CAT Exam Pattern 2019:

  • Each section will contain non-MCQ questions, the answers of which are to be typed directly. 
  • An on-screen calculator will be provided. 
  • No option of switching between sections. 
  • Quants section may be easier to attempt.

As per the analysis for CAT 2019 by Collegedunia team, DILR is expected to be toughest, VARC to be moderate and QA should be the easiest. An attempt at total 63-67 will be considered reasonable. CAT has a success rate of 1 in 200. Check CAT Exam Cutoff

cat exam pattern
CAT Exam Pattern Highlights
CAT Exam Date 2019November 24, 2019
Number of sections3 (Verbal & Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning, and Quantitative Aptitude)
Duration of exam180 minutes (60 minutes per section)
Number of questions100
CAT Exam Total Marks300
Language of paperEnglish
Number of answer choices4
Mode of examinationOnline
CAT Marking scheme+3 marks for the correct answer -1 mark for an incorrect answer

Score Better with CAT 2019 Preparation Tips

Sectional Pattern of CAT 2019

cat section-wise exam pattern
SectionNumber of MCQ questionsNumber of Non-MCQ questionsTotal Questions
Verbal and Reading Comprehension241034
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning24832
Quantitative Aptitude27734

Also Check CAT Marking Scheme

CAT Exam Pattern 2019 for Quantitative Aptitude

  • This section focuses on numerical problems and will test a candidate’s mathematical knowledge.
  • It is a test of speed, accuracy, and precision.
  • There are 43 questions in this section. 
  • They will be further divided into 27 MCQ & 7 Non-MCQs

Important Topics in Quantitative Aptitude 

CAT Exam Syllabus for Quantitative Ability
VariationTime and WorkTime, Speed and Distance
Linear and Quadratics EquationsSurds and IndicesInequalities
LogarithmsMensuration and GeometryTables and Case lets
Probability/ Profit or LossCritical PathAverages and Partnerships
Allegations and MixturesAlgebraPercentage

Check How to Prepare Quantitative Aptitude for CAT?

CAT Previous Year Paper Analysis

The quantitative ability section of CAT 2018 was quite lengthy, but candidates with mathematics background did not face many difficulties in getting through with it. Geometry was given higher weight this year. The overall difficulty level of the exam was moderate.

Following are the highlights of Cat 2018 QA section:

  • There were only 7 Non MCQ questions, nearly half than last year’s CAT exam
  • The square root symbol looked more like the pie symbol; this caused confusion.
  • Questions from the topics – Compound Interest, Coordinate Geometry, geometry, Mixture and Allegation, Permutation and Combination, Partnership, Mensuration, Logarithm, Quadric Equation, Proportion, and Ratio.
  • 7 questions were inclined on the tough side.

Read CAT Paper Analysis for QA

CAT Preparation Books for Quantitative Aptitude

CAT quants books
Book NameAuthor Name/PublisherISBN Number
How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for the CATArun Sharma9352602242
Quantitative Aptitude Quantum CAT Common Admission Tests for Admission into IIMsSarvesh K. Verma9311123870
Quantitative Aptitude for the CATNishit K. Sinha9332570019

CAT Exam Pattern 2019 for Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning

  • This section will focus on two aspects- Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning.
  • Questions from Data Interpretation (DI) focus on a candidate’s ability to derive conclusions from a given set of data.
  • Logical Reasoning (LR) section tests a candidate’s logical thinking and its application to everyday problems.
  • There will be a total of 32 questions from this section.
  • They will be further divided into 24 MCQ & 8 Non-MCQs.

Read Best Books for CAT Preparation 2019

Important Topics in Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

CAT Syllabus for Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
Bar GraphCase lets
Line GraphCombination of Graphs
Pie ChartData Sufficiency
TablesVenn Diagram
Seating ArrangementBlood Relations
SyllogismVenn Diagram
PropositionsData Arrangement
StatementsClocks and Calendars


CAT 2018 Paper Analysis for DI/LR

  • Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR) was the toughest section of CAT Exam.
  • The overall difficulty level of this section was high.
  • Some candidates faced a problem in completing this section. The trick to scoring high in this section was only to identify the easier sets.
  • If candidates identified the easier set, the calculator would have proved useful, and thus an attempt of 10-12 questions will be enough to clear the sectional cutoff.
  • 4 sets of DILR questions were there, including MCQ and Non MCQ questions.
  • Questions were asked from the following topics:
  1. Line Chart
  2. Table Chart
  3. Set Theory
  4. Arrangement
  5. Cube-Based Sets

Read CAT Paper Analysis for DI

CAT Books for Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

CAT reasoning books
Books for CAT ExamAuthor Name/PublisherISBN Number
CAT 2019 Data Interpretation & Logical ReasoningGautam Puri9386309475
Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for the CATNishit K. Sinha933257121X
Data Interpretation & Data SufficiencyAnanta Ashisha9352039246
How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CATArun Sharma9352602250

CAT Exam Pattern 2019 for Verbal & Reading Comprehension

  • This section will have questions from the English language and grammar.
  • It tests a candidate’s language and comprehension skills.
  • The comprehension questions will test the ability to comprehend the meaning from a given passage.
  • Questions about language usage and their rules are also expected to appear in the exam. Testing the understanding of basic grammar is also a part of the exam.
  • A total of 34 questions will be asked from this section.
  • They will be further divided into 24 MCQ & 10 Non-MCQs.

Important Topics from Verbal and Reading Comprehension

CAT Exam Syllabus for Verbal & Reading Comprehension
Sentence CorrectionWord usage
Fill in the blanksPara Jumble
Para completionFact Inference Judgement

CAT 2018 Paper Analysis for VA/RC

  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension section consisted of 5 passages of 400-500 words each.
  • 3 passages had 6 questions each related to them, and 2 passages had 3 questions each.
  • +3 marks were given for each correct answer and -1 marks for each wrong answer.
  • The overall difficulty level of the exam was Moderate.
  • Along with this, there were Non-MCQ from the following topics:
  1. Jumbled paragraphs- 4 questions
  2. Out of context and paragraph summary- 3 questions
  3. Find odd sentences- 3 questions

Read 5 ways to Improve Reading Speed for CAT 2019

Preparation Books for Verbal and Reading Comprehension

CAT verbal ability books
Book NameAuthor Name/PublisherISBN Number
How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CATArun Sharma and Meenakshi Upadhyay/Arihant9352602269
30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary Mass Market PaperbackWilfred Funk & Norman Lewis/ Simon & Schuster067174349X
How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CATSharma and Upadhyay9339222695
PSC for VA for CAT ExamNishit Sinha9332570027

Check 5 Recommended Magazines for CAT Preparation 2019

CAT 2019 Marking Scheme

CAT will have two types of questions– MCQs and Non-MCQs. Both the type of questions will carry equal marks. Here is the CAT Marking Scheme for your reference:

  • Total Questions- 100
  • Total Marks- 300
  • Marks for Each Correct Answer- +3 marks
  • Marks for Each Incorrect Answer- -1 score.
  • Negative Marking for Non-MCQs- No
  • Questions Left Blank- No mark

The table given below provides a brief of the marking scheme, expected to be followed for CAT 2019.

Type of QuestionCorrect AnswerIncorrect AnswerUn-attempted Question


  • Candidates get 60 minutes to complete each section.
  • Even if candidates complete a section before 60 minutes, they cannot switch/ start with the next section.
  • However, candidates can attempt any of the section first and can also answer the questions out of sequence.

CAT Mock Test 2019

The mock test for CAT 2019 will be released by the convening authority around the exam date. CAT 2019 will be held on November 24.

CAT Mock Test is a handy and helpful tool to understand the pattern and difficulty level of questions so that you do not get any surprises in the actual paper. It is advisable to practice CAT 2019 Mock Test along with Previous Year Question Papers as much as possible. 

Most of CAT Coaching Centers also release their test papers or series for MBA aspirants. Practicing rigorously is the only key to crack CAT exam. Make sure you leave no stone unturned during your preparation strategy.

Changes in CAT Exam Pattern 

Ever since the change of CAT exam mode from offline to online in 2009, the exam has seen several changes in its pattern. Whether it was reducing the number of sections or introduction of non-MCQs, candidates have surprised most of its test-takers. 

Given below is the trend analysis of the CAT paper pattern for the past three years. This will help you predict the expected CAT 2019 Question Paper:

In 2018, no changes in CAT Exam Pattern were observed. The paper was of moderate difficulty level.

Number of Questions343234

In 2017, in the Quantitative Ability section, the change in the distribution of questions can be easily seen.

Number of Questions343234

In 2016, there was no particular change in the number of questions in CAT. The distribution of questions is depicted in the table given below-

Number of Questions343234

CAT Exam Day Instructions

To have a better understanding of do’s and don’ts at CAT exam day, you may refer to the below video:

CAT Exam Pattern FAQs

Ques. Is CAT an online exam?

Ans. CAT is not an online exam. It is a digital or Computer Based Test (CBT); not an Internet-Based Test (IBT), i.e., a candidate will not take the exam on an internet site.

Ques. Can I take the exam from any computer?

Ans. A candidate will take the exam on a workstation assigned at the test center.

Ques. Are there negative marks for questions other than MCQs?

Ans.  No, there are no negative marks for non-MCQ type questions.

Ques. How many non-MCQs are there in each section?

Ans. The number of questions varies and cannot be disclosed.

Ques. Is there a specific order for answering sections?

Ans. You must answer the sections in a pre-specified order, and this order will remain the same for all the candidates.

Ques. What is the time duration of the Exam?

Ans. The time duration is 180 minutes.

Ques. What are the total marks for the CAT 2019 exam?

Ans. The CAT exam total marks are 300.

Ques. What is the language of the CAT 2019 paper?

Ans. The language of CAT 2019 is English.

Ques. What is the difference between the Computer-Based test and Pen-paper Based Test?

Ans. The Computer-based test is where the applicants read the questions on a computer terminal and click on the right answer. In the Pen-Paper based test, the applicants will be provided with a paper booklet, and they are needed to use a pencil or pen and darken the ovals against the right answers.

Ques. How to know more about the CBT?

Ans. For more details on the CBT, check out the CAT 2019 Practice tests and the CAT 2019 mock test.

Ques. What are the sections in CAT 2019?

Ans. There are three sections in the CAT 2019 question paper –

Section I – Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension

Section II – Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

Section III – Quantitative Ability.

Ques.  Can I Bring a calculator to the exam?

Ans. No, the applicants are not allowed to bring in any electronic devices to the exam center. An on-screen calculator will be provided in the exam.

Ques.  How many MCQ and Non-MCQ in CAT exam? 

Ans. There are 72 MCQ and 28 Non MCQ Questions.

Verbal and Reading Comprehension241034
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning24832
Quantitative Aptitude27734

Ques. Do the MCQs and non-MCQs carry equal scores?

Ans. Yes, all the questions carry equal scores.

Ques. What is the syllabus for CAT? How should I prepare?

Ans. There is no fixed syllabus for CAT. However, applicants can check the numerous tips provided by professionals or join a coaching Institute. Also, the applicants can also check the numerous CAT preparation tips accessible online.

Ques. What is the marking scheme for CAT? Is there any negative marking?

Ans. For every right answer, the applicants will be awarded 3 marks. However, an insight answer will fetch -1 mark.

Ques. What is the weightage of Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension?

Ans. There are 34 questions for 102 marks for 60 minutes.

Ques. What is the Weightage of Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning?

Ans. There are 32 questions for 96 marks for 60 minutes.

Ques. What is the Weightage of Quantitative Ability?

Ans. There are 34 questions for 102 marks for 60 minutes.

Ques. What is the syllabus for Quantitative Ability?

Ans. There are important topics for quantitative ability:

Linear and Quadratics EquationsTime and WorkInequalities
VariationMensuration and GeometryTime, Speed and Distance
Probability/ Profit or LossSurds and IndicesTables and Case lets
LogarithmsCritical PathAverages and Partnerships
Allegations and MixturesAlgebraPercentage

Ques. What is the CAT Exam Pattern for Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning?

Ans. These are the important topics to cover in Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning:

Bar GraphCase letsSeating ArrangementBlood RelationsStatements
Line GraphCombination of GraphsSyllogismVenn DiagramSets
Pie ChartData SufficiencyPropositionsData ArrangementClocks and Calendars
TablesVenn DiagramPuzzlesAssumptions-

Ques. What is the CAT Exam Pattern for Verbal & Reading Comprehension?

Ans. These are the major topics to cover in Verbal & Reading Comprehension:

Sentence CorrectionWord usage
Fill in the blanksPara Jumble
Para completionFact Inference Judgement

Ques. Is there any help for computation in CAT Exam?

Ans. To help applicants with general computations, a non-scientific on-screen calculator is offered. Candidates have to use the mouse to carry out calculations on the on-screen calculator.

Ques.  From where can I get the list of exam centers?

Ans. The list of CAT 2019 exam centers will be accessible on the official website from the third week of October 2019. Currently, applicants can see the test cities where CAT 2019 will take place.

Ques. What are the time slots for the CAT 2019 exam?

Ans. As per the official announcement, CAT 2019 will be conducted in two sessions or time slots. Applicants will be allotted a single session time slot based on the availability of test center and city of selection.

Ques. Can I appear for more than one slot for CAT 2019?

Ans. No, you cannot appear for more than one slot for CAT 2019. If any applicant attempts to appear for CAT 2019 in two distinctive time slots, it would be considered as a fraudulent activity. To maintain the distance from any fraudulent activity on this front, CAT 2019 applicants will be subject to verification of Admit Cards, applicant pictures, photo IDs, and biometric verification.

Ques. Where can I select my preference for shift and test date?

Ans. The examination shift (forenoon or afternoon) is distributed to each registered applicant based on the selection of the city, which made at the time of application. An applicant cannot select the shift.

Ques. What are the timings to contact the Applicant Helpdesk?

Ans. CAT 2019 help desk is accessible to applicants via telephone from Monday to Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The CAT Applicant Helpdesk is shut on Sundays and National/Public holidays.

*The article might have information for the previous academic years, which will be updated soon subject to the notification issued by the University/College




pushpendra singh

Are there any changes in the CAT Exam Pattern?

29 Jul, 2017 14:32
Sakshi Garg Expert

Hi Pushpendra, Currently no update has been released on changes in the exam pattern. But CAT is famous for throwing surprises in the exam pattern which is not even notified before the exam. In the case of any release of notification, the same will be updated on our website. For more details, click hereDetails

29 Jul, 2017 16:05
Yashika Goel

Can I Bring a calculator to the exam?

29 Jul, 2017 14:30
Sakshi Garg Expert

Hi Yashika, No calculator is allowed in the exam hall. However, a virtual calculator would be provided for the calculation work.

29 Jul, 2017 14:45
Vivek Bansal

What are the sections in CAT 2017?

29 Jul, 2017 14:25
Sakshi Garg Expert

Hi Vivek, There are 3 sections in the CAT 2017 exam:

  • Section I: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
  • Section II: Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
  • Section III: Quantitative Ability

29 Jul, 2017 15:00
Ruby Goyal

Where can I fill the form for a scribe/reader?

29 Jul, 2017 13:29
Sakshi Garg Expert

Hi Ruby, At the time of filling the application form, you have to indicate that you will be using a service of the scribe. Under the physical disability section, you need to fill the details regarding the requirement of a scribe.

29 Jul, 2017 15:09

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