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CAT 2018 Syllabus: Important Topics for VARC/ DILR/ QA

Updated On - November 22nd 2018 by KRITIKA GUPTA

CAT Syllabus 2018 is not officially released by any IIM. However, based on previous year question papers and analysis’, we have curated below the most important topics for this year’s Common Admission Test. The examination is scheduled for November 25 in a computer-based format.

Latest: The last date to download e-admit cards is November 25 (exam date). Know more!
  • CAT Exam Syllabus is based on the curriculum of class 10+2.
  • It evaluates a candidate’s quantitative, verbal/reading, data interpretation and reasoning skills.
  • Management aspirants can check their preparation status and prepare better using sample papers or previous year papers. Download Now!
  • The paper has 100 MCQ & Non-MCQ questions that are to be completed in 3 hours. Check CAT Exam Pattern 2018

Read on to know about the topics from which questions are generally asked in CAT exam. A clear idea of the syllabus of CAT will help you prepare in a focused and a structured manner.

What to Expect in CAT 2018?

Based on the question paper of CAT 2018, certain changes in CAT Exam Syllabus were observed. The following changes are expected to be followed in CAT 2018 as well:

  • Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension- RC to have 70% weightage in VARC section, 3 RC passages with 6 questions each and 2 RC passages with 3 questions each. 
  • Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning- 20 questions from Data Interpretation and 12 questions on Logical Reasoning. 
  • Reduced number of Non-MCQs in DILR and Quant sections to 19 from 28
  • Increase in number of answer choices to 5 from 4 in QA section. 
  • Introduction of new answer choices viz. Not applicable, can not be determined, None-of-these etc.

CheckBest Books for CAT Preparation

CAT Syllabus 2018- Latest Updates

  • CAT 2018 Mock Tests (official) with navigation guidelines released at
  • In a first, CAT 2017 question paper and answer keys were released and candidates were allowed to raise objections. It is expected to be same this year too.
  • You can now calculate your probable rank. Check  CAT 2018 Rank Predictor

CAT Syllabus 2018: Quantitative Aptitude (QA)

  • Questions in QA are mostly based on topics from Mathematics syllabus till class 10.
  • This section focuses on numerical problems and will test a candidate’s mathematical knowledge.
  • It is a test of speed, accuracy, and precision.
  • The QA section in CAT Exam is expected to have to have 27 MCQs and 7 Non-MCQs.
  • This section seems to be the favorite one as over 40% of questions are asked from Quants. Check Important Formulae

The sub-topics for each chapter included in CAT 2018 syllabus is given below-

CAT Syllabus for QuantsSub-Topics
ArithmeticNumber System, HCF, LCM, Ratio & Proportion, Simplification, Percentage, Average, Age Calculation, Time & Work, Distances
AlgebraTheory of Equations, Quadratic Equation, Permutation & Combination, Sequence & Series 
GeometryAngles, Lines, Triangles, Circles
MensurationAreas and Volumes – Rectangles, Squares, Triangles, Circles, Cubes, Cones, Spheres, Pipes and Cistern
CalculusMaxima and Minima, Function
TrigonometryTrigonometric Ratios, Heights, and Distances

Read MoreLast Minute Preparation Tips for CAT Quants Section

Preparation Books for CAT Quantitative Ability Section

cat quants books

Preparing with the right resources in hand can prove to be an asset for those appearing in the CAT 2018. Here we have listed a few books which are vouched for by CAT exam toppers.

Books for CATAuthor 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 Syllabus 2018: Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DI & LR)

  •  This section will focus on two aspects- Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning.
  • DI will have both MCQ and Non-MCQ questions.
  • Questions from Data Interpretation 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.
  • LR questions can be individual or be in a set of 4 or more questions.
  • DILR section is expected to see 24 MCQs and only 8 Non-MCQs.

The syllabus for DILR section is given below:

CAT Syllabus for Data Interpretation
Bar GraphLine Graph
Pie ChartTables
CaseletsCombination of Graphs
Data SufficiencyGames & Tournaments

Download CAT Exam Syllabus PDF

CAT Syllabus for Logical Reasoning
Data ArrangementPuzzles
Clocks and CalendarsVenn Diagram
Logical MatchingLogical Connectives

Read More How To Prepare Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning?

Preparation Books for CAT Exam Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning

cat books

Below we have curated a list of preparation books for Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning section based on user reviews:

Books for CATAuthor Name/PublisherISBN Number
CAT 2018 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

Read Best Books for CAT Preparation 2018

CAT Syllabus 2018: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VRC)

  • VARC section tests a candidate’s language and comprehension skills.
  • The comprehension questions will test the ability to comprehend the meaning from a given passage.
  • Questions from the Reading Comprehension passage can be true/false statement based on the passage, Author's point of view on the issues raised in the passage, Inference from the passage, central idea of the passage and its purpose.  
  • The questions in the RC part will be objective in nature.
  • Verbal Ability questions will mainly be Non-MCQs.
  • This year, 24 MCQs and 10 Non-MCQs are expected in the paper.
  • Generally, 70% of questions come from Reading Comprehension.  

Important topics under VARC are listed below:

CAT Syllabus for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
Critical ReasoningGrammar & Usage
Sentence CorrectionWord usage
Fill in the blanksPara Jumble
Para completionIdioms
Para Summary-

Read  Tips to crack Verbal and Reading Comprehension

Preparation Books for CAT Exam Verbal and Reading Comprehension

books for cat 2017

Here we have prepared a list of some highly recommended books which are excellent for the preparation of Verbal and Reading Comprehension section.

Books for CAT ExamAuthor 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 CATNishit Sinha9332570027

CAT Syllabus FAQs

Ques. I am writing CAT 2018 and I have worked with all the NCERT mathematics books up to class 12. So I can clear the CAT exam?

Ans. Mathematics or quant syllabus is generic in nature. It all depends on the difficulty level of the exam and the CAT syllabus. Kindly refer RS Aggarwal book or Arihant CAT books to gain more clarity.

Ques. If I am new to computer education, can I still compete equally well with the other participants? My computer speed is slow.

Ans. Yes as the exam pattern got changed a few years back, students must prepare in online mode. So to boost your speed, do practice CAT mock papers in online mode.

Ques. Can I leave Mixture and allegations doing the preparation? The topic questions are difficult and complex.

Ans. It is advised not leave any topic from the CAT syllabus as there is no fixed weigtage. It has been seen that there are always surprises related to the Quant section. Best to prepare all the topics.

Ques. Is puzzles topic covered in DI or LR section?

Ans. They both are combined to form 1 section in the CAT 2018 exam. So do combine preparation of these topics.

Ques. If I attempt 15 questions from each section of DI, QA, and RC then what are my chances of qualifying the exam?

Ans. This depends completely on the difficulty level and the minimum cut off defined for each section. But as the percentile is high, we would suggest that attempt at least 30 questions in each section correctly.

Ques. Are marks are deducted for spelling errors in the non- MCQ type of questions?

Ans. There is no marking scheme defined clearly for the Non- MCQ type of questions. So, no details can be given about the marks deduction for the spelling errors.

Ques. I am weak in the quants section. What are the top 5 topics that can help me qualify the exam?

Ans. The top 5 CAT quant topics for preparation are as follows:

  1. Numeric system
  2. Arithmetic
  3. Geometry
  4. Permutation and combination
  5. Set theory

Ques. Along with Para jumbles, what other important topics can I prepare for the English section of CAT syllabus?

Ans. The important topics for CAT English section are as follows:

  • Fact inference Judgement
  • Grammar
  • Para completion
  • Sentence correction
  • Word usage

Ques.  I have completed my graduation from a Hindi medium college. I am not good at English. Can I give the exam in regional language or Hindi?

Ans. No, the exam is conducted in English medium only.

Ques. I am PWD category candidate. Do I have different CAT exam syllabus as I have a physical health issue?

Ans. No, the syllabus is same for all the candidates irrespective of the category details.

Ques. I am not sure about the questions in Vocabulary. How can I improve my vocabulary?

Ans. Start reading newspaper and Novels on a daily basis this will help you in increase your vocabulary.

Ques. How can I improve my performance in CAT in limited time?

Ans. Best way to analyze your performance is to do 1 or 2 mock tests each day for a week. Before this, just do a brush up of all the topics and then see your weak areas and strong areas. After identifying these areas do the preparation.

Ques. As only 6 months are left in the CAT 2018 exam, I want to do my best in the QA section. How many days do I have to allot to each topic in QA section?

Ans. There is a 50-day plan for completing all the topics of the QA section in detail. Just stick to it to do well in QA section.

Co-ordinate Geometry3
Set theory3
Permutation and combination5
Surds and indices2
Progression (sequence and series)4
Quadratic and higher order equations4
Linear equations3
Ratio and proportion3
Time and work3
Speed, Time and Distance4
Interest (compound and simple)3
Profit, loss and Discount3
Number system5

Ques. I am looking for some online app that I can use for my CAT preparation. I am mostly traveling so carrying books on my way is difficult.

Ans. There are few good apps that can be used for the preparation of the online syllabus:

App nameRatingDaily tipUseful for
MBA test prep4.3/5Word List, Question of the Day, Tip of the Day, Puzzle of the Week, News, AnnouncementsCAT, NMAT, XAT, SNAP
TCY Exam pre4/ 5Challenge zone problems created every day for a problem-solvingCAT, XAT, NMAT and IIFT
MBA: NMAT CAT IIFT AIMA MAT3/5More than 3000 problems on all the sections of CATOther useful exams are CAT, XAT, CMAT, IIFT and NMAT
MBA- CAT/ CMAT preparation3.5/5There are separate headers for each of the sections in CATHigh-quality analysis of the performance is done by the app, the detailed report can be thus figured out by the use of the app.

Ques. I have heard a lot about the stress test. What is a stress test for RC section? 

Ans. A stress test is basically designed to check your ability to comprehend the data defined in the paragraph. There are 5 comprehensions that a candidate is expected to complete in 35 minutes duration. Also, evaluation is done for identifying how many questions are attempted correctly.

Ques. I have done a lot of mock preparation for the CAT RC section. I can see that I lose marks in this section, generally, a difference of perception can be observed on the answers. How can I bridge this gap?

Ans. This is a common complaint by most of the candidates who write the RC section. The problem comes because we end up creating our own perception while solving the problems. While attempting RC section, keep this tip in mind: “Identify general idea and purpose of the passage in the author’s perspective”.

Ques. How many questions can come on polity and economics in the VARC section in the CAT exam?

Ans. There are no direct questions that can come from the Economy and polity section directly.

Ques. I am working on the CAT VARC syllabus. I have worked for 30 days but still could not complete the syllabus. Can I get some schedule to complete the QA section?

Ans. The QA section syllabus is as follows:

English usage or Grammar5
Sentence correction5
Fill in the blanks5
Verbal reasoning4
Reading comprehension15
Jumbled paragraph10
 Odd sentence10
Summary questions10
Facts/ inference/ judgements4
Para completion10

Ques. There are plenty of books on the market for preparing DI section. I am confused about the quality and rating. Which book to buy?

Ans. This is good that you understand the importance of only 1 book to work with for the last minute preparation. You can buy any 1 of the book from the list given below:

  • CAT 2018 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

Ques. I have prepared for XAT exam, can the same books used for preparing CAT syllabus?

Ans. Yes, the same books can be used for preparing the CAT syllabus.

Ques. What is the percentage weight for the MCQ and non- MCQ topic in the CAT syllabus?

Ans. There is no clear definition of the MCQ and non- MCQ syllabus defined by the CAT authorities in the QA section. So prepare all sections equally well.

Ques. I want to do some online preparation for the CAT syllabus. Can you give me the name of some of the websites that I can work with?

Ans. Sure, you can work with PaGalGuy, money control, test find, cracku, career launcher and Handa Ka Funda.

Ques. If I want to excel in the Data interpretation section, what is the preparation strategy that I can follow? I am confused about finding a good strategy?

Ans. A strategy that works for you is the best strategy but one way to prepare is that you can work with ARUN SHARMA book on Data interpretation as it has the good representation of each and every part in the single and logical way. The mock papers by pagal guy and money control are the best to work.

Ques. Does the book Arun Sharma cover all the important topics for the section of Logical Reasoning or multiple books are to be referred?

Ans. The ARUN SHARMA AND NISHIT SINHA books are sufficient for logical reasoning. The mock papers and notes from HANDA KA FUNDA website are sufficient which provide immense simple well defining graphic charts and formulas.

Ques. Do the coaching classes cover the entire syllabus defined by the CAT exam authorities or some part is left for self-study. Also, can you give me the names of some good coaching institutes in Delhi?

Ans. Well, coaching institutes cover the entire syllabus defined by the CAT exam authorities. When looking for some coaching you can refer to the following details:

RankName of Coaching CenterLocationRating
1P T EducationNew Delhi4.2
2T.I.M.E.Connaught Place, New Delhi3.8
3Career LauncherKingsway Camp, New Delhi3.7
4IMS Learning ResourcesConnaught Place, New Delhi3.2

Ques. I have heard that there is a change in the exam pattern of QA section. Now there is 50:50 weigtage of both the MCQ and non- MCQ type of questions. Is it true?

Ans. No, it is not true. As per the exam pattern, only 8 questions will be non- MCQ type rest of the questions will be MCQ type.

Ques. If I apply for a 90-day study plan, what are my chances of getting selected in CAT 2018?

Ans. Well, a 90-day study plan, if followed precisely, will ensure that your study would be completed within time. But your dedication and commitment will make all the difference.

Ques. Can you give me a list of all the topics that are added to CAT 2018 syllabus over CAT 2017 syllabus?

Ans. Well, there are no additions that are officially announced in the CAT 2018 syllabus. 

Ques. I have heard that switching between the sections is not allowed in the CAT online exam. Is it true?

Ans. Yes, the switching between the sections is not allowed in the CAT 2018 exam. So best would be to completely work with 1 section and then move on to the next section.

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

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1 Comment

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06 Mar, 2017 11:58

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