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CAT 2018 Syllabus: A Detailed Review of all the Sections

Feb 13, 2018 15:43 IST
    CAT detailed syllabus
    CAT detailed syllabus

    Common Admission Test (CAT) is India’s one of the most prestigious exams which grants admission to top-tier Management Institutes of India. It is a Computer Based Test (CBT) and is a gateway to 19 IIMs and over 100 Management institutes in India such as FMS, SP Jain Management Institute and many more. Every year the examination is expected to take place in the month of November.

    Every year approximately more than 2 lakh aspirants appear for this examination, which makes it evident that the competition to make it to the top college is also hard. Only the outstanding performers will win the marathon. In addition, the level of the entrance examination which is considered difficult is another challenge. Therefore we advise the aspirants to clear their decks before they miss the boat.

    In order to win the war in the battlefield, good preparation with the Warfield tactics is essential. Similarly, in order to ace the test, you must be aware of all the tactics that can be applied in the exam to crack it amongst other contenders. One such important lesson which will surely guide you in a rightful manner is “knowing the syllabus of CAT 2017” and simultaneously developing the know-how to deal with the questions which come in the exam. So, let us now get into the minute details of the syllabus which are should be considered as a bible for a CAT aspirant.

    CAT 2018 Syllabus

    To aid your preparation in the precise manner, we would take you on tour of the CAT syllabus which is expected to come in the year 2018.

    To give you a brief overview, let us first learn about the three major sections that form an integral part of the CAT entrance examination:


    Section Name

    Questions from each Section

    Section – I

    Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension


    Section – II

    Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning


    Section – III

    Quantitative Ability




    100 Questions

    From the above table it is clear that from three sections, 100 questions are asked from the candidates to test their overall aptitude. After you have gained a broad idea about the sections from which questions are asked in the examination, now we will focus on each section in detail.

    Quantitative Ability Section

    In the first place we will zero in on the Quantitative Ability Section of the CAT entrance. This section evaluates and analyses the numerical and problem solving ability of the aspirants. The questions from this section are multiple-choice based questions also invite negative marking if you choose the wrong option. 

    As it can be seen from the table above that the section contains 34 herculean questions, hence, we will guide you how to deal with the complexity of these questions at ease.

    Topics Covered in Quantitative Aptitude Section

    As it can be seen from the aforementioned table, quantitative aptitude section of CAT is majorly bifurcated into 5 major categories i.e. Number system, Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry and Mensuration, and Modern Maths.

    Now that you have understood and learned about the wide range of topics which are covered in this section, we shall move forward to know more about the weightage of each section. Out of the 34 questions, let us seek to understand the chapter-wise break up of questions so that you can focus more on the highly scoring areas first.


    Number of Questions (Tentative)







    Geometry and Mensuration


    Modern Maths


    Our analysis to come up with this classification of questions for each chapter makes it apparent that the students should tighten their grip on Number system and brush up their concepts related to this section first.

    The preparation for Number system should be followed by Arithmetic which comprises of more interesting topics which are applied in practical life. The block concerning arithmetic is also important because 80% of the calculations in this section are inter-connected and applied in the Data Interpretation questions.

    It should also be noted that a comprehensive understanding of Arithmetic section would fetch you good scores in Data Interpretation section as well. This section carries approximately 16 questions and the concepts are associated with the arithmetic chapters.  

    Algebra is another important section where you cannot afford to remain as a non-performer. If you wish to crack CAT with the best percentile then algebra is one chapter which needs to be mastered with great precision. Topics under this section are of utmost value and the questions which come in this category can be easily tackled if your fundamentals are crystal clear.

    Geometry and mensuration hold similar weightage. As per the previous year paper analysis, a trend has been observed that 98% questions from geometry section are based on the simple geometrical formulas. So the good news is, if you are well-versed with the geometrical formulas then your percentile would only soar high.

    Talking about the last section of Quantitative aptitude, ‘Modern Maths’, it is considered very tough to master, due to high level of thinking and difficulty involved in solving these questions. But, from this chapter fewer questions are put up as against other chapters. So, if you wish to become an out-performer and achieve the best scores, you need to master this section as well!

    Verbal Ability Section

    The verbal ability section for CAT is another fascinating section which evaluates your aptitude on the basis of the language comprehension. This section has the potential to shoot up your falling scores if you are an avid reader.

    So, let us learn about the topics covered in this section:

    Topics Covered in Verbal Aptitude Section

    From among these chapters, our analysis says that you can expect to get the following number of questions in the CAT examination this year.


    Number of Questions (Tentative)

    Reading Comprehension


    Passage Summary


    Para Jumbles


    Critical Reasoning (Paragraph Completion)


    Correct Usage of Phrasal Verbs (Grammar Based)


    From the above table, one could easily infer that reading comprehension holds highest weightage. If you have speedy comprehension ability, then you would be able to attempt the passages correctly.

    In order to achieve par excellence scores in this chapter, you must practice timed reading and develop taste of understanding articles from diverse genre such as political sciences, economy, sports, international news, social issues, entertainment, and trivia etc.

    The level of difficulty of these questions varies for each chapter. For say, you can assume to get 4-5 high level of difficulty questions in RC passage.

    Followed by the reading comprehension, you must focus your attention on learning the art to solve Para jumble questions. Getting the right answer of these questions would secure 10% of your scores. Para jumbles aim to evaluate whether you understand the tone of questions; do you have strong vocabulary to comprehend the sentences; do you have critical thinking skills to arrange the sentences in correct sequence.

    Other topics in the CAT verbal ability section also focus on analyzing your overall ability:

    • to understand and identify the core ideas,
    • to predict and identify the supporting ideas which are envisaged in the texts,
    • to check whether you are able to provide the details systematically and orderly manner.

    Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation Section

    Coming over to the last but another significant section of CAT entrance examination, LR&DI which holds fewer questions in comparison to the other two sections. 

    The topics which are covered under this section are as under:

    Topics Covered in Logical and Data Interpretation Section

    An in-depth analysis from various credible sources brough us to this conclusion that you can expect the given below tentative bifurcation of questions from the above mentioned chapters of CAT exam.


    Number of Questions (Tentative)

    Data Interpretation [tables, graphs (line, area), charts (column, bar, pie)]


    Game based/Logical Analysis- Caselets (Puzzles, Ranking, Blood Relation)


    Seating Arrangement (Circular, Linear or Matrix)


    Venn Diagram


    Dealing with these questions is also a “game of logic”. The more you would think logically, questions would become easier for you to decipher.

    Puzzle questions are one of the prominent favourite questions of the examiners. These questions are often asked in combination of several concepts. You can say that these questions are perfect amalgamation of all the reasoning and logic that you have learnt from various aptitude books.

    These questions act as a litmus test of your entire reasoning ability and after resolving them you can surely pat your back proudly J

    The questions pertaining to seating arrangement aim to test your visualization skills, your ability to order the available clues logically and finally check your ability to convert the available data into information.

    A Venn diagram is another tricky yet interesting way of evaluating an individual’s wit. These questions require you to draw a network diagram/Venn diagram. Thereafter, you would relate the data provided to answer the questions being asked in the exam.

    Questions from this chapter seem complex to understand, but once you start solving them, you can unwind the entangled threads easily using an apt logic.

    How much time do you think you should take to attempt the CAT entrance examination?

    Obviously it has to be less than 180 minutes for the reason being that the time limit of CAT can’t exceed 180 minutes.

    My basic concern of putting up this question is, how much time according to you, should be invested in each section to perform at the horse pace.

    No Clue?


    Have some clue but not sure about it?

    Don’t worry, we would provide you tips pertaining to this as well. An ideal CAT aspirant should invest the time while attempting the test in following manner!

    Section Name


    Sectional time Limit

    Quantitative Ability


    60 minutes

    Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning


    60 minutes

    Verbal Ability


    60 minutes



    180 minutes

    This makes it evident that you need to have an in depth command over every concept in order to get a foothold in the IIMs.

    Wishing you Goodluck for the preparation!!

    So, before moving onto some other interesting topic which is causing anxiety for the MBA aspirants, I would simply say:

    Kindly share the article if you feel that it has added some value in your existing knowledge. In case you have some additional information, do share with us in the comments section, and if you have some queries yet unresolved, then do post them as well…! We would get back to you at the earliest!

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