CAT Exam Syllabus 2020 In Detail: Quantitative Skills, Verbal Ability, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

Common Admission Test (CAT) is one of the biggest pan-India exams that is conducted for students seeking admission into the top-tier management institutes of India, including 20 IIMs and over 100 non-IIM institutes across India.

It is a computer-based exam that tests the quantitative, verbal, logical and data interpretation abilities of students. The exam is conducted by the IIMs on the basis of rotational policy.

As of last year, the CAT 2019 exam was conducted by IIM Kozhikode, and for CAT 2020 exam IIM Indore will be administering the exam.

The registration generally takes place in the month of July, and by the month of November, exams are conducted, and results are out by early January. With the unprecedented times in consideration, the registrations for the year 2020 are most likely to start from early August 2020. 

Important details about CAT 2020

CAT is not only of the biggest exams but is also considered to be one of the toughest and in spite of that students across the country apply for this exam which makes the competition harder. The exam may be tough but is certainly not impossible to crack.

Therefore, it is particularly important for the sailors to realize their opportunities with carefulness before carelessness drowns their ship.

The first step to start with is levelling up your preparation game. And the first rule of levelling up your preparation is by analyzing and going through your syllabus minutely and in full detail.

It is only after you are thorough with the syllabus, you can go about planning how to complete it. The syllabus of CAT is no less than a bible to its aspirants. So, if you are a CAT aspirant, be ready to not only just read but understand the CAT 2020 Syllabus. 

CAT 2020 Syllabus

CAT entrance examination is divided into three sections – 

Section Type of section Number of questions
Section One This section deals with verbal ability, reading and comprehension skills.  There are a total of 34 questions from this section.
Section Two This section includes questions related to data interpretation and logical reasoning questions. There are a total of 32 questions from this section.
Section Three This section includes questions related to quantitative ability.  There are a total of 34 questions from this section.
Total: 100 Questions

CAT Section One: Verbal Ability And Comprehension Skills

This section basically tests your reading and language comprehension. This section can be very scoring for you if you are an avid reader and have your grammar and vocabulary skills crushed up.

Broadly speaking, the topics can be divided into four sections – reading and comprehension, grammar questions, vocabulary check, and English usage. 

Reading and Comprehension Grammar Questions Vocabulary Check English Usage
Unseen Passage, Summary Questions Fill in the Blanks with correct grammar  Analogies or reverse analogies, Meaning- Usage Match,

Word Usage, synonyms, antonyms

Solving para jumble, para completion, sentence correction, verbal reasoning, and facts-inferences- judgements.

CAT Section Two: Data Interpretation And Logical Reasoning

This section consists of lesser questions than the other two sections. This section is mainly dependent on your analytical and logical skills.

Topics covered in this section can broadly be divided under three broad categories – verbal reasoning, logical reasoning, and data interpretation.

Verbal Reasoning Logical Reasoning Data Interpretation
Questions related to analogies, critical reasoning, cause and effect, seating arrangement, logical matching, and logical deduction. Questions related to puzzles, game-based theories, binary logic, data arrangement, team formations, syllogism, blood relations, logical connectives, assumptions, and statement-interferences-judgements. Questions related to different types of graphs, pie charts, line charts, calendars, cases, Venn diagrams, cubes, data sufficiency, and tables.

CAT Section Three: Quantitative Ability 

This section tests a student’s quantitative aptitude by a number of mathematical questions. The topics included in this section can be broadly divided into five categories – arithmetic, algebra, number system, geometry and mensuration, and modern mathematics.

This section is in Multiple Choice based format and therefore, can be negatively marked for every wrong answer. This makes it the toughest section. 

Arithmetic Algebra Number System Geometry and Mensuration Modern Mathematics
Topics like averages, simplifications, interest, profit and loss, LCM and HCF, time and work, speed, distance and time, ratio and proportion, and percentages are included. Questions are based on quadratic equations, linear equations, functions, inequalities, and logarithms. Questions are based on number systems, complex numbers, series and progressions, and sequence. Questions on geometry, mensuration, and coordinate geometry are included. Probabilities, set theory, maxima and minima, mixtures, permutations and combinations, and trigonometry are some topics.

Now that we are well aware of the syllabus and the topics that are generally covered in the examination, we can go through the tentative weightage of topics for each section based on CAT question paper from several years–

Section One Verbal and Comprehension Ability

Reading and Comprehension Grammar Questions Vocabulary Check English Usage
18 to 20 questions 2 to 4 question 2 to 4 questions 8 to 10 questions

Section Two Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

Verbal Reasoning Logical Reasoning Data Interpretation
8 to 10 questions 8 to 10 questions 12 to 16 questions

Section Three Quantitative Aptitude 

Arithmetic Algebra Number System Geometry and Mensuration Modern Mathematics
8 to 10 questions 6 to 8 questions 10 to 14 questions 8 to 10 questions 5 to 6 questions

The above distribution of questions is tentative and can vary from one topic to another. Students are advised to thoroughly practice each topic under each section. The maximum time you can allocate to each section is around 60 minutes.

So, if you want to wrap up your exam perfectly, each section should be allotted for about an hour. For that, you need rigorous time management practice. Once you are ready with full preparation and time management, nobody can stop your ship from reaching the harbour of success. 

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