Exam Pattern and Syllabus for CAT Exam 2023

Candidates hoping to become business managers might use IIM’s envisioned CAT Exam Pattern 2023 to their advantage. Candidates contemplating taking the forthcoming exam should familiarise themselves with the most up-to-date CAT Exam Pattern 2023. It will give students an idea of how the exam will be set up, what kinds of questions will be asked, how hard they will be, how the CAT will be graded, and what study materials they will need.

To get a feel for what will be asked on the CAT exam in 2023, candidates need to consult the updated CAT exam pattern. According to the new guidelines, the CAT exam will only be 120 minutes long, and there will be 64 questions, down from 66 the year before. Learn about the new CAT Pattern 2023, including how long the exam will be, how points will be awarded, and what the questions will look like, right here!

Recent Modifications to the CAT Exam Format

The CAT Exam Pattern 2023 hasn’t undergone any modifications as of yet. The IIM administering the test, which is IIM Bangalore, will notify candidates of any changes, if any. There will be three parts to the exam. In the CAT 2023 exam, applicants may anticipate the same number of questions as in the previous exam.

Quantitative Aptitude 


The 22 questions on the CAT’s quantitative aptitude section, which are worth a total of 66 points, will cover a wide range of math topics.

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension

A total of 24 questions totalling 72 points may be anticipated for the Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension sections of the CAT. RC will weigh in heavily on the VARC portion.

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

This is thought to be the toughest segment. You may anticipate 20 problems totaling 60 points on the CAT’s Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning section.

CAT Exam Pattern 2023: Exam Overview

Before diving into the specifics of the CAT Exam 2023, let’s take a look at the big picture.


Particulars  Details 
Name of the Exam  Common Admission Test (CAT) 
Conducting Body IIM Bengaluru 
Course Post Graduate Management Courses
Participating Institutes IIMs, IITs, IISc and other B-Schools
Exam level  National level 
Exam Format MCQs and Non-MCQs
Total Number of Questions 66 
Time Duration 120 minutes 
Mode of Exam Computer-Based Test (CBT)
Application Mode Online 
Negative Marking -1 for each incorrect answer (MCQs)
CAT Official Website https://iimcat.ac.in/per/g01/pub/756/ASM/WebPortal/1/index.html?756@@1@@1

CAT Exam Pattern 2023: Details

The CAT Pattern 2023 is broken up into three parts. Verbal ability and reading comprehension, data interpretation and logical reasoning, and quantitative assessment are all part of it (Quantitative Ability). 


  • The CAT Exam is an online test that is done on a computer and is given at many testing centers.
  • There will be 66 total questions, and the time allotted will be 120 min.
  • In the last year, there has been a considerable decrease in the number of questions on the CAT Question Paper. 

To better grasp the CAT Exam Pattern, candidates must take notice of all the changes.

CAT Exam Paper Structure 2023: Key Features

The number of questions on the CAT exam has decreased from 76 to 66 in the last year, the most recent adjustment to the exam’s pattern. Take a look at the tabular information below to get an idea of what to anticipate from the CAT Exam in 2023.


CAT Question Paper Pattern


Exam Section 3 Parts: 

Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)

Quantitative Ability (QA)

CAT Time Duration 2 Hours (40 Minutes CAT Sectional Timing)
Section-wise CAT Exam Time Limit 40 Minutes for each section / 53 Minutes 20 Seconds for each section for PwD (People with disabilities)  candidates
Slot-wise Session Slot 1: 8:30 am – 10:30 pm (Morning Session)

Slot 2: 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm (Afternoon Session)

Slot 3: 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm (Evening Session)

Number of Questions 66 Questions (48 MCQs and 18 Non-MCQs)
Total CAT Exam marks 198 Marks (Expected)
Language  English 
CAT Question Types Multiple choice questions (MCQs)+ Type in the Answer (TITA) 
Mode of the CAT 2023 Exam Computer-Based Mode (CBT)
CAT Marking Scheme For every right answer, +3 will be awarded

For every wrong answer in MCQs, -1 will be deducted

No Negative Marking in CAT – Non-MCQs (TITA Questions)


Important Note: Note that the number of questions dropped from 100 to 76 in 2020 and then from 76 to 66 in 2021. The average number of questions on the CAT in 2023 is 66. Examine the CAT Cut Off from prior years to get a feel for what kind of score you’ll need to get in order to advance to the next stage of selection.

Section-wise Weightage for the CAT Exam 2023

The CAT test has three distinct segments. Each portion of the CAT has its own timing requirements, which candidates must keep in mind. There is no way to rearrange the questions since the pattern of the CAT Exam consists of three parts: VARC, DILR, and QA. You can figure out how well you did on the CAT by downloading the Answer Key as soon as it’s ready.


Time limits apply to each CAT 2023 assignment you submit. The next part will begin as soon as the current one ends. No changes or edits may be made later to the areas in between. Use the table below to gain a feel for the predicted section-by-section specifics of the CAT Exam Pattern 2023. Check the CAT Admit Card as well.


CAT Paper Pattern Section CAT Total Questions MCQs  TITA  Maximum Marks 
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC) 24 29 72
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR) 20  15 5 60 
Quantitative Aptitude (QA) 22 14  8 66
Total  66  48 18 198 


Remember that this is the section-by-section projected weightage for CAT 2023. If the IIM announces any changes to the CAT Exam Pattern 2023, we will let you know.

CAT Exam 2023: Duration

When taking the CAT, you’ll have a certain amount of time to complete each part. According to the most recent CAT Exam Pattern, we’ve included the section times and slot information below. 


The three exam sessions and timings are as follows:

  • Morning session (8:30 am – 10:30 pm)
  • Afternoon session (12:30 pm – 2:30 pm)
  • Evening session (4:30 pm – 6:30 pm)


Sections as per the Pattern of CAT Exam  CAT Sectional Time
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) 40 minutes 
Quantitative Aptitude (QA) 40 minutes 
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR) 40 minutes 
Total 120 minutes 


Important Information: For PwD applicants, each part will last 53 minutes and 20 seconds.

CAT Exam Syllabus 2023

Section wise CAT Syllabus 2023


Section Topics
Verbal and Reading Comprehension (VARC)
  • Verbal Ability
  • English Usage or Grammar
  • Close Passage
  • Synonyms Antonyms
  • Facts-inferences-judgments
  • Jumbled Paragraph
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Verbal Reasoning
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)

  • Caselets
  • Blood Relations
  • Calendars
  • Bar Graphs
  • Column Graphs
  • Tables
  • Cubes
  • Clocks
  • Binary Logic
  • Line Charts
  • Combination of two or more types linked to each other
  • Syllogism
  • Venn Diagrams
  • Pie Chart
  • Number and Letter Series
  • Seating Arrangement
Quantitative Aptitude (QA)

  • Algebra
  • Higher Maths
  • Geometry
  • Trigonometry
  • Mensuration
  • Arithmetic

Year-Wise Changes in Pattern of CAT Exam

Before 2009, CATs were administered on paper; now, candidates take their examinations on computers. Many changes were made to the CAT Exam Pattern as a result of COVID-19. These changes included cutting the number of questions and cutting the time for each section from 60 minutes to 40 minutes.


Take note of the CAT Paper Pattern modifications for the years 2019–2021. The CAT exam changed its format somewhat from 2015–2019. To finish the course material on time and pass the CAT, get the recommended reading list from the experts.


Parameters CAT Exam Pattern 2021 CAT Pattern 2020 Pattern of CAT Exam 2019
Mode  Online
Number of shifts 3 shifts 2 shifts
CAT Time Duration 40 Minutes 60 Minutes
Types of Questions Both MCQ and TITA 
Sections VARC, DILR, and QA 
Number of Questions 66 76 100
CAT Total Marks 198 228 300
CAT Marking Scheme +3 Marks for every correct answer

No marks for unattempted answers

Negative Marking in CAT -1 marks for every wrong answer in MCQs.

No Negative Marking for Non-MCQs.

Previous Years CAT Exam Pattern Trends

Be aware that the CAT exam pattern will vary from 2011 to 2021, both in terms of the total number of questions and the total amount of time allotted for the exam. Candidates need to do their research on Mixtures and Alligations CAT Questions and be prepared.


CAT Exam Year Number of Questions Duration CAT Conducting IIM
2021 66 2 hours IIM Ahmedabad
2020 76 2 hours IIM Indore
2019 100 3 hours IIM Kozhikode
2018 100 3 hours IIM Calcutta
2017 100 3 hours IIM Lucknow
2016 100 3 hours IIM Bangalore
2015 100 3 hours IIM Ahmedabad
2014 100 2.50 hours IIM Indore
2013 60 2:20 hours IIM Indore
2012 60 2.20 hours IIM Indore
2011 60 2.20 hours IIM Calcutta

Topics to be Covered in CAT Paper Pattern 2023

According to the CAT 2023 Exam Pattern, the following are the subjects that the candidates need to study. You must prepare for all of these topics. Read up on the CAT 2023 Syllabus in great detail so you can get ready for the exam.


CAT Syllabus CAT Important Topic
Verbal Ability Para jumbles, Summary Based Questions, Sentence exclusion question
Reading Comprehension RC passages
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning Seating Arrangement, Reasoning Based DI, Grid-Based DI, Graphs. Tables, Data Caselets
Quantitative Aptitude Number System, Algebra, Geometry, Arithmetic, Mensuration

How to Move Between Questions on the CAT Exam 2023

Examinees taking CAT 2023 must respond to questions in accordance with on-screen instructions. The CAT Exam Pattern 2023 specifies a specific sequence in which the parts must be answered, and this order will be followed by all examinees. Candidates taking the IIM CAT test in 2023 should have the following in mind while they answer the questions:


The clock in the top right corner will begin ticking as soon as the applicant checks in and begins responding to questions. The area will close and no more responses will be accepted after 40 minutes.


How should you answer the questions in the CAT 2023?

Candidates should have a firm grasp on the question-answering technique before beginning the CAT. Here are some possible responses that candidates might choose from:


  • Save and Next: Candidates should choose the response, save it, and then go on to the next question.


  • Clear Answer: Candidates will have the option to remove their response to a question.


  • Mark for Review and Next: If a candidate is uncertain about the response, they may mark it as a review, then provide their explanation before moving on to the next question.


NOTE: Use the supplied mouse while responding to questions. The computer screen will be locked if the system keyboard is used.

CAT 2023 Cut-Off

The official website will publish the CAT Exam 2023 cut-off for IIM admission. Candidates may apply for the Written Ability Test, Group Discussion, and Personal Interview rounds of IIMs if they meet the minimal CAT cutoff score. Look at the anticipated cut-off, the variables influencing the cut-off, and the cut-off from the prior year.


IIMs  Expected Cut-Off 2023
IIM Ahmedabad 100-99
IIM Bangalore 100-99
IIM Calcutta 99
IIM Lucknow 97-98
IIM Indore 97-98
IIM Kozhikode 97-98
IIM Amritsar 95-96
IIM Nagpur 95-96
IIM Sambalpur 95-96
IIM Trichy 94-95
IIM Raipur 94-95
IIM Ranchi 94-95
IIM Kashipur 94-95
IIM Vizag 92-94
IIM Udaipur 92-94
IIM Bodhgaya 92-94
IIM Shillong 90
IIM Sirmaur 90

Relevant Information for the CAT Exam Pattern 2023

Keep the following elements in mind while about the CAT Exam Pattern.


  • During the CAT Exam, applicants may utilise an on-screen calculator to do calculations.
  • There will be an on screen clock to assist applicants in keeping track of time.
  • For rough work, rough sheets will be given. Before exiting the CAT Exam Hall, applicants must submit them. Candidates must thoroughly review the CAT Registration procedure.
  • Candidates are not permitted to begin the exam early. The computer screen will not appear until the invigilator makes a statement.
  • Candidates are required to take their assigned seats.

What is the marking scheme for CAT Exam 2023?

Each accurate response will get you +3 points, while each wrong response will cost you -1 point.

Who sets the CAT 2023 Exam Pattern?

IIM sets the CAT Paper Pattern in accordance with exam authorisation. IIM Indore was in charge of setting it in 2020, while IIM Ahmedabad did it in 2021. IIM Bangalore has established the CAT Exam Pattern for this year, 2023.

How many MCQs and non-MCQs will be asked in CAT 2023?

The CAT Exam 2023 will consist of 48 MCQs and 18 non-MCQs.

What is the mode of the CAT Exam 2023?

CAT is administered as a computer-based exam.

What are the total marks for the CAT exam 2023?

The aggregate score for the CAT exam 2023 is 198. According to the CAT’s point system, each question is worth three points. Therefore, the total number of marks possible on the CAT test is 66 times three, which is 198. In addition, a mark will be deducted from your total score for each question that you answer incorrectly.

The CAT Exam is widely regarded as one of the most challenging in the nation, so students taking it in 2023 will need to put in significant time and effort into studying and familiarising themselves with the CAT 2023 Exam Pattern. We hope that you are now prepared for the CAT Exam Pattern 2023. Don’t take the chance of having your CAT application cancelled at the last minute if you haven’t already checked that you are eligible to take the test.