CAT 2018 Syllabus

Scanning of CAT Syllabus 2018 is the first step to begin your CAT preparation journey for CAT 2018 exam to be held on November 25, 2018. The CAT syllabus shared below is based on revamped and updated CAT exam structure which was totally changed in 2015 by IIM Ahmedabad. So, once you know about the CAT Pattern 2018, your next step for CAT preparation is to scan the CAT Syllabus 2018.


Please note that IIM entrance exam syllabus or CAT 2018 exam Syllabus is not pre-defined by CAT 2018 convening IIM nor the CAT syllabus was outlined earlier also by the CAT exam convening IIM Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Indore, Kozhikode or Lucknow and now Calcutta.


Important Points about CAT Exam Syllabus

  • CAT 2018 exam syllabus is based on the mentioned guidelines and current structure of CAT exam.
  • CAT Exam Syllabus has never had any boundaries and this fact also applies to define the CAT 2018 exam syllabus. 
  • CAT 2018 exam syllabus is based on recent trends in CAT exams and putting it the right way, the CAT syllabus is the outcome of the topics which have earlier appeared in CAT exam although the type of questions, their composition, format and number may change in each subsequent CAT exam.
  • Past tendencies reflect that CAT exam syllabus and pattern overall tests the candidate on Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension; Quantitative Aptitude; Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning.
  • CAT exam Syllabus covers all the major topics on these three test sections which are further divided into sub-sections.
  • The key point in CAT exam syllabus 2018 is that there is no repetition of CAT questions in any CAT exam although difficulty level of the questions in CAT exam would not go out of CAT exam syllabus. 

Sectional Sub-division of CAT 2018 Syllabus
CAT syllabus 2018 is further subdivided. This sectional sub-division in CAT syllabus makes CAT 2018 as an exam with 5 effective sections as VARC is divided  into topics on Verbal Ability  and Reading Comprehension; DILR syllabus is also divided into equal number of questions based on Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning. CAT 2018 exam syllabus is thus based on the past paper patterns which contain questions from all these sections.


Section-1: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) 
Section Highlights: Common Admission Test (CAT) exam Syllabus for VARC section in CAT 2018 is divided into 2 parts. The 1st part of CAT 2018 syllabus covers questions based on Reading Comprehension passages and the 2nd part of CAT 2018 exam syllabus on VARC is based on questions on different topics on Verbal Ability.


Number of Questions: 34 with 24 MCQs and 10 Non-MCQs


Sectional Weightage in CAT Syllabus: 34%


Major topics covered in CAT 2018 syllabus for VARC are:

Part-1: Reading Comprehension (RC)

  • Share of Reading Comprehension in VARC section of CAT exam: 70%
  • Total RC passages:  5
  • Topics on which RC passages are based: Current affairs; Social and Economic issues; Literature; Science & Culture; Abstract topics; history & fiction.
  • The topics are only indicative and not exhaustive. There is no clear cut definition of RC topics in CAT exam syllabus. RC passage on any topic under the Sun can be placed in CAT 2017 exam.  
  • Total questions based on RC passages: 24
  • Type of RC passages: 3 Long and 2 shorter
  • Division of questions: 6 questions based on each long passage and 3 questions based on each shorter passage
  • Type of Questions: All of MCQ type with penalty of 1/3rd negative marking
  • Format of questions: Questions based on information in RC passage; explanation of the words & phrases as used in the passage; In context of the passage –True/false statements; Author’s view on various issues raised in the RC passage; Inference from the passage; main idea of RC passage; Purpose of the RC passage
  • Length of RC passages: CAT exam has 3 longer RC passages of around 900 words; shorter passages are of around 600 words in CAT exam syllabus as reflected in last 3 years.
  • Past trends of topics: Status of Languages in 2115; Education System; Sustainable Economic Development; Anthropology /Excruciating Rituals & Reasons; Govt. Definition of Poverty and treatment of Household work 

Part-2: Verbal Ability

  • Share of Verbal Ability (VA)  questions in  VARC section of CAT exam: 30%
  • Total VA based questions: 10

Topics on which Verbal Ability questions are based:

  • Essence of short paragraph/Para summary - (3-4 questions);
  • Jumbled Paragraphs (3-4 questions)
  • Jumbled paragraphs with out of context sentence (2-3)
  • The topics are only indicative and not exhaustive.
  • Type of Questions: All of Non-MCQ type with No penalty for wrong answer
  • Format of questions: Essence of paragraph questions are based on around 5-6 sentences; questions on Jumbled paragraphs and out of context jumbled paragraphs have 4 -5 jumbled sentences which are to be placed in a coherent manner. The out of context sentence has to be picked out.

Other expected type of questions in Verbal Ability
Till three years ago, following type of questions also formed the part of CAT exam syllabus. Since these topics are still the part of syllabus for CAT exam, it is possible you may see these questions again in CAT 2018:

  • English Usage & Sentence Correction;
  •  Fill in the blanks;
  • Vocabulary-Usage in context

Section-2: Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)
Section Highlights: CAT Syllabus 2018 for Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR) has been revamped. As a separate section in CAT exam, DILR was re-originated after keeping the section in abeyance for 4 years. During this period the DILR questions were clubbed to Quant and Verbal Ability sections respectively.


CAT exam Syllabus for DILR section in CAT 2018 is divided in 2 parts – Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning. The 1st part of CAT 2018 syllabus covers questions based on Data Interpretation (DI) and the 2nd part of CAT 2018 exam syllabus on DILR is based on questions on different topics on Logical Reasoning.


Number of Questions: 32 divided into 24 MCQs and 8 Non- MCQs


Sectional weightage in CAT Syllabus: 32%


Major topics covered in CAT 2018 syllabus are

Part-1: Syllabus for Data Interpretation (DI)

  • Share of DI questions in DILR section of CAT exam: 50%
  • Total DI questions: 16
  • Number of MCQs: 12
  • Number of Non MCQs: 4
  • Topics on which DI questions are based: Data Tables, Data charts, Bar diagrams, Pie charts, Graphs, Data analysis and comparison among others
  • Questions are in the set of 4 questions. Questions on interpretation and analysis of data based on text, tables, graphs (line, area), charts (column, bar, pie), venn diagram, are asked. Data could be given in form of tables, charts or graphs. In this section it is tested that how candidates can interpret the given data and answer questions based on it.
  • Past trend of topics: Table (Student Pass percentages over 5 years; Comprehension – Marks in Two sections of papers; Films, Launch, Completion, Release and Profits; Table on Consumption of Veg and Non-Veg Protein; Happiness Index: 4 questions based on Table; Kids Learning in Rural Areas: Data table based 4 questions; Flight operation
  • The topics are only indicative and not exhaustive.

Part-2: CAT exam Syllabus for Logical Reasoning (LR)

  • Share of LR questions in DILR section of CAT exam: 50%
  • Total LR questions in CAT syllabus for 2018 exam: 16
  • Number of MCQs: 12
  • Number of Non MCQs: 4 
  • Topics covered in CAT test syllabus 2018 on which LR questions are based: Clocks, Calendars, binary logic, seating arrangement, blood relations, logical sequence, Assumption, premise, conclusion, linear and matrix arrangement
  • CAT entrance exam syllabus defines that questions in LR section can be individual or can be in the set of 4 questions.
  • Past trend of topics in CAT IIM Syllabus: Distribution/Arrangement; Venn Diagrams;  Arrangement of files in folders; Students using various Trains and the fares for the same; Seating Arrangement; Direction sense for Cars; Ordering items; Burgers/Fries/ Ice Cream
  • The topics in CAT syllabus 2017 are only indicative and not exhaustive.

Section-3: Quantitative Ability (QA) 

Section Highlight: CAT exam syllabus 2018 for Quant section is very wide. Quantitative Aptitude (Quant) is the 3rd and last section in the revamped CAT exam pattern.  CAT syllabus 2018 for Quant is vast and covers everything in Mathematics that you may or may not expect. CAT exam syllabus 2018 on Quant is based on questions on different topics on Arithmetic, Algebra, Modern Math, Geometry, Mensuration, Trignometry among others. 


Number of Questions: 34. The past 2 years trend in CAT exam syllabus for Quant shows that there are 24 to 27 MCQs and 7 to 10 Non-MCQs in Quant section of CAT exam.


Sectional weightage in CAT Syllabus: 34%


Major topics covered in CAT 2018 syllabus for Quant are:

Total questions: 34

  • Number of MCQs: 24 to 27
  • Number of Non-MCQs: 7 to 10
  • Number of questions in Arithmetic: 10 to 12
  • More emphasis on Arithmetic to promote academic diversity, with following major topics:
  • LCM and HCF
  • Percentages
  • Profit and Loss
  • Interest (Simple and Compound)
  • Speed, Time and Distance; Time and Work; Averages; Ratio and Proportion and others
  • Number System (3-4) questions
  • Algebra (5-7 questions)
  • Geometry/Mensuration (6-8 questions)
  • Pure Math (1-2 questions)
  • Venn diagrams and other topic based questions are 2-3
  • Linear Equations; Quadratic Equations
  • Complex Numbers
  • Logarithm; Progressions
  • Binomial Theorem
  • Surds and Indices
  • Inequalities
  • Permutation and Combination
  • Probability Functions
  • Set Theory
  • Mixtures and Alligations
  • Co-ordinate Geometry
  • Trigonometry

Remember: No CAT preparation without CAT Syllabus
The fact is that you will find it difficult to proceed with CAT preparation even if you have all the CAT preparation material, unless you know the CAT exam syllabus. CAT MBA exam syllabus is much wider than one can anticipate. IIMs CAT syllabus does not leave any study topic untouched. The glimpses of CAT syllabus 2018 for MBA admission 2019-21 in IIMs and other top B-schools is a testimony to this fact.


If you go through the CAT exam syllabus, it will help you to decide when to begin CAT preparation? How to prepare for CAT 2018? What important topics covered in CAT syllabus need your focused attention in CAT preparation and so on so forth. Going by the past trends and past CAT exam pattern, CAT complete syllabus for each section of Common Admission Test (CAT) has been shared above to help the CAT 2018 aspirants in CAT 2018 preparation in accordance with the CAT 2018 exam syllabus.