Download the BYJU'S Exam Prep App for free CAT preparation videos & tests - Download the BYJU'S Exam Prep App for free CAT preparation videos & tests -

CAT Exam Pattern 2023

CAT Exam Pattern 2023 will be released tentatively on 31 July 2023, along with the official notification. The candidates appearing in the upcoming exam must check the latest and official CAT Exam Pattern 2023 in detail. The exam pattern for CAT has been changed several times in the past years by the conducting IIMs. But, since 2015, the CAT pattern with respect to the CAT total marks, duration, and total questions, has remained the same. CAT exam pattern helps to devise personal test-taking strategies.

Ultimate Guide to Kickstart your CAT Exam Preparation
Download the e-book now

The CAT Exam Pattern 2023 is expected to be the same as the last two years’ exams, as the authority did not make any changes in the pattern in 2021 and 2022. The CAT exam pattern given below will help the CAT aspirants to get acquainted with the latest pattern and prepare accordingly. Please refer BYJU’S CAT College Predictor tool to predict interview/admission calls from all IIMs and other top MBA colleges based on students’ CAT score.

Any changes in the CAT exam pattern will be updated in case any official statement is released.

What is CAT Exam Pattern?

The CAT Pattern is created annually by the organisation in charge of administering the exam to gauge candidates’ aptitude for quickly and accurately solving mathematics and reasoning tasks. There are 3 exam portions, according to the official CAT Exam Pattern:

  • VARC
  • DILR
  • QA

In total, 66 questions were asked on the exam last year, which had a 120-minute overall duration and a 40-minute sectional time limit. The CAT Exam Pattern is created in a way that makes it simple for officials to assess candidates’ logical and mathematical abilities. Therefore, if you plan to take the future exam, you must familiarise yourself with the CAT Paper Pattern 2023.

CAT Exam Pattern 2023: Overview (Expected)

The CAT 2023 exam pattern may see some minor changes. Aspirants can refer to the 2022 pattern given below for reference.

Components Details
Total Questions in CAT Exam 66
Total Marks 198
Total CAT Exam Sections 3
CAT Exam Duration 2 Hours
Mode of Paper Online Only
Question Types MCQs and Non-MCQs (TITA)
CAT Exam Making Scheme +3 For Correct Answers

-1 For Incorrect Answers

0 For Unattempted Questions

CAT Exam Section Names 1. Quantitative Aptitude

2. Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension

3. Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation

The CAT exam is one of the toughest exams in the country since it has neither a pre-defined syllabus nor a set exam pattern. Thus, the candidates often get confused as the CAT exam pattern changes frequently.

The examiners made some major changes in the CAT 2015 exam pattern by introducing sectional timing and TITA (Type In The Answer) type questions. This pattern for CAT Exam was repeated in CAT 2016 and remained unchanged in CAT 2017 and 2018.

CAT 2023 Expected Exam Pattern – CAT Marks Distribution 

Note the table below to get a detailed analysis of the latest CAT marks distribution based on the last year’s CAT exam Pattern.

CAT 2023 Sectional Pattern
Section MCQs Non-MCQs Total No. of Questions CAT Exam Duration
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) 21 3 24 40 min
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DI & LR) 14 6 20 40 min
Quantitative Ability (QA) 14 8 22 40 min
Total 49 17 66 120 (2 hours)

CAT Exam Pattern 2023 Quantitative Aptitude

The CAT Quantitative Aptitude section is a standalone section comprising only numerical-based questions from different Maths topics. A total of 26 questions are included in this section for this year. The detailed pattern for the Quantitative Aptitude section is given below.

The complete Quantitative Aptitude section comprises mainly 5 topics, and they are as follows:

  • Basic Arithmetic
  • Algebra
  • Number System
  • Geometry & Mensuration
  • Modern Maths

The cat marks distribution on these topics varies every year. A tentative marks distribution graph of Quantitative Aptitude topics is given below.

Marks Distribution Graph

From the chart, it is clear that Arithmetic is one of the most important CAT exam topics, and 10-14 questions related to Arithmetic are repeated in the exam every year. In this section, almost 6-8 TITA questions (Non-MCQs) are included where candidates are required to type their answers. Overall, the level of difficulty of the CAT quantitative aptitude section ranges from easy to moderately high and can be answered easily with the proper practice of the syllabus topics.

From the chart, it is clear that Arithmetic is one of the most important CAT exam topics, and 10-14 questions related to Arithmetic are repeated in the exam every year. In this section, almost 6-8 TITA questions (Non-MCQs) are included, where candidates are required to type their answers. Overall, the level of difficulty of the CAT Quantitative Aptitude section ranges from easy to moderately high and can be answered easily with the proper practice of the syllabus topics.

VARC CAT Question Exam Pattern 

The CAT VARC section is mainly focused on checking the English language skills of the candidates and how well they can interpret paragraphs and understand the core ideas. In the VA-RC section, 26 questions will come in the CAT exam this year.

In the CAT exam section for Verbal Ability, 8 questions will be included this year. The main areas in the Verbal Ability section from where the questions will come are listed below:

  • Para Jumbles
  • Sentence Correction and Completion
  • Summary Based

Altogether, some questions are from the Verbal Ability section while others are from the Reading Comprehension passages. In CAT Reading Comprehension, there are various types of questions, such as vocabulary-based, title-based, etc.

A comparative analysis of the CAT VARC questions is given below. As evidenced below, the reading comprehension rates as the most important aspect of this section.

Comparative Analysis Of Cat Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension

In this section, a total of 5-8 TITA questions will be included, in which no options will be given, and the candidates need to type the answers. The overall level of difficulty of the CAT Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension section is moderately difficult, and this section will be time-consuming.

CAT Exam Pattern for Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation

The Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation section tests the proficiency of the candidates in interpreting data and their ability to understand logical assumptions. In this section, a total of 22-24 questions will be included.

In the CAT Logical Reasoning section, 18-20 questions will be included this year. The questions vary from inequalities to symbol operations, direction sense test, etc. The questions in this section are easily solvable, and thus, this section is highly-scoring.

On the other hand, the Data Interpretation section is a bit difficult and time-consuming. Several confusing data caselets are included in this section, and candidates are required to understand the data sets thoroughly to be able to answer the full question sets. The CAT Data Interpretation section should be attempted cautiously, as a single mistake can lead the candidates to attempt all the questions from a particular set incorrectly.

A comparative analysis for CAT Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning section is given below.

Comparative Analysis For Cat Data Interpretation And Logical Reasoning

A total of 6-7 TITA questions will be included in this section. The question pattern in the CAT LR-DI section is often confusing, and thus, the candidates need to attempt this section properly. This section is high-scoring, and one should not hurry to read the data caselets and logical reasoning statements.

Also Check: Change in CAT Pattern over the past 5 years

CAT Exam Duration

Each section of the CAT has a set time limit. As per the most recent CAT Exam Pattern, the sectional timings and slot-by-slot information are listed below.

  • Morning session: 8:30 am – 10:30 pm
  • Afternoon session: 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm
  • Evening session: 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm
CAT Exam Sections CAT Sectional Time
VARC 40 Minutes
QA 40 Minutes
DILR 40 Minutes
Total 120 Minutes

CAT Exam Marking Scheme

According to the official CAT Exam Pattern, there is a different scoring system for MCQ and TITA questions. Both MCQs and Non-MCQs will award +3 points for each right response. Negative marking, however, is limited to MCQ questions and subtracts one mark for each incorrect response. TITA and unattempted questions do not receive any deducted points.

CAT 2023 Exam Pattern – Other Important Points

  • The exam will be conducted in three slots of 2 hours each on a single day, with 40 minutes allotted for each section.
  • The exam will be a computer-based test.
  • The exam will be for 198 marks in total, and the candidates cannot switch between the sections.
  • A non-scientific and onscreen calculator is provided, and no other electronic devices are allowed inside the test room.
  • An on-screen timer is present on the computer screen, which shows the remaining time for the respective sections.
  • There is a negative marking of 1 mark for each incorrect answer.

Being one of the toughest exams in the country, the CAT exam surely requires the candidates to be thoroughly prepared and well-versed in all the syllabus topics to ace the exam. So, it is very important to know the proper CAT exam syllabus and pattern to get prepared to face the competition.

The CAT exam is generally conducted in the month of November every year, while the registration starts in August. This year, CAT 2023 will be conducted tentatively on the last Sunday of November 2023. The CAT Notification will be released on the official site, and the CAT Registration is expected to open up in the first week of August 2023. Stay tuned to BYJU’S to get more information on the exam, along with effective preparation tips, the latest notifications, and the previous years’ question papers.

Important Links:

CAT Preparation CAT Quantitative Aptitude
CAT Reading Comprehension CAT Verbal Ability
CAT Data Interpretation CAT Logical Reasoning
CAT Sample Questions CAT Question Papers

Frequently Asked Questions on CAT Exam Pattern


What is the CAT Exam Duration?

Considering last year’s exam analysis, the CAT exam duration is 120 minutes. There will sectional time limit of 40 minutes for each CAT exam section.


What is the CAT exam marking scheme?

The CAT exam Marking scheme says that the candidates will get +3 for every correct answer. Additionally, -1 will be deducted for every wrong answer.


How many CAT Exam sections will be there in the exam?

There will be 3 CAT exam sections: VARC, DILR and QA

CAT College Predictor
College Predictor based on Profile

Check Now