CAT Exam Paper Pattern 2020 (Changed): Marking Scheme, Time Duration, Total Marks

Exam Date : November 29, 2020
Result Date : January 2, 2021

CAT exam pattern is discussed in detail to help candidates understand the pattern before beginning the preparation process. IIM Indore which is the conducting authority introduced a lot of changes in the CAT 2020 exam pattern. Aspiring candidates who are planning to appear for the exam this year will have to be very familiar with the changes in the CAT 2020 exam pattern. Details of the exam pattern like the number of sections, the expected number of questions or the weightage for each section is provided here. The CAT 2020 question paper will have three sections namely VARC, DILR, and QA (in that order). Each section will be of 40 minutes. CAT exam pattern for the year 2020 is discussed in detail below.

The conducting authority, in the CAT exam pattern 2020, has mentioned that Type in the Answer (TITA) type questions will be asked along with the Multiple choice based questions. The CAT 2020 exam pattern specifies the three sections of the exam, which are the Quantitative Aptitude section, Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) section, and the Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR) sections. CAT 2019 which was conducted based on the old CAT exam pattern had 34 questions in the VARC section with most of the questions based on Reading Comprehension. DILR section had 32 questions. The final part of the paper is the Quantitative Aptitude section which had 32 questions. The list of changes introduced in the CAT exam pattern 2020 is listed down below.

CAT Exam Pattern Highlights 2020

Online Test: Since 2009, CAT Exam has been conducted only in the online mode as a Computer-based test pattern (CBT).

Duration: Total time allotted for the CAT is reduced to 2 hours (120 minutes), without any breaks in between. The exam duration was 3 hours previously.

CAT Exam Pattern 2020: The new CAT exam pattern 2020 specifies that the paper will consist of only one paper with 100 questions including both Objective type and Non-Objective type questions.

Objective and Non-Objective type: About 70%–75% of questions are Objective type questions (MCQs) and the remaining 25%-30% is the Non-Objective type questions (Non-MCQs)

Sectional Time Limit: The CAT 2020 exam pattern mentions that only 40 minutes will be allotted for each section and candidates should answer questions of that section within 40 minutes. And the candidates will not be able to switch between sections while answering.

CAT Exam Pattern 2020 Highlights
Elements Details
CAT 2020 Exam date November 29, 2020
Examination Type Online - Computer-based test pattern (CBT)
Number of sections 3 sections-Verbal & Reading Comprehension,Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning and Quantitative Aptitude
Duration of exam 120 minutes (40 minutes per section)
Number of questions 100
Medium Only English
Number of answer choices 4
Marking scheme

+3 marks for correct answer-1 mark for the incorrect answer (MCQ)

+3 marks for correct answer 0 mark for the incorrect answer (Non-MCQ)

In order to give an idea about the trends in the CAT exam pattern, we have provided a graph below which picturizes the old exam pattern followed in the 2019 Exam.

CAT Exam Pattern

Note: Students can learn more about effective steps to crack CAT after knowing the CAT Exam Pattern. 

Section-wise CAT 2020 Exam Pattern

CAT exam pattern 2020 has three major sections for English and Maths. The three sections are given below. Each section needs a different kind of preparation, depending on the strengths and weaknesses of the student. The difficulty level of CAT varies from medium to hard.

CAT 2020 Exam Pattern
CAT Subjects Abbreviation

Total Number of Questions

 (Expected)

Level of Difficulty  Number of MCQ (Expected) Number of Non-MCQ (Expected)
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension VARC 34 Moderate to Difficult 27 7
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning DILR 32 Moderate to Difficult 24 8
Quantitative Aptitude QA 34 Moderate to Difficult 23 11
Total   100   73 26

For every correct answer, 3 marks will be awarded. For every wrong answer, 1 mark will be deducted. You will have 40 minutes for answering questions in each section. 

CAT Exam Section-wise Time Duration 2020

Duration of each section: CAT 2020 will be a duration of 2 hours. Each section gets 40 minutes duration. No section can be switched or swapped while writing the exam. The sequence of question paper will be set by the CAT authorities.

Duration in the previous years: According to the old CAT exam pattern the exam was of 180 minutes duration, i.e., 3 hours 

PWD and DA Duration: Candidates in the PWD (Persons with Disability) and DA (Differently Abled) category will be given an extra 20 minutes compensatory time to write each section.

CAT Exam Marking Scheme 2020

Types of Questions: CAT 2020 exam Paper will have two types of questions–One is MCQs and Another one is Non-MCQs. Both the type of questions will carry equal marks.

Right answer: For each correct answer, a candidate will be awarded +3 marks.

Negative marking for MCQ: There will be also negative marking for MCQ type questions. Each wrong answer -1 score will be given, i.e., 1 mark will be deducted.

No negative marking for Non- MCQ: According to the new CAT exam pattern there will be no negative marking for Non-MCQ type questions.

A table curated with detailed related to the CAT 2020 question paper such as the type of questions marks allotted for the right answer and marks deducted for every wrong answer and questions which are unattended is mentioned below.

CAT 2020 Marking Scheme
Type of Question Correct Answer Incorrect Answer Non-attempted Questions
MCQ 3 -1
Non-MCQ 3

Maximum marks:  The paper will have a total of 100 questions, thus the maximum marks will be 300 by calculating 3 marks for each question.

Comparision of CAT Exam Pattern with Other Exams

Aspirants of Management courses will be aware of all the competitive exams including the CAT Exam. We thought of comparing the CAT exam pattern 2020 with that of the other Top Management Entrance Exams to help aspiring candidates know about the key points of the exams and the major differences. 

CAT Exam Pattern vs NMAT Exam Pattern

The table provided below give a brief insight into the new CAT 2020 exam pattern while it is compared with the exam pattern of NMAT 2020. The table has the components of the exam pattern its details with respect to the CAT exam and the NMAT exam.

CAT Exam Pattern 2020 and NMAT Exam Pattern 2020
Component CAT Exam Pattern 2020 
NMAT Exam Pattern 2020 
Answer options for MCQs 4 5
Total number of Questions 66-70 108
Difficulty level Comparatively high Moderate
Number of sections 3 3
Negative marking MCQs with 1/3 negative marking; No negative marking for Non-MCQs
No negative marking
Marks awarded for a correct answer 3 1
Type of questions MCQs and Non-MCQs All MCQs
Exam Duration 2 hours 2 hours
Number of questions in a section Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension: 22-24
Language Skills-36
Number of questions in a section Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning:20-22
Logical Reasoning-36
Number of questions in a section Quantitative Ability: 22-24
Quantitative Skills-36
Sectional time limit 40-minute
28 minutes to 62 minutes
Choosing the order of sections  Pre-defined sectional order Candidates can choose the order
Top MBA colleges accepting exam score 20 IIMs, FMS, MDI, SPJIMR, IMI, IITs, XIMB NMIMS, VIT, XIMB

CAT Exam Pattern vs XAT Exam Pattern

The table provided below give a brief insight into the new CAT 2020 exam pattern while it is compared with the exam pattern of XAT 2020. The table has the components of the exam pattern its details with respect to the CAT exam and the XAT exam.

CAT Exam Pattern 2020 and XAT Exam Pattern 2020
Component  CAT Exam Pattern 2020  XAT Exam Pattern 2020 
Negative marking

MCQs with 1/3 negative marking;

No negative marking for Non-MCQs

75 MCQs with 1/4 negative marking;
No negative marking for 25 MCQs on GK
Number of sections 3
3 (Main sections) 1 (GK score not counted)
Type of questions MCQs, and Non-MCQs MCQs
Exam duration 2 hours 3 hours
Marks awarded for each correct answer 3 1
Options for each MCQ 4 5
Difficulty level Comparatively high High
Total Number of Questions Expected 66-70 100
 Number of questions in each section Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension 22-24
English Language & Logical Reasoning- 26
Number of questions in each section Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning-20-22
Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation- 28
Number of questions in each section Quantitative Ability-22-24
Decision Making-21
Sectional time limit Each section with 40 Minute time limit No
Facility to choose the order of sections  Predefined sectional order
Any question from any section can be answered
Top MBA colleges accepting exam score 20 IIMs, FMS, MDI, SPJIMR, IMI, IITs, XIMB
XLRI, SPJIMR, IMT, TAPMI, XIMB

CAT Exam Pattern vs SNAP Exam Pattern

The table provided below give a brief insight into the new CAT exam pattern while it is compared with the exam pattern of SNAP 2020. The table has the components of the exam pattern its details with respect to the CAT exam and the SNAP exam.

CAT Exam Pattern 2020 and SNAP Exam Pattern 2020
Component IIMs CAT 2020 SNAP 2020
Negative Marking MCQs with 1/3 negative marking;
25% for all questions
Marks Awarded for each Correct Answer 3 for All questions 1 for all questions
Number of Sections 3 3
Total Questions 66-70 60
Answer Options for MCQs 4 4
Overall Time Limit to Attempt the Exam
2 hours 1 hour
Difficult Moderate
Type of Questions MCQs, non-MCQs 60 MCQs
  No negative marking for Non-MCQs NA
Section-1: Name and Number of Questions Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension: 22-24
General English, RC, VR, VA-15
Section-2: Name and Number of Questions Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning:20-22
Analytical & Logical Reasoning-25
Section-3: Name and Number of Questions Quantitative Ability:22-24
Quant, DI, Data Sufficiency-20
Facility to Choose Order of Sections  Pre-defined sectional order
Any question from any section within the overall time limit
Sectional Time Limit  40 minute  No
Top MBA Colleges Accepting Exam Score 20 IIMs, FMS, MDI, SPJIMR, IMI, IMT, IITs, TAPMI, XIMB and hundreds of other B-schools.
SIBM Pune, SCMHRD Pune, SIIB Pune, SIBM Bangalore & all other Symbiosis institutes.

CAT Exam Pattern vs MAT Exam Pattern

The table provided below give a brief insight into the new CAT exam pattern while it is compared with the exam pattern of MAT 2020. The table has the components of the exam pattern its details with respect to the CAT exam and the MAT exam.

CAT Exam Pattern 2020 and MAT Exam Pattern 2020
Component CAT Exam Pattern 2020 MAT Exam Pattern 2020 
Number of Sections 3 5
Question Format MCQs, and Non-MCQs All MCQs
Total Questions 66-70 200
 Difficulty Level Difficult Easy to Moderate
Negative Marking MCQs with 1/3 negative marking; No negative marking for Non-MCQs 0.25 mark
Exam Duration 2 hours 2½ hours
Marks Awarded for Each Correct Answer 3 1
Answer Options for MCQs 4 4
Section-1: Name and Number of Questions Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension: 22-24
Language Comprehension: 40
Section-2: Name and Number of questions Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning:20-22
Intelligence & Critical Reasoning: 40
Section-3: Name and Number of Questions Quantitative Ability:22-24
Data Analysis & Sufficiency: 40
Section-4: Name and Number of Questions Not Applicable
Mathematical Skills: 40
Section-5: Name and Number of Questions Not Applicable
Indian & Global Environment: 40
Sectional time limit 40 minutes
No sectional time limit
Facility to Choose Order of Sections  Predefined sectional order
Any question from any section can be answered
Top MBA colleges accepting exam score 20 IIMs, FMS, MDI, NITIE, SPJIMR, IMI, IMT, IITs, TAPMI, XIMB and hundreds of others
Christ University, NDIM, DSIMS, IPE, IESMCRC, FIIB among 600 MBA colleges

Note: 

  • According to the revised CAT Exam Pattern the Non-MCQs will have to be answered by typing in the virtual keyboard.
  • Candidates can understand the new CAT Exam pattern in detail, by taking up the CAT Mock test on the official website.
  • Apart from the details about the CAT exam pattern, the conducting body also released a few important instructions to the candidates.

CAT Exam Syllabus 2020 

For better preparation of CAT 2020, the candidates can refer to the syllabus of the exam. The exam is divide into 3 sections: Quantitative Apititude, Verbal Ability and Data interpretation. The major topics in these sections are as follows

  • Arithematic
  • Percentages
  • Calculus
  • Mensuration
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Critical Reasoning
  • Fact, Interference, Judgement
  • Tables
  • Pie charts
  • Venn Diagrams

The list above shows only the major, most essential topics of the CAT syllabus. For the complete information on syllabus, candidates can visit CAT Syllabus.

FAQs on CAT New Exam Pattern

Q. According to the new CAT Exam Pattern what are the questions asked in the VARC Section of CAT?

  • Ans: The CAT 2020 exam pattern specifies that the VARC section will have questions from reading comprehension passages and some other like sentence completion, jumbled sentences, and critical reasoning.

Q. How many RC passages will be there in the Verbal section of the CAT Exam Pattern?

  • Ans: Verbal section will have a total of 4 to 5 RC passages. It varies every year.

Q. Will the screen calculator be available for the DILR section?

  • Ans: According to the CAT 2020 exam pattern, the virtual screen calculator will be available on the test page for QA as well as DILR sections.

Q. What is the total mark of a non-MCQ type question?

  • Ans: Each non-MCQ type question of every section carries 3 marks similar to other MCQ questions. But there will not be any negative marking for a non-MCQ based question.

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Discussion Forum

Q.

Is there any specific order to complete the exam?

Asked By: Anonymous 14 Jan 2017

A.

The candidate are required to write the answers in a Pre-specific order. The candidates are not suppose to switch the sections in the Between.

Answer By: Getmyuni

14 Jan 2017

Q.

A.

  • Initially, the exam pattern of CAT was a paper-based test. From 2009 onwards, CAT has become a computerized test. Instead of reading the questions in a paper booklet and darkening the ovals on the answer sheet, a candidate reads the questions on a computer terminal and chooses an answer by clicking on the correct option. At the test venue, each candidate is seated at a desk with a computer terminal and he/she is provided with a scratch paper for calculations. CAT is a computer-based test (CBT) and not Internet-based test (IBT) i.e. candidate does not take the test on an Internet site. Online testing or computer-based testing is generally done through one of two patterns of tests

Answer By: Getmyuni

26 Dec 2016

Q.

A.

  • You are clear to answer the question paper as you deem it fit.

Answer By: Getmyuni

27 Dec 2016

Q.

A.

  • No, all the other questions will be analyzed on the basis of your performance on those. Positive and negative markings are based on the CAT exam pattern.

Answer By: Getmyuni

26 Dec 2016

Q.

A.

  • You are advised to wait on the page till the internet comes back. If it is past that option, then you can use your admission number to complete the form as per the fields.

Answer By: Getmyuni

26 Dec 2016

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