CAT Exam Syllabus 2021: Download PDF for Revised Syllabus

Exam Date

Nov 28, 2021

Oct 27, 2021 | Management


The CAT syllabus 2021 is based on Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR), and Quantitative Aptitude (QA). The syllabus for CAT has not witnessed much change over the years, however, the CAT exam pattern has been revised several times. The subjects in CAT exam for MBA have not been announced officially by the regulating authority, IIM Ahmedabad. In order to score well in the examination, the candidates must be aware of the CAT detailed syllabus.

After carefully witnessing the previous years' question papers and pertaining trends, we have prepared a list of all the CAT topics the candidate needs to pay attention to, in order to crack CAT 2021.


Latest Changes in CAT Syllabus

Several changes were made in the IIM CAT syllabus and exam pattern keeping in mind the safety of all the candidates. The candidates must go through the CAT exam subjects list before beginning their preparation. Some of them are discussed below.

  • The duration of the exam, which was 180 minutes till the year 2019, was reduced to 120 minutes (2 hours).
  • The sectional time limit, which was 60 minutes till 2019, was reduced to 40 minutes.
  • The number of questions too was reduced to 76. The number of questions are expected to be similar to that.
  • A table containing the revised sectional composition (Expected) of the CAT Syllabus 2021 is provided below.
CAT Syllabus 2021 Sectional Composition (Expected)
CAT Syllabus 2021 Total Number of Questions Total Number of MCQs Total Non-MCQs Total Marks
VARC - Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension 26 18 8 78
DILR - Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning 24 18 6 72
QA - Quantitative Aptitude 26 18 8 78
Total 76 54 22 228

CAT Verbal Ability Syllabus 2021

Candidates should prioritize the following topics from the CAT subjects in order to score more in the Verbal Ability section. The CAT exam material related to these topics can be found online.

  • Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary, Grammar
  • Close passage, Synonyms, and Antonyms
  • Critical Reasoning (and its numerous applications)
  • Idioms, Analogies, Para Completion, Fill in the blanks
  • Sentence Correction, Summary Questions, Jumbled Paragraph
  • Fact Interference Judgement, Meaning, and Usage Match
  • Error corrections
  • Para-jumbles
  • Sentence completion
  • Vocabulary-based questions

CAT Verbal Ability Syllabus Weightage 2021

The weightage given to different sections of the CAT syllabus 2021 is illustrated below. We have curated a table that consists of the name of each topic of the CAT Verbal Ability syllabus and the expected number of questions from each one of those topics. Aspiring candidates can utilize the table to prioritize the topics while preparing for the CAT 2021 exam.

CAT Syllabus 2021 Verbal Ability Syllabus weightage (expected)
CAT Syllabus VARC Topics
Number of Questions
Sequence of Sentences 1-2 Questions
Meaning of the Phrase 2-3 Questions
Inferences, Statements, Arguments 4-5 Questions
Irrelevant Statements 1-2 Questions
Synonyms-antonyms 2-3 Questions
Analogies 1-2 Questions
Completion of Paragraph 1-2 Questions
Error Correction in Sentences 1-2 Questions
Author’s Assumption 2-3 Questions
Jumbled Paragraphs 1-2 Questions
Vocabulary Usage 2-3 Questions
Main Idea in the RC Passage 2-3 Questions
Pick Out of Context Sentence 1-2 Questions
Critical Reasoning 1-2 Questions
Sentence Completion 1-2 Questions
Fill in the Blanks 1-2 Questions
Para Summary 3-4 Questions

CAT Syllabus for Reading Comprehension 2021

In the reading comprehension section, the candidates will be answering several MCQs. The candidates will have to read about 3 to 4 long comprehensions, along with 2-3 short ones. The length of the long passages will be around 900 words. The short passages will be around 600 words long. The topics will revolve around Politics, Literature, Science, History, Environment, Mythology, etc. In the VARC section, the reading comprehension section will occupy a weightage of about 70%.

  • Reading comprehension paragraphs will be around 900 words and shorter paragraphs will have about 600 words. Candidates will have to read the paragraph and answer the questions asked at the end.
  • The CAT 2021 syllabus for current affairs includes the topics like the current affairs of National and International importance, impact of Covid 19 pandemic on social life, government policies, immigration, New Education Policy, CAA, Triple Talaq, Make in India, Clean India.
  • The CAT 2021 syllabus for Economy includes topics like Global Economic changes, Economic Development and Environment destruction, Demonetization, Unnecessary expenditure by the government.
  • The CAT 2021 syllabus for Literature includes work from great philosophers like Aristotle, Charles Dickenson, Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King, Mohan Das Karam Chand Gandhi, and others.
  • The CAT 2021 syllabus for Science and Technology includes topics about the Modern World, Advancement of Technology, and the Fading of Culture.
  • The CAT 2021 syllabus for History includes topics about the social changes in the History of India, War of Roses, French Revolution, Freedom Fights among others.
  • The CAT 2021 syllabus for Mythology includes topics about the important mythological, current social structure, and abstract fictional topics as well.

How to Prepare for the CAT 2021 Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension?

The candidates will be required to read several passages thoroughly, and answer various multiple-choice questions based on those passages.

Practice as Much as Possible: The candidates must practice by reading passages from the newspapers carefully. It will not just get them into the habit of reading, but also improve their grammatical sense and vocabulary, and enhance their attentiveness. The candidates can also purchase CAT preparation books for the VARC section, and practice the questions or exercises given in them.

Focus on Speed: The candidates must try to monitor how many words they can manage to read in a minute, and work on increasing that number constantly. The ideal target should be about 330-350 words per minute.

CAT Logical Reasoning Syllabus 2021

It is reported that a majority of the candidates find it easiest to score in the Logical Reasoning section. The section contains puzzles, problems, and questions which test a candidate's mental ability. We have curated a list of important topics from the CAT Syllabus 2021 in order to help candidates score more.

  • Direction Sense
  • Puzzles
  • Series
  • Clocks and Calendars
  • Data Structures
  • Blood Relations
  • Arrangements
  • Coding-Decoding
  • Sylloge
  • Logical Connectivity

CAT Data Interpretation Syllabus 2021

In the data interpretation section of the CAT Syllabus, questions are designed to analyze a candidate’s ability to extract information from a given set of data, which can be in any form, i.e., Bar graph, pie chart, line graph, etc., is tested. There are different types of charts and graphs which are used to frame Data Interpretation questions. Aspiring Candidates must be thorough with all these questions from the CAT Syllabus in order to perform well in the CAT 2021 Exam.

  • Tables
  • Pie charts
  • Line graphs
  • Bar graphs
  • Clock
  • Cubes
  • Venn Diagram
  • Data Sufficiency
  • Seating Arrangement
  • Binary Logic
  • Caselets
  • Calenders
  • Number and Letter Series
  • The combination of Graphs.

CAT Quantitative Aptitude Syllabus 2021

Quantitative Aptitude is a vital part of the CAT Maths syllabus. It has mainly questions from Arithmetic, Algebra, Trigonometry, Calculus, Geometry. Questions in this section are given to test a candidate’s ability to apply mathematical principles to solve real-time problems. Questions will be based on 10th and 12th Mathematics. The quant section of the CAT Syllabus previously had 32-34 questions weightage, but this year it is expected to be 22-24 questions only. The Quant syllabus is an important part of the CAT Maths Syllabus. The topics which have to be concentrated from the CAT 2021 Syllabus are provided below.

  • Arithmetic- Number System, HCF, LCM, Ratio & Proportion, Simplification, Percentage, Average, Age Calculation, Time & Work, Distances, Profit, Loss, and Discount.
  • CAT Algebra Syllabus- Hypothesis of Equations, Quadratic Equation, Permutation, and Combination, Sequence and Series, Linear Equation.
  • Percentages- Percentages and its applications
  • Trigonometry- Trigonometric Ratios, Heights, and Distances.
  • Calculus- Minima and Maxima functions.
  • Mensuration-Areas and Volumes – Rectangles, Squares, Triangles, Circles, Cubes, Cones, Spheres, Pipes, and Cistern.
  • Geometry and its applications- Angles, Lines, Triangles, Circles, Coordinate Geometry.
  • Ratio and its applications, Numbers and its applications, Simple and Compound Interest
  • Inequalities, Probability, Mensuration, Mixtures and Allegations, Set theory and Function.

CAT Quantitative Aptitude Syllabus Weightage 2021

In order to score well in the CAT Quantitative Aptitude, candidates need to practise more number of questions. By doing that the candidates will be able to solve questions accurately in less amount of time. We have curated a table with the expected number of questions from each topic in the Quant section of the CAT 2021 Syllabus in order to help candidates understand the importance of each topic of the Quantitative Aptitude syllabus and practise well.

CAT Syllabus 2021 Quantitative Aptitude Syllabus Weightage
CAT Syllabus 2021 Quants Section
Number of questions asked
Linear Equations; Quadratic Equations Complex Numbers 1-2 Questions
LCM and HCF 1-2 Questions
Permutation and Combination 1-2 Questions
Logarithm; Progressions 1-2 Questions
Interest (Simple and Compound) 1-2 Questions
Geometry/Mensuration 1-2 Questions
Probability Functions 1-2 Questions
Algebra 1-2 Questions
Coordinate Geometry 1-2 Questions
Speed, Time and Distance; Time and Work 1-2 Questions
Number System 1-2 Questions
Surds and Indices; Inequalities 1-2 Questions
Venn diagrams and other topics 1-2 Questions
Trigonometry 1-2 Questions
Set Theory; Mixtures and Alligations 1-2 Questions
Percentages, Profit, and Loss 1-2 Questions
Binomial Theorem 1-2 Questions
Averages; Ratio & Proportion 1-2 Questions

CAT 2021 Syllabus PDF Download

Candidates can download the latest full syllabus PDF for CAT 2021. It will help them understand the topics to be covered for CAT 2021. The candidates need to focus on their strengths and prepare the topics accordingly.

Download the full CAT Syllabus PDF Here

We have curated tables to help candidates understand the trends in CAT exam over the years. The total number of questions asked in the CAT exam and the number of questions from each section of the CAT Syllabus along with the difficulty level is clearly mentioned in the table below. Candidates can also refer to the number of MCQ and Non-MCQs asked in each section.

CAT syllabus trends over the years
Year Total Qs Difficulty Quant VARC DI-LR
CAT 2017 100 Moderate


MCQs 23,



RC-24, (All MCQs),

Verbal-10 (3 MCQs, 7 non-MCQs)


DI-16, LR-16,

CQs-24, Non-MCQs-8

CAT 2016 100 Moderate to Difficult





RC-24, (All MCQs),

Verbal-10 (All non-MCQs)


DI-16, LR-16,

MCQs-24, Non-MCQs-8

CAT 2015 100 Moderate to Difficult




VARC -34,

RC-24 (MCQs),

Verbal-10 (Non-MCQs)


DI-16, LR-16,

MCQs-24, Non-MCQs-8

Note: Any changes in CAT Syllabus 2021 will be notified on the official website. But before applying for this exam a candidate must satisfy CAT 2021 Eligibility Criteria which is mandatory.

How to Cover All the Topics in the CAT 2021 Syllabus?

Every aspiring candidate needs to know the strategy to cover the vast CAT syllabus 2021. We have curated a few tips from the toppers themselves in order to help aspirants perform well.

  • Initially focus on the basics of the syllabus to get comfortable with the topics.
  • Give equal weightage to all the three sections of the syllabus.
  • Practising a lot of mock test series will help in gaining confidence about the vast syllabus and also in analyzing the current preparation level.
  • Making note of the important points and formulae will help during the syllabus revision sessions.

CAT 2021 Exam Pattern

The CAT 2021 exam pattern to remain the same as 2020, but the total number of questions will be reduced. The CAT Exam duration has been reduced to 120 minutes for the 2021 session. The sectional time has also been reduced from 60 minutes to 40 minutes.

CAT 2021 Exam Pattern
Elements Details
CAT 2021 Date Nov 28, 2021
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 76 (As per 2020)
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 marks for the incorrect answer (Non-MCQ, TITAs)

CAT 2021 Syllabus FAQs

Q. How long will it take to complete the entire CAT syllabus?

A. The candidates must start their preparation for CAT at the earliest. The syllabus for the exam is generic but vast. To build speed, accuracy, and confidence, one needs to invest a lot of time in exam preparation.

Q. Which IIM is responsible for releasing the syllabus for CAT?

A. The candidates must note that the syllabus for CAT is never released at an official level. It is a list of all the topics which have been asked repeatedly in the CAT question papers over the years.

Q. It is necessary to go to tuitions for CAT syllabus preparation?

A. No, the candidates can prepare for the CAT exam on their own if they stick to a good routine which includes regular study. They must find the CAT preparation books which suit their needs best. Starting the exam preparation early has its own advantages, as the candidates have ample time for revision and attempting the mock tests. It would also help them decipher their strong and weak areas in the context of CAT syllabus.

Q. What is the difficulty level of CAT?

A. The candidates must know that the ones who have taken CAT before have reported that the difficulty level of this test is generally high. To prepare for the exam in the best way, the candidates are advised to focus on each section and each question type that they find in the CAT previous years' question papers.

Q. Which books should I refer to, to prepare the Quantitative Aptitude section of CAT syllabus in the best way?

A. The questions asked in the Quants section of the CAT question paper will be based on the Mathematics syllabus of class 9-11 standard. For a good preparation, the candidates can use the NCERT Mathematics books of class 9, 10, and 11. For additional practice, the candidates can scroll through the list of CAT preparation books used by the toppers.


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