CAT Exam Syllabus

Exam Date : November 20, 2020
Result Date : January 4, 2021

CAT 2020 Syllabus prescribes three major sections: VARC, DILR, and Quants. Until 2016, DILR was heavily Mathematics oriented. Since 2017, candidates have witnessed a drastic change in this section, as most of the questions were based on puzzles. You can also read how to crack CAT Exam before proceeding to the syllabus.

CAT 2020 Syllabus

Quantitative aptitude section is based on the school level mathematics. However, one has to be strong in the fundamentals to ace this section. The first section of the paper VARC primarily tests the comprehension and critical reasoning skills of the candidates. Reading comprehension and sentence rearrangement based questions are asked in this section. Knowledge about CAT Syllabus helps a student to prepare accordingly and strategise better for the exam.

Syllabus for CAT has not changed recently, the last change has happened for CAT Exam Pattern in 2015. As per CAT Syllabus following are the sections that will appear for CAT 2020. IF the candidates know the syllabus, they can find easy ways to crack CAT exam.

  • Quantitative Aptitude,
  • Verbal & Reading Comprehension (VARC) and
  • Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR).

CAT Exam Pattern

CAT 2020 Mathematics/Quantitative Aptitude Syllabus

  • Quantitative Aptitude is an important section in the syllabus for CAT exam. It has mainly questions from Arithmetic, Algebra, Trigonometry, Calculus, Geometry, etc.
  • Questions in this section are given to test a candidate’s ability to apply mathematical principles to solve real-time problems.
  • The difficulty level of the question will be professional.

Core concepts of Quantitative Aptitude:

  • Arithmetic- Number System, HCF, LCM, Ratio & Proportion, Simplification, Percentage, Average, Age Calculation, Time & Work, Distances.
  • Algebra- Hypothesis of Equations, Quadratic Equation, Permutation, and Combination, Sequence and Series
  • 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.
  • Ratio and its applications.
  • Numbers and its applications.

CAT 2020 English/Verbal (VARC) Section Syllabus

  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension together constitute a separate section.
  • In CAT 2019, 34 questions were asked in this section. But it is expected for CAT 2020 that the total number of questions might be slightly more.
  • This is that section where you can score well, but due to the introduction of non-MCQ type questions, it could be a little time-consuming compared to MCQ type questions. But it comes with the advantage of no negative marking.
  • Verbal and Reading Comprehension mainly contains questions from Reading Comprehension, English Grammar, Passage, Vocabulary, and Language Usage.
  • Reading Comprehension section will have a weightage of about 70%. So more focus and persistent regular preparation will give you an edge over others.

Prominent Parts of VARC:

  • Reading Comprehension 
  • Vocabulary
  • Grammar
  • Critical Reasoning (and its numerous applications)
  • Idioms
  • Analogies
  • Para  Completion
  • Face Interference Judgment

CAT 2020 Logical Reasoning (LR) Syllabus

  • Logical Reasoning or Analytical reasoning is a scoring section.
  • Though the syllabus for Logical Reasoning is endless, there are certain crucial topics which are repeated, it depends on how you think, how creative you are in solving the puzzles and problems. 
  • Every year the pattern of question keeps on varying. Hence aspirants must develop the problem-solving ability by practising several problems of a different variety.

Important topics under DI-LR: 

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

CAT 2020 Data Interpretation (DI) Syllabus

  • In this section, questions are designed to analyse 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.
  • Candidates for CAT 2020 must thorough with all these questions.

Types of charts and graphs:

  • Tables
  • Pie charts
  • Line graphs
  • Bar graphs
  • Venn Diagram
  • Data Sufficiency
  • The combination of Graphs. 

Trends in CAT Over the Years

The number of questions and the difficulty level that was followed previously is clearly mentioned in this table below.

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

CAT 2014 100 Moderate to Difficult

Total-50 (All MCQ)



Total - 50,



CAT 2013 60 Moderate to Difficult

Total - 30 (All MCQ)


Total- 30,

10 verbal & 10 RC

10 LR


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

Live Application Forms

  Apply Now

  Apply Now

  Apply Now

  Apply Now

Discussion Forum

What is the syllabus for CAT?

CAT Syllabus query

Asked By: Saket,

Answer By: GetmyuniEnterprise

Hello Saket, all the details about CAT Syllabus are explained in detail here.

What will be the syllabus to refer for CAT?

CAT syllabus

Asked By: Shubam,

Answer By: GetmyuniEnterprise

Hi Shubam, all the details regarding CAT syllabus can be found here.

Mathematics or Quantitative Section Syllabus

What is the syllabus for Mathematics in the CAT 2017 examination?

Asked By: Ramya S,

Answer By: GetmyuniEnterprise

Some of the core Syllabus concepts in Maths and Quantitative Aptitude subjects are: 

  • Percentages and its applications
  • Geometry and its applications
  • Ratio and its applications
  • Numbers and its applications
  • Algebra.

This is the syllabus for Mathematics for CAT 2017.

Blood Relations in CAT

What does the Blood Relation topic hold for applicants to CAT?

Asked By: Nirmal Jose Philip,

Answer By: GetmyuniEnterprise

The topic "Blood Relation" generally accesses the candidates basic Common Sense and Knowledge in family bloodlines.

The questions will be as tricky as it can get and the candidates will be challenged in their own mindsets to an extent.

main topics for maths

What are the main points to look over in mathematics, when preparing for CAT?

Asked By: Nirmal Jose Philip,

Answer By: GetmyuniEnterprise

The syllabus for Mathematics is pretty brief in the case of CAT.

Some of the core Syllabus concepts in Maths and Quantitative Aptitude subjects are: 

  • Percentages and its applications
  • Geometry and its applications
  • Ratio and its applications
  • Numbers and its applications
  • Algebra