CAT Exam Pattern 2024

CAT exam pattern 2024 will most likely remain similar to the past years. The CAT exam pattern is decided by the IIMs themselves. Similar to previous years, the CAT exam is typically scheduled for the last Sunday of November.  Therefore, this year, the exam is expected to be conducted on 24th November 2024. The CAT 2024 exam is likely to consist of 66 objective-type questions (MCQ and TITA) to be completed within a time limit of 120 minutes. This duration will be divided equally into 40 minutes for each of the three sections. This article constitutes full-fledged details about the CAT exam pattern 2024, along with sectional nuances, important dates, weightage and more. 
CAT Exam Pattern 2024: Overview
The CAT exam presents a tough challenge for aspirants because of its demanding exam pattern. It is designed to assess candidates' skills in solving Math, English and Logical Reasoning problems within a limited time. If an aspirant is aiming for CAT 2024, they must make sure to familiarise themselves with the updated exam pattern. Understanding how the questions are organized and scored is crucial for success in this exam.
The CAT 2024 exam consists of three sections:
  1. Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC),
  2. Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR), and
  3. Quantitative Aptitude (QA).
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Total Questions
Total Time (in minutes)
MCQ (Multiple Choice Questions) based questions
TITA (Type In The Answer) type questions
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR)
Quantitative Aptitude (QA)
The official CAT exam pattern is not available; however, an aspirant can learn about the latest CAT exam structure and syllabus by reviewing CAT past year question papers.
CAT Exam Pattern 2024
 Given below are the key highlights of the CAT exam pattern. By understanding and familiarizing oneself with the nuances of the CAT exam question paper pattern, candidates can better prepare themselves for success in this important academic endeavour.
CAT Exam Pattern 2024
Mode of CAT exam
Computer Based Test (CBT) only
Duration of exam
120 minutes, 40 minutes per section
Number of answer choices
CAT exam slots (Tentative)
Morning: 8:30 AM to 10:30 AM
Afternoon: 12:30 PM to 2:30 PM
Evening: 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM
Language of question paper
CAT 2024 exam date
November 24, 2024 (Tentatively)
CAT 2024 eligibility criteria
Graduation with 50 % aggregate 
45 % for SC/ST students
CAT 2024 marking scheme
+3 marks for correct answer
-1 mark for an incorrect answer
No Negative marking for TITA
CAT fees 2024
INR 2,400 for General category
INR 1,200 for SC/ST/PwD
CAT 2024 conducting body
IIM Calcutta (Tentatively)
CAT 2024 official website
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CAT Exam Pattern 2024: Changes Over the Years
Over the years, the CAT exam pattern has experienced noteworthy transformations. The most recent change, prompted by the pandemic, resulted in a reduction in both the number of questions and the allocated time. Below is a comprehensive overview of the exam's evolution throughout the years.
Total Questions in CAT
Duration of CAT exam
66 (Tentative)
2 hrs (120min.) (Tentative)
2 hrs  (120min.)
2 hrs  (120min.)
2015 -2019
3 hrs  (180min.)
2 hrs 50 min.  (180 min.)
2011- 2013
2 hrs 20 min. (140 min.)
2hrs 30 min. (150 min.)

What is the Section-wise Syllabus for CAT 2024?
As the test conducting authorities do not provide an official syllabus, aspiring candidates each year tend to focus on preparing through class X-level Mathematics and English. Below is a concise syllabus outline for CAT 2024.
CAT Section
Section Wise  Topics
Reading comprehension, Para Jumbles, Para Summary, Odd sentence out, Inferences, One-word substitution, Syllogism and Analogies, Verbal logic, etc.
Charts, Caselets, Blood Relations, Syllogism, Directions, Clocks and calendars, Tables, Graphs, Charts, Connectives, Logical Sequence, Matching/ Puzzles, Number and Letter Series, Seating Arrangement, Venn Diagrams, Coding-Decoding, Binary Logic, Caselets and Table, etc.
Algebra, Arithmetic, Probability, Number System, Percentages, Profit & Loss, Simple Interest-Compound Interest, Time & Distance, Averages-Mixtures-Alligations, Mensuration, Logarithms, Functions & Graphs, Indices & Surds, Quadratic Equations, Special Equations, Statistics, Geometry, etc.
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  • Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)
  • This section consists of two main parts: Reading Comprehension and Verbal Ability. The reading comprehension component is a significant part of VARC and includes paragraphs of varying lengths, accompanied by MCQ and TITA questions. The verbal ability section, on the other hand, encompasses Para Jumbles, Odd Sentences, and more.
  • Quantitative Aptitude (QA)
  • QA  is focused on Mathematics which is entirely based on class 10. It includes topics like LCM & HCF, Trigonometry, Mensuration, Probability, etc. This section has become comparatively more straightforward over the years but is still considered to be tricky.
  • Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR)
  • Like VARC, this section also encompasses 2 topics: Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning. Data Interpretation involves answering questions based on Charts, Graphs, and other data presentations. The answers are derived directly from the provided charts. The Logical Reasoning section, on the other hand, includes questions related to topics like Seating Arrangements, Blood Relations, Puzzles, and more.
CAT Exam Pattern 2024: Important Dates
Mentioned below are the important dates for the CAT 2024 exam-
Important dates (Tentative)
CAT 2024 Notification
Last week of July 2024
Registration Start Date 
First week of August 2024
Last Date of Registration
First week of September 2024
Exam Date
November 24, 2024
Result Date
First week of January 2025
CAT Exam Pattern 2024: Preparation Tips
It is well-known that the CAT is the most sought-after management entrance exam in India. It is the gateway to the prestigious 21 IIMs and other top B-schools. Considering the competitive nature of the exam, given below are some essential tips that will enable the CAT aspirants to strategize more efficiently and fetch a higher percentile in the upcoming CAT 2024 exam.
  • Develop a Study Plan: Break down the CAT syllabus into manageable sections and set phases for studying them within your available prep time. Commit to a daily study schedule that dedicates ample time to each part of the exam, ensuring comprehensive coverage.
  • Build a Strong Foundation: Pinpoint the areas within each section that are challenging for you. Spend the initial phase of your preparation building a solid understanding of these fundamental concepts.
  • Select a Study Approach: Decide whether to prepare independently or join a CAT coaching program. A structured coaching program can provide guidance through the preparation process. If opting for self-study, make sure to use reliable study materials and reference books.
  • Prioritize Mock Tests: As your preparation progresses, integrate mock exams into your routine. These will gauge your preparation level, helping you to recognise and strengthen your weaker areas. Utilise available free CAT mock tests to enhance your exam readiness.
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In conclusion, the CAT exam is a highly competitive management entrance exam, serving as a gateway to prestigious institutions. To excel in this exam, CAT aspirants should develop a study plan, build a strong foundation in challenging areas, choose a suitable study approach, and prioritize mock tests to gauge their preparation level. By following these essential tips, aspirants can strategize more efficiently and improve their chances of achieving a higher percentile in the upcoming CAT 2024 exam. 
Frequently Asked Question
  1. What is the CAT Exam Pattern 2024?
  2. The CAT 2024 exam pattern is anticipated to remain unchanged from last year. The examination will consist of 66 questions to be completed within 120 minutes. The VARC section will comprise 24 questions, while the DILR section will feature 20 questions. The QA section will encompass 22 questions.
  3. Which CAT slot presents the most challenging question paper?
  4. There is no definitive pattern for the toughest CAT question paper. Each exam slot presents unique and distinct questions. The examination body aims to maintain consistent difficulty, though some questions may be more challenging. Topic-wise weightage is adjusted across slots to preserve question paper uniqueness. Historically, the morning slot is perceived as more demanding. However, candidates' scores are normalized to ensure fairness across difficulty levels.
  5. How many times can a student take the CAT exam?
  6. There are no restrictions on the number of attempts for the CAT exam, and there is no age limit either. However, candidates must meet the basic eligibility criteria, which include holding a bachelor's degree with a minimum of 50% marks.
  7. What is the method for calculating CAT scores, and how are percentiles determined?
  8. The calculation of CAT scores follows a scaled score method. Percentile calculations consider a candidate's raw scores, the exam's difficulty level, and the performance of other test-takers. The percentile reveals the percentage of candidates who achieved equal to or below a specific score.
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