CAT 2020 Exam Pattern

Common Admission Test (CAT) is held annually for admissions in IIMs and other elite B- Schools in India. CAT is one of the most competitive examinations that attracts graduates from all streams seeking admissions in the best management institutions. Every year lakhs of students strive hard to get admission in top-notch institutions and make a rewarding career in the corporate world with high-pay packages.
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CAT is known to be an unpredictable paper and the CAT exam pattern is changed almost every year to surprise the students. Remaining true to their unpredictable nature, CAT examiners had introduced several structural changes in CAT 2015 test pattern. In this article, we look at the expected CAT 2020 exam pattern and understand the nuances of the exam pattern. The CAT paper pattern comprises three major sections namely- ‘Quantitative Aptitude (QA)’, ‘Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)’ and ‘Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)’. The VARC section has 34 questions, DILR section has 32, and the QA section has 34 questions.
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CAT 2020 Exam Pattern
Given below is the CAT 2020 exam pattern based on CAT 2019 Paper Pattern:
Particulars Details
Exam Window Two Sessions on one Day
Total No. of Sections Three- Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR) and Quantitative Ability (QA)
Test Duration 3 hours
Mode of Conduct Computer-based (Online test)
Total No. of Questions 100
Duration of each section of CAT 2020 1 hour
Negative Marking -1 for each wrong answer in MCQs
No negative marking for Non-MCQs or TITA
  • Some questions in each section may not be of multiple choice type. Instead, direct answers are to be typed on the screen.
  • A basic on-screen calculator will be allowed for computation.
  • Candidates will be allotted exactly 60 minutes for answering questions in each section and they cannot switch from one section to another while answering questions in a section.
On the face of it, it might seem that the changes introduced in CAT 2015 will continue in 2020 as well. However, these changes, although important, should not be difficult to adjust to. The basics of preparation for CAT continue to remain the same. Knowledge of fundamental concepts, practice, time management, and accuracy are still critical for belling the CAT! Are you ready?
CAT Exam Pattern of Previous Years
The pattern for CAT 2020 paper is expected to be on the same lines as the CAT 2019.
CAT 2019 Exam Pattern
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) 34 
VA - 10 
RC - 24
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR) 32
LR - 24
DI - 8
Quantitative Aptitude (QA) 34
Total No. of Questions 100
CAT Exam Pattern - Total Number of MCQ Vs Non-MCQ Questions
Section No. Section Name Total Number of Questions Number of Multiple Choice Questions Number of Non-MCQs (TITA Questions)
I Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension 34 27 7
II Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning 32 24 8
III Quantitative Ability 34 23 11
Total 100 74 26
While CAT 2014 had only 2 sections: 'Quantitative Aptitude (QA) and Data Interpretation' and 'Verbal and Reading Comprehension (VRC) and Logical Reasoning (LR)', CAT 2015 reverted back to the practice of three sections: 'Quantitative Aptitude (QA)', 'Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)' and 'Verbal and Reading Comprehension (VRC)'. The same pattern continued in 2017,2018 and 2019 we expect something similar in 2020 also.
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Major Changes in CAT 2015:
As we mentioned above, the major changes introduced in CAT 2015 were:
1. Sectional Timing: After a break of few years, there was a sectional time limit in CAT. The first section was verbal ability, followed by DI and LR and then Quantitative Ability. The sectional time limit was one hour for each section.
2. One-Day Exam: CAT 2015 was held on a single day i.e. 29th November 2015, in two sessions: morning (9am to 12 noon) and evening (2pm to 5pm), as against CAT 2014, which was held over a period of 20 days.
3. Introduction to 'TITA' Questions: In CAT-2015, there were questions called 'Type in the Answer' type questions. In these questions, candidates were required to type in the answers, instead of choosing one from multiple-options. There were 10 such questions in the verbal section and around 15 each in the rest of the sections. These questions had no negative marking. These questions continued in 2017 and 2018 and are expected to continue in 2019 also.
4. On-screen Calculator: For the first time in the history of the exam, use of basic on-screen calculators were permitted in CAT 2015 and is anticipated to continue in 2020.
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