November 2, 2021

CAT 2021 SYLLABUS

CAT Syllabus 2021 will mainly be based on middle school Math and English syllabi. IIMs do not

release a specified document, rather expects candidates to infer important topics from the past

trends. To a large extent the topics have remained largely same. However, the CAT Exam

Pattern was changed for the 2020 exam cycle considering the COVID-19 Pandemic.

CAT 2021 Syllabus consists of 3 subjects, Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, Data

Interpretation and Quantitative Aptitude. Most of the questions are application based and

instead of testing your ability to memorize, it tests the candidates ability to quickly find solutions.

Quantitative Aptitude- 26 questions from different disciplines of mathematics. Expect an

increased number of non-MCQs.

Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension- RC to have 70% weightage in the VARC

section, 24 questions from 5-6 sets.

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning- 12 questions from Data Interpretation and 8

questions on Logical Reasoning. This section is expected to be the toughest.

Non-MCQs: More than 25 Non- MCQ questions can be expected in CAT 2021.

Management aspirants can check their preparation status and prepare better using CAT Previous

Year Papers. Read on to know about the section-wise weightage, important topics and best books

for CAT 2021 Preparation.

CAT 2021 Section-Wise Syllabus

A brief of CAT 2021 Syllabus for all the 3 sections i.e. QA, VARC, and DILR is tabulated below:

Sections Topics Covered

Quantitative Aptitude Number: Number System, Sequence, Series and

Progression

Arithmetic: Averages, Simplification, Ratio and Proportion,

Percentages, Profit and Loss, Speed, Time and Distance

Algebra: Functions, Quadratic and Linear Equations,

Inequalities, Logarithms

Geometry and Mensuration: Geometry, Mensuration,

Coordinate Geometry

Modern Maths: Permutations and Combinations, Probability,

Set Theory, Maxima and Minima, Trigonometry

Verbal Ability and

Reading

Comprehension

Unseen Passages, Analogies, Antonyms, Contextual usage,

Fill in the blanks, Para Jumble, Para Completion, Fact

Inference Judgement, Sentence Correction, Meaning/Usage

match

CAT 2021 Syllabus

Data Interpretation

and Logical

Reasoning

Tables, Data Sufficiency, Pie Charts, Caselets, Combination

of Graphs, Analogies, Critical Reasoning, Seating

Arrangement, Logical Deduction, Cause and Effect,

Analogies, Binary logics. Calendars, clocks and cubes,

Blood Relations, Venn Diagrams, etc.

CAT 2021 Syllabus for Quantitative Aptitude

CAT Syllabus for

Quants

Sub-Topics

Arithmetic Number System, HCF, LCM, Ratio & Proportion,

Simplification, Percentage, Average, Age Calculation, Time &

Work, Distance

Algebra Theory of Equations, Quadratic Equation, Permutation &

Combination, Sequence & Series

Geometry Angles, Lines, Triangles, Circles

Mensuration Areas and Volumes- Rectangle, Squares, Triangle, Circles,

Cubes, Cones, Spheres, Pipes and Cistern

Calculus Maxima and Minima, Function

Trigonometry Trigonometric Ratios, Heights and Distances

Questions in QA are mostly based on topics from the Mathematics syllabus to class 10.

The QA section in CAT Exam is expected to have 27 MCQs and 7 Non-MCQs.

This section focuses on numerical problems and will test a candidate’s mathematical

knowledge.

It is a test of speed, accuracy, and precision.

Quants is a significant section with over 40% of the questions asked from this

section. Check Quantitative Aptitude Preparation Tips

Important topics for CAT Quantitative Aptitude

There are a total of 34 questions from the aptitude section. Arithmetic holds the most weightage out

of all of the topics. In fact, arithmetic ranks second after reading comprehension in terms of

CAT 2021 Syllabus

weightage in the CAT 2021 exam. Most of the questions in a quant section are from general topics

like profit & loss, number system, geometry, etc.

As per the graphs, it is evident that ‘arithmetic’ holds the most weightage, followed by ‘modern math’.

Modern math consists of topics like Logarithm, Progression, Set theory, Permutation & combination,

Functions, etc. There were a total of 12 TITA (Type in the answer) questions in both the CAT 2018

slots. Our recommendation would be to focus on geometry, algebra, modern math and most

importantly arithmetic. These topics carry maximum weightage in the quantitative section.

CAT Quant Paper Analysis

Topic No of Questions (MCQ/non-MCQ)

CAT 2020 CAT 2019

Number System 5 14

Algebra 8 11

Arithmetic 10 6

Modern Math – 2

Geometry & Mensuration 3 1

CAT 2021 Syllabus for Data Interpretation and Logical

Reasoning

CAT Syllabus for Data Interpretation CAT Syllabus for Logical Reasoning

Bar Graph Line Graph Arrangements Prepositions

Pie Chart Tables Data Arrangement Puzzles

CAT 2021 Syllabus

Caselets Combination of

Graphs

Assumptions Statements

Data

Sufficiency

Games and

Tournaments

Clock and

Calendars

Venn Diagram

– – Logical Matching Logical

Connectives

This section will focus on two aspects- Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning.

DI will have both MCQ and Non-MCQ questions.

Questions from Data Interpretation focus on a candidate’s ability to derive conclusions from a

given set of data.

Logical Reasoning (LR) section tests a candidate’s logical thinking and its application to

everyday problems.

LR questions can be individual or be in a set of 4 or more questions.

The DILR section is expected to see 24 MCQs and only 8 Non-MCQs.

Important Topics in CAT DILR

Generally, the DILR section has 4 sets, each of Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation. But last

year, there were 3 sets from DI and 4 from LR, while one set was a combination of both DI and LR.

So from this particular section, expect surprises this year as well. This particular section has been

the decider for the last three years and the level of difficulty is also on the rise.

The DI section which has 3-4 sets can be further divided into ‘Reasoning Based Questions’ or

‘Calculation Based Questions’. Questions from arrangement sets have been more prominent over

recent years even though there is no dedicated weightage or topic preferences. So it is advisable to

practice as much as you can, especially CAT previous years’ question paper.

CAT Syllabus Analysis for DILR

Topic No of Questions (MCQ/non-MCQ)

CAT 2020

HI-LO 6

People & Area 6

CAT 2021 Syllabus

People & Area 4

Venn Diagram 4

Vials & People 4

Orders 4

CAT 2021 Preparation Tips for DILR

Data Interpretation and Reading Comprehension are clubbed together and comprise 1/6th of the

entire question paper. It is generally considered a tricky and deciding section, hence a proper

preparation plan is necessary to cover DILR syllabus.

DI Questions are of Four types:

Logic based: Charts where it is difficult to get the exact data as it is in ranges and with

conditions.

Structure Based: These questions include some special sets. These are generally time

consuming.

Counting Based: Questions with large data sets and require a lot of patience.

Calculation Based: Questions with percentages or nominal increase/decrease. Though they

require some basic calculations but a lot of accuracy.

1. Improve Calculations Skills

Mental calculation is necessary to ace this section. Thus candidates should be confident in tables at

least upto 10 along with calculations on fractions and basic addition/ subtraction. It is an advice to

candidates to avoid using calculators at the last step of the preparation cycle and focus on mental

calculations.

2. Approximation of Options

Unlike quants questions in DILR are very much based on options and sorting them out. Hence read

the questions, understand what the question is demanding, seek out the options and then solve

accordingly.

3. Practice Variety of Questions

Dedicate a minimum 5 hours in a week to solve DI questions and the same goes for LR. Reasoning

involves common sense thus practicing on a variety of questions will be helpful. Focus on questions

sets with tabular data.

CAT 2021 Syllabus

CAT Syllabus 2021 for Verbal Ability and Reading

Comprehension

CAT Syllabus for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension

Critical Reasoning Grammar and Usage

Sentence Correction Word Usage

Fill in the Blanks Para Jumble

Para Completion Idioms

Para Summary –

The VARC section tests a candidate’s language and comprehension skills.

The comprehension questions will test the ability of the candidate to comprehend the

meaning from a given passage.

Questions from the Reading Comprehension passage can be true/false statements based on

the passage, Author’s point of view on the issues raised in the passage, Inference from the

passage, the central idea of the passage and its purpose.

The questions in the RC part will be objective.

Verbal Ability questions will mostly be Non-MCQs.

This year, 24 MCQs and 10 Non-MCQs are expected in the paper.

Generally, 70% of VARC questions come from Reading Comprehension.

Important Topics in CAT VARC

As per the last exam update, the verbal section was combined with reading comprehension to form a

section now known as ‘VARC’. Under the verbal ability sub-topic, questions from sentence

correction, grammar, vocabulary, or fill in the blanks have not appeared in the last three years in the

CAT 2021. So it’s not worthwhile to dedicate extensive time to these topics. Instead, questions from

the para jumble topic have become an integral part from the verbal ability section. The difficulty of

para jumbles has also been moderate in the past few years.

VARC 2020 2018 2017 2016

Topics Both Slot 1 Slot 2 Slot 1 Slot 2 Slot 1 Slot 2

CAT 2021 Syllabus

RC 18 24 24 24 24 24 24

Para

Jumbles

3+2 4 4 4

(TITA)

4

(TITA)

4

(TITA)

4

(TITA)

Out of

Context

– 3

(TITA)

3

(TITA)

3

(TITA)

3

(TITA)

3

(TITA)

3

(TITA)

Summary 3 3

(TITA)

3

(TITA)

3

(TITA)

3

(TITA)

3

(TITA)

3

(TITA)

Total 26 34 34 34 34 34 34

On the other hand, Reading Comprehension dominates the VARC section with a consistent 24

questions allocated to the topic. 5-6 passages are expected in the CAT exam with a word count of

400-800 words. Candidates have to answer the questions based on the passage.

This particular section is also important in terms of scoring. The DILR section is expected to be

tough, just like the previous year. So it is important for candidates to score big in this section.

Check Suggested Books for CAT Preparation

CAT 2021 Preparation Tips for VARC

Candidates often face two situations while attempting Verbal ability and logical reasoning: either the

questions are not difficult-read the passage and simply answer or just cant understand which option

is right as the most absurd answer seems to be correct.

1. Improve Vocabulary through Etymology

Understand the root meaning of words and its genesis, this will enable you to understand the

meaning of various words simultaneously. Build understanding prefixes and suffixes.

Also build understanding of words in their context like connotations of words.

2. Cultivate Habit of Reading

Read as many books and magazines as possible to improvise on readings and articulation skills.

Diversity in reading should also be undertaken. Assuming that reading and writing does not follow

logical patterns is a mistake. Critical reasoning involves assumptions and structuring of ideas.

3. Develop Speed of Reading

Try to read at least 300 words per minute, that should be the speed of candidates appearing for

CAT. It is critical for every exam to develop structuring in reading and verbal aptitude to be a

successful manager.