CAT Exam Syllabus 2023: Section-wise Topics, Books, and Latest Changes

Updated on 14th November 2023 | 10:46 am | #CATSyllabus2023

With CAT 2023 almost here, aspirants should shift their focus to revisions and ensure that all the important topics have been covered.

  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)
  • Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR)
  • Quantitative Aptitude (QA)

The CAT syllabus is mostly focused on mathematics and English concepts learned in school. Though there is a lack of a defined syllabus the most common topics and questions can be deduced based on an analysis of the previous papers.

  • The VARC section focuses on topics of English such as grammar, reading comprehension, inferences, and verbal reasoning.
  • On the other hand, DILR requires the interpretation of data through the information provided in the form of graphs, charts, and arrangements.
  • The QA section of the CAT exam syllabus includes topics of middle school mathematics such as algebra, arithmetic, geometry, modern math, etc.

Get the Latest CAT Syllabus 2023

CAT 2023 Highlights

The CAT 2023 Exam will be a Computer Based Test (CBT). The exam pattern for CAT has changed in the previous years owing to the pandemic. So, here is a breakup of the syllabus according to the previous exam pattern-

Key Components


Time allotted

2 hours

Total No. of Questions


No. of Questions Section-wise

VARC: 24

DILR: 20

QA: 22

Time allotted per section

40 minutes each

Mode of Examination


Medium of Examination


Preparing for CAT 2023? Click here

CAT Exam Syllabus and Pattern

Given the vastness of the CAT Exam Syllabus, aspirants need to understand how to maximize their scores in each section. The preparation for the exam can be strengthened by understanding the section-wise breakage of CAT along with the weight various sections and topics hold.

The section-wise breakup of CAT will define the number of MCQ and non-MCQ questions expected along with the topics with the most number of questions based on past patterns.




Total Question






4 passages of RC with 4 questions each. 3 parajumbles, 2 para completions, 3 parasummary





4 sets of 5 questions each covering topics of bar graphs, missing data and puzzles





Dominated by arithmetic and algebra with 4 questions of geometry





CAT Syllabus 2023: Section-wise Analysis

Going through each topic that is likely to be included in the CAT 2023 Syllabus will help each aspirant devise their own list of strengths and weaknesses and accordingly prepare a study plan for CAT 2023. Picking up the right questions and ensuring that the attempt accuracy is high will ensure that the candidate scores well in the CAT Exam. Here is a list of the topics a candidate should cover in each section of the exam.

CAT Exam Syllabus


Weightage for 2022

Verbal Ability

Para jumbles, Para summary, and Inferences


Reading Comprehension

RC passages


Logical Reasoning

Blood Relations, Syllogism, Directions, Clocks & Calendars, Logical Connectives and Sequences


Data Interpretation

Tables, Graphs, Charts and other forms of visualization


Quantitative Aptitude

Geometry, Trigonometry, Averages, Percentages, Number Systems, Arithmetic, Mensuration


CAT VARC Syllabus 2023: Key Topics, Weightage & Analysis

The VARC section is the first section of the exam which must be completed in 40 minutes. The Reading Comprehension part of the section dominates with approximately 70% weightage of the total score of this section.

CAT VARC Syllabus: Key Topics

Given below are the topics that should be covered in the CAT VARC syllabus 2023:

CAT VARC Syllabus

Jumbled Paragraph

Reading Comprehension

Summary Questions

Para Completion


CAT VARC Syllabus: Weightage

In CAT 2022, odd-sentence-out questions were replaced by para-competition questions. Here is a breakup of the number of questions covered in each topic in the CAT 2022 VARC section:

CAT 2022 Topic

Slot 1

Slot 2

Slot 3

Reading Comprehension




Para Jumbles




Para Summary




Para Completion




CAT VARC Syllabus: Analysis

For the past few years, the section has focused on majorly 5 types of questions:

  • Summary Questions
    In these types of questions, the key is usually to find the options that do not contradict the passage in any manner or go beyond the scope of the discussion. Once you are able to eliminate the other options, the right answer will emerge.
  • Para Jumbles
    These are usually TITA, which means that there is no margin for error. In these types of questions, there are 4-5 sentences given out of order. Together they form a paragraph, and the aspirant has to find the order which best suits the group of sentences.
  • Odd Sentence
    Like jumbled paragraph questions, it has also been a TITA question for the past 3-4 years. The objective is to identify the sentence that does not match the theme established in the rest of the paragraph.
  • Para Completion
    Para-completion requires you to add a missing line to a paragraph. Determine the topic of the paragraph and attempt to summarize the action in the paragraph in your own words. Identify the point in the author's argument that we are left with in the paragraph.
  • Reading Comprehension
    The Reading Comprehension section consists of questions based on passages provided. The questions are generally a mix of fact-based and inferential questions. For the past few years, CAT has focused on asking questions that are more inference-based. These questions demand a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the information given. The fact-based questions, as the name suggests, demand answers on the basis of facts mentioned in the passage.

CAT DILR Syllabus 2023: Key Topics, Weightage & Analysis

The second section of the CAT exam, the DILR section is the most undefined as compared to the other sections in the CAT Exam Syllabus. The two subsections of the DILR section in the CAT exam syllabus 2023 are:

Data Interpretation: Data will be presented in the form of a graph, chart, or another form of visualization and you will be required to solve the questions given based on the information given.

Logical Reasoning: Here you may be given information in a non-structured manner and you may be required to structure it and derive the outcome to solve the questions given.

CAT DILR Syllabus: Key Topics

Given below is a brief overview of the topics covered for the CAT DILR syllabus-

CAT DILR Syllabus



Logical Sequence

Bar Graphs

Line Charts


Column Graphs

Venn Diagrams

Logical Connectives

Pie Charts


Blood Relations

Number and Letter Series


Binary Logic


Seating Arrangement

Logical Matching

The number of questions in the DI and LR sub-sections are generally equally distributed, which means that the students who are more comfortable in one of the sub-sections can still clear the cut-off if they attempt that part of the CAT 2023 Paper well.

However, the CAT DILR Section has been changing slightly in recent years. The questions are a combination of DI and LR rather than the regimented, separate DI and LR questions that were tested earlier.

CAT DILR Syllabus: Weightage

In the CAT 2022 DILR section, the number of questions covered in each topic is as follows:

CAT 2022 Sets

Slot 1

Slot 2

Slot 3

Total Questions

Set 1



Covid cases


Set 2

University Team

Cosmetic item sales

Computer Science-ratios


Set 3

15 girls get together

Diagram- 4 destination

Blue & pink- male female-graph


Set 4


Salesman & four colonies

Games (4 people)


CAT DILR Syllabus: Analysis

Generally, the DI, LR, and AR subsections have a ratio of 1: 2: 1, which means that those students who excel at one of these sub-sections can still make the cutoff if they attempt that part well. However, the CAT DILR section has been changing slightly in recent years. The questions are a combination of DI and LR rather than the separate DI and LR questions that were tested earlier.

The CAT syllabus 2023 for the DILR section is:

  • Data Interpretation (DI)
    The DI section of the CAT Syllabus consists of Caselets and Tables. These caselets have data in the form of Bar graphs, Pie charts, Lines graphs, Combination graphs, and other different diagrams. In this section of the CAT Exam Syllabus, the aspirants will be asked to solve questions that are posed based on the data given in the above formats. In order to solve these questions, the data has to be structured in the most intuitive manner so that the questions can be solved. In certain questions, there will be variables that have to be left untouched since they may be provided in the questions. The only way to prepare for this section in the CAT exam is to solve as many problems as possible and go through the previous years’ CAT Exam Papers.
  • Logical Reasoning (LR)
    The topics for Logical Reasoning in the CAT syllabus over the years consist of Numbers and Sequences, Set Theory, Games and Tournaments, Grid/Matrix, Cubes/Cuboids, Letter/Number Coding, Binary Logic, Different diagrams number & logic-based, Route based and Time Table of Trains & Flights. The questions are usually arranged with a combination of the other topics. There are quite a few topics for Logical Reasoning and the combination can be quite tricky. This can be one of the reasons that CAT 2015 and CAT 2016 were considered to have difficult DILR sections. The reasoning topics can lead to very complicated sets when combined with each other. The major concern with solving LR questions is not to solve them, but to solve them as expeditiously as possible.
  • Arrangement (AR)
    The topics for Analytical Reasoning in the CAT syllabus across the years consist of Matrix Arrangement, Linear Arrangement, Family Tree, Logical Sequence, Selection, Grouping, Teams, and Committees. In this section of the CAT syllabus, candidates will be asked to organize the given information and answer the given questions.

CAT QA Syllabus 2023: Key Topics, Weightage & Analysis

The CAT QA Syllabus has the maximum portion since it covers everything related to mathematics that one studies in school. Some of the major topics in the CAT QA Syllabus are:

  • Arithmetic: This topic covers the maximum number of questions in most of the CAT Exams and is a topic that all students should prepare for.
  • Algebra: This topic has the second-highest weightage in terms of the questions asked in the CAT Exam.
  • Numbers: These are topics that are regularly tested in the CAT Exam and every aspirant should be clear about the basics of the topics to not lose out on easy marks.
  • Geometry: This is another regularly tested topic that consists of Geometry, Coordinate Geometry and Mensuration. Having a basic knowledge of the topic will allow aspirants to attempt at least a few questions from the topic in the CAT 2023 Exam.

CAT QA Syllabus: Key Topics

Some of the topics covered in the CAT quant syllabus are as follows:

CAT Quant Syllabus

Number Systems


Profit, Loss and Discount

Speed, Time & Distance


Simple and Compound Interest


Ratio & Proportion

Time & Work 

Linear Equations

Quadratic Equations

Complex Numbers


Sequence and Series


Surds & Indices


Permutation and Combination

Set Theory & Function

Coordinate Geometry


Mixtures and Alligations



CAT QA Syllabus: Weightage

The following table shows the number of questions covered in each topic in CAT 2022 for QA:

CAT 2022 Topics

Slot 1

Slot 2

Slot 3

Number System












Modern Maths




Geometry & Mensuration




CAT QA Syllabus: Analysis

Here are a few tips for each of the topics

  • Arithmetic is also fairly basic and should be easy to prepare for. Most of the topics in Arithmetic are of Class X level and the only trick is to solve them as fast as possible.
  • Alignments and mixes are similar to sequences and mixes in the sense that they are occasionally tested in CAT. It is fairly easy to solve problems of this type with the right guidance.
  • Algebra may be used in conjunction with other topics or may be tested in CAT 2023.
  • Sequence and Series is a topic that is occasionally tested in CAT and regularly in other MBA Entrance Exams. With practice, the questions in this topic can be easily solved.
  • Geometry has several rules, and finding the most important geometry rules would allow the aspirant to solve these problems as fast as possible.
  • Modern mathematics is reasonably easy to prepare for since the number of questions is limited and the formulae to be learned are fairly straightforward.

CAT Syllabus 2023: Best Books for CAT Preparation

There is a plethora of books to begin CAT preparation and strengthen your performance. However, before you jump into the preparation it is necessary for you to understand the CAT exam syllabus and exam pattern to formulate an exam strategy. The study resources you choose must include a comprehensive understanding of CAT, its syllabus, and exam pattern along with examples and a question bank for practice.

So, here are the best books to begin your CAT preparation

Books for Overall CAT Preparation

CAT Sections



Past Years' CAT Questions (G.K. Publications), Word Power Made Easy (Norman Lewis), Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (Gautam Puri)


Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (Gautam Puri), How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CAT (Arun Sharma), A Modern Approach to Logical Reasoning (R.S. Aggarwal)


NCERT Mathematics Books (Class 6-10), CAT Quantitative Aptitude (Gautam Puri), Quantitative Aptitude For Competitive Examinations (RS Aggarwal)

CAT Syllabus 2023: Preparation Tips

Here are a few tips for CAT aspirants to prepare the CAT syllabus 2023-

Understand the CAT Exam Syllabus and Pattern: Before starting your CAT preparations, it is imperative that you familiarise yourself with the syllabus and exam pattern to identify the best strategy to study.

Acquire the Habit of Reading: The reading comprehension section focuses on reading as one of the most essential skills. Candidates can improve their speed, grammar and vocabulary by regularly reading books, newspapers etc.

Familiarize yourself with Equations and Maths Calculations: For the mathematical portion of the exam, aspirants must be quick and accurate at mental calculations. Memorizing formulae and practicing equations will help with speed and accuracy.

Practice Mocks and Previous Year Papers: Aspirants should regularly practice mocks and previous year papers to analyze their performance and familiarise themselves with the CAT paper.

For a detailed understanding of CAT preparation, click here 

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CAT Syllabus 2023: Latest Changes

The exam syllabus has observed no changes over the past few years. However, the CAT exam pattern has gone through a few changes including a change in the number of questions and the time limit of the exam. So, before you start your CAT journey it is ideal that you are well-versed with the latest CAT exam syllabus and pattern.


Number of Questions

Time Allotted

CAT 2021-2022


2 hours

CAT 2020


2 hours

CAT 2015-2019


3 hours

CAT 2014


2 hours 50 minutes

CAT 2013


2 hours 20 minutes

CAT Exam Syllabus 2023: CAT 2022 Evaluation

Apart from the basic CAT exam syllabus, it might be useful to have a look at CAT 2022 to set a benchmark.

  • CAT 2022 followed the same pattern as CAT 2021 with 66 questions to be attempted in 2 hours. There were 40 minutes given to attempt each section with 24 questions in VARC, 20 questions in DILR and 22 questions in QA.
  • The level of difficulty of the paper was moderate. The only notable changes were in VARC where odd-sentence-out was replaced by para completion and DILR had 5 questions in each set instead of the past division with 4, 4, 6, and 6 questions.

Detailed Analysis of CAT 2022

Get an understanding of the CAT cut-off


There is no CAT Syllabus 2023 that is explicitly mentioned on the CAT Official Website due to the fact that CAT does occasionally pull a surprise on the candidates. However, every question in the CAT is solvable since it tests the candidates' knowledge of the basics. Therefore, every candidate should ensure that they are thorough in terms of their preparation for the basics. If the aspirant prepares according to the past trends of the syllabus, the room for unpleasant surprises is greatly reduced.


CAT preparation should begin with a comprehensive understanding of the CAT exam syllabus and exam pattern. Aspirants should focus on their weaknesses and identify their strengths. Practicing mocks will also allow aspirants to

No, the syllabus has stayed more or less the same for the past few years. This is a deduction based on an analysis of the previous papers as the convening IIMs do not issue any defined syllabus.

The marking scheme of CAT 2023 will remain the same as in previous years. Every correct answer will be awarded 3 marks and 1 mark will be deducted for an incorrect answer. TITA questions will not have any negative markings.

The VARC section is divided into two parts; reading comprehension and verbal ability. Aspirants should focus on vocabulary, grammar, parasummary, parajumbles, and para completion.

The IIMs do not release an exact syllabus for CAT. Based on past trends, the syllabus focuses on school-level English and Mathematics. So for CAT 2023, the main topics covered in the syllabus for each section are as follows:

  • Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension: Para jumbles, Para summary, Inferences and RC Passages
  • Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning: Tables, Graphs, Charts, Blood Relations, Syllogism, Directions and Clocks & Calendars
  • Quantitative Aptitude: Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Averages, Number Systems and Mensuration

The first step to beginning preparations for CAT includes getting familiar with the syllabus and exam pattern after which you can focus on building a strong foundation and learning the concepts. For quants, you can begin with preparing Arithmetic and read more to enhance your vocabulary for VARC. From there you can build further by practising mock exams, reviewing past papers, and revising consistently.

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