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

Updated on 5th August 2023 | 9:01 am | #CATSyllabus2023

Each year the CAT syllabus is generalized based on past trends as the IIMs do not provide an official syllabus. The CAT syllabus 2023 will be divided into three sections:

  • 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 Detailed CAT 2023 Syllabus

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 Syllabus 2023: Overview

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.




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 Syllabus Sections


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

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. 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 DILR Syllabus 2023

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 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.

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 Quant Syllabus 2023

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.

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 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 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 Syllabus and Exam 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.

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CAT Syllabus 2023: Latest Changes

The CAT 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 exam pattern and syllabus.


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 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 CAT syllabus, the room for unpleasant surprises is greatly reduced.


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

No, the CAT 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 CAT 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 CAT 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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