• Written By Mrinalini_M
  • Last Modified 24-05-2023

CAT Exam Pattern 2023: Section-wise Paper Pattern & Marking Scheme


CAT Exam Pattern 2023: The Indian Institute of Management (IIM) will conduct the Common Admission Test (CAT) 2023. Furthermore, IIM prescribes the exam pattern for the CAT exam. The CAT exam is a computer-based test, and there are a total of three sections in the examination. Candidates appearing for the exam must be well aware of the syllabus and exam pattern before starting their preparation.

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The question paper consists of 22-23 questions from VARC & QA sections and 20-21 questions from the DILR section. Before starting the preparation, it is important for candidates to know the exam pattern. It will help them know the sections, number of questions, marking scheme, duration, and more information about the exam. Read on to get more details.

IIM CAT Exam Pattern 2023

The CAT question paper is divided into three sections, namely VARC, DILR & QA. Furthermore, each section contains MCQ and Non-MCQ questions. Candidates must solve both MCQ and Non-MCQ type questions. It is highly important for aspirants to understand all aspects of the IIM CAT exam to formulate a detailed preparation strategy.

The exam pattern is the first and foremost step toward streamlining the preparation plan. We have tabulated the important details regarding the CAT paper pattern below:

Mode of ExamOnline
Type of QuestionsMCQs and Non-MCQs
Duration of Exam2 Hours
Name of Section– Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension
– Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning
– Quantitative Aptitude
Exam Duration– 40 Minutes for Each Section
– 53 Minutes 20 Seconds for PwD Candidates
Slot-wise SessionSlot 1: 8:30 A.M – 10:30 P.M
Slot 2: 12:30 P.M -2:30 P.M
Slot 3: 4:30 P.M – 6:30 P.M
Number of Questions66
Total Marks198
Marking Scheme+3 for Every Correct Answer
-1 for Each Wrong Answer
No Negative Marks for Non-MCQ

CAT Marks Distribution

The below table represents the total number of MCQ and Non-MCQ questions for each sections of the CAT exam. Let us have a glimpse of the detailed section-wise total number of questions and maximum marks from the table below:

SectionsTotal QuestionsMCQsNon-MCQsMaximum Marks
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)2419572
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR)2015560
Quantitative Ability (QA)2214866

Steps To Practice Unlimited CAT Exam Questions

To take the CAT free practice test on Embibe, candidates must follow the steps below:

  • 1st Step: Visit Embibe’s official website, i.e., embibe.com.
  • 2nd Step: Use the mobile number/email to log in.
  • 3rd Step: Click on the “Getting a Government Job” menu bar.
  • 4th Step: Select the Goal “Management” from the Dropdown and click on “Next”.
  • 5th Step: Search and select “CAT” and click on “Next”.
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  • 7th Step: Click “Practice” from the header section.
  • 8th Step: Scroll down to the “Subjects” section.
  • 9th Step: Click on any CAT subjects.
  • 10th Step: Scroll down to click on the chapters from the selected subject to begin the practice.

Overall & Sectional Duration of CAT Exam

Candidates appearing for the Common Admission test can verify the overall and sectional duration. Each section must be completed within 40 minutes, while PwD category candidates will be given 53 minutes and 20 seconds to answer the section correctly. Aspirants will not be allowed to switch between sections. After the completion of one section, the candidate will be able to move to the next one.

However, candidates can switch between questions within the same sections. With the help of having prior knowledge of the CAT exam pattern and syllabus, it is possible to know the subject, topics, and marking scheme.

The time varies for different category aspirants varies widely. Let’s have a look at the below table for the CAT exam sectional time distribution:

SectionsNumber of QuestionsDurationDuration
(For PwD Category)
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension2440 Minutes53 Minutes & 20 Seconds
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning2040 Minutes53 Minutes & 20 Seconds
Quantitative Ability 2240 Minutes53 Minutes & 20 Seconds
TOTAL66120 Minutes160 Minutes

IIM CAT Marking Scheme

Through the marking scheme, candidates will get to know the total marks awarded for each correct answer and the marks that must be deducted for the wrong answer. Check the CAT marking scheme below:

  • For each correct answer, three marks are awarded.
  • For each wrong answer, one mark will be deducted.
  • No marks will be deducted for unattempted questions.
  • No marks will be deducted for Non-MCQs.

CAT Syllabus 2023

The topics to be covered in these sections are given below:

Verbal and Reading Comprehension (VARC)Verbal Ability
English Usage or Grammar
Close Passage
Jumbled Paragraph
Reading Comprehension
Verbal Reasoning
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)Caselets
Blood Relations
Bar Graphs
Column Graphs
Binary Logic
Line Charts
Combination of two or more types linked to each other
Venn Diagrams
Pie Chart
Number and Letter Series
Seating Arrangement
Quantitative Aptitude (QA)Algebra
Higher Maths

Important Points Regarding CAT Paper Pattern

  • CAT consists of 66 questions, and the total marks will be 198 marks that are divided into 3 sections such as VARC will have 24 questions, DILR will have 20 questions & QA will have 22 questions.
  • CAT exam will include both MCQ as well as Non-MCQ questions.
  • Candidates must make use of a screen calculator for calculation during the exam.
  • Screen lock will appear on the screen as the exam is logged in.
  • Candidates will be provided with rough work, which should be submitted at the exam hall while leaving the hall.
  • The computer screen will open only after the notification is provided by the invigilator.
  • All computer screens in the exam hall run simultaneously.
  • Candidates must accommodate themselves on the computer designated to them.
  • Exam has to be attempted in a prescribed order, and the candidate should not switch between sections.

It is to be noted that candidates have to clear all three sections separately in order to qualify for CAT 2023.

Also, check:

IIM CAT Detailed InfoCAT Syllabus
CAT BooksCAT Preparation
CAT Admit CardCAT Application Form
CAT ResultCAT Cut-off
CAT Important DatesCAT Eligibility Criteria
CAT Question PaperCAT Answer Key

FAQs on CAT Exam Pattern 2023

Following are the frequently asked questions and their answers related to CAT Exam Pattern 2023:

Q: How many sections are in the CAT exam 2023?
The CAT exam mainly includes three sections, i.e., Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR), and Quantitative Aptitude (QA).

Q: Is the CAT exam conducted online?
Yes. The Indian Institute of Management conducts the CAT exam in a computer-based test (CBT) mode.

Q: What is the CAT marking scheme?
Three marks are awarded for correct answers. However, there are negative markings, and one mark is deducted for each incorrect answer.

Q: How many questions are asked in the CAT exam?
The CAT question paper consists of both MCQ and Non-MCQ questions. Furthermore, a total of 48 MCQs and 18 Non-MCQs are in the exam.

Q: What is the sectional time limit for the CAT exam?
The sectional time of the CAT exam is 40 minutes for general candidates. However, PwD candidates get 53 minutes and 20 seconds to finish each section.

We hope this article on the CAT Exam Pattern 2023 helps you. If you have any questions, feel free to check our app. We will surely help you.

Stay tuned to embibe.com for the latest updates on the IIM CAT exam 2023.

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