CAT-Common Admission Test

Common Admission Test or CAT exam is a common aptitude test score of which is mandatory for admission to 20 IIMs and over 1,200 B-schools in India. The CAT question paper comprises MCQs & non-MCQs from Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR), and Quantitative Ability (QA). The difficulty level of the exam is moderate to high. Over two lakh candidates appear in the CAT exam every year. For CAT 2020, about 2.30 lakh applications were received and the total number of candidates who took the test was 1.90 lakh. This year, the number of CAT applications received is 2.31 lakh. 

Last year, the exam structure of CAT was revised due to the coronavirus pandemic. The duration of the CAT exam was reduced from three to two hours and the total number of questions was reduced from 100 to 76. Also, the exam was conducted in three slots instead of two. IIM Ahmedabad has retained the same pattern CAT 2021 exam as well. There is no change in the test structure as shared in CAT exam notification 2021

CAT 2021 Exam Pattern & Test Structure

CAT question paper is divided into three sections: VARC, DILR, and QA. The candidates are required to solve both MCQ and Non-MCQ type questions. The questions paper is usually of moderate difficulty level with QA posing more challenges in terms of tough questions. Check the highlights of the CAT 2021 exam pattern below.

CAT question paper pattern and structure
SectionsVARC, DILR, and QA
Duration of exam40 minutes per section (Total 120 minutes)
Total number of questions76
Section-wise number of questionsVARC – 26DILR –  24QA – 26
Total marks228
Language of question paperEnglish
Number of answer choicesFour
Type of questionsMCQs and Non-MCQs
Marking scheme3 marks for every correct response negative marking of 1/3 (-1) for every wrong MCQ response negative marking for wrong non-MCQ response