CAT Exam Pattern 2018 - IIM Calcutta, the conducting body of the exam, prescribed the exam pattern of CAT 2018. Management aspirants are advised to prepare for the test by understanding the exam pattern of CAT. The CAT exam pattern 2018 was the same as last year. Knowing the CAT 2018 exam pattern makes the candidates aware of the topics covered in the exam, marking scheme, weightage to each section etc. It certainly helps them prepare for the big exam. As per the CAT exam pattern or exam structure, CAT is a computer-based test of three hours carrying 100 multiple-choice questions (MCQs) divided into three sections - Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR), and Quantitative Ability (QA). In this article Careers360, brings to you the detailed CAT exam pattern 2018, syllabus, marking scheme and more.
Now, let us have a look at the overall and sectional structure of the exam. First, check the sectional structure of the exam. According to the CAT 2018 exam pattern, the test has three sections carrying a total of 100 questions. The number of questions in each section is different and it may or may not change this year.
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CAT Exam Pattern 2018
No. of Questions
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)
Quantitative Ability (QA)
The sections appeared in the same order as mentioned in the table above. Now, check the overall CAT 2018 exam pattern.
CAT Exam Pattern 2018 - Highlights
Duration of the Test
3 hours (180 minutes)
Total Number of Sections
1 hour (60 minutes)
Total Number of Questions
Marks per question
Negative marking for wrong answer
CAT Exam Pattern: Overall and Sectional Duration
Candidates need to know that apart from the complete test duration, CAT 2018 exam also has sectional duration as well. Each section is time bound for one hour (60 minutes) and candidates are not allowed to switch between sections within this one-hour duration. However, applicants are free to answer any question within a particular section.
CAT Exam Pattern: Non-MCQs
IIMs have introduced subjective questions from 2015. In these questions, candidates have to type the answers in the space provided with the help of a mouse through a virtual keypad. These questions do not have options. Each section carries non-MCQs but the number is not fixed. Based on last year’s structure, the following table brings to you the ratio of MCQs and non-MCQs.
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CAT 2018 Exam Pattern: Number of MCQs & Non-MCQs
No. of Questions
No. of Non-MCQs
DI & LR
CAT Exam Pattern 2018: Marking Scheme
It is very important for the candidates to be aware of marking scheme of the CAT exam. Each correct answer will be awarded three marks and one mark would be deducted for each wrong answer. However, this marking scheme is applicable only for MCQs. For Non-MCQs, there is no negative marking.
Rough Sheet - The conducting authority of CAT provides pages for rough calculations; however, one needs to submit the same after completing the examination. Candidates are not allowed to carry anything inside the examination hall except their CAT Admit Card 2018.
On-screen Calculator – Last year, a non-scientific on-screen calculator was provided to the candidates to help them with the basic computations.
CAT 2018 Mock Test - IIM's provide online CAT mock test prior to the actual test to make the candidates familiar with the overall exam pattern and navigation. The mock tests have started from October 17, 2018, on the official website of the exam.
The result of CAT 2018 has been released on January 5, 2019 in online mode. However, candidates were able to predict their CAT percentile right after appearing for the exam using Careers360’s special tool called CAT Percentile Predictor.
The CAT 2018 Percentile Predictor tool allows the test takers to estimate their overall and sectional percentile even before the result is declared. Candidates must first analyse their performance and prepare an estimate of score by matching their answers with the CAT answer key. The tool helps candidates know their percentile based on which they can shortlist the B-schools and prepare for further rounds of selection.
CAT Exam Pattern changes over the years
Number of Question
Introduction of Calculator/ Induction of Non-MCQ
Test was divided into two sections/Introduction of two-day test window
Conducted on last years’ pattern
CAT Syllabus 2018
IIMs have not prescribed any fixed syllabus for CAT. However, based on the past years’ question types and trends, the experts have listed a set of topics in each section. Let’s have a look at the syllabus of CAT based on last year’s exam. It is likely to be more or less the same this year.
CAT 2018 Syllabus - Section-wise
Verbal and Reading Comprehension (VARC)
Verbal Ability, Reading Comprehension, Synonyms Antonyms, English Usage or Grammar, Jumbled Paragraph, Close Passage, Verbal Reasoning, Facts-Inferences-Judgements etc.
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)
Bar Graphs, Caselets, Column Graphs, Tables, Line Charts, Venn Diagrams, Pie Chart, Combination of two or more types linked to each other, Blood Relations, Calendars, Cubes, Clocks, Number and Letter Series, Binary Logic, Seating Arrangement, Syllogism etc.
Quantitative Ability (QA)
Trigonometry, Algebra, Geometry, Arithmetic, Higher Maths, Mensuration etc.
FAQs on CAT Exam Pattern 2018
Q. Is there any major change in the exam pattern by IIMs this year?
Ans. No. There is no change as such in the exam pattern of CAT 2018. Just like previous years, the exam will have three sections - VARC, DILR and QA. The number of questions in each section may vary. You can check all the topics covered in each section here - CAT Syllabus 2018.
Q. Will there be a system assigned to me on the exam day or I can choose a system as per my convenience?
Ans. A particular system will be assigned to you as per your application no/name. You need to use only that system to take the CAT 2018 test.
Q. I'm not familiar with computer-based exams. Is there any online sample test available?
Ans. A practice test is available on the CAT website: www.iimcat.ac.in. You can familiarise yourself with the functionality and navigation of the actual exam. The CAT 2018 Mock Test link was activated on October 17, 2018.
Q. Is there a specific order for answering questions/sections?
Ans. Yes. Once you start taking the test, you cannot stop in between and cannot switch between the sections either. You can move to the next section only after finishing the first one. The order of sections will be the same for all the candidates.
Q. Is there any negative marking for the questions I do not attempt?
Ans. No. There is no negative marking for unattended questions. For a correct answer, you will get 3 marks. For an unattempted question, you will get 0 marks and for an incorrect answer, 1 mark will be deducted.
All the candidates who are planning to appear for the exam this year are suggested to check the CAT 2018 exam pattern in order to prepare for the big exam in a better way. The admit card of CAT 2018 has been released on October 24, 2018, at 1 PM. The exam will be conducted on November 25, 2018 (Sunday) in online mode by IIM Calcutta.
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