CAT Exam Pattern

CAT Exam Pattern

The CAT exam pattern 2023 has been published by the Indian Institute of Management (IIM). CAT exam 2023 will field 66 multiple-choice questions that need to be answered in 120 minutes as per the most recent CAT 2023 question paper format. The CAT 2023 question paper will have three sections: VARC, QA, and DILR.

Each section will last 40 minutes. The CAT exam pattern 2023 is similar to the CAT exam pattern from the previous year with no changes made. The CAT exam pattern helps applicants understand the format and marking system of the CAT 2023 question paper. CAT exam 2023 will be administered online by IIM on November 26, 2023. Keep reading the article to learn everything there is to know about the CAT exam pattern 2023, including the sectional time limit, marking system, and test format.

Exam Pattern for CAT 2023: Key Points

CAT exam pattern PDF format can be downloaded from the CAT official website. This will better equip students for CAT exam preparation and allow them to divide their syllabus in an appropriate manner. Applicants should be aware of the CAT exam pattern 2023before taking the MBA entrance exam. The CAT exam date 2023 has been released, along with the CAT notification, CAT exam pattern,and application process. Candidates who intend to take the CAT exam 2023 must be updated about the CAT syllabus 2023 and exam format.

The computer-based test (CBT) and the exam will take place on the same day in three different time windows, according to the CAT 2023 question paper format.

CAT Exam Pattern and Syllabus



CAT exam time

2 Hours (120 Minutes)


Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)

Quantitative Aptitude (QA)

CAT exam time by Sections

40 Minutes Allotted for Each Section

53 Minutes 20 Seconds Allotted for PwD students.

CAT exam timings

Morning Session 1: 8:30 am - 10:30 am

Afternoon Session 2: 12:30 pm - 2:30 pm

Evening Session 3: 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Number of questions in the CAT exam

66 Questions

CAT exam total marks

198 marks

Mode of exam

Computer-Based Mode (CBT)

CAT Marking Scheme

Every correct response will earn you a +3 mark.

MCQs have a -1 deduction for each incorrect answer.

No deductions for answering non-MCQs


CAT Exam Pattern 2023- Important points

  • Candidates are allowed to use the on-screen calculator for computation during the exam.
  • Candidates can check the time they have to complete the exam by using the on-screen clock.
  • They will also receive rough worksheets, which they must turn in after the CAT exam.
  • Candidates will not be permitted to move to other sections while answering the questions in one section.


The official CAT 2023 mock tests are available on the CAT website, It will give you a proper view of the section-wise CAT exam pattern. CAT 2023 will take place in three sessions:

  • Morning session (8:30 am - 10:30 pm)
  • Afternoon Session (12:30 - 2:30 pm)
  • Evening session(4:30 to 6:30 p.m.)


What is the pattern of CAT exam- Section-Wise Marks Distribution?

Section as per IIM CAT Exam Paper 2023

Total Questions

Allotted Time

Allotted Time for PwD Students

Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)


40 Minutes

53 minutes and 20 seconds

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)


40 Minutes

53 minutes and 20 seconds

Quantitative Aptitude (QA)


40 Minutes

53 minutes and 20 seconds



120 Minutes

160 minutes


CAT Exam Pattern 2023: What kinds of questions will appear in the CAT?

  • Section VARC: 4 RC sections with 18 multiple-choice questions (MCQs); VA 8 Non-MCQs are broken down into Context Sentences, Para Jumbles, and Para Summaries.
  • Section DILR: There are two sets of questions: all in sets of 6 and 4 questions: 14 questions on data interpretation and 10 questions on logical reasoning.
  • QA: High inArithmetic; Moderate in Geometry; Low in Algebra; and So on.


CAT 2023 Marking Scheme

The CAT marking scheme informs applicants of the total number of marks granted for each correct answer on the exam as well as the number of points that will be subtracted for a wrong answer.

  • 3 marks for each right response.
  • CAT Negative Marking: One mark will be subtracted for each incorrect response.
  • Nodeduction of markswhen questions left attended. Additionally, no marks will be lost for non-MCQs.


The CAT 2023 marking scheme is summed up in the following table:

Mode of Questions in CAT 2023 Question Paper

Correct Answer

Incorrect Answer








In what ways has the CAT exam pattern changed over time?

The format of the CAT 2023 question paper has undergone several changes in the past. But this year’s exam pattern will remain the same as of the previous year 2022. The table below will give applicants a better understanding of how the CAT 2023 exam design has changed over time.

There are three sections in CAT, including

  • Understanding both words and reading (VARC)
  • Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation (DILR)
  • The ability to quantify (QA)


Sections in each year are identical to one another. Moreover, the CAT exam pattern and marking scheme remainthe same.

CAT Exam Pattern - Previous Years


Number of Question

Difficulty Level

CAT exam time duration

Conducting Body




2 hours

IIM Bangalore



Moderate to High (Expected)

2 hours

IIM Ahmedabad



Moderate to High

2 hours

IIM Indore



Moderate to High

3 hours

IIM Kozhikode



Moderate to High

3 hours

IIM Calcutta




3 hours

IIM Lucknow



Moderate to difficult

3 hours

IIM Bangalore



Moderate to difficult

3 hours

IIM Ahmedabad



Moderate to Easy

2.50 hours

IIM Indore



Moderate to Easy

2:20 hours

IIM Indore



Moderate to Easy

2.20 hours

IIM Indore




2.20 hours

IIM Calcutta


CAT Syllabus 2023

The CAT syllabus 2023 will not be released by the CAT administration board. On the other hand, candidates can review the subjects covered by the questions based on the CAT exam pattern 2023.

Section-Specific CAT Syllabus 2023



Verbal and Reading Comprehension (VARC)

Verbal Ability

English Usage or Grammar

Close Passage

Synonyms Antonyms


Jumbled Paragraph

Reading Comprehension

Verbal Reasoning

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)


Blood Relations


Bar Graphs

Column Graphs




Binary Logic

Line Charts


Venn Diagrams

Pie Chart

Number and Letter Series

Seating Arrangement

Quantitative Aptitude (QA)


Higher Maths






CAT Mock Test 2023

The official CAT 2023 Mock Test is available for applicants to take. The CAT 2023 mock test will be made available on by the CAT conducting authority. It will guide you on how to answer the questions in the allotted timeframe and keep your anxiety under control during the exam.

The candidates can obtain a sense of how to navigate between sections by taking the mock test. Students need to review the CAT sample papers and be familiar with the CAT 2023 question paper before taking the CAT 2023 mock test.

Things to keep in mind while answering the CAT 2023 question paper

Prior to beginning the CAT exam, students should have a clear idea of how to approach the questions in the CAT paper. When answering the questions, candidates should make use of the following options:

  • Save and Next: After choosing an answer, candidates should save it and go on to the next question.
  • Clear Answer: Applicants will be able to remove the answer they provided to the question.
  • Mark for Review and Next: If the candidate is not sure how to respond to a question, they can mark it for review, respond to it, and then go on to the next one.


NOTE: Please use the computer mouse to answer the questions. The computer screen will lock if you use the system keyboard.

What does the panel's colour scheme represent?

Panel Colour

What it Indicates


The question wasneither visited for review noranswered.


The questionwas answered and not reviewed


The questionswere neither viewed nor visited.


The questionwas marked for review but not answered

Violet with Green tick

The question was answered and marked for review



Q1. What will be the CAT exam pattern 2023?

The CAT 2023 computer-based test (CBT) consists of three sections, DILR, QA, and VARC.Each section will have sixty-six questions.

Q2. When will the CAT exam 2023 take place?

CAT 2023 will take place in three sessions on November 26, 2023: morning, afternoon, and evening session.

Q3. How many sections are there in the CAT exam?

There will be three sections in CAT 2023:

  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
  • Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
  • Quantitative Aptitude


Q4. Does the CAT use negative marking?

Yes, each wrong answer will result in a mark deduction. The CAT pattern is unchanged from the previous year and is the same.

Q5. Is the CAT a challenging test?

In India, the CAT is regarded as the toughest MBA entrance exam. It is anticipated that CAT 2023 will be moderately to extremely difficult.



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