CAT 2017 Syllabus: 5 major changes that will impact your MBA test preparation

CAT 2017 Syllabus is expected to undergo some serious changes which may impact your MBA test prep. Find out all the CAT 2017 syllabus changes here.

Created On: Aug 23, 2017 17:00 IST
CAT 2017 Syllabus
CAT 2017 Syllabus

With the D-day of November 26 approach fast, MBA aspirants preparing for the CAT 2017 MBA entrance exam are having a tough time keeping up with their preparation schedule. As there is no fixed syllabus for CAT 2017 and therefore candidates have to toil very hard in order to thoroughly be prepared for the upcoming MBA admission test. To throw a wrench in their efforts, the unpredictable nature of the CAT MBA exam and the changes made to the CAT syllabus might derail your MBA test preparation.

So, keeping this in mind, its best for MBA aspirants to go through the detailed CAT syllabus and any major or minor changes that have been made to it in order to get a complete idea about the scope and topic on which questions can be asked. To help you, we have listed down the 5 major changes or trends that will help you determine the way ahead for the MBA test preparation, especially when it comes to CAT 2017.

Get full details about CAT 2017 syllabus here

Sectional Composition

Going by the official CAT 2017 notification, there haven’t been any explicit changes in the sectional composition of the exam for the format. The CAT 2017 exam will continue to follow the three section format dedicated to VARC, DILR and Quant. Each of these sections will continue to have a defined time limit in which aspirants will have to answer the questions. The detailed review of CAT 2017 Exam’s sectional composition is provided in the table below:


No of Question

MCQs with negative marks

Non-MCQs with no negative marks

Time limit

Quantitative Aptitude


24  / 27


1 hour

Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension




1 hour

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning




1 hour


The key thing to keep in mind with regards to the sectional composition of CAT 2017 exam is that with the introduction of non-MCQs, the test has become quite unpredictable. Especially in the Quant section, where no trend can be established with regards to the number of non-MCQ questions that might be asked. But in general, if you align your MBA preparation keeping in mind the above sectional composition and the prescribed time limit, it would be easier for you to score a good percentile.

Find the detailed CAT 2017 Exam notification here

VARC Section to be divided into two

If you have gone through the CAT 2017 exam format and CAT Exam syllabus, you would have noticed that this year the CAT Exam syllabus for VARC has been divided into two separate sub-sections. The syllabus mentions Reading Comprehension as the first part whereas the second sub-section would focus primarily upon the Verbal Ability.

As per the analysis of last year’s CAT Exam paper, we can expect in each of these sub-sections i.e. Reading Comprehension would have 24 questions whereas Verbal Ability would have 10. Experts have predicted that this year, CAT 2017 would focus more upon verbal ability and topics like Jumbled paragraphs, out of context sentence, para summary.

DILR also to have two sub-sections

The Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning section was the one that was re-introduced in the CAT exam format in 2015 by IIM Ahmedabad. Since then, it has been a regular part of the syllabus and the exam format. Continuing form where it started, even the DILR section would be classified into two sub-sections i.e. Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning.

Quant Covers everything in Math

Quantitative Aptitude is considered to be one of the most scoring or one of the scariest sections of the CAT Exam format, depending upon the comfort you share with Mathematics. The syllabus for Quant prescribed under CAT syllabus 2017 is vast and covers almost everything that even remotely falls under the purview of Mathematics. So, CAT 2017 aspirants do not enjoy the liberty of skipping even a single topic mentioned under Quant syllabus. But, still if you want to take a risk, experts suggest that the Quant section will see dominance of Trigonometry, Geometry, Algebra, Arithmetic, Modern Math and Mensuration this year.

CAT Previous Year Papers not an ideal guide

The majority of CAT aspirants depend upon the previous year paper sets in order to design the MBA test preparation plan. However, when it comes to CAT 2017, this might not be the ideal way ahead. The CAT 2017 exam is the one where not even a single question is repeated from previous year question papers. Therefore, previous year CAT question papers do not serve as the ultimate guide for the aspirants.

In addition to this, what makes CAT 2017 tougher is the boundless syllabus that it has. CAT 2017 syllabus has no defined boundaries and coves almost every topic that has been provided in the notification. Therefore, if you were planning to do selective topical study for the same, it would not work well for you, especially this year, when special attention is being paid to widen the aspirants net from diverse academic backgrounds.

So, if you thought that not studying a particular topic because no question has been asked from it in the last few years, you might be in for a big surprise on 26th November. In fact, experts also suggest that as far as CAT syllabus for MBA entrance exam is concerned, candidates must shortlist such topics which have not featured in the exam in last 2-3 years, there is a high likelihood of them being reintroduced in the exam this year.

To sum it up…

Although there have not been any drastic changes in the CAT 2017 syllabus, the minor changes mentioned above might deal a crushing blow to your dreams of getting into any of the IIMs. So, it’s better for you to keep these changes in mind and modify your MBA test preparation strategy for CAT 2017 accordingly.

For more interesting updates about MBA entrance exams and detailed study material for CAT 2017, visit

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