CAT 2021 Exam Pattern: Check New Paper Pattern, Duration, Marking Scheme

Candidates planning to appear for the CAT exam this year must familiarise themselves with the latest CAT exam pattern. It will help the aspirants understand the marking scheme, paper pattern, timings and other details. Check complete details on exam pattern of CAT 2021 here. 

 

Created On: Aug 2, 2021 16:39 IST
Modified On: Oct 29, 2021 15:34 IST
CAT 2021 Exam Pattern
CAT 2021 Exam Pattern

CAT Exam Pattern 2021: Indian Institute of Management prescribed the exam pattern of CAT 2021 for all the aspirants. CAT 2021 exam pattern contains section-wise topics for all the papers - Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR) and Quantitative Aptitude (QA). Before preparation, all candidates need to go through the CAT exam pattern to know the structure and format of the question paper. The exam pattern of CAT 2021 includes the topics and chapters from where the questions will be asked in the examination. By following the CAT syllabus and exam pattern 2021, candidates can prepare well for the examination. To understand the exam pattern better, candidates must also appear for the official CAT mock test which is expected released in the first week of November 2021. The candidates need to be thorough with CAT 2021 exam pattern before starting their preparation. Read on to find out the CAT 2021 marking scheme, no. and type of questions, no. of sections, and other important details. 

What's New in CAT Exam Pattern 2021?

As per the updates, the exam pattern is the same as last year CAT paper pattern. However, the number of questions have been reduced. From last year onwards, the candidates from the PwD category now get a total of 53 minutes and 20 seconds to complete a specific section of CAT 2021, while other candidates will get 40 minutes. In 2019, the CAT exam was conducted for three hours, with 60 minutes allotted for candidates to answer for each section. From last year onwards, the total time duration of CAT has been reduced to 2 hours i.e. 120 minutes.

CAT Exam Pattern 2021: Highlights 

Take a look at the important exam highlights that will help you understand the exam pattern of CAT 2021 in one go:

S.No.

CAT Exam Pattern

Details

1

No. of sections

3 (Verbal & Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning, and Quantitative Ability)

2

Mode of exam

Computer-Based Exam (Online)

3

Slots 

Slot 1: 8:30 am - 10:30 pm (Morning Session)

Slot 2: 12:30 pm - 2:30 pm (Afternoon Session)

Slot 3: 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm (Evening Session)

4

Time Allotted

2 Hours (120 Minutes)

5

Section-wise Time 

40 Minutes for Each Section (VARC, DILR, QA).

53 Minutes 20 Seconds for PwD candidates for each section.

6

No. of questions

76 Questions (54 MCQs and 22 Non-MCQs)

7

Number of answer choices

4

8

Total marks

228 marks

9

Marks per question

+3 per question

10

Negative Marking

-1 mark for incorrect answer

No marks were deducted for un-attempted questions

CAT 2021 Exam Pattern - Overall and Sectional Time Limit

As per CAT 2021 new exam pattern, candidates have to solve the exam in 120 minutes. However, there is a catch. Candidates are restricted by the sectional time limit to solve the question paper. This means that if a candidate cannot choose to solve the VARC, DILR, or QA section. Whichever section comes first he/she will get the time of 40 minutes to solve that particular section first. Only after solving this section, he/she can move to solve the other two sections. Check the table below. 

Sections

No. of Questions

Time Allotted

Time Allotted for PwD Students

Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation (LRDI)

24

40 minutes

53 minutes and 20 seconds

Quantitative Aptitude (QA)

26

40 minutes

53 minutes and 20 seconds

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)

26

40 minutes

53 minutes and 20 seconds

Total

76

120 minutes

160 minutes

The sectional time limit clause restricts the candidates to switch between 2 sections. As per the CAT paper pattern, generally Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension is the first section to solve, followed by Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning and at last, comes Quantitative Aptitude. Aspirants therefore will get 40 minutes to attempt each section. After the time is up, you will automatically move to solve the questions of the next section.

CAT Exam Pattern 2021 Number of MCQs and Non-MCQs

As per the exam pattern of CAT 2021, the total number of MCQs and Non-MCQs questions asked are given below - 

Sections

Total Questions*

MCQs*

Non-MCQs*

Maximum Marks*

Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)

26

18

8

78

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)

24

18

6

72

Quantitative Aptitude (QA)

26

18

8

78

Total

76

54

22

228

*The details mentioned in the above table is based on the previous year's question paper of CAT. The questions have been revised for CAT 2021.

CAT Exam Pattern 2021 Marking Scheme

Candidates must be aware of the CAT marking scheme before skipping any question in the exam. As per the CAT question paper pattern 2021,  each question will carry three marks and there will be a negative marking too, for every wrong answer one mark will be deducted. There will be no deduction of marks in case a candidate chooses to not attempt the question. Some questions in each section may not be of multiple-choice type, thus the answers will have to be typed on the screen. Check below the marking scheme for CAT 2021 - 

Sections

No. of Questions

Marks Per Question

Negative Marking (Only MCQ)

Quantitative Aptitude

26

3

-1

VARC

26

3

-1

DILR

24

3

-1

Total

76

228

-

CAT 2021 Prep: How CAT mock tests can help you get into IIMs?

Changes in CAT MCQs vs. Non-MCQs Questions Ratio

One of the biggest changes as far as the CAT exam format or pattern is concerned is the drastic reduction in the number of non-MCQs or TITA questions. The non-MCQs are the descriptive type questions that do not carry negative marking for a wrong answer. However, if we see the general trend, the number of non-MCQs has been increased in CAT 2018. Take a look at the table below:

CAT Exam Year

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

Total Non-MCQs

22

31

27

19

25

28

Non-MCQs from VARC

8

10

7

10

10

10

Non-MCQs from DILR

6

10

8

4

8

8

Non-MCQs from Quant

8

11

12

5

7

10

As shown in the above table, the overall number of non-MCQs has increased consistently over the years; however, the trend seems to take a turn in CAT'17 when only 19 non-MCQs were seen in the exam. In the years 2015 and 2016, if we take a look at the section-wise composition of non-MCQs, candidates have always been presented with atleast 25 non-MCQs in the CAT exam every year. 

In case there are any changes in the CAT 2021 exam pattern, it will be updated here. Also, the changes in the CAT mock test will also be updated here.

CAT Exam Pattern 2021 Syllabus 

The CAT syllabus includes topics from where the questions will be asked in the entrance exam. By following the syllabus of CAT candidates can prepare well for the exam and can understand the topics. The syllabus for the exam will be based on the following topics -  verbal ability and reading comprehension (VARC), data interpretation & logical reasoning (DILR), and quantitative aptitude (QA). 

 

Also Read: About CAT Exam Registration – Click Here

Also Read: About CAT Test Centers – Click Here

Also Read: About CAT Participating Institutes – Click Here

Also Read: About CAT Preparation Tips – Click Here

Also Read: About CAT Exam Analysis – Click Here

Also Read: About CAT Previous Year Mock Tests – Click Here

You can receive all the latest updates about MBA Test prep and CAT 2021 exam on the website www.jagranjosh.com

Use CAT Percentile Predictor 2021 to know your estimated CAT cut offs and predict calls from IIMs and Non-IIMs accepting CAT score for admission.

FAQ

How many sections are there in the exam as per exam pattern of CAT 2021?

As per CAT 2021 exam pattern, there will be three sections - Section I: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Section II: Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR) and Section III: Quantitative Aptitude (QA).

How many MCQs and non-MCQs will be there in CAT 2021?

As per last year’s CAT paper pattern 2021, there will be a total of 54 MCQs and 22 Non-MCQs (expected) in the exam.

Will there be any sectional time limit in CAT 2021 exam?

As per the CAT question paper pattern 2021, there will sectional time limit of 40 minutes for the General category and 53.20 minutes for PwD category students. The time limit was reduced in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

If I skip any question in CAT paper, will my marks be deducted?

No. As per the CAT exam pattern, no marks will be deducted for unattempted questions.

Can I carry a calculator to the CAT 2021 exam centre?

No. Candidates are not allowed to carry a calculator or any other electronic device to the exam centre. There will be an onscreen calculator which candidates can use for calculation.

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